Alesis MasterControl

Alesis MasterControl

Bundled with Steinberg Cubase LE 4 and Ableton Live Lite 7 DAW software. Price: $1,299

If you''re starting to move beyond minimal audio post with its occasional sound tweaking and cleanup, it might be a good time to consider moving beyond the mouse. Just about any hardware interface will deliver a much more productive and useful tool than pointing and clicking.

That''s Alesis'' argument for its MasterControl studio interface. The compact audio mix board, which is designed to work with most popular digital audio workstations, debuted earlier this year. Employing a straightforward FireWire connection, the board enables recording and monitoring of audio sources via 44.1kHz-to-192kHz recording, two XLR inputs with phantom power and channel inserts, six TRS line inputs, six outputs, and extensive expansion options. Eight motorized faders are assignable, allowing you to control a total of 24 individual parameters in any DAW.

Want to move toward a bigger board''s capabilities? You can run up to 26 simultaneous inputs with the optional S/PDIF and dual S/MUX ADAT Lightpipe inputs.

Jim Norman, Alesis product manager, calls MasterControl the “missing link” for professional and home studios alike. “It''s quite simple in concept: You plug it into your computer, plug in your sources and monitoring system, and you''re ready to record,” he says.

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