Is the M24 expandable? Can I use more than one M24?
The M24 is currently not expandable. Depending on the host software you can use more than one M24 at a time. You could also use more than one to control additional computers or more than one program at a time.
Were do I plug in my microphones?
The M24 does not have any microphone pre amplifiers or analog audio circuitry inside. We think Microphone pre amplifiers and Analog to Digital converters are subject to personal taste, as all sound very different from each other. We usually mix and match several different converters and pre amplifiers from different manufactures when we record because different combinations tend to work best on different instruments. We also figured that the M24 would appeal to the more experienced user who would be more likely to already own at least a few microphone pre amplifiers channels.
What is with this fader resolution stuff?
The fader resolution is the number of different values produced by the fader as it moves from the bottom of its travel to the top of its travel. This is often very different from the number of values sent over the midi cable and also often different from the number of different positions that the fader motors can actually rematch (start moving and then stop on the next value). 10-bit resolution has 1024 different steps available and theoretically this would correspond to 1024 different fader positions in 100mm travel or 1 different value for every .097mm (.0038”). Precision this fine is hard to do and even many machine tools used in manufacturing have a hard time achieving repeatable tolerances finer than .005” and they use geared motors with screws and braking systems. We have tested faders systems that claim 9-bit (512 steps) resolution and some of them only have 6-bit internal resolution (64 steps). On these systems it requires a larger fader movement to make any change to the onscreen value and many people have come to the conclusion from using these systems that 512 steps must not be enough. Unfortunately they only were using 64 different steps. The majority of on screen mouse controlled faders we have tested have 127 to 256 different positions (7-bit and 8-bit). Fader resolution is not as big of a deal in a digital system as it was in an automated analog console. In an automated analog console the fader directly controls the audio or the audio is controlled by a VCA (voltage controlled amplifier). In either case high resolution is needed because anything less would create audible steps referred to as zipper noise. In a digital system the volume is controlled by a gain coefficient value and software should remove the audible steps and any zipper noise by scaling gain coefficients between the missing values presented by the on screen or remote fader.
Why is MIDI and USB being used for data transfer and not Ethernet?
Midi can be very fast if used correctly. Several systems on the market are very wasteful of the available midi bandwidth. The M24 can use custom commands that have 2 to 8 times the resolution and considerably less latency. Using our current interface software the M24 can achieve faster fader grouping response, faster overall fader movement and faster bank and channel swapping than several dedicated stand alone 16 and 24 channel digital mixing consoles some costing many times more. The M24 is able to do this because of very tight fader and midi software written in assembly language and the use of variable speed proportional digital fader matching. One of the main things overlooked by many is the speed of the interface software. The interface software can potentially slow down even the fastest transfer protocol. Some of the supported software manufactures have been very open and provided us with excellent interface development software and support. We then optimized the interface software for the M24 and the results are amazing.
Even if you only use the M24 generic mode with all faders running over just one midi cable, the M24 has faster response than several 8-channel units.
Isn’t Midi limited to only 7-bit messages for controllers?
Standard Midi controller messages are limited to 7-bit (128 steps) and 128 different controllers per midi channel. Pitch Change messages have 14-bit resolution and System Exclusive messages can have an unlimited resolution. The M24 can adjust the Midi resolution depending on the requirements of the host software.
Why does the M24 not have silver knobs and what is with the touch sensitive stuff anyway?
The M24 faders are touch sensitive in the sense that they will release automatically when the user touches a fader that is already moving and then send a automation write message to the host. We usually refer to this method as touch release and this differs from some of the other touch sensitive faders systems in that it is not dependent on the person’s conductivity in their skin to sense they have touched a fader. This basic method could also be referred to as position sensitive and other systems have used some form of this method before with varying success. The problem is that most other systems used methods of controlling the fader motors that did not allow for touch release and many had non-intuitive methods for performing automation updates. Faders on these systems would fight you if you touched one that was moving and had no simple way to release and update the automation data.
After a lot of research we chose not to use conductive faders because of the many problems relating to reliability differences from person to person, problems with different environments and humidity. Conductive faders require that you leave your finger on the fader for the duration of the punch in and even if you are not moving the fader, the fader can still be writing more than one value if the fader has any significant resolution. This is a large waste of automation memory and many designers will limit the resolution during the time the fader is not moving to overcome this problem negating any advantage. The main advantage to a conductive fader is that the software can sense the release and know when to send the automation message. The M24 does not require you’re finger to remain on a fader to achieve the same thing.
We feel that the method chosen for the M24 is a combination of the strengths of both methods. The faders do a touch release and don’t send any unnecessary erroneous automation data. The M24 also offers more than one method of automation update and effectively increases the number of automation modes provided by the host software while simplifying the process. This is why the M24 does not have or need silver fader knobs. We didn’t think they looked that cool anyway… If you disagree with us, the silver knobs can be ordered as an option.