M-Audio is a manufacturer of musical instruments and audio equipment headquartered in Fremont, California. It was established in 1987 and produces keyboards, synthesizers, drum machines, and other audio equipment. M-Audio was acquired by Avid Technology in 2004 and currently produces products under the Avid brand name.
So far, M-Audio has made a name for itself as a producer of affordable but high-quality equipment for musicians.
The Rise of M-Audio
The Early Days
Back in the late 90s, Tim Ryan, a Caltech graduate and engineer, had a vision. He wanted to create a company that would make connecting MIDI, audio, and computer equipment together for music production easier. And so, Music Soft was born.
But Yamaha already had the rights to the name Music Soft, so Tim had to come up with something new. He settled on Midiman, and the rest is history.
Midiman quickly established itself as a manufacturer of small, affordable MIDI problem solvers, sync devices, and interfaces. Here’s a look at some of the products that helped make Midiman a household name:
- The Midiman: a MIDI-to-tape recorder synchronizer
- The Syncman and Syncman Pro VITC-to-LTC/MTC converters
- The Midisport and Bi-Port range of MIDI interfaces
- The Flying Cow and Flying Calf A/D / D/A converters
- The 4-input, 20-bit DMAN 2044
Growth, Re-branding and Avid Acquisition
In 2000, Midiman announced the Delta Series PCI audio interfaces and re-branded themselves as M-Audio. This was a wise decision, as M-Audio products experienced mainstream success.
M-Audio also entered into distribution deals with Propellerhead Software, Ableton, ArKaos, and Groove Tubes microphones. This resulted in 128% growth for the company in 2001 and 68% growth in 2002, making M-Audio the fastest-growing music company in the US.
In 2002, M-Audio entered the MIDI keyboard controller market with the Oxygen8, and the studio monitor speaker market with the Studiophile SP5B.
In 2003, M-Audio acquired Evolution Electronics LTD, and in 2004, Avid Technology acquired M-Audio for a whopping $174 million.
Since then, M-Audio and Digidesign have collaborated to release Pro Tools M-Powered, a limited version of Digidesign’s flagship product, Pro Tools, that’s compatible with M-Audio’s audio interface hardware.
Today, M-Audio continues to make products for computer-based home recording enthusiasts, with an emphasis on portability and hardware controllers for music software.
Famous Musicians Who Use M-Audio Products
Accordion-SuperStar Emir Vildic
Accordion-SuperStar Emir Vildic has been known to take his M-Audio products on tour with him, and it’s no wonder why. He’s a master of the accordion, and with M-Audio’s help, his sound is even more magical.
9th Wonder is a hip-hop producer and rapper who has been using M-Audio products for years. He’s a fan of the sound quality and the versatility of the products, and it shows in his music.
The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas have been using M-Audio products for years, and it’s easy to see why. Their sound is unique and powerful, and M-Audio’s products help them get the most out of their music.
Other Notable Musicians
M-Audio products are used by a wide range of artists, producers, and composers, including:
- Brian Transeau
- Depeche Mode
- Pharrell Williams
- Jimmy Chamberlin
- Gary Numan
- Mark Isham
- Los Lobos
- Carmen Rizzo
- Jeff Rona
- Tom Scott
- Chester Thompson
- The Crystal Method
These musicians have all found success with M-Audio’s products, and it’s easy to see why. The sound quality and versatility of the products make them a great choice for any musician.
M-Audio’s History of Innovative Products
The Early Years
Back in the day, M-Audio was all about getting your music from your MIDI to your tape. They released the Syncman and Syncman Pro MIDI-to-Tape synchronizers in 1989, and they were a hit!
In the mid-90s, M-Audio was all about making your music sound better. They released the AudioBuddy microphone preamp, the MultiMixer 6 and Micromixer 18 mini mixers, and the GMan General MIDI module.
The Late 90s
By the late 90s, M-Audio was all about making your music more accessible. They released the Digipatch12X6 digital patchbay, the Midisport and BiPort, the SAM mixer/S/PDIF-ADAT converter, and the CO2 Co-axial-to-Optical converter. They also released the Flying Cow and Flying Calf A/D / D/A converters.
The Early 2000s
In the early 2000s, M-Audio was all about making your music more powerful. They released the Delta 66, Delta DiO 2496, and Delta 1010 audio interfaces, the Studiophile SP-5B nearfield studio monitors, the Sonica USB audio interface, the Midisport Uno, the DMP3 Dual Mic Preamp, the Transit USB mobile audio interface, the ProSessions Sound + Loop Libraries, the Ozone 25-key USB MIDI keyboard controller/control surface and audio interface, the Audiophile USB audio & MIDI interface, the BX5 active nearfield reference studio monitors, and the Evolution X-Session USB MIDI DJ control surface.
In the mid-2000s, M-Audio was all about making your music more versatile. They released the Ozonic (37-key MIDI and audio interface over FireWire), the Luna large-diaphragm cardioid microphone, the Firewire 410 firewire audio interface, the Octane 8-channel preamp with digital output, the Keystation Pro 88 88-key MIDI keyboard controller, the Nova microphone, the Firewire Audiophile firewire audio interface, and the Firewire 1814 firewire audio interface.
The Late 2000s
By the late 2000s, M-Audio was all about making your music more interactive. They released the Trigger Finger USB trigger pad controller, the iControl control surface for GarageBand, the ProKeys 88 digital stage piano, the MidAir and MidAir 37 wireless MIDI system and controller keyboard, and the ProjectMix I/O integrated control surface/audio interface.
The Early 2010s
In the early 2010s, M-Audio was all about making your music more efficient. They released the NRV10 Firewire mixer/audio interface, the Fast Track Ultra 8×8 USB and audio interface, the IE-40 reference earphones, the Pulsar II small-diaphragm condenser microphone, and the Venom 49-key VA synthesizer.
In the mid-2010s, M-Audio was all about making your music more accessible. They released the M3-8, the Oxygen MKIV series, the Trigger Finger Pro, the M3-6, the HDH50 Headphones, the BX6 Carbon and BX8 Carbon, the M-Track II and Plus II, and the M-Track Eight.
The Late 2010s
By the late 2010s, M-Audio was all about making your music more powerful. They released the CODE series (25, 49, 61), the Deltabolt 1212, the M40 and M50 Headphones, the M-Track 2×2 and 2x2M, the M3-8 Black, the Hammer 88, the BX5 D3 and BX8 D3, the Uber Mic, the AV32, the Keystation MK3 (Mini 32, 49, 61, 88), the AIR series (Hub, 192|4, 192|6, 192|8, 192|14), the BX3 and BX4, the M-Track Solo and Duo, the Oxygen MKV series, and the Oxygen Pro series.
The Early 2020s
In the early 2020s, M-Audio is all about making your music more creative. They released the Hammer 88 Pro and the latest addition to their lineup, the M-Audio Oxygen Pro series.
What Audio & MIDI Interfaces Does M-Audio Offer?
For Solo Musicians
If you’re a one-person show, M-Audio has got you covered! Check out these interfaces perfect for solo musicians:
- M-Track Solo: A simple, yet powerful interface that allows you to record and monitor audio with ease.
- AIR 192|4: A great choice for recording vocals, guitars, and more.
- AIR 192|6: This one’s for the multi-instrumentalist, with 6 inputs and 4 outputs.
- AIR 192|8: This one’s for the serious musician, with 8 inputs and 6 outputs.
- AIR 192|14: For the ultimate recording experience, this one’s got 14 inputs and 8 outputs.
- AIR 192|4 Vocal Studio Pro: This one’s perfect for recording vocals and instruments with ease.
For the Band
If you’re in a band, M-Audio has got you covered too! Here are some great interfaces for bands:
- AIR Hub: This one’s perfect for connecting multiple devices to your computer.
- M-Track Eight: This one’s great for recording multiple instruments at once.
- Midisport Uno: This one’s perfect for connecting your MIDI devices to your computer.
For the Professional
If you’re a professional musician, M-Audio has got you covered! Check out these interfaces perfect for the pros:
- Oxygen 25, 49, 61 MKV: This one’s perfect for recording and mixing with ease.
- Oxygen Pro 25, 49, 61, Mini 32: This one’s perfect for recording and mixing with precision.
- Keystation MK3 49, 61, 88, Mini 32: This one’s great for controlling your MIDI devices.
- Oxygen 25, 49, 61 MKIV: This one’s perfect for recording and mixing with ease.
- BX5 D3: This one’s great for recording and mixing with clarity.
- BX8 D3: This one’s perfect for recording and mixing with precision.
- BX5 GRAPHITE: This one’s great for recording and mixing with clarity.
- BX8 GRAPHITE: This one’s perfect for recording and mixing with precision.
For the On-the-Go Musician
If you’re a musician on the go, M-Audio has got you covered! Here are some great interfaces for the on-the-go musician:
- Uber Mic: This one’s perfect for recording on the go.
- HDH-40 (Over-ear studio monitoring headphones): These headphones are perfect for monitoring your recordings.
- Bass Traveler (Portable headphone amplifier): This one’s great for amplifying your headphones.
- SP-1 (Sustain pedal): This one’s great for controlling your MIDI devices.
- SP-2 (Piano style sustain pedal): This one’s perfect for controlling your MIDI devices.
- EX-P (Universal expression controller pedal): This one’s perfect for controlling your MIDI devices.
Discover the World of Pro Sessions
Experience the Power of Discrete Drums
Ready to take your music to the next level? Look no further than M-Audio Pro Sessions! With a variety of collections, you can explore the world of drums and percussion, from the funky beats of Discrete Drums to the cinematic ambience of Liquid Cinema. Whether you’re looking for a classic rock sound or a modern hip-hop groove, Pro Sessions has you covered.
Unlock the Power of World Beat Cafe
Take a trip around the world with Pro Sessions’ World Beat Cafe! This collection of samples and loops will transport you to distant lands with its unique blend of global rhythms and sounds. From Latin Element to Latin Street, you’ll find a variety of styles to explore and experiment with.
Explore the Depths of Hella Bumps
Ready to get your groove on? Then you’ll want to check out Pro Sessions’ Hella Bumps series. With three volumes of samples and loops, you can explore the depths of hip-hop, electro, and dance music. Whether you’re looking for a classic beat or something more modern, you’ll find it here.
Discover the Power of Elektron
Take your music to the next level with Pro Sessions’ Elektron series. With two volumes of samples and loops, you can explore the world of machine drums and monomachines. From classic electro grooves to modern hip-hop beats, you’ll find a variety of sounds to experiment with.
M-Audio has revolutionized the music industry with its innovative products and solutions. From its humble beginnings with the Midiman to its acquisition by Avid Technology, M-Audio has come a long way. Its range of MIDI interfaces, audio interfaces, MIDI controllers, and studio monitor speakers have made it easier than ever for musicians to create and produce music.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.
Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:Subscribe