For over a decade, Digidesign has made a fine living from selling their sound cards and interfaces. There are plenty of sound cards and interfaces available, so why are Digidesign products so popular?
Because you get to run Pro Tools software on them!
If you want to run Pro Tools software, you have to use a Digidesign interface. So while appearing to be a software company, Digidesign has in fact locked their users in to buying their hardware too. It does help that the hardware is damn good of course.
But now the unthinkable has happened. You can now run Pro Tools using a non-Digidesign interface!
This really is a breakthrough. But not just any old interface of course. Digidesign would not want to sully their reputation by allowing Pro Tools software to run on a dodgy hardware platform.
So the choice of interface manufacturers has increased by a full 100% (to two!), and M-Audio is the chosen manufacturer, and how lucky they are. They'll make a mint of money.
The new Pro Tools software that makes this possible is described as 'Pro Tools M-Powered', which kind of makes me wonder whether a whole suite might become available.
Pro Tools M-Powered works with the Audiophile 2496, Audiophile 192, FireWire 1814, FireWire 410, and the Ozonic 37-key keyboard MIDI/FireWire audio interface. That's a good range for starters.
But if you think that Pro Tools might open up further to other manufacturers, then think again. Digidesign is owned by Avid (who make very high-end broadcast video systems). Avid also own M-Audio!
Nice to keep it in the family.