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I originally purchased the Fast Track USB to replace my soundcard in my PC. It works very well as an external soundcard and the sound quality is unaltered. I have had no issues at all with the fast track usb to date and i have had it for over a year now. The Fast Track USB comes equipped with a microphone slr port and a quarter inch jack in the back for recording with a mic or direct from a guitar. The quality of the recordings achieved are pretty good but not as good as some of the higher end M-Audio products. I would recommend this product to those who are just starting to get into the music tech' side of the music industry as it is a good place to start getting knowledge of how to use and operate audio interfaces. Overall this product has been very useful for me and is still going strong after heavy usage.
This was one of the first pieces of equipment I bought for my home studio about 2 years ago, I have since upgraded from it, but found that the M audio Fast Track is a great piece of equipment to get somebody started in home recording. The box is quite small but has most features you would need for single track recording as is easy to operate. On the back, it has an XLR mic input, TRS jack instrument input, switch to select between mic and jack inputs, phone stereo outputs and USB port. The front has a mic gain, signal and clip indicators, mix balance control, stereo/mono select switch, headphone output and output volume. It is reletivly easy to install as long as you download the correct drivers and has a good sound quality. It does record at 24 bit which is the bit rate most pro recordings are done at, so the quality is pretty good for a small unit. The "mix" control is very useful and allows you to select between how much play back (output signal) and how much input signal you hear in the headphones. This provides latency free monitoring which really does help when recording. For example, if you recording vocals to a backing track, and cant hear yourself singing, turing the control to the left will making the backing track quieter and the sound from the input (mic) louder in the headphones, with no delay. I would probably not recommend this unit for someone that is serious about home recording, but it is perfect for a musician or singer that just wants to record themselves playing or someone who wants to record podcasts etc. Coupled with a decent mic like a Shure SM57, this is a pretty good piece of kit.
The M-Audio Fast Track allows you to record guitar or microphone on your PC. It connect to the PC via USB - you then plug your guitar into it using the same cables you'd use for an amplifier. Be warned that if you connect a microphone to it, it does not have phantom power so will not power the microphone. In this case, you will need a seperate powered microphone pre-amp. It was simple enough to set up - but I'd suggest downloading the latest drivers from the M-Audio website. Using the software that came with it, I couldn't set this up as the recording device whilst having my PC soundcard as the output - I could only have the recording and playback on one device. However, getting the new software and drviers rectified this problem. Once this was sorted, everything was peachy-poo. The settings on the box don't really do that much, but that didn't bother me. The sound recorded was clean and clear, so I could process them on the PC later.