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Author Topic: M-Audio Fast Track PRO (yes the PRO version)  (Read 1103 times)
Calvin
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« on: August 15, 2006, 05:07:34 AM »

Looking to play to my own rhythm, but I dotn want an amp + looper.  Okay i do want an amp + looper, but just waste of money for me.  Besides I would like to record too, even if it's just for fun.

What does everyone think of the M-Audio Fast Track PRO.  I did a search, and some old thread said the basic version (about 1/2 the price adn record at 1/2 of the bitrate (or whatever the thing is called in .wav format) didn't have neough power or something?  I am a complete noob at this, I dont mind spending a bit of money I just dont want something to be a complete waste 1/2 year down the line.

This bad boy here
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FastTrackPro-main.html

Can i also plug this into my home stereo system receiver?  Since I guess this is a pre-amp also?

Please, I am not an audiophile, if it fits my needs and just a bit more (that I may need in future) then it's good enough for me.  I am not a professional, and dont plan to be.  And Maybe I'll get a Mic with it too.  This little box seems to give me alot for about 200 bucks after discount.  But I realize you get what you paid for.  SO, THE EXPERTS PLEASE CHIME IN.

BTW I plan to use this with either a mic, but most importantly I'd like to use it with sound hole Passive mag pickups (I am thinking either Sunrise or DiMarzio Reference for a fuller sound).
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drathbun
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2006, 09:40:44 PM »

Looking to play to my own rhythm, but I dotn want an amp + looper.  Okay i do want an amp + looper, but just waste of money for me.  Besides I would like to record too, even if it's just for fun.

What does everyone think of the M-Audio Fast Track PRO.  I did a search, and some old thread said the basic version (about 1/2 the price adn record at 1/2 of the bitrate (or whatever the thing is called in .wav format) didn't have neough power or something?  I am a complete noob at this, I dont mind spending a bit of money I just dont want something to be a complete waste 1/2 year down the line.

This bad boy here
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FastTrackPro-main.html

Can i also plug this into my home stereo system receiver?  Since I guess this is a pre-amp also?

Please, I am not an audiophile, if it fits my needs and just a bit more (that I may need in future) then it's good enough for me.  I am not a professional, and dont plan to be.  And Maybe I'll get a Mic with it too.  This little box seems to give me alot for about 200 bucks after discount.  But I realize you get what you paid for.  SO, THE EXPERTS PLEASE CHIME IN.

BTW I plan to use this with either a mic, but most importantly I'd like to use it with sound hole Passive mag pickups (I am thinking either Sunrise or DiMarzio Reference for a fuller sound).


The M-Audio Fast Track Pro is a very nice audio card/interface. I have an M-Audio Audiophile USB (two years old) which has some of the features the Fast Track has. This audio card will allow you to record to your computer at very fast, low latency rates (given you have some horsepower on your computer as well). The onboard hardware monitoring is also a nice feature allowing you to monitor while recording without tasking your CPU. You probably have more I/O options than you really need but this makes the product have some longevity (ie. the S/PDIF I/O).

You can hook this up to your audio system with the RCA outs. You WILL need to connect it to a stereo amplifier or you'll need powered speakers. I have mine hooked up through my computer because I have a fairly powerful audio system for the computer which rivals my home stereo for sound quality (especially with my subwoof!)

The only caution I have with a USB computer audio card is to make sure you connect the USB directly to a 2.0 USB port on the computer's motherboard. Do not connect your USB sound card though any kind of USB Hub.

As to looping? I'm unsure about how you can use this device to loop other than recording to your computer and having the track you've recorded loop for you.

The real key to the whole system is your choice of audio software. I use Sonar 5 Producer Edition from Cakewalk. It is a fully professional recording interface and comes with a hefty price tag (I get it cheap as a prof! Hehe). I would suggest you look at Audacity which is a free multitrack recording software package. For a few more features and a reasonable price, I'd also suggest trying Adobe Audition although I see it has gone up 200% since it was purchased by Adobe.

If you are buying a microphone, I strongly suggest you get a condenser. Your Fast Track has phantom power built in and a condenser makes 1000% difference in quality IMHO!

Hope it helps!

Doug
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2006, 02:41:41 AM »

I've never tried the M-Audio unit, but there's one spec that may give you a problem with you desire to use a passive mag pickup with it.  The input impedance for the instrument input is 220k Ohms.  That may be rather low for some mag pickups.  It is certainly way way too low for USTs or SBT pickups.  Before you buy, verify compatibility between a soundhole mag pickup and an instrument input of 220k Ohms.  While you're at it, determine the output signal strength of the mag pickup and compare that to the input ranges (for the instrument jack) stated on the M-Audio site for the unit.  If the output of the mag pickup is in the range, things should be OK.  If it's near the low end of the range, things may start getting bad - you'll end up with too much noise in a recorded track.
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Calvin
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2006, 04:10:17 AM »

So what you are saying is that I would need ANOTHER preamp before I can record into it?

What about the presonus inspire?  That's what the sales person recommended since apparently the firewire connection is faster than USB (well, USB 1.1, which is what I think the Fast track has, not too sure though).

As for software, I was told it comes with Cubase lite or something as the main recording program.

So far I am leaning towards the inspire because of the firewire.  And I've been told that the Presonus is a slightly "better" brand than M-Audio
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2006, 04:05:38 AM »

So what you are saying is that I would need ANOTHER preamp before I can record into it?

No.  I think I was suggesting you should check out specs and insure compatibility between your pickup output specs and the M-Audio's instrument input specs.

What about the presonus inspire?  That's what the sales person recommended since apparently the firewire connection is faster than USB (well, USB 1.1, which is what I think the Fast track has, not too sure though).

As for software, I was told it comes with Cubase lite or something as the main recording program.

Dunno much about the Presonus Inspire.  Firewire and USB are two different ways for these audio interfaces to communicate with your computer.  Generally, Firewire has a few more pluses in it's colum than USB, but USB can work just dandy, particularly if you are only recording a few tracks at the same time or playing back stereo mixes (regardless of the number of tracks being mixed down to stereo).  You will certainly need an audio tracking/mixing/mastering software package.  I've never used Cubase Lite, but like most others, it will no doubt do just fine once you learn how to use it.

So far I am leaning towards the inspire because of the firewire.  And I've been told that the Presonus is a slightly "better" brand than M-Audio

Presonus makes a more robust set of products and they have a few really top notched items.  Still, both companies cater to the budget home studio crowd and build many products to low price points.  Don't expect major qualitative differences with the dozens of budget home studio recording interfaces.  For sure, some will be better than others, slightly, and you would no doubt like some more than others feature-wise or due to ergonomics.  But you'd have to try many of them first, and spend, say, 30 hours with each one to really evaluate them.  Better to just pick one that meets your immediate and future needs and go for it.
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Calvin
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2006, 04:33:18 AM »

I ended up with the presonus inspire.

Problem:  My laptop has a 4 pin connector, and my desktop is windows 2K.  so it wouldn't run on either unless I get an adaptor or install windows XP.

Solution:  I am going to reinstall, my windows 2K is a bit old anyway.  I was waiting to get windows Vista.  Anyway I'll just get a 'temporary' XP copy :rolleyes: till vista comes next year.  But i already tried it on a computer downstairs, and it does work.  With absolutely no other preamp, my semi solid gave a pretty good sound (very jazzy) with no eq or anything (at least it works).  Now I'll just have to wait to see what happens when I get all the other stuff installed. heheheh.
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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2006, 03:56:47 PM »

That's great.  Have fun.
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Calvin
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« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2006, 06:15:22 PM »

I'll keep you all posted on this unit
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« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2006, 07:19:54 PM »

Hi,others might also want to check one of these out,I have one and it is fantastic.

http://www.focusrite.com/index.php?pageName=productOverview&productName=saffire
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