Hello there friend and Welcome aboard!!
Before we get into the M-Audio Fast Track Pro USB Audio Interface review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
- Video Review
- Who does this interface benefit?
- Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
M-Audio Fast Track Pro
- Check eBay!
- Converters: 24-bit
- Sample Rates: 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96kHz (sample rate will govern the I/O operation of the unit)
- Analog Input: 2 x Neutrik XLR-1/4″ TRS combo
2 x 1/4″ TRS phone SEND and RETURN insert
- Analog Output: 2 x 1/4″ TRS phone (balanced)
4 x RCA phono (unbalanced)
- Digital Input: 1 x RCA S/PIDF coaxial
- Digital Output: 1 x RCA S/PIDF coaxial
- MIDI In/Out: Yes
- Sync In/Out: S/PDIF
- Headphone Output: Yes
- THD + N: 0.005% (-86dB) @ -1dBFS, 1kHz
- Dynamic Range: Microphone: 101dB, A-weighted
Instrument: 100dB, A-weighted
- Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz, +/- 0.1dB @ 48kHz sample rate
G3 800/G4 733MHz (higher speed may be necessary for laptops)
OS X 10.3.9 or later
Pentium III 800MHz (higher speed may be necessary for laptops)
Windows XP (SP2)
DirectX 9.0c or higher
Specialties: Individual instrument/line level and -20dB pad switches
The M-Audio Fast Track Pro was the first interface that I purchased back in 2007 (See it pictured here). At that time I didn’t really understand anything about home studio equipment, but I knew that I needed it for something important. Lol.
I had asked my former Electronic Music teacher in college what I would need to start recording guitars and he pointed me in the direction of the Fast Track Pro. What does an audio interface do? I never bothered to ask him the logistics behind its function, how it sends and receives information, etc. All I knew is that I wanted to record music as easily as possible.
For more info on how your PC processes the sound from your interface: Bit depth vs. Sample Rate
After seemingly forever getting it set up, I wasn’t too impressed. Back then, using it with Ableton Live Lite was a huge headache, but of course, keep in mind I was a relative noob. Still, I would suggest experimenting with the free Audacity if you’re a beginner. You could also opt for something like Reaper, where you can try it before you buy it. Both are very user-friendly and work great.
The main problem I had with the FTP is that I had to turn the gain all the way up to even hear anything. This is a common complaint among reviewers, and I remember someone asking me once if I had turned the phantom power switch on before I started recording. I truly would hope so, lol.
Honestly though you wouldn’t hear any sound at all with it not turned on, so we can disregard that.
I remember recording a few raps and having to literally yell the lyrics into the mic with the gain turned all the way up. That to me is a major internal flaw. The fact that I could hear myself clearly but the sound was very low suggests that the phantom power was turned on, but the preamps were poor. Another common complaint from people online.
All in all, the interface functioned adequately otherwise. I ended up selling it a couple of years ago and eventually purchased the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. It’s a great interface, but keep in mind that they have not updated the drivers since I bought it (12/2014). Because I haven’t really updated my PC, it still works perfectly. But for new users with newer equipment, you may run into issues.
For newer PCs I would suggest the second generation Scarlett 2i2. More on that at the end!
- Good build.
- Easy to use with Garage Band.
- The sound, despite being too quiet, did come out clear.
- Good for recording MIDI instruments. What is MIDI?
- Latency issues. What is Latency?
- Bad customer service.
- Distorted sound.
- Gain must be turned all the way up to get a halfway decent audio level.
- The built-in preamps aren’t very good.
- Unit inexplicably cuts off.
As you can tell in the video, he was having issues with the preamps as well. It’s just a bad unit all around and not recommended.
Who does this interface benefits?
- Pretty much no one who wants to record properly.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Make sure all WIFI-enabled devices are disabled. I read that this could cause issues with the unit. You must disable all other devices that might interfere with the Fast Track Pro.
- The good news is that the drivers were updated on January 16th, 2016. They had not been updated previously since 2013. I’m actually kind of shocked and impressed that they even bothered because, in my estimation, this unit has kind of faded into obscurity over the last few years. Keep in mind that it will be the last update per their website.
- This new update is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. It is not compatible with Windows 10.
- The last and final Mac update came on December 16th, 2014. Compatible with: Mac OS X 10.8.5, 10.9.5, 10.10, 10.10.1. Not compatible with: OS X 10.11 El Capitan (or later).
- This unit does better with a Cloud lifter or separate mic preamp to improve the sound. Preamp vs. Interface.
- By default, the FTP will record in stereo. Just make sure you split the signal into mono (left & right), or your sound will only come out of one side.
To do this in audacity after recording:
- Press the Audio Track button.
- Then scroll down and click Split Stereo to Mono.
I pressed record but didn’t actually record anything because I’m not in my studio at the moment. The idea is the same though.
Better options out there for the money. I would not recommend this unit anymore.
If you’re looking for the best budget interface or just a phenomenal option, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd generation is what you’ll want.
I previously owned a 1st generation 2i2 and plan on getting a 3rd gen because I loved it so much.
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the M Audio Fast Track Pro USB Audio Interface.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please Contact me!!
What do you think of the Fast Track Pro? What about the others? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,