M-Audio Fast Track Pro REVIEW
Headaches x2 with Fast Track Pro,
As soon as I opened the box, this audio interface has been a headache.
When plugging the audio interface in, installing the drivers off M-Audio’s website (you now have to go through Avid.com for the drivers), I plugged in a Shure SM58 dynamic microphone and realized.. I wasn’t getting much gain/volume out of my voice.
After reading online, people were saying you need a fair amount of power to get a solid amount of gain in a dynamic microphone, so I thought that was the issue.. but it wasn’t.
About a year later.. I bought a condenser microphone hoping that would fix the problem (plus a new XLR cable with hopes that would fix the problem as well), sadly though, both didn’t.
I also attempted using a 12V power supply to help give the Fast Track Pro some more juice.. but no fix again! USB worked exactly the same as the 12V power supply.
I realized, the pre-amps were terribly weak on my Fast Track Pro (the volume knobs to turn up and down the mic volume). I had to literally crank it so much to get a thick sounding vocal.
*Note — I’ve read some people’s fast track pro’s work great, but if you look on their forums, you will see an unusual amount of customers with the same problem as I am reporting here. Incredibly WEAK pre-amps
Helpful Recording Tip for Beginners
From my experience, I would highly recommend you start off with a condenser microphone. Your vocals will be noticeably warmer, more present, brighter.. just all-round better sounding. (Note, you will need phantom power to power the microphone. Most audio interfaces come with phantom power. It’s usually just a switch or a button to turn it on or off; simple as that!).
This is what I did. I purchased a Shure SM58 for my first microphone. This microphone is a dynamic microphone, so it requires a bit more power to get a louder vocal, plus, it sounds very dull compared to my condenser. (An Audio Technica 2035). After comparing the two, I was so happy I invested into a condenser microphone.
Again, just from my experience, if you’re recording some rap vocals, or just vocals in general in your bedroom, or a little home studio, check out condensers.
How I Worked Around the Weak Fast Track Pro Pre-amps,
How I got louder vocals is by purchasing a cheap separate pre-amp. The Behringer Tube Ultragain MIC200. Surprisingly, the Behringer pre-amp did the job great! (You will need 2 XLR cables to use a separate pre-amp).
With the M-Audio Fast Track Pro being my first audio interface, it made recording a headache! I tried different microphones, mic cables, etc. And I finally came to the conclusion that the M-Audio Fast Track Pro was the weak link all along.
This made recording very frustrating, and I’m surprised I continued as far as I did while I owned it!
Connecting an Audio Interface,
This first video is for those who are confused on the connections of an audio interface.
Simply put, the audio interface plugs in USB to your computer. From there, you plug 1 TRS 1/4″ cable into each reference monitor speaker. (So you’ll need two TRS 1/4″).
This second video, again, touches on the connections as I struggled here in the beginning. Actually plugging in your audio interface, installing the drivers, and finally, setting it up within FL Studio. Set up should be similar in every DAW (Music program).
If you don’t have a external sound card (audio interface), you can help your computer’s performance by using the ASIO4ALL drivers. ASIO4ALL should automatically get installed when you install FL Studio. It tremendously helps your computer’s performance.
Subwoofer and Audio Interface Connections,
I thought including this video would be useful if a subwoofer ever comes into mind with your studio set up.
Last Minute Sharezies,
I actually own a lot of M-Audio gear, and all of them have been phenomenal.. except the fast track pro!
What a headache. If you watched the video review, welcome to a bad experience with a product.
I bought it from www.kellysmusic.ca for about $200 and shipping and customer service was great. Make sure you update the drivers off the company’s website so you get the best performance out of the Fast Track Pro.
This was a very poor product, and definitely was not a good product to start off with in the beginning of learning about audio production. Although, one positive look on it, I have learned a lot through this!