M-Audio Fast Track US44010 USB Audio Interface with GT-Player Express Software
List Price: $129.99

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Product Description

Fast Track USB is the easiest way to record your guitar with professional results. Just connect Fast Track into a free USB port and you're ready to rock! It also has inputs for bass, keybaords, plus a microphone for recording vocals. The included GT Player Express software gives you killer effects to make any guitar sound great. Add professional guitar effects with GT Player Express Plays back standard audio files with variable speed playbacks Powered through the USB bus RCA stereo output jacks STN ratio - 96dB (a-weighted) Dynamic Range - 96 dB (a-weighted) Variable Gain - 50 dB Sampling Rates - 44.1KHz, 48KHz THD+N - 0.004%%(-8dB) Frequency Response - 20Hz - 20KHz, +/- 0.2dB@48KHz Dimensions(LxWxH) - 5.5 x 4.25 x 1.75 (14cm x 10.8cm x 4.5cm) Weight -. 75 lbs (.35 Kg)

If you record music with Apple's GarageBand or other software applications, Fast Track USB is your new best friend. The USB interface lets you easily record your guitar onto the computer with professional results but without buying several clunky adapters. Simply connect Fast Track USB to the USB port on your computer and you're ready to rock. The device sports an input for such instruments as guitar, bass, and keyboards, plus a microphone input for recording vocals and other acoustic sounds. The included GT Player Express software, meanwhile, delivers killer effects and virtual stomp boxes, so you don't need any other effects pedals or gear to sound great. GT Player Express also plays such standard audio files as AAC, MP3, and WAV, letting you learn and jam along with your favorite music at varying speeds.

Add in a 1/8-inch stereo headphone output for monitoring, compatibility with both Windows (XP SP1) and Mac (OS X 10.2.8 or greater), and level controls for the headphone and main outputs and you have a versatile, professional means of adding guitar, vocals, and more to your computer music experience. The Fast Track USB measures 5.5 by 1.75 by 4.25 inches (W x H x D) and is backed by a one-year warranty.

What's in the Box
Fast Track USB audio interface, GT Player Express software, user's manual.

Features:
  • USB audio interface for recording guitar and vocals on Mac or PC music software
  • Dynamic microphone input (XLR) with gain control and signal LEDs
  • Switchable 1/4-inch instrument/line input and 1/8-inch stereo headphone output
  • Drag-and-drop loop-based music creation > make great music even if it’s your first time
  • Jam and record your own tracks for guitar, vocals, keyboards and more > embrace your inner rock star

Customer Reviews:

  • Perfect for my needs!
    Quick preface: I don't play with a band, I simply write/record songs using Garageband, on an iMac. This audio interface is perfect for my needs. I don't record guitar by micing my guitar amp; I plug my guitar into an effects processor (I use the POD 2.0 from Line 6), and then plug that straight into the guitar cable input on this M-Audio Fast Track. When I want to record vocals, I plug my microphone into the mic input in the back. Everything works fine and there is no unwanted hiss or feedback when I am listening to the final mixes on my songs! Some tips in case anyone is confused on how to get this thing to work with garageband:

    1) Make sure the Fast Track is set as BOTH your audio input AND output in the Garageband audio preferences (you can, if you're so inclined, even make the Fast Track your audio input/output for your entire computer, you'll still get decent sound, plus it allows you to play your guitar over songs from your iTunes library, which is a big help with guitar practice).

    2) In your "Input Source" for any given instrument track, you have to select "Mono 2" instead of "Stereo 1/2" if you're recording guitar, and "Mono 1" if you're recording vocals (or anything from a microphone). You'll want to switch "Monitor" to "Off." Although I have discovered that if you're trying to simulate a bass guitar with your regular electric guitar, for an extra strong bass sound, fiddle with your effects processor to get as close as you can to a bass guitar sound, and then switch Monitor to "On," and use one of Garageband's prepackaged bass guitar settings on TOP of that. Gives your "simulated" bass guitar a little bit more oomph, if you're like me and don't actually play bass.

    Another cool feature on the M-Audio Fast Track is a "mix" knob which allows you to control the volume balance between the track you are recording and the playback from the rest of the song, so you can always make sure you can clearly hear what you are recording against the backdrop of the rest of the song!

    Anyway, like I say, this is perfect for MY needs, and I know there are plenty of people for whom this device would not be sufficient. But if you're a non-pro musician who enjoys making songs in your spare time with a "bare essentials" collection of equipment, then you might want to look into purchasing one of these!!!!...more info
  • Works well with a direct box
    At first, I couldn't get the instrument input to work too well - a lot of noise and I had to crank the input way up to get a mediocre level. What solved this was to go in using a direct box - that allows you to use the XLR out and have more control over your signal. The Rolls Matchbox sells for $25-30 and does a wonderful job.

    This is a solid, cheap audio interface for anyone recording alone. It's not going to work too well if the whole bands's there, though. But, you're probably doing it all yourself if the computer's involved, anyway.

    Tip: Mute the track you are recording on your PC. . .this solves all latency problems....more info
  • not what I expected
    it isn't the best, The start-up software does not work for all platforms im running windows vista 32 the software does not run with vista. So, if You have vista forget it, does run for xp though....more info
  • Get something else
    No 64-bit drivers yet i believe. And didn't work too well when i got everything working for a 32-bit system either....more info
  • Wasn't too impressed
    First off, this thing is small. I didn't realize how small it was until I received the item.

    I own the M-Audio Fast Track USB Pro, and thought that the Fast Track USB would be of comparable quality. Not so. I guess that's why it costs half as much. But you get what you pay for.

    I returned the item and bought another Fast Track USB Pro. The Pro model has exceptional audio quality. I felt for the extra money, it was a better purchase in the long run. I was not impressed by the sound quality of this model. Amazon was great and allowed me to return this product for a full refund....more info
  • Great unit with the Mac and podcasting
    I have had ZERO problems with this unit. It's plug and play on my Apple G4 tower running OS X (Panther) as well as my PowerBook G4. I use the Fast Track with Audio Hijack Pro, Detour , Soundflower, Audacity and it works like a charm. The only thing lacking is phantom power for a microphone, which I solved with an ART tube preamp which you can get on Amazon for about $50 U.S. ...more info
  • Didn't work for me
    It was a pain to install. The instructions said 2 different things, and I had to download a large file (after a lot of searching) from the M-Audio website to make it work. I'm running Windows XP (SP3), and it seems like the thing should be able to load right out of the box. One thing I didn't like is that it sets up your computer to run all of your audio through the interface. I couldn't put the interface anywhere near my CRT monitor, since it got extremely noisy. The only other place I had was on top of my computer, and it picked up the sound of the mouse. When I ran my audio through it, it made a loud intermittent static noise, and was unusable. I sent it back, and Amazon gave me a full refund with no problems. Maybe the the loud static noise was due to a defect, but the rest of the issues made it unusable for me. I'm going to try a Tascam product and see if that works better. ...more info
  • Great Toy
    This is just a great fun tool. It only gets 4 stars because you have to spend some time figuring out how to use it.

    I bought it for my son who is studying electronic music at universtiy and he has had a blast with it. So for those of you who want to lay down some tracks with lots of different sounds this is for you. While you can use it just for fun it can also be used as a work tool, especially if you are on the road....more info
  • Not so easy
    I have a few issues/problems:
    -m-audio on line registration does not seem to work.
    -i tried to call for tech support - was on the phone for more then 60 minutes - no answer.
    -was not able to successfully install fast truck on windows xp
    -m-audio nova mic does not work with fast truck...more info
  • For consumer grade item, not bad at all...
    I've been using this for a while now under both Mac and Windows. Setup on the Mac was dead simple, but I never did figure out how to manually set the latency in OSX. The latency in GarageBand can get a little rough when you add some effects, but that's likely more to do with my processor (a G4 PowerBook) than the interface. But overall I don't even remember setting it up on my laptop, which is probably a good sign.

    On Windows I didn't have too many problems once I got the Vista drivers. I've been using CakeWalk Music Maker 4, and once you get the right audio setting in the application (which can be a bit of a pain, but again not M-Audio's fault) you're set. Though I will say that disconnecting the USB cord while the sound card is busy is the one time I've managed a blue screen in Vista! But that's not entirely unreasonable. As far as latency goes, I've got a fast enough processor that if I set the latency on the Fast Track to the minimum (this can be set through the control panel in Windows) I get no perceivable latency. Oh, and if you're not using the ASIO drivers, that's probably part of your problem.

    I've been using the 1/4" jack with little problem...I have to up the input levels in my application (which is a pain in GarageBand, easier in Cakewalk) but as long as I stay away from the monitor and fluorescent lights I don't really get any considerable noise. I may try the XLR route anyway, though.

    This is a perfectly serviceable item for somebody just looking to do some casual recording on the PC, or in place of an amp when traveling (also allows for a wide array of amp/effect combinations without buying hardware). If you're looking to do anything even semi-serious (such as recording multiple instruments, or record actual tracks with a band) you might want to spend a little more. But for "personal" use thing thing's great...better than anything else I've seen or sampled in the same price range.

    Also I've noticed that a large number of the negative reviews seem to have more to do with setup problems (or incompatibility problems) than the actual quality of the product. Like I said, I don't even remember setting it up on a Mac and on Windows (Vista) it was relatively simple. Provided you're moderately competent with computers you should have little trouble....more info
  • Interface and Software are a great package
    I wasn't aware when I purchased this that the audio interface came bundled with audio editing software. This I must say is what makes the product. The audio interface is great considering it is the first one I have ever used. Nevertheless, haven't had any problems with it. I also purchased Sony's Acid Music Studio editing software and I don't even use it because I like the friendly user interface on the M-Audio's Software. ...more info
  • Not bad for the price.
    I am using this with a Pentium 1.7 GHz PC with Windows XP and SP-2. It installed easy enough, grabbed the latest drivers off the M-Audio website. Have to agree with others in that the documentation is not the greatest. Once I figured out to use an RCA to phono converter and plug it into the sound card then select the Fast Track as default playback and Sound recording device I was in business. Added bonus is that I can play along with the songs I want to record from I-Tunes and make sure I have the parts right. Get a decent set of headphones and plug them into the unit, makes a big difference with the sound quality. I really like the Session software; the last time I did any recording I had a Teac 4 track reel to reel and an 8 channel mixer, so this is definitely a step up for me. May not sound completely professional, but what do you want for the price....more info
  • easy to get started. great value
    This was my first attempt at recording via my computer. It was easy to install on windows xp media edition and I was recording in minutes! I can't imagine a better value for all the features you get....more info
  • no session given
    i haven't opened the box because they haven't even sent me the session software package.this is not what i ordered. i am waiting to hear from them , hoping i will get what i ordered....more info
  • BETTER THAN THE MBOX2!!!!
    I been doing music since i was a kid so i been to many home and professional studios and if your on a budget this is for you!!!! I'm not fond of the mbox and the price difference is amazing. Now you can get the maudio protools and this fast track cheaper than the mbox. Only problem i ever had is like the mbox you record in mono not stereo. Sound quality is near perfect and installing is the easiest i ever had basicaly plug and play. So home studio beginners get this and it will blow your mind!!!...more info
  • Great for using with GarageBand!
    The hardware device works great with my Intel Core2 duo MacBook and an electric guitar. I was surprised how well it worked! I had mixed results with an acoustic guitar using a sound-hole external pickup, but was still usable (just really quiet) Here are some things I've learned...

    *The knobs on the front of the unit are only used to control the mix and volume of the playback back to you if you are using the RCA-out for monitors or are using the headphone jack on the unit. They serve NO purpose for recording.

    *The stereo mono switch is only used to separate sound in the playback. Mono will mix both signals into both speakers. Stereo will play the mic out of one speaker and the instrument out of the other. No recording use on this switch either.

    *The signal LED is only for the Mic input. Don't worry if it doesn't seem to be working when you're just laying down guitar tracks.

    *It is important to use the line level/guitar switch on the back correctly (this WILL affect recording)!

    *In your Mac system settings make sure to set both the sound in and out to the Fasttrack.

    *In GarageBand make sure both the input and output in the preferences are set to the fasttrack unit (make sure it's attached and powered up before you launch GB). Plug in your guitar and Mic. Create 2 new tracks in garageband. Make sure to assign the vocal track to channel 1 and the guitar to channel 2 or this won't work. You also want to make sure to turn the monitor setting to ON so you can hear it in your headphones you've plugged into the fasttrack.

    *If you are getting a lot of noise and static (like I was initially) move the fastrack unit as far away from your PC as possible. This really helped cut down on the noise. It works even better if I use a powered USB hub to get even farther away from the PC. Same for your Mic and Instrument. Although the sound transmission is digital from the Fasttrack to the Mac, the sound the FastTrack picks up is analog and it doesn't seem to be well shielded or grounded.

    *The included Live Lite software is bad. Skip it all together. Even the included tutorial was awful. It kept telling me to click on things in panels that are hidden by default, with no instruction on where to find them to display them. Stick to GarageBand.

    Great little unit. One of my favorite Christmas presents ever!...more info
  • Problems fixed
    I think a lot of the problems reported in these reviews have been fixed. I am running a PC with Vista and installation of Session software was simple and fairly quick (less than 15 minutes). No compatibility issues. I'm getting a pretty decent sound plugging my guitar directly into the fast track. I've previously used Cakewalk and for simple recording and mixing, the Session software is comparable. It's a good product for the money for someone who just wants to play around and experiment, and makes good (not great) recordings. I don't think you can expect professional quality recording for $100....more info
  • Hmmm not quite sure!!!????
    I ve given this 1 star because i cant get it to work properly with my ibook!. Not sure about windows users though. It doesnt work with any of my programs , guitar rig , gt express (which comes bundled with the product!!!!!) and garage band. The company advertises this product as perfect for garageband. I've also read in other forums that the low latency is rubbish. Buy at your own peril!!!!!!!!...more info
  • I had to respond
    I've got to say that this unit works perfectly with my wife's powerbook. Unlike other posters, I had NO problems with it at all on my G5 at work, my G4 at home and her powerbook. The sound is fantastic and it works really well with the Apple audio control program which recognizes it right away. My setup for mic level input includes a professional mic which is amplified by a separate mic amp. The output of that line level amp feeds right into this unit. Additionally, the sound output to my headphones is a step above what is built into my G5....more info