Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
oddstep
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by oddstep » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:22 am

gjm wrote:If you have a drive with both USB2 and FW400, try bench marking the read/write speeds using both interfaces. A good program for PC is HD Tach by Simpli Software. It's free to DL. It's a sequential test done at various points of your drive which gives you an average. The advantage of FW will become clear. How close the data transfer rates are to the way your audio interface behaves are up for discussion, but the way the FW protocol deals with sending and receiving it's packets of data does have advantages for audio interfaces as well as hard drives.
That's a really abstract means of assessing soundcards. I know that the firewire soundcard I use and the usb2 soundcard I use do not have perceptible differences in their capacity to handle stereo outputs and a single mono input. I could save money by buying a usb soundcard, and this saving would not have a substantial impact upon my live performances. Choice of gear should be based on intended use and budget constraints, not the absolute ceiling of what a given protocol or technology could achieve. Obviously firewire is more of a big deal if you're streaming large numbers of audio feeds simultaneously.

Laurens48711
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by Laurens48711 » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:09 pm

Simbosan wrote:^^^ Haha, would you take advice from this man =)

S
:lol: but only because of your weird remark, please do explain!

Simbosan
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by Simbosan » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:43 pm

Lol, just check the rest of the thread. It was like going back in time!

But FWIW, Firewire doesn't have significant advantages in speed, and you also read a lot about incompatibilities between different Firewire chipsets. If you search these forums you will find evidence that certain soundcards (Presonus?) will only work with certain firewire chipsets.

I would go USB myself not only for those reasons, but Firewire is dead, I doubt there will be more versions, and USB3 is starting to appear more often which is WERY fast. It's the future!

S
Ableton 9 Suite - Ozone 5
Room full of guitars!
Akai EWI USB : Loads of Sample Modeling instruments (the best ever!)
M-Audio FastTrack Pro
Turbo Nutter B*stard >>>> WINDOWS <<<< PC
Simbosan on Soundcloud

gjm
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by gjm » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:09 pm

oddstep wrote:
gjm wrote:If you have a drive with both USB2 and FW400, try bench marking the read/write speeds using both interfaces. A good program for PC is HD Tach by Simpli Software. It's free to DL. It's a sequential test done at various points of your drive which gives you an average. The advantage of FW will become clear. How close the data transfer rates are to the way your audio interface behaves are up for discussion, but the way the FW protocol deals with sending and receiving it's packets of data does have advantages for audio interfaces as well as hard drives.
That's a really abstract means of assessing soundcards. I know that the firewire soundcard I use and the usb2 soundcard I use do not have perceptible differences in their capacity to handle stereo outputs and a single mono input. I could save money by buying a usb soundcard, and this saving would not have a substantial impact upon my live performances. Choice of gear should be based on intended use and budget constraints, not the absolute ceiling of what a given protocol or technology could achieve. Obviously firewire is more of a big deal if you're streaming large numbers of audio feeds simultaneously.
I made the suggestion to help those who are wondering about the practical differences between USB2 and FW400 and why FW is preferred in many cases. The specs on paper about data transfer rates can be misleading.

You are right that when it comes to audio interfaces that it's a bit abstract. And yes you need to buy these things based on intended use and budget. My personal choice was FW not only for the speed at which files can be transferred to and from my ext HD's, but also daisy chaining my HD's and audio interface. Because I mainly use a laptop which has only 2 USB ports, I wanted to work without a hub. My my keyboard MIDI controller can't be used on a hub via usb so needs to be plugged directly to the laptop. That leaves 1 port for the mouse and qwerty. My other MIDI gear utilizes the 5 pin MIDI in/out/through features via the audio interface. It's the set up that suits me best for now.
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Migra
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by Migra » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:07 pm

Let me write my contribution:
The problem with M-Audio is: their products are not designed to work on Macs ON Bootcamp/Parallels/VMWare (Windows), NEITHER they work at 24 BITS depth, not on Windows nor on OS X, I own a FTP and it SUCKS!!!!! with this problems, it makes a terrible noise at 24 bits, it only works at 16 and with some pops cracks sometimes, and it definately doesn't works on my iMac on Windows 7 x64 Bootcamp'd :evil:
| MacBook Pro 13" OS X 10.7.1 C2D@2.26 4GB.RAM 500GB.HDD@5400RPM | | Reason 6.5 | Logic Studio 9.1.7 | Cubase Artist 6.5.2 | Traktor Pro 2 | Nexus2 |

STRATEGY_510
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by STRATEGY_510 » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:12 pm

oddstep wrote:I have not had any problems with mine. Its stable and loud
hmmm, my biggest complaint with it is that it is not very loud at all, I have to have the volume maxed on the interface to get a half-decent level out of it. It also annoys me that I can't adjust the buffer when it's in use.

STRATEGY

Simbosan
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by Simbosan » Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:22 pm

Migra wrote:Let me write my contribution:
The problem with M-Audio is: their products are not designed to work on Macs ON Bootcamp/Parallels/VMWare (Windows), NEITHER they work at 24 BITS depth, not on Windows nor on OS X, I own a FTP and it SUCKS!!!!! with this problems, it makes a terrible noise at 24 bits, it only works at 16 and with some pops cracks sometimes, and it definately doesn't works on my iMac on Windows 7 x64 Bootcamp'd :evil:
I run mine 24bit @48khz. If you are running Ableton in a virtual machine I would expect performance to suck as all your hardware interfaces are abstracted. Not tried with bootcamp, that shouldn't cause an issue.

S
Ableton 9 Suite - Ozone 5
Room full of guitars!
Akai EWI USB : Loads of Sample Modeling instruments (the best ever!)
M-Audio FastTrack Pro
Turbo Nutter B*stard >>>> WINDOWS <<<< PC
Simbosan on Soundcloud

LP
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by LP » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:12 am

It's pretty mediocre; I only bought it because my M-box wasn't working at all and I had a gig that day! I still use it, but not for live or real studio work; just as an output for my old computer while the newer ones gets the MOTU and Apogee interfaces.

I do like it's connectivity for the price, but the pre-amps are really absolute garbage; noisy with not much gain, even on line-level sources!

Guff Tong
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by Guff Tong » Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:14 am

Some mixed reviews here.

As I said, I owned one for 3-4 years and it worked. nothing special but it worked.
Then it didn't... big style.

Nothing more frustrating than having to restart you PC every 5 mins and the extremely loud the white noise gave tinnitus for a couple of days.

Mind you, you may be one of the lucky 5% that get one thats ok.

If I was buying again with a similar budget I'd get a Focusrite Saffire 6 USB.

Thats my tuppence anyway...

Take it as you will.

Jome7
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by Jome7 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:31 pm

What about which drivers to use? Most of these interfaces say they use ASIO drivers, but right now Live is using MME or Direct X or something, i'm not sure. I have the Novation ASIO driver but it doesn't seem to work.

I also read on the Presonus website that WaveRT drivers are the best because they have the least amount of latency, but that there aren't a lot of interfaces that support it.

I am also thinking about one of these things that is just a USB cable on one end and a guitar jack on the other like the Alesis Guitar Link or Stealth Plug, would I be alright with one of those?
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H20nly
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by H20nly » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:05 pm

Jome7 wrote:What about which drivers to use? Most of these interfaces say they use ASIO drivers, but right now Live is using MME or Direct X or something, i'm not sure.
you should get "sure". direct X is not good for much more than play back - since you're asking about an interface i'm assuming you want to do more.

ASIO is your friend... at least in a Windows environment it is.

if you don't want to spend too much but you want something that sounds good and works... i highly recommend:
http://www.tcelectronic.com/DesktopKonnekt6.asp
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Jome7
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Re: Is the M-Audio Fast Track any good?

Post by Jome7 » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:16 pm

Yeah it is the MME/Direct X drivers, and like I said the ASIO drivers I have don't work. But another thing I am wondering is if any of these low-end interfaces that I am looking at would be a substantial improvement over my computer's onboard audio. I do want one for the monitor outputs to have for the future when I can afford to get them, but I was able to get the latency down to where it was almost un-noticable.

My computer is a Acer X1200 HTPC and the only info I found on the sound hardware is that it is HD audio, but obviously if I am plugging in a guitar through a 1/8" adapter it isn't exactly HD.
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