M-Audio Releases Entry-Level USB Audio Interface

M-Audio has announced the release of a new entry-level USB audio interface called Fast Track USB (see photo below). This device is an inexpensive way to connect musical instruments to your Mac for use in recording, say for GarageBand. Fast Track USB includes two inputs, including 1/4" port and an XLR port (for microphones). From M-Audio:

This 2 x 2 mobile audio interface can be directly powered from the USB bus for mobile operation while delivering up to 24-bit/48kHz audio fidelity. The first of two audio channels is a dedicated XLR input for a dynamic microphone, complete with gain control and signal LEDs. The 1/4" input on the second channel can be toggled between instrument and line levels to accommodate a wide variety of signal sources. Audio outputs take the form of dual RCAs and front-panel 1/8" stereo headphone jack that share a common level control.

Direct hardware monitoring provides for synchronized overdubs, with the In/PB knob determining the monitor balance between input and output signal. For additional monitoring flexibility, the Mono switch sends the input signal equally to the left and right channels, allowing the source to integrate in a more balanced way with other tracks while recording.

The Fast Track USB ships with GT Player Express software, providing users with a variety of effects and virtual stomp boxes that eliminate the need for an amplifier for basic recording and practice. GT Player Express also plays standard audio files like AAC, MP3 and WAV, allowing users to learn and jam along with their favorite music at variable speeds.

This compact unit is just 5.4" (w) x 1.6" (h) x 3.3" (d) and weighs in at a mere .45 lbs. USB bus-powered operation allows for easy transportation and mobile operation.

Fast Track USB from M-Audio

The Fast Track USB is compatible with both Macs (Core Audio) PC (ASIO2 and WDM ? Kernel Streaming). PC system requirements are Windows XP (SP1) running on a Pentium II 350 w/ 64MB RAM. Minimum requirements on the Mac are G3* 300MHz/G4* 350MHz with OS X 10.2.8 or greater and 128MB RAM (*native USB port required; G3/G4 accelerator cards not supported).

You can find more information on the device at M-Audiois Web site. The Fast Track USB is priced at US$129.95.