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brian f
(@brian-f)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

Hello all,

Looking at getting a USB interface so I can record guitar and voice to my PC. I've got lots of questions, but I'll ask the big ones:

Does anyone have experience using the M-Audio Fast Track USB? Here is a link to spec -
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FastTrackUSB-main.html

I think this comes with GT Player Express s/w for effects and modelling...anyone use this? Could I use a different package if I wnated?

The FastTrack USB also comes with their "Session" recording software. Anyone use this. Could I use something else, like perhaps Audacity or other free s/w?

Can I use this setup to record tracks seperately and then lay them on top of each other? I'd like to be able to record guitar and then add a vocal track later. How many tracks do these things usually support?

The FastTrack lists compatibility as ASIO 2, WDM, Kernal Streaming, and MacOS X Core Audio. What does this mean? I have a PC running XP Pro.

THey also list file types supported as AAC, MP3, and WAV. I'd like to burn stuff to CD and possibly also put some tracks on my Creative Zen V Plus. Would these formats work for that?

The M-Audio Fast Track USB is $99. Are there similar products out there for same money that are better?

Thanks for any help!!


   
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dogbite
(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

I record with a USB interface. not Mbox tho. I use Lexicon and the recording software is Cubase.
although there are differences I think there are enough similarities to comment.
you should be able to multitrack, make Mp3 WAV files. the built in effects are easy to use.
I use my effect boxes going into my interface and have not used the packaged ones too much.
I use Audaciyt but have not used then together. not sure why I would.
when you make a track be sure to file it with a name. that way you can go back and either insert it to another piece, or go back in and add a track.
you wioll learn about making files once you begin. it is important.
my program can make over 40 tracks. but why? too much tracking and one can easily lose the dynamic and end up sounding muddy.
my PC has a media center that lets me burn CDs and alter formats. I also have a free download CD burner .
the cost of my USB audio interface was less than two hundred. I forget the exact amount.
so far I have not had issues with USB. some say Firewire is better. I am new at this so have not found many flaws except with my learning curve.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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brian f
(@brian-f)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

very helpful...thanks!!!
Most of these things seem to come with s/w that has effects and amp models, like the GT Express that comes with the m-audio.

Does anyone know if GT express or others have acoustic amp models?


   
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chuckster
(@chuckster)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 938
 

I have that exact box of tricks.

I've never used the software that came with it. I have used it successfully with Audacity and Guitar Tracks Pro on a windows pc and more recently with Audacity, Garageband and Logic Express since my conversion to Mac.
Can I use this setup to record tracks seperately and then lay them on top of each other? I'd like to be able to record guitar and then add a vocal track later. How many tracks do these things usually support?

Yes you can. Your only limit is the number of tracks your recording software.
The FastTrack lists compatibility as ASIO 2, WDM, Kernal Streaming, and MacOS X Core Audio. What does this mean? I have a PC running XP Pro.

I never had to trouble myself with this too much on either the PC or the Mac. If I remember correctly (it was a while ago so i may be wrong here) XP recognised the interface when it was plugged in and it just worked. I don't recall having to install any drivers. Please don't quote me on this one. Like I say it was a while ago now. Same with the Mac - just plug and play.
THey also list file types supported as AAC, MP3, and WAV. I'd like to burn stuff to CD and possibly also put some tracks on my Creative Zen V Plus. Would these formats work for that?

Yes. These are pretty much standard sound file formats and your Zen is compatible with MP3 format. For CD burning purposes use the WAV file format. Most CD burning software will allow you to create an audio CD from this format.

As for any other products - shop around. Google is your friend. I've had no problems with this device - it's simple and does what it says on the tin. It's certainly a cheap and easy way to start recording.

HTH.

8)

I've had a lot of sobering thoughts in my time.
It was them that turned me to drink.


   
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Gerry
(@gerry)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 441
 

My DAW is Sonar 6 PE and I have used an Edirol UA-25 for years. OK I only record one instrument at a time so if you want mulitiple inputs this is not for you.

If 2 inputs is fine I cannot recommend it highly enough, solid as a rock, low latency and performes extremely well. Great driver updates including for Vista although I do not use it yet.

Here is a shot showing the UA-25 on the right sitting under the Motif Rack ES.

Gerry

Those who can't dance always blame the band.

http://www.gerrycooper.com/


   
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brian f
(@brian-f)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

Thanks Chuckster, thanks Gerry - really helpful.

The other similarly priced USB options seem to be the Lexicon and Line6 Toneport.
Its funny, you read the reviews of these products, including the M-audio FastTrack, on the online-retailer websites and you'd think you'd be better off burning your money. Seems like some of the reviewers maybe had some inflated expectations???
Its good to hear someone has had some luck with this product. I can't find a cheaper way to do what this thing can do.

Now, as I'm evaluating the USB interfaces, I came across this thing:
http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-ZOO-MRS4B--brand-290--src-Y0604GL0GOOGLE00.html?gclid=CLO5s_PrvYwCFQIiSgodtFlkYA

Its a Zoom MRS-4B - 4 track Digital Recorder.

Looks like it store files on a SmartMedia card (comes with a 32MB card, but can upgrade to 64 or 128)

I'm guessing you can then transfer these files to your PC and then into Audacity or other recording s/w.
Says it converts MRS-4 track files to /from WAV fiels. also use w/ your computer DAW s/w for unlimited storage and editing.

Its $150, which is slightly higher than the $99 I want to spend on a USB interface, but if its much better quality and can get me further down the road, then wouldn't that be a good option.

My big question with this is how difficult would it be to transfer files to your PC (would I need another add-on device or something?

Anyone use this Zoom thingy to get tracks onto their computer?? what are ads/disads vs. the USB interface route?

Thanks!
B


   
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Gerry
(@gerry)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 441
 

Brian its entirely up to you my friend but 4 tracks might seem a lot at the moment but in the future you will need more. My advice is get a reasonably priced USB audio interface and record into Audacity. I know nothing about Audacity but I assume it let's you record any number of tracks into it. If it doesn't get Reaper its free and very very good.

Believe me you will grow out of the Zoom really quickly IMHO.

Gerry

Those who can't dance always blame the band.

http://www.gerrycooper.com/


   
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brian f
(@brian-f)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

As a follow up...I decided to go with the M-Audio Firewire Solo. The guy at my local GC talked me into a pair of MXL condenser mics (990 & 991) as well. It was more than I wanted to spend, but he took 25% off of the whole package and threw in a mic cable. I got the FW Solo, two mics, and a cable for $225 USD....I think I did pretty good. (I didn't realize that GC was so willing to negotiate on price)

So now I have the hardware connected, and I installed the recording s/w that came with it (Ableton Live Lite 4).

This s/w is quite intimidating. Looks like I've got a whole new language to learn to really understand recording. I'm looking forward to it.

I actually got some guitar recorded last night (not sure I can remember how i did it) and some singing to confirm that stuff was working. (I did the vocals seperately, but I wasnt yet able to get them to lay right on top of the guitar timing wise...)

I'm hoping that there are others out there using this set-up, or at least using the Ableton s/w. I will be coming up with gads and gads of questions.

OR, pls let me know if anyone is using the FW solo on a PC with any of the free recording packages ie. Audacity. If this is any easier I think I'd jump on it.

next up is a desktop mic stand and a pop filter.


   
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dogbite
(@dogbite)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

whereas I do not have what you have I have a tip for you.
get a notebook and each time you start a recording project write down the date, the file name, all the settings you put on things (like the guitar, the input/output of a device etc). it will help you in the long run.
like you, I am new to home studio recording. already I have pages filled. thy have comme in handy already.
the learning curve is steep for a lot of us.
notes help.
instead of spending hours and hopurs of reading I learn a little bit each time I do make a recording project.
the experience adds up. and then when I go back and read something on recording it makes so much more sense.
little by little.
notebook.
have fun. :)

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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geoo
 geoo
(@geoo)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2801
 

Hey Brian

I think you did alright. I dont have firewire but I do use one of the M-Audio Mobile Pre products. I am not familiar with your software package but i prefer using Audacity. Try both, nother says you cant have two products on your PC. I have also used Krystal. Krystal and Audacity are free I believe. Pop filters are cheap and make a world of difference.

Recording is like any other hobbie. lots of options. Many ways to do the same things. Take practice and patience but the more you use it the better you will get with the software and with recording in general.

Let us hear some samples as soon as you can.

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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brian f
(@brian-f)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

The notebook is a great idea. (Maybe I can find one at Walmart with my favorite band on the cover)

I'll post something as soon as I have soething worth posting (that could be a while)

Thanks guys!!


   
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