How to Use M-Audio FastTrack Pro

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The M-Audio Fast Track Pro is a digital audio interface that connects to your computer through any USB port. Using this device as an external sound card, you can connect all of your music equipment to your computer and record audio sequences like a studio professional. The Fast-Track Pro contains jacks for analogue instruments such as guitars and bass, digital MIDI instruments such as synthesizers and drum machines, XLR microphones, monitors and RCA devices.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Digital audio software
  • Insert the included Fast Track Pro installation disc into your computer's CD/DVD-ROM drive and perform a basic installation. For your Fast Track Pro interface to communicate with your digital audio software, you will need to place the appropriate software drivers on your computer. Note that your computer must run Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher.

  • Connect your Fast Track Pro USB cable to your computer. The included USB cable contains a rectangular connector (USB A) and a square connector (USB B). Plug the square connector into the corresponding USB port on the back panel of your Fast Track Pro (indicated by the USB symbol, resembling a trident) and plug the rectangular connector into any available USB port on your computer.

  • Connect your instruments, microphones and other musical hardware to your Fast Track Pro. Plug guitars, bass guitars, analogue keyboards and other analogue devices into the 1/4-inch ports, marked "Inserts," using TRS audio cables. Connect your professional XLR microphones to the black XLR ports, labeled "Mic/Inst," using three-prong XLR cables. Plug digital MIDI devices such as synthesizers into the "MIDI" ports, using 5-prong MIDI cables (use the "MIDI In" port to transfer notes from your MIDI device to your computer, and use the "MIDI Out" port to transfer notes from your computer to your MIDI device). Use the "TRS Output" jacks and the red and white RCA jacks for corresponding output devices such as speakers.

  • Open a digital audio program. To record music with your Fast Track Pro, you must use an audio recording program on your computer. Popular examples include GarageBand, Logic, Pro-Tools and Reason. See "Resources" for a list of free options. When your audio program loads, open your "Options" or "Preferences" (found among your menu bar options) and select "M-Audio Fast Track Pro" as your input device.

  • Turn on your Fast Track Pro by clicking the white "Power" button on the back panel. Move the "48V PH Power" switch to the "On" position if using a condenser microphone as part of your setup (condenser microphones require the addition of phantom power to produce sound).

  • Turn the "Gain" knobs (beside each XLR jack) clockwise to increase the amount of sound transmitted through the Fast Track Pro. Turn the "Mix" knob indicated by "In" on the left side and "PB" on the right side) to control your playback (monitoring). By turning the knob toward "In," you hear more of your input, or connected instruments. By turning the knob toward "PB," you hear more of your output, coming from your computer. The "Output" knob controls your main output volume.

Tips & Warnings

  • Observe your front panel while playing and recording music. If the red "Clip" light begins to flash, your levels are too loud and will result in distorted sound quality. Eliminate clipping by lowering the amount of "Gain" and "Output" with the corresponding knobs.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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