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M-Audio Fast Track Ultra

M-Audio is shipping the Fast Track Ultra ($449.95) 8×8 audio/MIDI interface designed for mobile and desktop production. It features high-speed USB 2 connectivity with the bandwidth for 24-bit/96kHz audio resolution, an MX Core DSP mixer and four preamps with M-Audio’s Octane technology.

The Fast Track Ultra introduces M-Audio’s MX Core DSP technology. The MX Core mixer employs an array of eight individual DSP cores to deliver near-zero latency, effects and a matrix for sophisticated channel routing options. It is accessible via an intuitive control panel that uses a separate mixer for each pair of outputs. MX Core technology enables users to apply reverb while tracking vocals, or use the two independent headphone outputs to create separate monitor mixes when recording multiple musicians, without burdening the computer. The mixer provides for up to a 16×8 configuration, allowing users to connect microphones, synths and other outboard gear to any of the interface’s hardware inputs, then mix them with the eight audio streams coming from the computer without taxing the CPU.

The four preamps include 48-volt phantom power for condenser mics, signal/peak LED indicator lights and a pull-out gain knob that activates a 20dB pad for recording at high volumes. The first two inputs also accept instrument-level signals.

The Fast Track Ultra also offers six channels of analog inputs and outputs, plus 2-channel digital S/PDIF I/O. The unit features two dedicated inserts on the first two channels, allowing for outboard processing before A/D conversion.

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