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M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R Reviews

4.0 stars based on 6 customer reviews
  • Isaac Hughes
    from Thailand October 29, 2012Music Background:
    Guitarist/Engineer/Producer/General Noisemaker

    I wouldn't buy it again.

    I've had this for a few years, pretty much since it came out, and done a few projects on it.

    Good points: Well thought out feature set. The dual headphone outs are real useful (could use more gain though). I like having the inserts for the first couple of channels. The mix/monitoring software is good, and I have not had installation or stability issues. The hardware (knobs, jacks, switches) is decent.

    Bad points: Channel 4 on mine crapped after a while. My brother had one, and the unit died on him completely, (after very light use), and M-audio was Not Helpful At All. He has since sworn off M-audio products completely.

    The sound. The Preamps. They are quiet, but they sound bad. They distort the highs and upper mids a lot. You really hear it after you stack up a few tracks. The mix sounds "crunchy" in a bad way. They made recording acoustic guitar in particular a nightmare. They generally caused me to hate music and despair of life. I did not realize it was the preamps though, until I got an FMR preamp, and ran through that. It was a moment of understanding.

    The A/D conversion seems to have a "sound" to it as well.

    I have been using some focusrite stuff lately, (saffire 56) and it is definitely better.

    So yeah, I would look at something else.

  • Mike
    from North Carolina June 29, 2012Music Background:
    Student, Saxophone/Keys/Rythym Guitar player, Styles: Metal, Jazz, Classical, Funk, Rock, Progrock, Downtempo/Triphop.. anything really

    Great, but we've encountered issues

    The interface is perfect for our needs at the moment, however; it seems that we have low gain issues ie when the preamps are cranked we're only reading -50-30 (just going by memory) on Pro Tools as if a pad is on or something when there isn't one so we have to use compression to compensate. Also Preamp #2 has a hiss but only when its fully cranked or so.

  • Tcoz
    from NYC December 19, 2011Music Background:
    Semi-pro musician and student.

    Solid Piece of Gear, Perfect for Enthusiast

    I'm not a pro recording engineer, I'm a guitar player that over the years has developed some skill at putting out recordings, primarily as assigned work (Berklee jazz classes and such) and demo material. Formerly, I was using a Line 6 interface, which is actually something I see in a lot of studios. I needed more inputs though for basic band capture, as well as midi for my electronic drum kit. I did my research, talked to some engineers I know, and the most frequently mentioned piece of gear within my price range was the Fasttrack Ultra 8r. I went for it, and am happy with the purchase. The unit is solid and the quality of my recordings got better without doing anything other than switching the interfaces (possibly due to the quality of the Octane technology preamps). The device just works and works well; all I do is plug it into a Mac laptop running Logic and I'm good to go. Again I'm not a pro engineer, but I can't imagine anybody would be unhappy with this device, I see no reason why I would ever have to buy another interface for years to come unless I wanted to do some serious pro work and got very particular about what I was looking for, but at that point I don't think a few hundred bucks would do the trick anymore, the next step up from this would probably be far more money.

    The only reason I give 4.5 is, that although I'm completely satisfied with the unit build and performance, I'm not exactly sure what would qualify as a "5", which to me, means, "absolutely without equal", and I couldn't honestly say I know that for a fact.

  • Bill Bradley
    from Newbury Park, CA September 27, 2011Music Background:
    Semi-Pro Hobbyist

    Live use of the Fast Track Ultra 8R

    I used this interface on a live gig and it performed admirably. Using all 8 inputs, it handled transferring all the audio to my Dell Laptop/ProTools 9 rig flawlessly. I use a Digi 02 interface in my demo studio at home and this unit keeps right up if not surpassing in quality of converters and preamps! Definitely a good value. I have heard a few complaints about the headphone output being weak. I have to crank it 75% to hear it, but so far it is adequate. It could stand to use a boost though.

  • Dane
    from Montana September 6, 2010

    M-Audio Fast Track Ultra *R

    I purchased this back in Dec. 09. I had a software glitch 5 days after I got it. M-Audio took it back sent me a new one and payed the shipping. This one has never missed a beat. Works great no problems at all.

  • David Hoffman
    from Royersford, PA April 9, 2010Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Excellent mixer and pro-audio unit

    Everything about the Fast Track is quality. Even the box it comes in has a nice sexy look to it.

    The overall quality of the hardware is excellent, the input jacks, knobs and buttons are well made and feel solid. Nothing about this unit feels or looks cheap.

    Setup is a breeze. I first tried it without installing the software drivers. Only inputs 1 and 2 are functional only using the hardware controls. Inputs 3-8 require you to use the software to control the volume. That's not a complaint, just a statement of how the unit functions.

    I hit M-Audio's website and quickly found the latest drivers. A driver disc ships with it, but the installation instructions recommend hitting their web site to get the latest and greatest drivers. Their web site is well done and it was easy to find the drivers I needed. I'm running Windows XP and it was a quick and painless install and everything worked the first time. The software is well written, graphically well done, and very intuitive to use. There are printed installation instructions and the manual is a PDF that comes on the driver CD. The manual PDF is also available on their website. The software has an excellent "Flow Tab" with a diagram that visually depicts the routing configuration.

    I'm running Cakewalk Sonar 8.5 and the Fast Track integrated perfectly with Sonar.

    The only "trouble" I had was when I hooked up the MIDI cable. I really had to jam my MIDI cable into the break-out cable using more force than I would have expected to.

    Overall I couldn't be happier with this purchase and would recommend it to anyone looking for a "small" 8 channel input, pro-audio card for a studio. I replaced both my 16 channel mixer and pro-audio card with this unit.

    Sweetwater also has the nice touch of throwing some candy in their packaging.

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