M-Audio has released the Fast Track Ultra 8R ($629.95), which features a rugged 1U rackmountable metal chassis, an 8 x 8 audio MIDI interface, USB 2.0 connectivity, the MX Core DSP mixer, and 8 preamps with Octane technology.
According to the manufacturer, the preamps provide low-noise, high-gain preamplification with enough channels for miking drum kits and full ensembles. Additional features include +48V phantom power for condenser microphones, signal/peak LED indicator lights, and a pull-out gain knob that activates a 20 dB pad for recording at high volumes. All eight inputs accept line-level signals, and the front panel has two ¼-inch instrument inputs.
In similar fashion to the Fast Track Ultra, the Fast Track Ultra 8R interface incorporates M-Audio's MX Core DSP technology, which lets you do such things as apply reverb while tracking vocals or create separate monitor mixes when recording multiple musicians, without burdening the computer. The unit's mixer allows for up to a 16 x 8 configuration, allowing you to connect various outboard gear to any of the interface''s hardware inputs, and then mix them with the audio streams coming from the computer.
The Fast Track Ultra 8R interface provides eight channels of analog inputs and outputs, plus two-channel digital S/PDIF. It also offers two dedicated analog inserts on the first two channels, easy connection via USB 2.0, and compatibility with most major audio software.
For more about the Fast Track Ultra 8R, visit M-Audio's Web site.