M-Audio has released Fast Track USB (Mac/Win; $129.95), a compact, 2-channel audio interface that supports 24-bit, 48 kHz audio and can be powered from the USB bus. The first channel has an XLR input for a dynamic microphone, with gain control and signal LEDs. The 1/4-inch input on the second channel can be toggled between instrument and line levels to accommodate a wide variety of signal sources. For audio outputs, the Fast Track USB has rear-panel RCA jacks and a front-panel 1/8-inch stereo headphone jack, both of which share a common level control.
Direct hardware monitoring provides for synchronized overdubs, with the In/PB knob determining the monitor balance between input and output signal. The Mono switch sends the input signal equally to the left and right channels, allowing the source to integrate in a more balanced way with other tracks while recording.
The Fast Track USB ships with GT Player Express (Mac/Win) software, which offers a variety of effects and virtual stomp boxes. GT Player Express also plays standard audio files, including AAC, MP3, and WAV. For more information, visit M-Audio.com.