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Old 01-30-2013, 07:57 AM
lambono lambono is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 20
Default Upgrade from M-Audio Fast Track Pro audio interface.

Hello for the past few years I have been using Pro Tools connected to an M-Audio Fast Track Pro and a variety of microphones.

I would now like to take things a bit more seriously.
I have recently acquired some very good mics, (Neumann TLM 103 and Neumann KM 185 Stereo Set) and would like to make sure I am doing these justices with my interface).

Can you please give me your opinion on whether I should upgrade the Fast Track Pro, and if so what would you recommend? (N.B I will be using a Mac Book Pro with Mountain Lion will also be upgrading my version of Pro Tools)

Also, in addition to (or maybe instead of?) upgrading the interface, should I be looking at purchasing an independent pre amp. If so can you recommend pre amps that would work well with these mics for mainly acoustic music?

I know these kind of generic questions annoy some people here, but we all have to start somewhere and this is all a gradual process. At the minute I am slowly looking to build a reasonable quality, multipurpose project studio. Once up and running I will then be able to build up my experience and knowledge to understand the subtle differences of pairing different mics and pre amps etc. But as it stands any advice you can provide for general ‘all rounder’ mid range equipment would be much appreciated!

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Old 01-30-2013, 10:40 AM
nst7 nst7 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Cincinnati OH
Posts: 9,864
Default Re: Upgrade from M-Audio Fast Track Pro audio interface.

Do you have a price range for the interface? And are you looking to expand the amount of inputs/outputs?

Since you need to upgrade to full Protools, you might consider getting the Mbox 3 Pro bundled with Protools. It will be a huge upgrade in sound quality and has true line inputs that allow you to bypass the internal preamps allowing to to get the full quality of your external pres (and the built in ones would be a step up as well). The price of this bundle may be a good value vs. buying a separate interface and the Protools upgrade.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:53 PM
lambono lambono is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 20
Default Re: Upgrade from M-Audio Fast Track Pro audio interface.

Hi NST7,
Thanks for your post.

I had been looking at this and think it is a good option.
To answer your questions... and to ask a few more...

I can pick this up new alongside pro tools 10 on ebay for about £550 so that is around my budget and as you say is a good 'bundle' price.

Inputs / Outputs
Yes if buying a new interface I would want certainly want to expand the number of inputs. The the M Box meets this nicely. However, this would not be my reason to upgrade now, as the number of inputs I have on my fast track pro will be sufficient for my next project.
As for outputs I don't really need all the outputs from the mbox pro.

Audio Quality
You said the m box 3 will be "will be a huge upgrade in sound quality".
Is this really the case?
I seem to remember when I originally bought my fast track pro, I was comparing this with the standard m box 2 and the reviews seemed to state that these were very similar in terms of audio quality. Is the m box 3 really a big jump up?

If was to buy a pre amp would you have any recommendations?

Life Span
May be a bit off topic, but always worth asking before spending lots of money...
Is there any chance Pro Tools 11 or M Box 4 could be released soon?

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Old 01-30-2013, 04:27 PM
albee1952's Avatar
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Norwich, CT
Posts: 39,419
Default Re: Upgrade from M-Audio Fast Track Pro audio interface.

I would look at the Focusrite Pro40 and Saffire LS56. The LS56 has 2 "liquid Pre's" which model some very desirable "character" preamps, which you may find more versatile than buying a straight interface and adding 1 or 2 expensive "character" preamps(by "character" I refer to preamps that impart something unique to the sound. like vintage NEVE or API preamps do). Both these options also allow for expansion of IO far beyond what any Mbox can handle(Mbox Pro is only capable of 8 inputs total). Not trying to steer you away from Mboxes, just offering food for thought
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:18 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Cincinnati OH
Posts: 9,864
Default Re: Upgrade from M-Audio Fast Track Pro audio interface.

The Focusrite units are a good suggestion, and are very nice. However, they have even more inputs/outputs that you don't need right now. And you would still have to buy your Protools upgrade separately.

As to your other questions, yes, the Mbox 3 (pro or regular) is a gigantic jump in quality, not only from the older Mboxes but also from the 003. Not only that, but I think they sound better than the Apogee Duet 2 that many people rave about (and I've gotten to actually compare them). You won't be disappointed with the sound quality.

You mentioned that the Mbox Pro has more I/O than you need, but it is still probably a better solution than the regular Mbox. The regular Mbox is not sold anymore bundled with Protools (only Protools Express, a very lite version). The upgrade price from PT Express is exactly the same as from your M-Powered version. Whereas the Mbox Pro is bundled with the full Protools version.

Don't worry about an Mbox 4 anytime soon, it will be at least a few more years, based on when these came out and Avid's track record.

As for PT11, no one knows for sure, but it's likely to be this year, mainly because Avid has never gone longer than 2 years between major upgrades. This October will be 2 years since PT10. It's also possible that it could be out earlier, like the summer.

Even if it does come out, you don't have to upgrade to it right away. But if you do, it will be cheaper to upgrade from 10 than it would be from older versions.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:28 AM
lambono lambono is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 20
Default Re: Upgrade from M-Audio Fast Track Pro audio interface.

Glad I waited!

Thanks all for the advise.

I'm going to go for the Mbox 3 Pro with Pro Tools 11 Upgrade

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