M-Audio Fast Track C600 Audio Interface Review

Nov 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Brandon T. Hickey

NEW I/O BRINGS CLEAN PREAMPS, ADVANCED ROUTING, DSP EFFECTS

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ALL GOOD?
Clearly, there are a lot of positive things happening with the Fast Track C600. Great design, good amount of I/O, pleasing sonic quality and a useful new monitoring section are all among them. I do have some minor complaints. I have always liked the Fast Track Ultra, and was excited to see this new product that adds to all of my favorite Ultra features. The C600 does not offer hardware inserts, which were useful on the Ultra, and the C600 has two fewer line inputs. Otherwise, the C600 only improves upon its predecessor.

One thing I had hoped to see resolved on the C600 was the issue of hot-swappability. Both units are made to perform in a way that they can operate using exclusively USB power but only offering two ins and reduced outputs. To achieve full I/O, an additional wall wart power supply must be connected. Usually for the unit to be recognized in this mode, a reboot is required. Sometimes the unit will be found without rebooting, but it just isn’t consistent. One or two times, the C600 exhibited some sort of clocking issue where the sound crackled until power was recycled, leading to a necessary reboot, all during a session. It would be really annoying if that happened consistently.

WORTH THE WAIT?
A new fleet of M-Audio USB interfaces has been long anticipated, but it seems that the company has taken its time and gotten it right. The slick new layout is much more appropriate for the kind of desktop use where it will most likely be popular. The powerful software mixer gets even better in this new generation. The sonic quality doesn’t seem like a radical leap forward, but really didn’t need a major revamp. It’s worth noting that even the C400 is reportedly receiving the same type of quality mic pre’s and software control found on the C600, so that’ll be a major step forward from the Fast Track Pro. Playing the features-per-price game is always a balance of tradeoffs, and it seems like M-Audio is at it again, finding the perfect recipe of bang for the buck.


Brandon T. Hickey is a freelance engineer and audio educator.

Click on the Product Summary box above to view the FastTrack 600 product page.

Click on the Product Summary box above to view the FastTrack 600 product page.






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