M-Audio Fast Track and Audacity

I am running Audacity 2.0.2 on a Macbook Air with OS X 10.8.2.

I am using the M-Audio Fast Track by Avid to record an acoustic guitar. The M-Audio connects to the Macbook air via USB.

I recorded some guitar the other night but it sounds super tinny, kind of robotic, and kind of muffled. (I also found myself having to restart the computer a time or two in order for the Fast Track input signal to be picked up by the software.)

Is there a certain driver I can download, or perhaps an input setting in Audacity I can select, to improve the sound quality?

As a musician, I’ve been using Audacity for my home recordings for fifteen years now and I’ve never had a quality problem - although this is my first experience using the software with USB input.

If anyone can suggest any workarounds - it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks and regards.

S. Roads
Boston, MA

Please attach a sample audio file (1 MB maximum size). See how to attach files here https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/how-to-attach-files-to-forum-posts/24026/1 .

Irrespective of that, the external device must be recognised by the computer before you launch Audacity, or you have to use Transport > Rescan Audio Devices in Audacity to pick the device up.

Have you looked here http://tinyurl.com/bwbwect ?

Are all your sample rates and bit depths matched? See http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/User:BillWharrie/OSX_and_USB_input_devices#setup .


Thank you very much. That solved the sound quality issue. However, I am unable to record over a previously recorded track. All I’m getting is a pulsing sound on the new track - it sounds like crickets. I tried the “Rescan Audio Devices” option but it doesn’t appear to be working? Audacity doesn’t seem to be recognizing that I want the M-Audio USB device to be the sole, permanent, input source.

What solved it - the new M-Audio driver?

All Rescan does is refresh the list in Device Toolbar. You should select the M-Audio as input device in Device Toolbar and almost certainly you want to select it as output device too.

Did you read http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/User:BillWharrie/OSX_and_USB_input_devices#setup as I suggested ? For external devices all rates and bit depths must match in Audacity, in Audio-MIDI Setup and in M-Audio if it has any switches or control panels where rates and depths can be chosen. For example, try a new recording. Set the Audacity Project Rate bottom left to 44100 Hz. In Device Toolbar, set recording channels to mono (assuming you are recording in mono). In Audio MIDI Setup, select the M-Audio as both input and output device and choose “41000.0 Hz 1 ch-16bit” in both the input and the output side.

If you still hear crickets, make sure at Audacity > Preferences in the “Quality” section that Default Sample Format is 16-bit to match with Audio MIDI Setup.

You can increase sample rate and bit depth later if you want to, but you must then change all the rates and depths everywhere to match. If the quality breaks up again, revert to lower rates and bit depths.



I appreciate your responses! Thanks.

However, I’m beginning to worry that there’s nothing I can do to make this M-Audio hardware compatible with Audacity.

I’ve followed all your recommendations closely. In the one instance I was able to record an acoustic guitar using the device, the playback was of poor quality. (Sounded distant and robotically tinny.)

Beyond that, I now hit record and I am getting only a soundless pulse on the track window. When it does record my voice testing track, I hit record to add a second track and the track is flat lining.

While the microphone is being picked up by the M-Audio device (you can see the signal lights pulsing) - it is simply not being picked up by Audacity. The hardware and the software are just not communicating. When they do, they communicate poorly. :unamused:

So the quality problems have come back?

Do you have Fast Track connected to a spare USB port? You should not connect to a USB hub.

What sample rate are you using in Audacity (see bottom left) and Audio MIDI Setup?

If you are not already doing so, monitor with your headphones in Fast Track i.e. turn off (uncheck) Transport > Software Playthrough in Audacity and set the Audacity Playback device to Fast Track.

Can you record a second track while playing the first now?

If not, Audacity > Preferences: Recording. Set “Audio to buffer” to a bit more than 100 milliseconds. Experiment with different values.