Avid received a lot of attention when it announced Pro Tools 11, but the company had a few more products to reveal, as well. The most interesting to home recording engineers likely are the Fast Track Solo and Duo audio interfaces.
The company says the portable, desktop interfaces are great for “home, studio and on-the-go creation,” and that the package offers a great introduction to Pro Tools. We’d take out a comma and specify that these are best for home studio use, as well as mobile recording. The latter is made possible by a metal chassis that should keep the unit safe on the road.
Additionally, both provide easy connection for an iPad, making mobile recording even easier. Here’s a closer look:
Fast Track Solo
Though it’s called Solo, you can actually record up to two tracks simultaneously on the unit, which includes one XLR input and one 1/4-inch instrument input. The unit also has two outputs for monitoring, as well as input and output control knobs.
You can record at 24-bit, 48 kHz resolution with preamps that include the option of phantom power. No separate power supply is needed for the unit, which is powered by its USB connection to your computer.
The unit also can be connected directly to an iPad with tablet port, and doesn’t require a Camera Connection Kit.
Fast Track Duo
The Duo version is essentially exactly the same as the Solo, except it includes two combination XLR/Instrument inputs. It also includes two 1/4-inch inputs to record synths or other line-level audio sources.
Pro Tools Express
The units also come with Pro Tools Express software, which is a streamlined version of the full recording software. While the software functions essentially the same as the larger version, it has certain limitations, including only being able to use 16 tracks per session.
However, it does include a number of built-in plugins and virtual instruments you can use to begin creating music immediately. Features also include Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch, which allow time, tempo and pitch adjustments for your tracks.
It should be noted that Pro Tools Express is not made to run on an iPad, but the Fast Track interfaces can be used with most iOS recording software.
Most newer laptops and desktops will work fine with the interfaces, though it’s important to note that Mac’s require at least OS X 10.6.8 to function, while PC’s need Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. While 2 GB of RAM is required, 4 GB is recommended to ensure your computer doesn’t get bogged down when recording multiple tracks using a variety of plugins.
Most third party plugins that are compatible with the full version of Pro Tools should work with Express. Additionally, Express offers session compatibility with the full version of the program. This is great to use as a streamlined way to get mobile recordings on a laptop or iPad and then dump the sessions into your main recording rig with the full Pro Tools if you have that available.