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Review: M-Audio M-Track Plus USB Audio Interface

January 21, 2014

A portable bus-powered two channel USB audio interface.


The M-Audio M-Track Plus is a portable bus-powered two channel USB audio interface featuring TRS and XLR inputs, digital connectivity via S/PDIF, and MIDI in/out.

Sound Quality

The M-Audio M-Track Plus operates at a maximum of 24 bit/48 kHz. While the sample rate doesn’t quite match up with the 96 kHz offerings from other companies such as Focusrite and Steinberg, we believe there isn’t a huge sonic difference at this price point. The preamps provide approximately 60 dB of gain. We found that it’s best to stay under 80% gain because the preamps start exhibiting a low level of noise after that point.

The headphone amplifier drives lower impedance headphones like the Audio Technica ATH-M50 and the Shure SRH-840 very well. Overall, sound quality is very decent for a unit at this price point.

Design & Aesthetics

Portability is one of the M-Audio M-Track Plus’ best offerings. It fits well in the hand, and weighs in at just under 1.5 lbs. Despite the small footprint of the unit, the high quality aluminum housing makes it a great solution for sessions on the go. Each channel’s controls are separated by a strip in the middle of the interface that also acts as a volume meter. As with many super-portable audio interfaces, the M-Audio M-Track plus is not rack-mountable. Overall, the M-Track Plus is a portable and durable interface with accessible controls and good metering.

Features & Connections

The M-Audio M-Track Plus features preamps in both of its channels. The unit has both XLR and 1/4” TRS inputs, and supports microphone, instrument, and line in signals. There is switchable 48v phantom power for condenser microphones. In terms of digital connectivity, the M-Track Plus features S/PDIF input and output along with MIDI in and out.

A differentiating feature of the M-Track Plus is the inclusion of two insert channels for use with outboard effects. Finally, there are two 1/4” TRS outputs on the back of the unit, and one headphone output for monitoring purposes.

Accessories & Extras

The M-Audio M-Track Plus comes with a full version of Pro Tools Express and Ignite, a virtual instrument from AIR. For the aspiring musician, these two pieces of software will help you get a head start on recording and music production. In terms of accessories, a USB cable is included in the box. Unfortunately, a MIDI cable and S/PDIF cable aren’t included.

Many users have reported driver installation issues with the M-Track Plus on Windows-based systems. Since the shipped installation CDs aren’t always the latest version, it’s best to visit M-Audio’s website to download the latest drivers.

Conclusion

The M-Audio M-Track Plus blends portability with durability. We loved the metering strip on the unit, and the inclusion of two insert channels was a pleasant surprise. The MIDI capabilities cater to individuals interested in digital music production. In conclusion, the M-Track Plus is a great audio interface for a budget-conscious small home studio.

MSRP: $149
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