M-Audio is a name that’s well known in audio interfaces and MIDI controller keyboards. Over the years they’ve brought us a wide range of products and never cease to improve what they have on offer. The M-Track series of USB audio interfaces has always represented great value for money in compact audio recording. This new M-Track MK2 USB audio interface continues to do just that, but sports a major facelift and a full redesign of how looks, feels and operates.
For those of you who own or have seen the last versions of the M-track interfaces, you’ll no doubt be aware that they were a table-top design. They had all inputs and controls on the top surface of the unit, much like a compact mixer would be laid out. With this latest incarnation of the M-Track, M-Audio have done away with this idea and trended back to more of a rack style layout. Except, the unit is not rack mountable. So, with the use of a rack tray, it could find a home with other equipment, otherwise, it will remain as a desktop unit, but with all the controls and inputs found on the front panel instead of the top. This I found a little annoying at desk level as I was repeatedly tilting it back off its feet to see what was what when I wanted to adjust something. Place it higher on a shelf and the problem will be solved.
The M-Track MK2 offers two inputs, both on combination XLR/TRS connecters. Both microphone preamps have phantom power as an option and Input 2 can be switched between Line and Instrument level when using the jack connection. As far as outputs go, you have a headphone out on the front and a pair of balanced TRS outputs on the rear. It’s all kept pretty simple, but does the job as far as getting you two separate inputs for recording and the necessary monitoring outputs to record overdubs and mix your tracks. There aren’t any other frills or fancy tricks to push the price up. But it is housed in a really tough metal case and all the pots feel really smooth and firm.
As is to be expected with an interface like this, you get a bundled DAW software program in Ableton Live Lite, which will get you started recording right away. The nice addition of three Waves plugins as well really makes it a worthwhile software addition. The Eddie Kramer Effects Channel is pretty cool and the TrueVerb reverb is a must for any mixing situation when you want to really bring your recordings to life. For the price, it is definitely worth checking out.
Hits and Misses
Simple, straight up design
Solid metal casing
Great selection of software included
Less options than previous models
Inputs: 1–2 (balanced XLR), Line; 1–2 balanced 1/4” TRS Line, Inst; 2 unbalanced 1/4” TS
Main Outputs: L and R impedance-balanced 1/4” TRS Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz (+/-0.1 dB)
Dynamic Range: 104 dB (A-weighted)
Sensitivity: -53 dBu
Gain Range: 55 dB
Power: USB-bus-powered Size: 2.07 (H) x 9.4 (W) x 4.85 (D) inches Weight: 1.04 kg