Monday 9 May 2022

HARDWARE REVIEW: M-Audio M-Track Solo USB Audio Interface

I had a few issues with my old Digidesign Mbox2 FireWire input boxes (I have two) and decided that I needed an upgrade to a modern USB device, and having looked at all the options, an M-Audio M-Track Solo seemed decent bang-per-buck at around £40. There's also the slightly larger Duo for about £10 more. 


  • 48 kHz audio resolution 
  • Mac, PC or iOS compatible
  • Single Combo Crystal Preamp with phantom power
  • Switchable Line / Instrument input for guitar or microphone. 
  • 2-channel recording - use both line inputs simultaneously  
  • Powered by USB
  • Zero-latency monitoring of the input signal through both the main RCA outputs and 1/8” headphone outputs
  • USB/Direct switch adjusts the balance between the direct inputs and playback from computer software.

Inside the box there's just the box itself, a USB cable and the instruction manual. It's bus powered so there's no need for a power supply, which makes things simple and portable. Although it says on the box it comes with various software, there's no disc in the box, you have to go to the website and download it yourself by registering the device. Sadly I cannot use any of the included apps as I only have Mac OS Lion on my old white Macbook and these require a much more recent version. It's plug 'n' play, so should be no need to install a driver on most modern operating systems.    

When I first tried the M-Track, I had it working in Amplitube (a virtual guitar amp) but then spent ages trying to work out why I wasn't getting input audio in Garageband, despite setting it as the input device in Audio Settings in Mac OS. After much faffing about, I discovered that the issue was that each time Garageband makes a new track, it chooses the first input on the box, which is the mic input, when I almost always want the guitar/line input. Now I just have to remember to select the second input in the advanced section when creating a new track. 

I also tried the M-track on Linux, specifically KDE Neon, and although Plasma desktop automatically switches the audio output to the box, it does not seem to pick the right input, so even when you choose the box as the input source, there's no way to choose between the mic and guitar/line inputs in KDE's Audio settings. I have not tried it in Windows because I don't use it for anything but a few games. It will also work with an Android phone, but I have not tried that yet, as I need to get a USB C OTG cable for my Pixel 4a. Be aware though that, since it's USB powered, it will probably chew up a fair bit of battery power. 

So far then, the M-Track Solo has performed well, there's no lag, unlike the old cheapo USB device I had before and input audio is decent quality, nice and clear, so I am quite pleased with it, it's a good device for the price and compact enough to carry in my bag if I need to.  

No comments: