Walk into a crowd of producers, yell out “M-Audio” and watch as varying degrees of praise flow in every direction. Nearly all of us have seen, heard of or gotten our hands on one of their MIDI controllers but I’m here today to talk about one of their more underrated achievements. I’m talking of course about the M-Audio M-Track 2×2 audio interface. Around here, we’re all about the getting the most value at the best price and I was thoroughly impressed when I came across this little beauty.
Its sleek design looks at home in any environment where music is made, whether you place it in a fully equipped studio or set it up in your living room to record your mates. Throw in a top quality build and an affordable price and you’ve got a device that can satisfy the needs of the first-time buyer as well as the veteran maestro in need of a compact and portable solution for on-the-go recording.
It works for all major Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) including FL Studio, Logic, Reason, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Cubase and even Magix Music Maker, and they’ve even included one for anybody who still needs software to get started. There’s a lot to love about this interface and I’m pleased to tell you all about it in my M-Audio M-Track 2×2 review.
Cheapest Place To Buy: Amazon.com
Operating Systems: Windows and Mac OS
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars (Based on 57 ratings)
What Can It Do?
I cannot say enough about how good this thing looks with that elegant metal chassis. It’s definitely winning in the durability department (although, I’m not about to go kicking it around) and should stand up to tough touring conditions. All C-Series interfaces come with all new pro-grade ‘Crystal’ preamps to help you get the best out of your microphone. Engineered by the best, it delivers a transparent, low-noise solution that should capture your vocals with outstanding clarity (attention rappers) and with +48v phantom power, it’s ready for any condenser microphone on the block.
I have to tip my hat to the guy that designed this layout, though. That giant volume knob in the centre is what I like to see, even more so since it only affects the main volume without tapering with your headphone output. You’ve actually got two knobs that and I honestly wish more interfaces would work like this. One controls the outgoing volume of the headphones and one controls the mix between the direct output of your microphone or instrument and the signal coming from your computer.
So if you were recording some rap vocals (for example), the artist could effortlessly get a good mix of the beat and their own voice while recording. Speaking of microphones, this little guy has one combination input that accepts both XLR and 1/4″ jack so it can take instruments as well but if you’d like to run both at the same time, there’s a second 1/4″ jack for guitars and bass. Each input has it’s own gain knobs and delightful LED level meter to accurately avoid clipping.
Check this device in action
What Can’t It Do?
It’s hard to fault such a great piece but there are few things to take issue with right here. It definitely fits the description of Plug In and Play but that’s only for Mac users. If you’re rocking Windows then you’re going to have to go through the hassle of downloading the Drivers off the product website first before you can enjoy it. Who’s got time for that really? And try to make sure your Operating System is the latest and up to date to avoid any further hassle
Another thing that makes absolutely no sense to me is the awkward positioning of the two inputs. I mean, you’ve got the mic input (the one I’m probably mainly going to use) stuck on the back while the (ultimately less important) second instrument input lies in the most accessible position. Maybe I’m just grasping at straws but couldn’t that have been reversed? When I think of the mess of chords I’ll be using, it’s going to cause a problem long term.
There’s no shortage of extra tricks to have you foaming at the mouth with this interface. For those still in need of a great DAW, they’ve included a copy of Steinberg’s Cubase 9 LE. A free version of the original software that can get you started on the right foot fitting all your recording and composing needs. To help out your new favourite DAW, there’s a host of world-class virtual instruments that come courtesy of AIR Music tech including Mini Grand (an amazingly authentic piano), Strike 2 (the only drum machine you’ll ever need) and Xpand! 2 (the ,ost versatile synth on the block!).
All three of those plugins together would set you back over $300 if you tried to buy them separately (I’m serious!) and if that wasn’t enough, they’ve included 20 FX plugins that were once exclusive to Pro Tools.
Should I Get It?
That’s a big fat HELL YEAH!
Interfaces are the quintessential tool for any modern recording artist and you’re really getting in on the ground floor for next to nothing. If the price is still a bit above your budget, then look no further than the Behringer U-PHORIA UM2 which goes for nearly half the price but doesn’t come with all the fancy extras that this device has. Plus with the metal chassis that’s got all this tech wrapped up neatly, you know you’ll be using it for a very long time.
Got any more questions about this device? Wanna tell us about your experience? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below!
Ryan C. Voller, Recording Artist – Producer – Lead Contributor for HowToMakeHip-Hop.com
The Short Version
- 24-bit/192kHz resolution for professional recording and monitoring
- Hi-Speed USB connection with USB/Direct balance knob for zero-latency monitoring
- Includes both standard USB and USB-C connection cables
- XLR+¼” TRS combo input, ¼” instrument input, stereo ¼” main outputs; ¼” headphone output with independent level control
- Included Software: Steinberg Cubase LE, AIR Creative FX Collection (20 world-class FX AU/VST plugins as made famous by Pro Tools), Strike, Xpand!2 & Mini Grand
- Behringer Xenyx 302USB Review 2017: Hit The Ground Running
- PreSonus Audiobox USB 2×2 Review 2017: Leading The Pack?
- How To Make Your Own Beat Studio