My biggest concern with this preamp is how it CANNOT operate with any condenser microphone that requires phantom power (which is pretty much all condenser microphones). This information is not noted anywhere on M-Audio’s official website, nor the box that the product comes in. For someone wanting stereo quality recordings, you cannot achieve anything close using this interface and a dynamic microphone.
My secondary concern was the compatibility with Windows VISTA. I used the SESSION USB microphone for pod casts, which ran slow and the latency levels were extremely high on my laptop. The microphone recording through Fast Track USB gave me the same issues.
Shifting toward the positives about this product… The Session software that comes with almost any low-end product on the M-Audio market – including this one – is worth the price alone. However, if you’ve purchased any of the USB connected interfaces from M-Audio already, you probably have gotten the software in some sort of “package deal” already.
M-Audio should bill this exclusively as a tool for guitar recording, because the plug-in here is probably the simplest I’ve ever used. For all the hassle of trying to connect a microphone to this device, such hassle can be overlooked because of the user-friendly guitar connection. You also have to applaud M-Audio for continuing the use of the 1/8 inch headphones input – so users can plug in their commercial headphones or ear buds without the hassle of purchasing the sometimes expensive studio monitors.
Neither the retail price suggested by M-Audio ($129.95), nor market prices (ranging from $88-99 at different online retailers) are worth the price of this USB component. If you are lucky to score one on eBay for 50-75% retail value, then add it to your collection. If not, look elsewhere!