With the abundant options available over the market for a cheap and affordable USB audio interface, choosing the right one that is truly decent and reliable can be tricky, if not a daunting task. Two popular choices on the market are Lexicon Alpha and M-Audio Fast Track. Both are generally considered budget-friendly. However, Lexicon Alpha is quite more affordable than M-Audio Fast Track. It looks even better as it comes with some software already. Does that mean Lexicon Alpha is the most cost-efficient way to go? Or, should you choose M-Audio Fast Track instead?
Both Lexicon Alpha and M-Audio Fast Track are 2-channel audio interfaces. Both are very compact and portable, allowing you to bring either of them along in your travel. They can also be stored easily without taking too much space. Lexicon Alpha features a metal base, but the top part is plastic. It is quite rugged, but not to be over-abused. On the other hand, M-Audio Fast Track comes with a low-profile design and a solid metal chassis for maximum durability. The sturdy construction protects the internal components more properly. (See also: Lexicon Alpha Vs Focusrite 2i2)
Lexicon Alpha comes with the capability to record two tracks at once for making a stereo recording. It has one XLR mic, two TRS line, and one Hi-Z instrument input ports. There are two TRS and two line output ports. A headphone jack for direct monitoring is available, complete with the dedicated control knobs.
On the other hand, M-Audio Fast Track comes with a pair of combo inputs compatible with XLR and 1/4″, also equipped with switchable +48V phantom power, suitable for vocals as well as instruments such as guitar, bass, etc. There are two balanced 1/4″ main outputs with dedicated level control knobs. For sure, there is a headphone jack for direct monitoring, also with USB/Analog Direct Balance control.
Performance and Recording Quality
Both models have the maximum recording resolution of 24-bit/48kHz. However, M-Audio Fast Track has proven to have a better performance than Lexicon Alpha, especially in terms of latency and tracking. The main issue is that Lexicon Alpha relies on USB version 1.1, which may not have enough bandwidth to provide a decent latency level by today’s standards. M-Audio Fast Track has much lower latency levels, allowing you to record and monitor with more precision.
Lexicon Alpha Vs M-Audio Fast Track
|Lexicon Alpha||M-Audio Fast Track|
|Key features||- Low-noise mic preamp with balanced XLR inputs.
- High-impedance front panel input for electric guitar or bass.
- Separate mic and line level input controls with individual peak indicators.
- Monitor mix control for balancing an audio source between live input and playback mix level while recording.
- Connect to your computer with the included USB cable.||- includes SE software - make music immediately
one-for-all compatibility - works with most popular recording software - - including Pro ools M-Powered 8*
- 1/4" instrument input - record guitar, bass and keyboards
- phantom powered XLR mic input - use dynamic and studio-grade condenser microphones
- stereo RCA outputs |
|Customer ratings*||n/a||3.9 out of 5.0 stars|
|Best deal*||Save Money Please click here||Save Money Please click here|
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All in all, M-Audio Fast Track makes the better way to go. The combo input ports are very handy and versatile. In addition, the latency is much lower, giving you a much better performance.