Wednesday, March 08, 2006

MicroTrack Review, Tip, Firmware Update

Developments continue with the M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96, which I have covered extensively in the Audio Engineering category. Here I will bring you up-to-date with a new review, life-saving tip and firmware update.

First the review, which can be found in the March 2006 issue of Sound On Sound. You need a subscription to read this online. Or just buy the issue and get the full DVD which has one particularly cool feature: a blind comparison test of three songs, each mastered at six online houses. There are lots of other goodies too; it is worth a trip to your local magazine vendor.

This magazine is my favourite offline reading material when it comes to audio engineering. And though recent online articles require payment, a good number in the archive are available free. (That's why I have a permalink in my sidebar.)

By the way, the review is quite positive. Mention is made of the poor pre-amps but the reviewer finds this reasonable for the price.

Next, the life-saving tip. It turns out that the MicroTrack has problems with CF cards formatted elsewhere. To avoid loss of data, always format your CF cards in the unit using the internal "System --> Format Media" command.

But perhaps that tip is stale (can someone confirm?) as of March 3, thanks to the release of version 1.3.3 of the MicroTrack firmware.

To save you some linking, here are the major enhancements:

* files are now split automatically on reaching 2GB limit (with a gap of 5-9s)
* new option for mono recording
* enhanced S/PDIF recording at up to 24-bit/96kHz
* record buffer size has been increased to improve media compatibility
* several enhancements to the UI
* languages added for French, German and Italian users
* hold key behaviour changed
* time available counter fixed for cards over 4GB
* enhanced CF media compatibility

I cannot think of any features which remain unimplemented. M-Audio have been very responsive to demands from the community and deserve commendation.

Now, if only the unit had better pre-amps. :-(



Anonymous said...

I just purchased a microtrack unit. I am interested in finding everything I can from the community of microtrack users. One particular interest: can you make use of an auxilary battery pack for an ipod shuffle to extend the life of the microtrack, and, if so, how do you go about it.

robin said...

Sorry for the late reply... but check out Taper Section for lots of resources like battery power.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd give a heads-up...

The non-user-replaceable battery life on my MicroTrack has always been poor, but now it won't record even 10 minutes.

I've had it less than a year, so I thought, "This is resolvable; warranty is most likely a year." Well, no. The battery is on a separate warranty of 90 days. I must ship the MicroTrack to California and pay $75 + shipping.

robin said...

Though tempted I never bought a MicroTrack -- and have no regrets about this decision. My MD recorder at least has replacable batteries and, from all reports, a better pre-amp as well. Shame about the UI, but one can't have everything.

Anonymous said...

A cheap replacement battery for the Microtrack is the iPhone one. I bought one for 5 pounds on ebay, fits perfectly, just two wires (red / black) to solder to the board, job done.

The rear case clips off to access the battery, secure with doublesided tape to the rear of the main pcb board.

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