M-Audio just released the FastTrack USB, a break-out box for recording guitar and voice. Looks like they made a GuitarPort clone, but with a more ‘serious’ design. That is: a basic A/D converter with a jack input and a USB output, and a bunch of effect software for your computer.
A quick comparison:
|Input:||1/4″ jack, line, XLR||1/4″ jack|
|Controller:||gain, input, output||output|
|Software:||GT Player Express (1.0?)||GuitarPort 2.5 + RiffWorks|
I currently own a GuitarPort and I love it. It does an awesome ‘Smoke on the water’ and ‘Long train running’, and it works without a glitch. The FX software shows every effect (noise gate, delay, reverb, phaser, …) as an amp frontpanel. I just upgraded to the 2.5 software. At first sight, they added a parametric equalizer, a metronome and they finally figured out it made sense to group the presets in genres. You gotta love Line6: they sell people great hardware and keep giving them better software for free every couple of months.
I also have an M-Audio Ozone and that has been a bit of a disappointment. The latency of the MIDI controller is way too big, and the keyboard seems to lose its USB connection every couple of minutes, which makes for a stack of warning windows if you leave the PC alone for an hour. Anyway, I’m going to upgrade my DAW PC to Windows XP and see if it works any better.