After using M-Audio’s Microtrack 24/96 to record all The Chris Pirillo Show interviews for CES 2006, I’m convinced it’s officially the best portable recorder on the market. XLR connectors like those found on the Marantz PMD660 would be nice, but M-Audio did a better job of making it painless to configure audio levels to avoid clipping, so they win my vote. Pocket size is another great reason to choose the Microtrack. Like many portable devices, keeping the firmware up-to-date is crucial to getting a great experience when using the Microtrack in the field. On December 19, 2005, M-Audio released the most recent update, which included some minor fixes for accurately displaying space left on the CF card and improved formatting of CompactFlash media. If you own a Microtrack recorder but never updated your firmware, now is the time.
On the Drivers page on the M-Audio site, you will need to choose Series = Legacy in the first column and then select the correct hardware version from the options M-Track or M-Track (MKII).
The list of fixes in previous firmware updates is massive:
Level meters display levels when playing back files. Level meters operate in REC PAUSE for easier level setting. Audio inputs can be heard when in REC PAUSE as well as REC (only for analog inputs). Reboots the unit instead of shutting down when a CF card is inserted. Pop-up menu added if the user tries to power off while recording. All input controls will be active during record or record pause, allowing you to adjust your levels more easily. Input and Headphone level controls work more smoothly when held down. FFWD or REW no longer cause the timer to flash the time “00:00:00” when engaged. Remaining record time is now calculated properly when recording from SPDIF input. Now stops phantom power from turning on and off. Now works if booted from card reader mode. Continues to work if file was closed because of max file size or no media full. S/PDIF is enhanced to 24-bit/48kHz, and is more reliable. Fixed the behavior of the L/M/H switch (L and H were reversed). Fixed a problem with the File menu (recorded files would not play from the Files menu until the machine was rebooted). Fixed problem where “no media found” message didn’t always show. Adjusted screen contrast range. Fixed battery meter (if full and the external power was removed,the level dropped approximately 5-10%). Fixed level meter length (the bar of the level meter maxed out about 8 pixels shy of the end of the track, so it appeared that the unit had headroom left, even though it was clipping). Eliminated pop noises on boot-up. Eliminated static noises at the end of tracks.