The new Pro Tools 9 may allow the use of any third-party audio interface, but this SE version requires the presence of the Fast Track interface at all times. It would be nice to be able to use it to record then be able to edit at leisure on your laptop using the internal audio system, but sadly this isn’t an option.
On the plus side, the interface is small and light and with simple controls. On the front an XLR mic input (there’s a 48v phantom power switch on the rear to enable use with condenser microphones) and a 1/4-inch jack guitar input each come with signal and clip LEDs.
A Direct Monitor switch sends your instrument or microphone signal directly to the output as well as to the computer to avoid processing delay through the software. There isn’t a direct monitor level control so you have to adjust the Master fader in Pro Tools to balance it, but this isn’t a big deal. That said, latency can be so low with the current pace of computer processing that it’s bearable, and by working this way you can get off on the plug-in effects while you record.
For monitoring you have a headphone output on the front with 1/4-inch jack and on the back a pair of phono outputs for sending to an amp and speakers. Both are controlled by the same Output Volume knob on the top of the unit.
The interface does exactly what you need to get you recording and the quality level is good, especially through the all important microphone input. The only features you might miss are a MIDI input if you have a non-USB keyboard and maybe a stereo line input for external synths, but these can come later should your skills develop and you decide to upgrade.