#1
I have a lot of recording problems so I'll start with the most important ones first

1.) Every like 18 seconds or so, and only while I am playing while recording, the recording stops for a second, makes a very loud noise (it's completely negative) which lasts like 3 blocks. I assume this is a problem with my M-Audio fast track ultra, however I feel it may be connected with problem #2

2.) I have to max all the settings up and play louder than I'd like to in order to get my recording to a volume loud enough to boost it in my DAW without making it sound like shit. I believe this may be because a.) I am not using a pre-amp (although I kinda thought the m-audio doubled as one) b.) I have low quality mic cables

My condensers pick it up better, but that's only because condensers are more sensitive in general.

I use the shitty MXL condenser, an SM57, M-Audio Fast Track Ultra, Reaper, and a bunch of different brands of cables
I would use samplitude as my DAW if I could figure out how to use my ASIO driver on it

Help appreciated
John Petrucci

The one and only god.
#2
I run a Shure SM57 and 58 into my interfaces and both require a lot of gain for general use. I generally turn them up to 8 or 9 out of 10. The MXL only needs to be gained around 6 as you have stated, it picks up sound easily.

I would check to be sure your computer is fast enough. When I add too many VST synths to my Sonar Project, it will freeze up every now and then randomly.

When you install the drivers from the m-audio website you should have the ASIO installed with them. When choosing the sound device in reaper you'll see ASIO under "Audio System". If that's not there, try reinstalling the M-audio drivers from the website and be sure they are compatible with your current OS.
#3
Thanks I didn't think I should be turning up my mic's gain close to all the way up
I think I might have to re-install my ASIO driver if it's different from the M-Audio one
I use my computer to play video games so it should be good enough for this (2.26 GHz dual core?)
John Petrucci

The one and only god.
#4
the computer seems plenty fast enough. I run 3.1GHz dual core and you can see what I do already without an issue.

As for the interface vs ASIO driver, they are not two different things. Once you install the drivers from the M-Audio website for the interface, it should install the ASIO drivers right at the same time.

I run an M-audio 2496 PCI interface on this computer and it does allow me to select ASIO under the Audio System drop down menu so it should be the same for your M-audio interface.