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.
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.
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.
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.