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Digidesign Mbox - anyone using?


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Well since I'm most likely going to be selling my Logic 6 Audio Big Box since it is more than I need (MIDI) and less than I need (audio editing wise [plug-ins are one thing]), I'm left with getting the Digidesign Mbox with Pro Tools LE.


Which also means: I no longer have to worry about how many USB ports on my Powerbook are free for an authorization dongle... I don't have to clutter my desk as it is with a USB hub... I get software with the interface.


I've searched the forum re: Mbox, got many threads to go through yet, but I'm getting mostly negative results. Read the preamps aren't good - I have no idea what a preamp is.


I know it has 2 ins, which is perfect for me, honestly. I don't need more. (Guitar/keyboard/mic [have not bought mic yet])


But then I also think to myself - do I really need an interface... I can record my guitar or a mic into the Fantom-S, export to Powerbook. I can resample all my work on the keyboard, export to Powerbook. In this way I could just resample each track, export individually to the laptop and load up in software and edit if need be.


I would look at ProTools free for OS9 to get a feel for it and make sure it's what I want to be using, but my Powerbook can't get online yet... PC is on AOL, we haven't switched to DSL yet (we're going to share the connection) and my USB flashkey is 32MB while PT Free OS9 is 40 MB... oh and PT Free for Windows 98 just crashes upon startup.


Your thoughts?

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Hmm, I suppose no one is using the M-Box then. I'll dig around at other forums though I don't participate in any other but one dedicated to the Fantom-S...


If anyone using Pro Tools LE could give me a full list of what audio editing/effects I can do, this would be very helpful so I know I'm not missing anything I'm looking for. (Pretty much an audio editing prog with multitracking with alot of options/effects).

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I read the info @ digidesigns site but I'd like a listing of whats in the menu as far as what you can do - they don't list things like reverb, highpass/lowpass, gate, compressor, flange, blah blah blah stuff like that - I'm sure it has the essential effects/editing but I'd like to get a complete list. If I'd of had a list of Logic 6 Audio's (sparse or trial version)effects I'd of not bought it.
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Check out Menu Guide for PT 6.1 .


The AudioSuite menu has FXs that you can apply to a region or selection. Some of the things you're looking for will be found in other menus such as the Edit menu (silence, fades).


With Protools you can make a selection and then apply an AudioSuite FX or you can insert an FX on an audio track and then the effect is applied in realtime. Not all AudioSuite FXs are available as realtime RTAS FXs, but many are.


I had an M-Box which I used with an iBook. This was with OS9. It run fine and was very solid. The only issue that I had was that sometimes when I would first get into the program the audio would be distorted. I had to unplug and replug the USB connection to the MBox. I don't know if that has been fixed in later firmware updates. Regarding the micpres, I never used them only the line in and S/PDIF. They are Focusrite pres I believe and should sound just fine. Remember Digidesign is the audio company everyone loves to hate, mainly because of their success. They own the upper-end pro market and no one has been able to put any real dent in this. So you will hear that a lot of neysayers who will dis this and that about digi products. Take it with a grain of salt. There are tons of pros who have Mboxes so that they can work on things away from the studio and the large TDM systems.


I sold the Mbox because I needed more inputs. I now have a Digi001 (Windows XP) setup at my band's studio and a TDM H3 (Mac) in my home studio. I bring sessions back and forth and it works out extremely well.


Protools makes a lot of sense for non-keyboard players who don't need a lot of MIDI functionality. Even for me, PT's MIDI capabilities are sufficient.


I believe places like Guitar Center consider Mbox to be hardware and hence it is returnable. Double check this with your reseller. Also, Panther support is just coming available. I don't know if you're using Panther or not. I believe it will be supported for your system and the MBox on 11/21. Go to www.digidesign.com and check out the user forums. There is one dedicated to PT LE and Mac users. Also all the manuals and support docs are there.


Not trying to push it on you. It might click with you or maybe not.



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Check out the Digidesign links you've already been given. And you may want to ask over on the PT LE forums (both Mac and PC are available) over at http://duc.digidesign.com


FWIW, I just installed / set up a MBox for one of my clients a few days ago on a Dell laptop. Took me all of about 10 minutes, was a trouble free install and the client is already getting around on it pretty well. If you have limited I/O needs, it's a cool little product.

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Grrrrr... checked out the PDF, but the digidesign forums wont let me register - says that I'm forgetting a field yet I had them all filled in.


I have read several posts at the forum where people claimed to have a noise or high pitch noise coming from the MBox :(

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One of my friends uses an MBox with a Mac G4 OS 9.x (guess there were some problems with 10) and no hi-pitch noises or other weirdness.


The main issue to consider for home recordists, I believe, is number of inputs, and you already said 2 is fine for you. Regarding preamps and effects, since you say you "don't even know what a preamp is," I'd say the MBox's preamps, which are based on Focusrite's Green series, will be just fine.


BTW, the preamps matter especially when recording a mic-level signal, less so for line-level, which has separate inputs that bypass any sort of coloring a preamp will give. Actually, the pres in the MBox aren't bad ... I'd say better than in my Digi 001, but then I use outboard pres that are better than both options anyway. Focusrite is a reputable audio-gear manufacturer. The green line is one of their entry-level product lines, if I recall.


Regarding reverb, compressor, etc, yeah, these are all valuable tools, and most included plug-ins are decent. There are more professional packages out there -- available for Pro Tools (Digidesign's software that powers Mbox, 001, pro TDM systems) at extra cost. Likewise if you went with another hardware/software option you could buy professional effects for those. Also reverb is not included ... but DigiVerb is decent and not too much $$.


Does this help? Actually, I used to do some marketing writing for Digi, so if you want more specific info, ask and I can try to answer ... I've been out of that realm for a few years now so can't comment on current product strategies or anything like that.


But I do have experience recording with the MBox, Digi 001, and pro TDM systems (shuttling projects between my home and a professional studio was why I chose a Digi 001 in the first place -- for session portability -- otherwise I might have chosen Cubase/Nuendo or something else), on both Macs and PCs.


I'm sure other folks here can be helpful with specifics too.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby


"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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