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So, whaddya know about the "M Box"


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Well, I haven't tried it out.. a few things make me wary... First off, in digidesign ads, they refer to the Mbox as only doing 24 tracks, while the digi002 can do 32, even though they both use PTle. Why? Second, I've heard that the monitoring is funky, and the latency high. Third, I'm kinda concerned about the "focusrite" preamps. If they are platinum series, no me gusta. They aren't totally awful, but they aren't really naturally pleasant sounding, and sound kind of "dull." The whole casing and build quality look chinchy. It seems like the mbox has made the digi 001 a really good buy though. For only 200 to 300 more, you can get a ton of extra features.

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The secret on the MBOx was to talk about PORTABILITY, being able to take a Laptop running ProTools anywhere and make possible to record a stereo track with decent preamps. Otherwise, it misses a lot of features you might find in other systems, including the digi001 ! ... not to mention other manufacturers with an "M" in the name ;)

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[quote]Originally posted by GusTraX: [b] ... not to mention other manufacturers with an "M" in the name ;) [/b][/quote]Yeah, what's up with THAT? I wonder what M-Audio thinks of this? This is essentially the same thing they make. [[i]Talk about confusion in the marketplace...[/i] ]
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I had one for a while but I took it back. I'll give you my quick impressions. [b]Preamps:[/b] They actually sound very good. I was surprised. [b]PTLE:[/b] The MBox version does do 32 tracks which is contrary to most ads. The down side for me (why I took it back) is that it crashed in XP constantly. I tried everything under the sun but that one program was the only daw I had that always crashed. Not being able to use PT software made the $450 price of the MBox way too high. [b]Monitoring:[/b] You can monitor a 0-latency signal while recording but it's mono and panned to whichever side your input corresponds to. Input 1-left side only, 2-Right side only. This is easily overcome by monitoring in mono during recording or recording in stereo. If I were a Mac user I probably would have had a better experience. Everyone kept telling me that the XP version is a '1.0' even though PTLE is a 5.x version and to just hold on a while and they'll get it right. I chose not to and exchanged it for a M-Audio Duo which I like a lot. I was trying to gain some PT compatibility at a low price but it didn't work out. I found PTLE to be nowhere near what I'd grown accustomed to functionality wise. Frankly, I don't like the PTLE software. Hope that helps. Lawrence
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[quote]Originally posted by GT3: [b]Anyone know why they only put "24 tracks" in the ads?[/b][/quote]Maybe Digi was assuming that "32 Tracks" would sound too overwhelming to entry-level customers??? Maybe they hadn't secured the 32-track capacity into the software yet when the ad campaign went to press??? Somebody should ask this question over on the DUC.
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[quote]Originally posted by dBunny: [b] [quote]Originally posted by GT3: [b]Anyone know why they only put "24 tracks" in the ads?[/b][/quote]Somebody should ask this question over on the DUC.[/b][/quote]I'm not going over there- they're like a bunch of pirahnas! :p

Want mix/tracking feedback? Checkout "The Fade"-

www.grand-designs.cc/mmforum/index.php

 

The soon-to-be home of the "12 Bar-Blues Project"

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I personally would stay away from any product which is inherently 'crippled' to create a forced pricing structure. Which is exactly what MoA do with their '24 or 32' track count which is limited based on their whim, not by the speed of your system. Another one is the fact that the hardware only works with LE rather than with whatever software you might like to use (though I did hear some third party wrote an ASIO driver, not sure how good it is...) But that's just my $.02. I'm quite happy with my MOTU stuff, and DP can export OMF if necessary. And there's always head sync, which is IMHO the best compatibility approach as demonstrated by our Mixing Event ;)
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MBox does work with any ASIO compliant software. In fact the Digi ASIO driver worked quite well bit Cubase. Again, I returned it because the $450 price tag seemed to high when PTLE constantly crashed on my system. I returned it for the M-Audio Duo and a usb M-Audio keyboard controller and still had $25 left over. BTW, the DUO's converters sound just as good but it offers no direct monitoring except in "stand alone" mode which kills the daw playback over usb. Lawrence
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BTW, here's some things about the PT software that drove me crazy. I could be wrong so correct me if that's the case. I only had it for two weeks. 1. Not being able to rearrange tracks. To move a particular track you have to move the audio part. Most other daws allow dragging entire tracks. I'm not talking audio parts I'm talking tracks, like grabbing a track at the bottom of the screen and moving the entire track up to the top where it then appears on mixer channel 1 WITHOUT creating a new track and moving audio parts. Did I miss something? 2. Having to create channels for returns. Crazy. In SX as soon as I load a send effect the return channels are automatically created in the mixer. In PTLE I have to create a return and then assign a effect and then define it's output. Why? 3. Not being able to (unless I just didn't know how?) load an insert effect while the audio is playing. Drove me nuts. Stopped every time. Is there a way? 4. Why can't I just grab the edge of a track lane with the mouse and size it like every other daw? 5. Using SX, Cakewalk or any other native daw allows everything to be done while the audio is playing. If the system can't keep up it'll click or "gap" the audio but keep playing. In PTLE this idiotic dialog box pops up that stops playback completely and tells you the system "waited to long for an interrupt". Jesus. I've loaded Waves plugs and such in SX during playback. I don't need to see the same reminder every two minutes. I saw more "blue screens of death" (XP/NT crash & memory dump) in the 2 weeks I ran PTLE than I've ever seen in three years of running NT at work and XP in the studio. Often this is with ONE short audio file loaded while I play around with it. PTLE on XP is crap. Digi gave me their "optimization" tips which are for beginners. I've run many daws and many demos of daws with nary a problem. Only PTLE was unstable and crashed like a auto industry test dummy. I'm sure HD or MIX systems are much better though. See ya Digi. Lawrence
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Oh, ASIO drivers are supplied by the mothership herself? That's cool, I was told otherwise but I guess they were wrong. Thanks for setting me straight. ... Actually I looked on their site and there is an ASIO driver listed for the Windows version but not for Mac. Is this accurate? I would want the flexibility to use it with Mac or Win. Still, if I were going to lay down $500 on a USB-based solution right now, it would be between the Tascam US-428 and the Event EZBus. I think I I'd lean towards the EZBus, since for me the ADAT i/o would be great to let my PC interface with my 2408-equipped Mac. Gotta love that there is a control surface included with both of these for the same price as the Mbox! Then again, I've not checked out the preamps in any of these. Anyone compared the three? Oh yeah, wait a sec, I'm not in the market to buy anything right now. Nearly forgot :D I'll be ready to get something like this right around the time they start using FireWire instead of USB, at the same price point. :thu:
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[quote]Originally posted by LawrenceF: [b]I returned it for the M-Audio Duo and a usb M-Audio keyboard controller and still had $25 left over. BTW, the DUO's converters sound just as good but it offers no direct monitoring except in "stand alone" mode which kills the daw playback over usb. Lawrence[/b][/quote]Nice ! However, you might love to try to a USB QUATTRO + OMNI i/o ... that offers MIDI and a lot of connectivity -including the mic preamps- for the same list price of the M-Box and offers more options for monitoring. or... well, I'll tell you later... :D You better wait !!!!!!!

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If you think that's cool how about [url=http://www.macnn.com/news.php?id=17842]this[/url] ? [quote] M-Audio (booth 442) will announce Ozone, a complete personal mobile studio which features an all-in-one keyboard, MIDI control surface, mic preamp, USB audio interface and USB MIDI interface. [/quote]
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[quote]Originally posted by Salonymous: [b]If you think that's cool how about [url=http://www.macnn.com/news.php?id=17842]this[/url] ? [quote] M-Audio (booth 442) will announce Ozone, a complete personal mobile studio which features an all-in-one keyboard, MIDI control surface, mic preamp, USB audio interface and USB MIDI interface. [/quote][/b][/quote]SHHHHTT !!! ( That's a NAMM surprise... :D )

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[quote]Originally posted by Salonymous: [b]Still, if I were going to lay down $500 on a USB-based solution right now, it would be between the Tascam US-428 and the Event EZBus. I think I I'd lean towards the EZBus, since for me the ADAT i/o would be great to let my PC interface with my 2408-equipped Mac. Gotta love that there is a control surface included with both of these for the same price as the Mbox! Then again, I've not checked out the preamps in any of these. Anyone compared the three? [/b][/quote]WHile the quality of the Mic preamps on the EZBus are not of the same quality that the ones in the other machines you mention -or others with a "M"-, the EZBus is a hell of a machine... hard to compare to anything else... And -sorry Jeff- it beats easily the US428 (which I loved and owned prior to my EZBus) in features. Since M-Audio does not manufacture digital mixers, I stay with my EzBus :thu:

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[quote]Originally posted by LawrenceF: [b]BTW, here's some things about the PT software that drove me crazy. I could be wrong so correct me if that's the case. I only had it for two weeks. 1. Not being able to rearrange tracks. To move a particular track you have to move the audio part. Most other daws allow dragging entire tracks. I'm not talking audio parts I'm talking tracks, like grabbing a track at the bottom of the screen and moving the entire track up to the top where it then appears on mixer channel 1 WITHOUT creating a new track and moving audio parts. Did I miss something? [/b] Yes. You can re-arrange the tracks. I normally do it in the Mix window (grab and drag). [b]2. Having to create channels for returns. Crazy. In SX as soon as I load a send effect the return channels are automatically created in the mixer. In PTLE I have to create a return and then assign a effect and then define it's output. Why?[/b] I guess automatically creating a return could be a cool option, but personally I'd rather do it myself. I can create 16 stereo aux input channels in under three seconds - half a minute if I have to assign the I/O's. Assigning a plug in is something you'd have to do anyway irregardless of the DAW, and I WANT to assign my own I/O... if the program did it "for me", I'd just have to change it part of the time anyway. [b]3. Not being able to (unless I just didn't know how?) load an insert effect while the audio is playing. Drove me nuts. Stopped every time. Is there a way?[/b] Maybe it was just your setup or your computer was too slow or something... I do it all the time. What you CAN'T change while playing or recording is adding aux sends or changing I/O assignments... but that's probably for the best anyway. :) [b]4. Why can't I just grab the edge of a track lane with the mouse and size it like every other daw?[/b] Good point. But is it really so hard to grab an icon and do it there? ;) [b]5. Using SX, Cakewalk or any other native daw allows everything to be done while the audio is playing. If the system can't keep up it'll click or "gap" the audio but keep playing. In PTLE this idiotic dialog box pops up that stops playback completely and tells you the system "waited to long for an interrupt". Jesus. I've loaded Waves plugs and such in SX during playback. I don't need to see the same reminder every two minutes.[/b] "The system held off interupts". :) Check that you have 1. the hardware buffer set high enough for the amount of tracks / edits and plug ins (the amount of each of these that you can get is is system dependent) 2. DMA is enabled on ALL your system's drives in Device Manager 3. Don't run ANYTHING "in the background" that you don't absolutely [i]need[/i] to run. Hit Cntrl/Alt/Del ONCE (Win XP) to see what's running - you might be surprised. And don't install any extraneous drivers or software that you don't need - it increases the liklihood of conflicts and probloems (I know YOU know this Lawrenece, this info is for others who may read this later...) Lawrence, you definitely had a system conflict of some kind - setup, hardware or software. *I* load Waves plug ins all the time while playing back, without problems, audio dropouts or DAE errors. [b]I saw more "blue screens of death" (XP/NT crash & memory dump) in the 2 weeks I ran PTLE than I've ever seen in three years of running NT at work and XP in the studio. Often this is with ONE short audio file loaded while I play around with it. PTLE on XP is crap.[/b] This is really what prompted me to respond to this post. Granted, it was crap for [i]you[/i]... and you obviously had some problems (which I'm sorry about for you) but it is most assuredly NOT crap for everyone. I own Logic Platinum, Sonar and Vegas in addition to Pro Tools, and of all of them, PT under Win XP has been BY FAR the most effecient, most user friendly and yes, the most STABLE of the bunch. But ANY DAW is going to have its own quirks... things we'd like to see improved or changed. Most DAW software can be made to work, and work well. And they each have their own paradigms - and I certainly realize that some are better than others at certain things (I personally HATE the fact that PT doesn't have a notation display for MIDI instead of that @#$#%! piano roll). And each is going to have certain hardware compatability issues or requirements. Knowing all of that, I certainly am not trying to convince you (or anyone else) what DAW is "best", so please don't misunderstand me. I'm just saying that my experiences completely differ from yours. [b]Digi gave me their "optimization" tips which are for beginners. I've run many daws and many demos of daws with nary a problem. Only PTLE was unstable and crashed like a auto industry test dummy. I'm sure HD or MIX systems are much better though.[/b] My personal tips on PT (especially LE): 1. Use the DUC. There's TONS of info there to be had with a simple search, and plenty of users who can advise / help. 2. Don't use the Digidesign H/W compatability docs as a guideline - use them as a BIBLE. Vary from them only at your own peril, or if you feel like being a hardware test guinea pig on a new mobo or something or if advised to do so (or told it's a "proven" hardware device) by a EXPERIENCED PT user - preferably on the DUC (like here, you can usually figure out who has a "clue" and who doesn't fairly quickly just by doing a little hanging out and some reading). BTW, while it may take 5 - 10 minutes to get through, in my experience, Digidesign's customer service and support is very good. 3. Learn a new keyboard shortcut every day - or at least a new one once a week. They're the absolute key to fast and efficient operation of PT (or just about ANY DAW for that matter). 4. Install Win XP fresh, and not "over the top" of an existing OS (Win 98se / ME, etc) install. 5. Get the fastest DAW computer you can possibly afford. :) [b]See ya Digi.[/b] Well Lawrence, I hope you found something that works for you. Pro Tools (with occasional MIDI and looping "help" from Sonar) works VERY well for me. :thu: Emagic (and Apple, since they were most likely to blame for the end of Logic PC development) can kiss my rear. :mad: BTW, for anyone interested, here's my DAW's hardware config: AMD Athlon XP 2700 Thermaltake Volcano 9 CPU heatsink / fan w/ "Coolmod" Asus A7N8X Deluxe mobo 2 X 256 (512 MB total) PC 3200 DDR DRAM 60 GB, 7200 RPM Maxtor C Drive 80 GB, 7200 RPM Seagate D (audio only) drive Sony 40 X 12 X 48 CD-RW Compaq CD-ROM / DVD-ROM No name, el-cheapo IEEE 1394 PCI card (VIA chipset) Win XP Home Digi 002 M Audio Audiophile 2496 (secondary audio interface) ATI 128 MB Radeon 9000 dual head video card I mentioned the vid card last for a reason. I WAS using a Matrox G550 dual head with my last config (A7V333 / Athlon XP 2400), pushing a pair of 17" monitors (with the primary side going to a active splitter feeding a third [15"] monitor over by the console), and it worked GREAT... but when I went to the new mobo, I had ALL KINDS of problems... graphics problems, DAE errors in Pro Tools, BSOD's, etc. etc. Something as simple as changing a video card can make all the difference in the world... ;) [/quote]
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[quote]Originally posted by Salonymous: [b]If you think that's cool how about [url=http://www.macnn.com/news.php?id=17842]this[/url] ? [quote] M-Audio (booth 442) will announce Ozone, a complete personal mobile studio which features an all-in-one keyboard, MIDI control surface, mic preamp, USB audio interface and USB MIDI interface. [/quote][/b][/quote]I've been hearing about the Ozone for about 9 months now. They even had it listed with a picture on The American Music Supply site for $289.00. So far no Ozone. Can you say vaporware?
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Still, it does look interesting http://www.midiman.de/ozone.htm Too bad I can't read German. [url=http://babelfish.altavista.com/babelfish/urltrurl?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.midiman.de%2Fozone.htm&lp=de_en&tt=url]...or garbled English.[/url] What's a mikrofonvorverstaerker?
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I think one of the reasons they upped the track count from 24 to 32, is becasue a cracked version appeared almost immediately, that allowed 32 tracks.

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Check this out. Now it says [url=http://www.americanmusical.com/item.asp?UID=2002123114220546&item=MII+OZONE]available 2-15[/url] for the the M-Audio Ozone. I'll believe when I see it. If only it had a firwire interface, or USB 2.0 interface it would perfect, still very useable though.
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[quote]Originally posted by Henchman: [b]I think one of the reasons they upped the track count from 24 to 32, is becasue a cracked version appeared almost immediately, that allowed 32 tracks.[/b][/quote]You're probably correct... and they can change that arbitrary track count limitation any time they want - it's probably just a few lines of code that creates that "limitation"... IMO, this is a somewhat legit complaint regarding PT LE and Digidesign in particular - the intentional "crippling" of their Native version in order to create a (as Salonymous phrased it) "forced pricing structure". OTOH, I can understand the business philosophy, and there are performance and stability benefits to this approach: by limiting the track count to an amount that can probably be supported by most standard computer setups (insofar as processing power and disk I/O capabilitis), they eliminate potential end user problems for the vast majority of users. Let's face it - while many of us are computer savvy around here, not everyone who is interested in getting involved with home / project recording is... just let your drummer (or guitarist ;) ) try using your DAW sometime and you'll see what I mean. :eek: :D Besides, 32 tracks SHOULD be enough for many / most purposes. There's always ways to work within that large of a "limit". "Bounce to Disk", submixes, multiple musical parts "sharing" track space (with automation on effects, EQ's and dynamics, this isn't as bad a situation as it is in the analog mixing world) etc.
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