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Digidesign MBOX2 vs. M-Audio Firewire 410

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Poon, Oct 27, 2005.


  1. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    So I'm looking to make a small personal studio in my apartment, just to do some long distance session or collaborative work or work on the road. I'd like something where I can get decent quality recordings, recording bass, piano, and guitar, as those are the instruments I'd be asked to perform with. I've narrowed it down to these two as they both use some form of Pro-Tools, either Pro-Tools LE or Pro-Tools M-Powered, which from I understand are essentially the same.

    I was looking at the Pre-Sounus Firebox, Firepod, as well as the Emu 1820M and 1616M, all which looked great, however they don't use Pro-Tools. I'm looking to learn Pro-tools as it's an industry standard. The M-Audio (which has it's advantages IMHO) seems like it'll end up costing me $475 including shipping. The cost of the M-Box2 would be $404 including shipping.
    The big advantage that i can see with the M-Audio (which digidesign owns now) is that it can do 96khz audio, however the mbox can only do up to 48khz. To many, that's unacceptable if you're ever going to track professionally.

    What should I do? :eyebrow:













    Mbox Mbox2 M-Box M-Box2 Firewire410 Maudio
     
  2. Dugz Ink

    Dugz Ink

    Oct 23, 2005
    The 410 had some really bad driver issues when it came out, but it sounds like those have been worked out.

    I've heard that the Firepod can get fairly hot, but I haven't heard from anybody who says that's caused a problem.

    Don't get the M-Box; if you're going Digidesign, get the M-Box2. It's about the same price, and less likely to be "discontinued" in the near future.

    BTW: Avid owns M-Audio... and Digidesign... and a bunch of other stuff.

    As for the "industry standard" thing, that's blown out of proportion. And because Pro Tools is fairly proprietary, it can be a stumbling block instead of a stepping stone.
     
  3. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    In terms of an interface the 410 blows the M-Box out of the water. However as you know, it can only work with Pro Tools M-Powered. Which may prove to be just fine for you. I can't remember all the differences between LE and M-Powered but for what you are doing it may amount to nothing. The first thing that comes to mind is that M-Powered does not support the DV Tool Kit, I am sure you don't care. Also something about plug ins.

    None the less I am inclined to recomend the M-Powered 410 combo. I think for the collabrative work you are wanting to do it will work great. Ultimately you will not be doing to mixing or the final tweeking, so basically you just need an effective, high quality means of tracking your parts in a format which can be easily used by the producer or other musicians. I think you got it. Not to say that the M-box won't do it, but I really think the M-audio is a superior interface.

    Pro Tools as a standard is definately not out of proportion. Yes, many other great programs are out there, but Pro Tools will never close any doors to you, where as some of the others may very well. The proprietary thing does suck, but it beats being the guy who gets flak because the studio can't work with his logic/DP/steingberg session. Not down play those programs, they are great, but for what you are doing go with what works.
     
  4. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    You cant buy the mbox anymore, it already has been discontinued. The mbox 2 is the same price it just replaced it. Id def go with the mbox 2. I dont think theyve come out with a new version of pro tools thats mpowered, like a mpowered version of 7.0. I havent heard good things about m-audio's pre's, which i think the focusrite ones on the mbox arent too bad at all.
     
  5. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    Well I don't think mbox vs mbox2 is the issue here, obviously don't get discontinued digistuff.

    Digi has just or is about to release 7.0 across all platforms, including M-powered.

    I have actually heard the M-audio Pres and I hear the focusrites on a daily basis. Either one is equally as crappy as the other. If you want a better pre, buy one.

    Granted, the new Bbox is cool, I still think that M-Audio is preferable, if for no other reason than you can actually use it with other programs should the need arise. With Digi? Sorry.
     
  6. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks Droog you've been really informative and helpful. Thanks to Drugz, and Hyper Item as well for your insightful input.
     
  7. Dugz Ink

    Dugz Ink

    Oct 23, 2005
    Unless you have 26 clips on 18 tracks, or a lot of automation, the whole ______-to-PT conversion thing isn't that big of a deal; you just import your files, sync a few tracks, and go to work.

    It really does come down to what you will be doing. I record 3-8 tracks at my place, dump them onto a USB-stick, then carry them over to my friend's studio. I have Sonar 4, and he has Pro Tools LE... and it's not big deal.

    Some of the big studios have Pro Tools HD, but not all of them. Either way, I'm not going to spend hours working on something at home (in Sonar) just so I can take to Sound Emporium or Audio Productions and ask them to do it right, so transfering my sessions is not that important.

    That's why I said that the "industry standard" thing is blown out of proportion. It's not like you either have it or you don't get to play with the big boys.

    You won't be a "loser" if you don't have Pro Tools.
     
  8. Dugz Ink

    Dugz Ink

    Oct 23, 2005
    Oh... and just so you don't think I'm crazy, here's a link to Zzounds. Yeah, they still have plenty of the older M-Boxes in stock... that's why I warned you to NOT buy it.

    http://www.zzounds.com/item--DGDMBOX

    By the way... just noticed the comment about the mic-pres. He's right; for that price you won't get something that sounds like a Neve.

    By the way, I've been told that the Saffire has better pres. Yes, it's $100 more, but Focusrite has a reputation for putting out gear that sounds decent, so you might want to check it out.
     
  9. WalterBush

    WalterBush

    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    As a matter of fact, one of the qualifications of becoming a "big boy" I'm told is knowing how to use multiple formats, e.g. Pro Tools, RADAR, ADAT, even (gasp!) analog tape. Plenty of amazing engineers hire dedicated operators to run Pro Tools, Pyramix, Nuendo, or whatever system you care to name so they can concentrate more on recording, and less on the vehicle they're using to record with. Whatever program/format you choose, a well-equipped studio will usually be able to transfer it for you, albeit at a price.

    As well, unless you're planning on recording classical quartets and jazz combos for mastering to DVD or SACD, you really shouldn't worry about 48khz vs 96 khz too much IMO. Most rock, pop, or electronic music has such a limited dynamic range (i.e. always LOUD) that they sound great recorded at 24/48, or even 16/44 for that matter. Get what works better, sounds better, or is more flexible. Generally, program material can be dithered. I haven't noticed album sales hurting for the hordes of bands who recorded hit albums on a 20-bit 48khz ADAT mastered to CD, either. Lemme know which one you get, too, please. My studio has asked me to look at getting a small PT setup so I can take some work home with me, and I'm interested in the pros/cons of each, as seen by someone actually using the stuff.
     
  10. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA

    That's good advice. Hayward, CA eh? Next to my old stomping grounds. I'm from Castro Valley. My friend was telling me that the recordings are brought back down to 16bit 44hz audio for CD anyway, so it really doesn't matter if I get the m-box or not. Does anyone know if there is any diffference between M-Powered Pro-Tools and pro-tools LE?
     
  11. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    Check out the software comparison chart. Sorry I could not find this earlier.Digi LE and M-Powered Page

    Very similiar actually. No Control 24, Digitranslator, or DV Toolkit. Other than that not much.
     
  12. Dugz Ink

    Dugz Ink

    Oct 23, 2005
    I have several friends who have the smaller PT systems.

    One has the M-Box and a Mac that has dual G4s. It's dead solid, and he takes it on the road as a back-up for his pro gear. (He is a pro engineer, and works with people like Edgar Meyer, Bella Fleck, Sam Bush, Emmy Lou Harris, etc.)

    Another friend has her M-Box hooked to a P3 that she also uses for email, internet surfing, etc... and it SUCKS! On average, it locks up 1 time out of 4.

    My best friend has the Digi 002 rack mount. He only bought hardware that was recommended by Digidesign, but setting it up was still a hassle... and I've been working on computers since 1980. We got it up and running, then started loading the bundled software... and spent even more time trying to get everything running.

    Personally, if I was going to spend the money on the Digi 002, I would spend another grand so I could have their Music Production System; if you're mixing numerous tracks, you'll really want the motorized faders and the buttons that switch between the various views.

    However, if you want to do a lot of work in MIDI, punt the Pro Tools and buy Cubase, Sonar, or Logic... and something less proprietary, ranging from the Firewire 410 interface up to the Tascam 1884 controller/interface.

    As always... just my opinion, results may vary, see dealer for details...
     
  13. WalterBush

    WalterBush

    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Actually, at home I use Sonar 4 PE (Sonar 5 PE coming soon!) with a Digimax LT and an Echo Layla. Often, we get smaller projects with only a few tracks, A Capella acts, folk singers, and such. The studio would like me to have a small PT setup so we don't have to reschedule larger clients to mix smaller ones on the main PT rig, or go through hassles transferring PT to Sonar (the other way 'round is much friendlier, I must say.)

    Problem: They aren't going to spring for a new Mac, and since I won't be recording, only mixing, editing, etc, they aren't springing for a full-blown HD rig, or even a 002.

    Problem: Digi keeps claiming that PT works on a PC platform, but the only place I've seen that happen is at last year's trade shows and Digiworld, where they debuted the Venue and Icon systems on dual-processor AMD XP computers. No telling how much setup time went into getting them to work, either. Sure, they said there was no hassle setting up...

    So anyway, I'm looking at the cheapest way to get PT on my system, and PT Free doesn't run on newer systems (sounds familiar, somehow...) so I'm interested in which device Poon settles on, and his experiences with LE or M-Powered. I'll just have to brave the horrors of Digi on a PC, unless V7 has some serious improvements in that regard. I don't get paid enough to invest in a used Mac, or an elaborate PT system that would allow me to hassle Digi customer support endlessly for free.
     
  14. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm still in a pickle as to which I should get.

    My buddy who's an engineer says that he thinks that both will work, but the M-Box 2 is a better bet. Even though everything on the specs side say that the M-audio Firewire is a better interface. And why don't they offer firewire connections for the M-Box 2?