Avid Pro Tools MBox Mini 3 with Pro Tools 10 Software

Avid Pro Tools MBox Mini 3 with Pro Tools 10 Software

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3 Review(s)
$578.99

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Best way into Pro Tools 10 Review by Benjamin
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Avid claims they used the same preamp on the Mbox series that they put in the newer HD interfaces. Did they? I don't know, but the Mbox Mini sounds great with even a cheap MXL condenser mic or an SM58, both of which I've done. It also sounds great with my DI guitar, even though the guitar itself is pretty cheap. It has a -20db pad, too, in case your mic is too sensitive or too close to the source (everyone knows a singer that likes to make sweet, sweet love to the microphone stand, right?)

Nothing about the Mbox is half-hearted. Like the sound I talked about, the build construction is great. It's all metal rather heavy for its size. There's nothing "mini" about it so if you're carrying it around with your laptop, make sure your bag has room. It's taller than any of the M-Audio interfaces with this basic shape (FT Pro, FT Ultra, 2nd gen Mobile Pre) and about as deep.

The drivers are solid if nothing spectacular. There's no fancy FX built in so nothing to control in the control panel other than latency. Speaking of which, on an Intel-based PC (not sure about AMD) I can get the latency down to 128 with a fair amount of processing going on and it doesn't seem to mind.

The only thing I don't like is the way input monitoring works. I can only monitor in one ear, depending on which input you're using. The old Mbox 2 series could make everything "mono" by coming in both ears of my headphones.

But let's face it - you're buying this for Pro Tools 10. And Pro Tools 10 is great. The workflow is not much different than 9, but it adds some nice new things like clip gain (which is pre-insert, pre-send volume control so your plugins give similar results because every clip is of a similar volume - very important for guitar plugins and compressors) and the new AAX plugin format, which is going to pave the way to 64-bit (for sure) and if Avid was smart, maybe even freeze tracks (hopefully). (Posted on 4/11/12)
Solid box Review by Doktor Funkenstein
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This thing is great. I got it for use with my desktop rig and Pro Tools LE.

Construction is solid. Nice thick metal casing, high-quality knobs, nice and hefty. Everything gives a nice satisfying "click" when you plug into it. The device just oozes physical quality.

And the pre-amp sounds great. My mics aren't high-price, but the pre-amp is a nice jump over my M-Audio Fast Track. There's plenty of gain for my Audix i5 dynamc mic, and my MXL large-diaphragm condenser can be turned down quite a bit to keep the noise floor to a minimum. Plus there's a -20 dB pad if you pull that channel's gain knob out. It doesn't come off the device, don't worry; it just clicks and everything is quieter.

The guitar input is very good, and my keyboard sounds great using both DI/Line jacks as stereo line in. That's great for having a MIDI track play and recording on an audio track to get an audio version of the track into the system (a must when you're dealing with a home studio with few inputs; I can't leave my keyboard plugged in all the time).

My only complaint is that there's no switch to tell it to play Mono in both ears of my headset, so I always hear my vocal or guitar panned hard right or left, depending on which input I'm using. That makes me feel slightly icky on the inside because it's so unnatural, but since I can set my quad-core Mac to 128 samples, I just don't use the hardware monitoring. The reported 7ms delay is plenty fast enough.

Pro Tools 8 LE is great, and I plan to take advantage of the upgrade pricing to get Pro Tools 9. Don't buy PT9 alone; get a great-sounding interface to go with it. (Posted on 2/28/11)
Rock Solid Review by BvDb9300
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Really solid Interface. Nice Job! (Posted on 11/22/10)

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