Mbox 1 still good?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by thechidz, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. thechidz macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #1
    Is the original Mbox with focusrite preamps still considered a good device in that pricerange? If you use it do you prefer protools, garageband, logic etc???


    Pros and cons of each configuration please?

    Thank you berry much:p
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #2
    translation: digi paid focusrite money to use the what-was-once-a-respectable name on whatever piece o' crap pre digi threw together.

    regarding digi hardware, my advice remains: get it if you want to run the software. otherwise, get something else.
     
  3. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

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    #3
    What do you mean by "in that price range?" It's a discontinued product, so it has no price range. If you mean you're buying it used, then you need to tell us how much you the used price is that you saw it for in order for us to tell you if that's a competitive price for comparably priced new devices.
     
  4. thechidz thread starter macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #4
    actually Ive owned it for 2 years now. I mean in the entry level, non-pro type of range. I am wondering if I should keep it to use with protools and garageband or sell it and get something newer...
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #5
    well, what do you think of it?
     
  6. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #6
    It is actually a Focusrite pre, same one as in the Control 24, but it;s so chronically underpowered by the USB, it has no headroom and is a noisy little bugger when pushed.

    Still, it's a much better pre than in later version of the m-box, although the m-box pro is a useful way of getting to 96/24 in a portable format and doesn't sound bad at all.

    Incidentally, the line inputs on an m-box are fine, so if you plug a decent pre into it (I use the 9098 purepaths) you can get very acceptable results into LE.

    If you must use an m-box the mark 1 is probably the best.
     
  7. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

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    #7
    I use an mbox 2 but I find the pre's a bit muddy so I use a voicemaster and line (balanced) it in and I find that just fine for vox. Shame about lack of 96. I'm looking to upgrade because of that. Also 2 analogues in isn't really enough for what I'm doing atm.
     
  8. thechidz thread starter macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #8
    I mainly use it for recording classical guitar so I guess what I'm asking is if I can get away with finding a simple compact preamp interface for around 300 with GarageBand or something it comes with or should I keep the mbox and call it a day?

    I'm also wondering how you guys feel about using a minidisc recorder and then loading that into GarageBand or reason?

    Are there minidisc recorders with decent preamps?

    Thanks
     
  9. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

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    #9
    Mini disc records audio in a compressed mp3-like format. Dont use a mini disc recorder when seeking high fidelity. In fact in today's world, don't use a mini disc recorder ever.
     
  10. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

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    #10
    Then you're much better off spending the money on a nice mic or if you have one an external pre.

    About minidisc recorders - no not unless you spend a bit of money, and then it's not going to be on minidisc - instead dat or solid state. Some flash based recorders I've looked at are the Zoom H-2 or H-4 which are ok. But you're actually better off with something like the fostex FR 2 LE which has half decent pres (this was the advice of a top engineer at the BBC). I think my next block of student loan will find it's way into fostexs hands... Of course the fostex is more expensive than the others. And the H-4 can be used as an interface (but not a good one).

    Are you talking about being really really portable? Because if not mbox>laptop will work fine.
     
  11. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #11
    Seconded, a good mic and pre will gain you better results than a new interface, plus PT is still the best tracking/mixing platform to my mind.

    Don't use minidisc, even the pro ones suck.
     
  12. thechidz thread starter macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #12
    yes I'm thinking ultra ultra portable. Mbox focuseite preamps are great right? Maybe I should just stick with my mbox and buy another shure sm81 (my last one was stolen):(
     
  13. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #13
    i'm still confused as to why you're wondering how gear you already own sounds. what do YOU think of it?
     
  14. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #14
    The pre's in the M-box are OK, but they are underpowered, as I said.

    They will do the job up to a point and no further, they are noisy at higher gains, they don't handle transients well at all and they are picky about condensor mics (not very happy with large diaphragm designs)

    If you're not after high quality results, they'll work fine, otherwise strap a properly powered (i.e. not bus powered) pre into the line inputs and have done.
     
  15. thechidz thread starter macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #15
    Ive never been very confident with my ear as far as this stuff goes. I think it sounded good when I had my shure mic but it could have sounded better. I think the unit is a little unstable though
     
  16. thechidz thread starter macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #16
    this is very helpful, thanks
     
  17. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

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    #17
    Sorry to hear about your mic...

    I think we all agree that your best investing your cash in a good pre or to a lesser extent mic. I say to a lesser extent the mic because not all mics will work so well with the mbox.

    Either way these are good options as you will always have a use for a pre or mic whatever DAW or interface you use, good mics and pres never face redundancy and as long as you get them at a good price (I would say go second hand) they won't loose much of their resale value.

    -----
    All those suggestions I made are a bit expensive and are for high quality recording on the go. If that's your thing, fork out the $500 dollars on the fostex. Don't be dettered though. If you want to record on a cheapo mini disk player there's nothing stopping you. Some of my favourite songs were recorded on crap gear. If you're just looking to make scratch recordings I say go for it.
    Remember most people who post here are audiophiles and offer advice on how to create high fidelity recordings. If you just want to have some fun out and about go for it! I've made some recordings on rubbish gear, and yes in terms of fidelity they were rubbish, but that didn't too heavily detract from the overall quality of what I was trying to do.
     
  18. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #18
    feel free to post a representative sample. maybe we'll hear other / additional ways to improve things.

    though: the sm58 wouldn't be my first choice for acoustic guitar.
     
  19. thechidz thread starter macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #19
    I am actually leaning towards fostex, I need some quality...
     
  20. thechidz thread starter macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #20
    Actually it was a sm81...

    Ill point you towards my myspace page... there are four tunes from my cd, which I recorded with my mbox a few years ago...

    http://www.myspace.com/wwwdavidchidseycom
     
  21. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #21
    oops!

    holy cow! yeah, that music definitely needs to be captured at a level to match your playing. very very nice.

    the first thing that jumped out, recording-wise, was the noise floor. this is all mbox, right? you can really hear what WM was talking about.

    the room sounded fine, i thought. where was it recorded?

    #1 thing to replace is the mic. a close #2 is the pre. i bet you could stick with the mbox conversion for now given those purchases. what's the budget?

    for the pre, consider the $475 FMR RNP. you can use it to front-end the mbox. for the mic, it really depends on the budget. if you can only go for the $100 range, try the AT 2020 there. placed right, i think it'd be a nice improvement. if you can swing it, maybe go for the AT 4040 or shure ksm32.

    edit: oh, i see above you're looking in the $300 range. maybe someone can recommend a decent $200 pre, and you can grab the AT 2020.
     
  22. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

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    #22
    Zims right, you deserve better equipment considering the quality of your music.

    I have the at 4050, which as far as I'm aware is the 4030 with a couple more directional modes and I have used it particularly on friends classical guitars (not classical style though - usually anti-folk) and my voice. For a lot less money you can get the sm 57 which doesn't sparkle in the same way but is eternally useful... I picked it up the 4050 for about £150/$300.

    The fostex is detailed here

    The headphone amp is noisy but that's not an issue on the recordings. Bare in mind I haven't got one myself yet. But 'people in the know' have recommended it. Make sure you turn off ALC and set the levels low so as not to loose transients (I don't trust any ALC). It's certainly more expensive than the zoom h-4, but considering what you're doing with it, the miscellaneous features of the h4 are not going to be any use to you and make a poor trade off for the high end clarity it lacks. You can use condensers such as the 4030 in it.

    You might consider picking up a pair of matched condensors in the long run which will give your recordings dimension (if you pan each mic left and right) and show off more of that wonderful sustain and room sound you have.
     
  23. thechidz thread starter macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #23
    this is extremely helpful info guys, thank you:apple::apple::apple:
     
  24. thechidz thread starter macrumors 68000

    thechidz

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    #24
    yeah, looks like recording tech has jumped leaps and bounds since the last time I was on the market.

    Ive been looking around and it looks like something with a compactflash drive (fostex or marantz) would be the way to go.

    Would you say one of those drives and a pair of matched condenser mics and I'd be good to go?

    I could then transfer my recording straight to my mac and edit using garageband and all should be sweet right?

    Any more pointers greatly appreciated

    I wasnt looking to actually upgrade my gear, more like go minimalist, but you know gearlust:rolleyes:
     
  25. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

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    #25
    Yes I think that would be a good set up for you. I can't personally recommend the recorder till I get hold of one in the new year.

    About the software how come you're not using PTLE? You might consider using ardour (it's free) instead but I think that garage band reduces the quality of the audio you give it.
     

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