MBox 2 with Snow Leopard/unibody MBP

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by joshuwack, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. joshuwack macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2009
    Is anyone running a Pro Tools set up with an Mbox 2 on a unibody MBP? Those that are, can you answer me if your setup can run 100% off a USB port on the MBP?

    The reason behind these questions is that I have had a Tascam US-122 for a few years now. I upgraded my white MB to the unibody at the end of this past summer. Because of the green initiatives Apple is taking with their computers, the USB can no longer power the US-122. I now need to run it through a powered USB hub for extra juice. At home this is fine because I already run a powered USB hub. But on the road where I do a lot of small recordings, it defeats the purpose of having a mobile recording interface, which is why I bought the US-122 in the first place. Plus it's extra hassle.

    The next logical place to look is the MBox 2 by DigiDesign. Anyone with similar setups able to answer my questions? Or if you have an alternative solution, I'm also open to that. A friend suggested the Apogee Duet but that's too pricey when you're just getting the hardware.
  2. Penguissimo macrumors 6502a


    Nov 17, 2009
    The Mbox 2 hardware will be powered just fine by the MBP's USB port, but you should know about the major bug in Digidesign's USB Core Audio drivers:


    Basically, you can't disconnect the Mbox while the computer is on, and you can't let the computer go to sleep with the Mbox attached, or you get fairly frequent kernel panics and random freezes. After ignoring the issue for over TWO YEARS, Digidesign has just in the past few months come out with a (beta) semi-fix (only for Pro Tools 8 users, and apparently it hasn't even solved the problem for all of them).

    If you don't plan on using the Mbox for anything but Pro Tools, you're fine, since not installing the Core Audio driver avoids the problem, but you're really rolling the dice if you want to use it as a DAC in any other application. On the other hand, any system you buy today will come with PT 8, so you're at least eligible to beta-test the "fix". Given how well Digidesign has handled this issue, though, it's hard to recommend the Mbox 2.

    I personally got so sick of it that I picked up a firewire Mbox 2 Pro, which isn't affected by this bug (apparently it's a USB-only problem), and comes with an external power adapter. It also works just fine on bus power—the manual specifically states the the power adapter is only necessary if you're using a 4-pin firewire port. You should be able to pick one up relatively cheaply on eBay, and you can get a pretty hefty discount if you're affiliated with an educational institution. Hope this helps!
  3. joshuwack thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2009
    Thank you so much for all of this information. This definitely helps me in my quest to upgrade to a truly portable system. The Mbox 2 Pro sounds like the way to go. Thank you again!

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