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Digi 003 With UA 710 Twin-Finity OR Mbox 2 With UA 710 Twin-Finity

Discussion in 'Recording' started by samcharles, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. samcharles

    samcharles Active Member


    I am a newbie looking for an answer to the following question.

    1.Which one will be good to go with the superb/ excellent sound quality?
    Digi 003 With Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity OR
    Mbox 2 With UA 710 Twin-Finity

    I already own a Mbox 2 Pro and looking for Digi 003 to upgrade. Mostly i would be recording one input per time, at the maximim only 2 inputs.

    I have heard people saying that Mbox 2 pro does not has a good preamp so people suggested 710 twinfinity.

    2. Is there any performance/sound quality difference between Mbox 2 Pro and Digi 003?

    3. I am looking to buy Digi 003? Is there any reason do i need to upgrade from Mbox 2 Pro to Digi 003 speaking in terms of quality. By any means i would be using the 710 twinfinity.

    Some people claim that 003 comes with the "Black Lion Audio" which is a good sound quality. If i need to hook up the 710 preamp with my Mbox
    2 pro will i attain a better sound quality. Or else i should go with the 003 and then connect with 710 Preamp?

    Can you please help me?
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    The analogy here is that you're asking if your Chevy Impala station wagon is as good as your Chevy Impala coupe. You have answered your own question.

    Both of those microphone preamps in both units, box-2/003 are both equally as awful as each other. Unless you need more than 2 inputs, or if you want a dedicated control surface, if you don't like using your mouse as much. Then you might want a 003 since it offers more than 2 microphone inputs.

    I have a 2 and I find it a disappointing piece of mediocre crap that I wouldn't have purchased. Especially if, a couple of years ago I could use Pro tools with any other hardware. Instead of revealing their secret, nonsecret proprietary blah blah circuits, I am forced to have to trace out the circuit which I actually haven't wasted my time with. Even Digi/Avid did not supply Black Lion with any schematics to help them improve their poorly executed, sorry excuse for a microphone preamp circuit thingy. Ain't nothing professional about that.

    Imagine if you needed to get your Chevrolet engine fixed. And there was some little gizmo deep inside the engine, they didn't want you to know about. Because of this gizmo, your auto manufacturer didn't want to release service & maintenance drawings so a Professional mechanic could repair your engine. So screw Avid. I don't like companies that believe their circuits utilizing off the shelf components, for microphone preamps that don't even have a reputation for being good, to not be supplied with schematics. It's not a professional piece of equipment unless it is professionally supplied with a professional schematic for professionals to be able to properly professionally service their lousy units.

    Yup, you're 710 is a nice unit which you might as well plug in to the Box-2 line level inputs. You will not glean any kind of improvement between a 2 & 003.

    Now let's say Ford was willing to give you the mechanical drawings and Chevrolet would not. How would that influence your decision on the purchase? Personally, I'll never buy any of their crappy nonprofessional products other than their software, again. I mean they won't even talk to you about it. And that's professional? You think that's professional? I don't care if they've got Pro in the title of their crap because it's not, only the price is. I mean not including the schematic is like not including an instruction manual.

    Thankfully, to a certain extent, they have realized their stupidity. They still won't give you a schematic but now you can get Pro Fools after version 9 to work with anybody's preamps/hardware equipment. Everybody cheered. That's because we don't like their equipment much.

    For a newbie, you're pretty good at answering your own questions.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    This is crap. NO 003 or any other Digi/Avid product comes with Black Lion Audio anything. Black Lion Audio will however happily modify your 003 and make it actually usable which is their whole business. Not the same thing. A stock 003 is no better than a stock MBox 2.

    You really need a better interface from a different company if you want better quality.
  4. bicasaur

    bicasaur Active Member

    The 710 is a pretty cool mic pre; I've got one. For quality in your signal path, I'd say the most important is your mic, then the pre, then the conversion (all of which are less important than the source you are recording, of course). Since you're only using the interface for its conversion, I wouldn't worry too much about it. I think you're not going to notice the difference unless you go for stupid good conversion like the Apogee/Lynx/Prism/Lavry camp, which cost quite a lot more. So my advice is don't worry about upgrading your interface at this point unless you go all the way.
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Do you already have Pro Tools? If so, which version? If not, or your version is 9 or above, do not consider buying new Digidesign pre-amps and interfaces, as the other posters have so eloquently advised. The UA Twin-Finity is worthy of feeding into a much better interface than an Mbox or an 003.
  6. samcharles

    samcharles Active Member

    Thanks everyone for your valuable advises.

    1. I decided to buy Apogee duet 2 since i will be using only a max of 2 inputs per time. will this be a good descision?
    2. I am using the AKG C414 XL II mic for recording all the instruments(sax, flute, trumpet, violin etc) and vocals(male and female). I think its a very good mic. Your thoughts?
    3. If i get a Apogee Duet2 do i need to get a seperate preamp like 710 twin-finity? Or the Duet2 preamp and the converter will be good?

    Thanks in advance!
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I believe you'll find you can probably utilize the Apogee quite nicely just by itself. You may also still be able to feed your 710 into it for a different tonality from the same 414. Yes yes the 414 is one of the finest microphones ever made and one of the most prolific of them. It's the Austrian equivalent to the German 87 with that AKG Sound which has an overall brighter flavor than the Neuman 87 which costs $3300 US today. So by today's standards, this Austrian Goodie is a total bargain. Although feeding your 710 to the Duet will require that you adjusts the Apogee accordingly otherwise you'll suffer horrendous overload trying to feed a line level output to a microphone level input. This may also perhaps require what is known as an XLR line to microphone pad matching barrel. The 710 & Apogee have two entirely different sounds to their preamps so this provides you with additional record coloration choices.

    I'm sure Santa knows that she is " Naughty & Nice ". And that's the spice of life.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. sdelsolray

    sdelsolray Active Member

    Of course, when using the Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity with either Avid product you will be bypassing the Avid preamps and using the line in inputs. Thus, when comparing the M-Box 2 Pro to the Digi003, only the AD conversion need comparison for tracking and the DA converters need to be compared for monitoring. I haven't compared them in that regard. I've used a Digi003 for many years (Digi001 before that). However, I've bypassed the units completely by using outboard preamps and outboard converters (connecting via ADAT).
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    It won't bypass the preamps in these units because the line input is still routed through them. The only way to ditch the awful Avid analog section is to come in digitally. Using the UA or other external does help due to most of the gain being prior to the Digi.
  10. Keith S

    Keith S Active Member

    The 003 Rack has four line inputs (5 thru 8) that are not routed through any preamps.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Mea culpa. I forgot about those. Still aren't good analog sections but as you say, fed from external preamps it helps to mitigate things.

    The OP would be best served by a different brand of interface and PT 9 or 10 or even track with Reaper and import to PT to mix.
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Keith I don't believe that is quite correct. While you have four-line inputs, it's still going into low-level preamps of the Digi crap design. So it's not too far removed from the microphone inputs. It's not like going directly into a quality analog to digital converter such as an apogee. I mean their line level inputs are more doable than their lousy microphone preamps but they both come from the same minds/mindset/design philosophy so still Digi. Digi get that? (I've always wanted to say that, that way... Digi get that... I like to amuse myself. Or, is that abuse myself?) And the reason I've said this is because I've never used the microphone inputs on my Digi M-Box 2. I've only tried to use the line level inputs being fed from my Neve and it completely sucks. The 003 is just 4 of these same crappy line inputs. The front end can not handle a +4 DB output with +28 DB output capability. It starts crapping out at less than -18 hitting those line level inputs. But when that's all you have, you make the best of it but you will miss what your front end may be able to deliver to it. It was a good thought though and of course partially correct since you are going through one less amplification stage of lousy design. And that can only help.

    Actually, if I was such a purist, I'd shower more than once per week.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  13. Keith S

    Keith S Active Member

    Hmm, I didn't know this was the case and honestly, it gets a bit beyond my meager understanding of electronics. The way I understood it was that those four inputs totally bypassed any of that stuff and went straight to the AD conversion. That's kinda dissapointing though since I don't have an Apogee or Lynx interface, I suppose I don't know what I'm missin'. :)

  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well you shouldn't be too disappointed if you're not trying to interface with a Neve or API. All I have to merely do is stick 2 line level input pads into the M-Blotch 2 to interface it to the Neve. But I shouldn't have to do that because this is supposed to be " Professional & Proprietary " circuitry. And if that were the case, it should have no problem with the Neve or my API stuff. I'm sure it works perfectly fine with a Mackie, Beringer or any of that other perfectly lovely, cheap, entry-level highest low quality equipment. Or is that lowest high quality equipment? If it really were proprietary, it would be killer and it ain't. So when you feel this way about a company, you're inclined not to support it. Even if their software product is good. But is that even true if you can't write stereo files? Maybe that's because everybody is enamored with " plug-ins "? I know a lot of women that are not particularly enamored of plug-ins as they must use them every month and if not plug-ins, we're back to those pads again.

    I think I've made my point but that's usually reserved for men.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  15. Keith S

    Keith S Active Member

    No Neve or API preamps in my studio, unfortunately. I do have a UA 610 and a Meek VC2 Tube Channel plugged into inputs 5 and 6 of my 003 rack. They don't seem to require any padding? I'm wondering if the M-Blob and 003 share the same topology? Do Neve and API pres have that much hotter of a signal that they require a pad vs the VC2 or 610? Uneducated minds want to know.

  16. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    No they don't at least not by much. But I'm talking about serious clipping at low levels of input. Do I think there's a difference in their line level inputs? Hell no. But it all depends on what you're feeding into it and at what levels. Distorted guitars may sound perfectly fine. Vocals may be fine. A hot mix? Not fine. So for the average user, no problems. I think they never intended to have anybody feed a mix output from their Neve or API consoles into their lousy line inputs. That's because anybody with those consoles wouldn't usually have one of these entry-level devices to feed it into. I only got this piece of crap because everybody kept on asking me if I had Pro Fools. And I wasn't going to spend $25,000 just to say yes. So, when I use this piece of crap in my control room, I must pad the inputs to it. No big deal but to me it is. Actually, I don't have to use pads. What I utilize is a UTC line level bridging transformer. It's got a 15,000 ohm primary winding with a 600 ohm secondary output winding. And drops the level accordingly while adding some additional color of its own. But sometimes the resistive pad offers less additional coloring if things get too mushed up. I could use some of my additional St. Ives bridging transformers as well. There is also something that's wacky about the line level inputs on these devices. I even tried speaking to the Digi dodos about this and was merely referred to Black Lion. So a brushoff, passing the buck, real impressive technical support, yup. Screw them and the proprietary circuitry they came in on. Hey, a friend of mine/professional colleague at another studio, purchased their C. 24. He's got 4 API 3124's because he won't use the included awful 16 microphone inputs. But then he doesn't plug his 3124's into his C 24. Nope. He goes right into the HD 3's inputs. What's that tell you? And his C 24 cost a good chunk more than your 003. Although I really don't think this decision really counts here because he already has too many gold records on his wall and I don't have any.

    I'm not horsing around here. Some scenarios & situations work better than others. The Neve's head room tops out at +28/30 and part of the joy of sound of using this is to push it that far. It no like that. You probably don't do that with your preamps however? But if you did? Only you can zoom into your waveforms to see what's happening. Maybe nothing? Maybe it is different? However I doubt it. There's no way we can know as they will supply no schematics. So you know they're professional because they are proprietary. Yeah, right, you bet. Would you also purchase an expensive guitar amplifier that didn't include a schematic in order to repair it? Not smart, not wise. Shouldn't your heavy investment in equipment, professional equipment, provide you with schematics when requested? I think so. Black Lion had to trace everything out for themselves in order to improve an otherwise mediocre " proprietary " piece of crap. I mean how many people do you know who modify the inputs to their Neve/API/UA/FocusRITE stuff to make it sound acceptable? What's that tell you? What you purchased was a control surface not a console. It might seem like a console but it's more like a Beringer mixer. I think it makes at the top of the lowest heap. That's fine for most. It's all in what you're looking for.

    Digi make it better for you? I don't think so.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  17. Keith S

    Keith S Active Member

    Oh OK, I see. No, I've never tried to run a mix into my 003 Rack line-ins.
    I have the older Control|24 and I don't use the pres on it either. I have an Octopre MKII light-piped into my 003 which gives me arguably better preamps than the Control 24. That gets my drum kit tracks in then I use either the VC2 or 610 for everything else.

    I feel like I've hijacked this thread. Sorry OP.
  18. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I don't see any hijacker? Sounds like things are working quite fine with your workflow. You are pretty much on the money. You sound good you sound smart and I haven't even heard your music. Besides you can't be too bad as your right to my left (when looking north bound). Maybe we should do Summit Point when motorcycle racing is back?

    I really laugh about Digi/Avid proprietary microphone preamps that nobody really wants to use. They are so proprietary, they're probably great for PA. Oh but, weren't they originally intended for recording? They're 100% perfectly adequate in a mediocre kind of way. And since most people produce pretty mediocre music and have mediocre musical technique, it fits right in with the mediocre US government. So perfect for government contract work and military work. For everyone else there is MasterCard, priceless.

    Some of my equipment is certainly priceless but came with a hefty price in an on sale way.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  19. Keith S

    Keith S Active Member

    Aww dat's nice :) Thank Remy. Actually you've recently given some positive criticism on one of my music posts in another thread.

    Yep, I'm just about 50 minutes from DC. Haven't been to the races at Summit Point but I've found lots of Civil War relics (one of my other hobbies) on a farm in that area. Lot's of history down that way - lots of old, interesting stuff in the ground.
  20. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Wow, we should go poking around and see if we can't find any old audio stuff? Sounds like fun. You're only 50 minutes west of me, I think, I guess. Although I think trying to find equipment circa Civil War era might not quite be much usable anymore. Megaphones just don't really turn me on... as I really cannot tolerate horn loaded loudspeakers.

    Attention Wal-Mart shoppers...
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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