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ProTools LE + MBOX2 + MORE Preamps

Discussion in 'Pro Tools' started by dwtoast72, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. dwtoast72

    dwtoast72 Guest

    This is my very first port with you guys and after reading alot of different postings from various enthusiasts followed by great advice from the forums experienced engineer types and moderators of the like, I feel the answer to my questions will come rather easily.

    I'm building a home recording studio around my drum kit. I run a macbook pro, protools LE, and an MBOX. I have a really good idea of where I want to go from here; I just need some advice on getting there.

    I NEED MORE PRES!!!! I want to buy 2 x 8 channels Pres (hoping to be lucky enough for one of them to by tubed). The problem is, I haven't any Idea how to connect them to the MBOX. I'm constantly seeing these preamp strips that have to Firewire ports side by side on the back, which are very similar to those on the back of my MBOX2.

    I've done my own research and can't sem to get a valid answer. Do I just daisy chain the external hardware all the way up to the MBOX (in one firewire and out the other until I reach the mbox)???
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Sorry, but no. ProTools LE will only work with DigiDesign interfaces, and that means the Mbox series or the 00x series. You are stuck with the analog inputs they provide unless you use the digital expansion inputs.

    The Mbox 2 and Mbox Pro have an S/PDIF input to which will take 2 channels of digital audio from an S/PDIF-equipped external pre-amp. The 00x series has a single ADAT input port which can take 8 channels of digital audio from an external ADAT-equipped pre-amp.

    So you are caught in the PT lobster pot. You can see where you would like to go, but you can't get out of your current environment.

    Sticking with PTLE, the best you could hope for would be to trade in your Mbox for an 003 and additionally buy an 8-channel ADAT pre-amp (plenty of reasonable ones around). That would give you 8 decent analog channels through the external pre-amps, 8 so-so channels in the 003 and the option of a couple of additional external channels interfaced through S/PDIF.

    If you want to stay with PT but have greater flexibility, you could also consider selling the PTLE/Mbox rig and getting an M-Audio Profire Lightbridge with M-Powered PT. This would then give you a capability of 32 input channels of external pre-amps via 4 ADATs, but note that PT limits you to 18 concurrent inputs.

    Don't forget that you can always use other software to capture the audio data, and then use PT for post-processing of the captured data files - the first step to releasing yourself from the PT flypaper.
  3. fourone3

    fourone3 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    +1 on what Boswell said. Digidesign is a bit odd. But, if you can live with their ways, it's not the worst thing to happen to you. I personally don't get bothered by it for what I do.

    The 002 and 003 also have four analog line in. You could use those to route a tube mic pre. Or two. or three. or four ;)
  4. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Look into Digidesigns hardware exchange. You may be able to get a better deal from your local shop if you do the exchange there. Actually, now that I've had a look, I'm considering an "upgrade" myself.
  5. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    This is the first I'm addressing this issue at RO. I have contacted the Digi User Conference with no resolution since March.

    I've been a PT user for well over 10 years, closer to 15. I had an original 001 and have consistenly upgraded and have been loyal to DIGI despite the bashing (some founded/ some unfounded) about their propreitary methods.

    However, my most recent upgrade to an 003r and PT8 has not been nearly as pleasant. There are certainly some great aspects of PT8 that make the step up desireable, but I've run into 2 major headaches that you should be aware of before making the leap.

    First, my WAVE plug-ins (I own the Rennaisance pack) are no longer useable without an upgrade. I've kept my old system operational to use them on mixes and creating sub-mixes that I burn to disc and then transfer over into new sessions if I need the WAVE plugs.

    Second, and this is a pretty big deal to me. With some systems (mine is certainly one of them) the s/pDif outputs fail to operate. I traditionally use the sp/dif in/out for a reverb send/return to my Lexicon PCM91. I am forced to use one of the channel outs and that pisses me off. Digi is working on the problem, but have not had a resolution despite 3 updates to PT8.

    I'm still waiting on a resolution and have waited without commenting to be fair, but so far, no resolution.

  6. dwtoast72

    dwtoast72 Guest

    So, I'm gathering that if I want to have enough mics to record my kit with plenty of mics to cover all the bases... my MBOX2Pro ain't gonna cut it and I need to move up to a 003/003r and pick up an ADAT equiped preamp.

    As much as I like the flow of the PTLE program, I'm not happy with this at all.

    If there are any other suggestions to be added to those previous, I welcome them greatfully.

    Thanx to those who've provided knowledgeable replies.
  7. blueshawk

    blueshawk Guest

    I see that you have a mac pro. A friend of mine bought an MAudio interface that has at least 8 input channels (A to D converters) and he uses Garage Band. He gets decent results. I don't think he paid too much for the MAudio interface, either.

    I have the same protools that you do, but being a guitarist, I don't need that many mics at the same time.

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