The Mbox 2 and Pro Tools LE Tale

Lately, the market has been flooded with affordable audio and video products for amateurs and professionals alike. The much increased variaty in the choice of such solutions has created a problem of choosing the appropriate product, as there are so many things to consider.

After slightly over half a decade of composing, and doing some film and audio work in the past 2 years, I have decided that I need to gradually build up the hardware to move up from my current level quality- and possibility-wise.

Pro Tools was something I started considering due to the availability of Digidesign software and hardware at relatively reasonable prices. Or so I thought.

UPDATE: For those reading and thinking Pro Tools ruined my life and ate my dog… Uuhh.. Yeah.. Ever heard of a literary device called hyperbole? It is quite often used in various pieces of writing. Such as tales, for instance.
Pro Tools really did suck though.

Having used Cubase for the past 5 years, the choice of the hardware seemed to be the widest possible, since Cube supports all types of audio devices, through the use of ASIO drivers on Windows and CoreAudio drivers on Mac OS X.

Nevertheless, I have started to grow more and more curious about Digidesign’s Pro Tools. The tremendous hype everywhere on the Internet around it, and the constantly reappearing statements along the lines of “real engineers use Pro Tools in their studios” kept pushing me to give it a try.

Now here is my coming out of the closet part. I have been using a Sound Blaster Live! for all my recording and composing since 2003. A group of developers released a free driver for Live! and Audigy cards that introduced a relatively low-latency to those otherwise consumer products, which pretty much made me stick to Live up until now. Before I have felt much of a need to record anything, other than my guitar maybe.

The problem with all this, however, is that there is no way to try Pro Tools out without having one of the Digidesign’s audio interfaces. The cheapest Pro Tools|HD1 solution starts at $8,000, and that’s without any of the audio interfaces like the 192I/O which also need to be purchased, albeit seperately.

As can be easily read about on the Digidesign website, the next best thing to Pro Tools|HD is Pro Tools LE and Pro Tools M-Powered. Since the latter doesn’t let you use some of the PT add-ons like the DV Toolkit ($999!), I decided to give the Mbox 2 a try, after double-checking that the store I buy from has a refund policy.

The latest Pro Tools software works on the new Intel Macs, and both the CoreAudio and ASIO drivers are present, which to me meant that I could use Mbox outside of Pro Tools, if I so desired. The sales person informed me that the latency is pretty much standard over all modern interfaces, unlike in the past. Yeah, anyway…

THE REVIEW

Day 1.

10:00am

Tha Plan.

For the $495 the Mbox 2 costs, I get the custom Digi designed preamps; an external unit, which is a big plus since I don’t want to be tied down by PCI/e in case I want to use a laptop on location or anywhere outside of my place; and this great software all engineers use called Pro Tools (LE).

The other road to PT is the M-Audio interfaces, but paying for the interfaces + Pro Tools M-Powered is more expensive anyway. All the other options exclude Pro Tools from my list.

1:00pm
Got in the store, talked about how I would like to try Pro Tools. The guy suggested that if I’m used to Cubase, it’s not a bad idea to stick with it, especially because the choice of hardware is pretty large. I said I wanted to try out Pro Tools. He didn’t reply.

I asked about Pro Tools. He said he loves it, but then went on to tell me how much he loves Logic, and demonstrated its quantizing features on the iMac, even though I didn’t ask for it.

Anyway.. Payment off debit. $500 something. It’s a steal!

3:oopm
Could hardly wait to get home. Upon arrival, opened the box and discovered that all the manuals and CDs are sealed. Duh. Called the store to make sure there is no restocking fee for opening the stuff up, and after being ok-ed, opened and installed PT on both the Intel mac and the Windows machine. Decided to not open the CDs with the Ignition Pack plugins.

First things first, loaded iTunes up on the Mac. Music plays fine, Core Audio works. Hooray! Loaded up Pro Tools. Nice splashscreen! Entered the code, created a session. Oh my, I’m a total Pro!

Loaded up iTunes on the Windows machine. Enabled music sharing, and chose Mbox as the Windows audio driver. iTunes is silent. Double checked: still won’t work.. Oh who cares, I have SB Live to listen to iTunes! Gotta try the fun stuff!

Loaded up Cubase. The unit shows up among the ASIO drivers. Check the latency setting. Hmm.. Set the driver to 128 samples delay. Latency – 11ms input, 9 ms output. The minimum setting is 128 samples. Hmmm. That’s as far as it goes? I can get 2.66ms with my SB Live and the kX drivers, with occasional clicks and pops though.

But let’s load up Pro Tools. I’ve read that inside of PT, the software uses its native drivers, which should provide lower latencies. And since Pro Tools is known to be so great, with its new MIDI features, I may not even need Cubase!

So far so good. Feels slick. I feel like producing a platinum record. Time to sleep.

Need to put the Mbox back in its plastic bag for the night. Don’t want it to gather dust overnight and have problems with dirty equipment in case of a return. Though it doesn’t seem like that will ever happen!

Day 2

12:00pm
Time to wake up. I’m a total Pro today!

After two espressos, and completing the Getting Started guide, it’s time to pick up the Basics booklet. Seems like it’s the next step in learning.

One thing’s a bit annoying though. Seems like Digidesign guides are written by the parent Avid people. The guide has a very slow learning curve, and all of the sudden they drop in terms no one knows. Good thing I know what pre-fader and post-fader effects are. How are other newbies supposed to know? But I guess nobody reads the manuals anyway. They just click around ’till they know it all, or when the computer explodes.

Hmm. This Basics booklet looks like a getting started guide to Getting Started. Why the heck would you need that for? In case the only technologically-related thing I’ve done before is microwave a pizza? Ok, those corporations sure have a good sense of humour.. Nobody reads the manuals anyway.

2:00pm
Hmm. It looks like you can’t just grab the edge of the track and stretch it vertically in Pro Tools like you can in Cubase. You can only use one of the preset settings for the track height, ie. small, middle, large, and a few others. Hmm.

The booklets only cover the basics. Let’s read the reference.

3:30pm
Hmm. After looking over a few navigational chapters, it seems like the user interface is handled by that one department with the people who are always late because of traffic, and leave the project completion until the day before deadline. But… I’ve got used to Avid before, so I guess Pro Tools just takes getting used to. That’s what pro’s do anyway. Use software that no sane person would.

4:00pm
Let’s record some stuff! The beloved Fender Mustang should do. That’s what the guy at the store said anyway: “I just plug my guitar into Mbox, and it’s all I need!”

4:10pm
Wow. The recording does sound great. Really crisp. But then, I’ve used an SB Live before. Anything should sound good, really.

Tried a few tracks, and routing send FX. Really nice.

4:30pm
Inserted a few plugins on the inserts, and made a few send tracks with reverbs, delays and stuff.

4:32pm
Blah, what the heck is this.. An error… “Try decreasing the H/W buffer”. Okay.

Options>Playback Engine I have it set to 128 samples. Where is the actual latency value? How do I know what latency I have? Cubase clearly states it in milliseconds. Are they hiding something?

4:40pm
Wait.. 128 samples? Let’s try it again. One more track…. Error again? C’mon, I didn’t even finish recording. Do I have to edit stuff now, ’cause I can’t pull that riff off again. This is software for musicians, for God’s sake, not computers. We need to capture every noise and fart, because later on it could be that magical accident that makes the record.

Anyway.. Set the buffer to 256 samples.. I think I can hear a delay already.. So the latency is the same as with the CoreAudio/ASIO drivers as it is with the ‘native’ ones? Hmm.. That’s no good.

I mean, I like to feel Pro and all, but I do a lot of MIDI stuff, and I can’t afford to decrease the latency forever, until I play a part, and then go to have have lunch waiting for it to play back.

11:59am
Time to sleep.

12:00am
Screw sleep. I want to dig deeper and decide on whether this is worth the money.

12:15am
Hey, I have an idea. Since most of the plugins I use come in both VST and RTAS flavours, and the latency in both Pro Tools and Cubase seems to be the same, I can record a few tracks, and then assemble identical compositions in both DAWs to see how they compare in performance. Let’s do this.

12:25am
Saved the presets for all the plugins in Pro Tools. Created a new composition, and what do you know, at 128 samples and 3 audio tracks it starts spitting out errors. Ok. Cubase. Imported the files, applied the insert FX. Strange feeling. Cubase feels like going back home. Oh, the good old vertical scaling, and the smart ruler which scrolls AND zooms with a single click!

Anyway, recreated the session. Added the effects. The thing starts clicking… Well, at least it clicks, and doesn’t spit out errors! But the CPU load is pretty high. That’s just 3 tracks, man!

12:30am
Hey, why don’t I try using the SB Live’s kX ASIO driver?

12:31am

No clicks. Let me check.. Maybe the latency is set too high.

12:32am
8 ms.

12:32:30am
So… Wait… The SB Live made in 2001 that I paid $50 for with the drivers written by the entusiasts produces a lower latency without any sound artifacts than the Mbox 2 from the “Award-Winning” Digidesign that I paid 10 times more for? That’s interesting!

Let’s try loading up one of my previous compositions in Cubase that I used SB for, but with the Mbox this time.

12:35am

Oh Christ! This is a latency mess! 100% load, robotic sound as if someone pitch shifted everything 10 octaves down, and then played back on the tape-chewing boombox. I think I know what one of the reviewers on the web referred to as “Robot burping”!

12:40am
Ok.. This is unacceptable! I am pretty sure it has to do with SB Live being PCI and Mbox being USB. But why did they have to go with USB 1.1 anyway?

The guy on the Digidesign board explains the decision to go with USB 1.1 to be based on ‘maximum compatability’ with the widest range of laptops.

Just one thing though… I don’t honestly think that any computer from the pre-USB 2.0 era would be able to comfortably run Pro Tools! Most of these PCs appear on garage sales nowadays, and they all have Windows 98 installed. The only thing working under Windows 98 is Pro Tools FREE, and I really don’t want to take the journey to the past.

12:45am
Anyway, I might as well learn the software some more. Just in case that if I’m suddenly required to use it at some point, and I will know how to. Also, since the Mbox is obviously a pretty bad piece of hardware, I can get the M-Audio Firewire 410, and have low latency AND the ability to run Pro Tools.

4:00am
More and more pages of the reference manual. Gotta take a nap. I still have 6 days to try this out.

4:10am
Screw sleep. I’ll finish this once and for all, and will return the damn thing today. The store opens at 12 PM, from what I remember. I still have 6 days to learn more about Pro Tools though. Gotta learn it. In case I meet Butch Vig on the street, and he’s like “seen this new Pro Tools feature, it’s totally bad ass”, and I will go “Word!”.

4:20am
More pages…

5:00am
Ok, this is getting annoying. On every other page there is a section of text that says “Pro Tools|HD only” in the header. Were they too lazy to write a seperate manual for LE, or they just want to rub in the fact that I’m using the LIGHT VERSION of their CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED PRO TOOLS SOFTWARE USED BY THE TOP ENGINEERS WORLDWIDE.

5:30am
God, don’t they earn enough to hire more people to write manuals? Besides, this two-column style of writing is really tiring at 5 am! I want to have one column per page. This isn’t the freaking New York times!

5:30
More pages…

6:00am

One eye open.

Hmm. If you subtract all the stuff about Pro Tools|HD, there isn’t really that much of text left about LE!

So.. What is this? I thought there are some secret features that I can’t get access to right away..

No.. This is REALLY BASIC software!

I mean, there is no seperate piano roll! All the MIDI has to be edited WITHIN the track. Cubase introduced the similar feature with in-track MIDI editing to SX3, but that’s in ADDITION to the piano roll, not as its replacement!

But ok.. Suppose that Pro Tools is the ‘mainly audio’ software. It doesn’t really hurt to introduce features that people can find in all other DAWs nowadays though, does it!

Anyway… No seperate audio editor either! In fact, the only main windows you work in are the Workspace and the Mix. The bulk of the work is done within Workspace, which is pretty clumsy and hard to use, nevermind the Windows 3.11 buttons, which I thought are what makes software ‘pro’ only 2 days ago.

Feature-wise, this is REALLY BASIC! What the fuck is the big deal about Pro Tools?! How can all those studios I have found that use Pro Tools LE do any sort of work, knowing that even Cubase LE which comes with a lot of quick video tours with the funny Australian guy on the Apple’s website alone, I can already tell it’s FAR more powerful! From what I hear, it’s basically Logic Pro without all the bundled plug-ins. And if you’re upgrading up from Garage Band, which starts to look like Pro Tools LE’s real competition, it’s really a sweet deal!

So the only things the Pro Tools live off is the marketing and hype! Every time you pick an audio magazine, they have those praising reviews of Pro Tools. So that’s where Digidesign’s money goes.

Jesus!

11:00 pm.
Almost broke the mouse button clicking hard in attempts to deinstall Pro Tools from both computers. Sadly, I didn’t have anything else in the trash bin in Mac OS, so the Emptying Trash window popped up and quickly disappeared, not allowing me to taste the sweet picture of the Pro Tools software wiping away from my hard drive.

1:00 pm.
I’m back to the store. Surprisingly, I was walking there faster than when I was going to buy the damn box. Money is powerful!

Talked to the guy. After checking all the box contents, and listening to me express my hatred for all things Digidesign, as I have hoped, he admitted that Pro Tools LE is really nothing more than an upgrade from an 8-track, which is driven solely by a big name corporation and the fame it got over the years selling its overpriced HD/TDM systems.

Well, that’s really fine, but everything is dropping in price nowadays, and putting a big name on the box of a bad product isn’t going to bring in dedicated customers, or at least not for too long.

As soon as the customers pull their heads out of the stinky Digi hole, they should theoretically realize that there are better options for less, which maybe haven’t won as many awards, but have gained popularity by the good word of mouth, reliable products, and GOOD FREE SUPPORT!

1:10pm
Didn’t even give Firewire 410 a glance. I don’t want anything that has to do with Pro Tools remotely!

1:20pm
Checked out some of the mics. The new AKG Precision 100 really looks like a sweet deal. A good condenser with the US-made diaphragms for under $200! Got the refund from Mbox. All the other interface seem so much more feature rich now!

1:30pm
I am walking down the Downtown street. The cars zip by to the sound of Air in the earbuds. Those French guys really know how to use a minimum of instruments, and yet paint great detailed audio imagery.

Everyone seems to enjoy the day too, even though the air is hot and dry. Must be around 30 degrees celcius. I hope the Presonus Firebox in the bagpack won’t get fried!

2:30pm
This is really a sweet little box! It has 4 seperate ins, (not the ‘fake’ 4 like on the Firewire 410 where the other 2 line-ins are mirrored from the front two inputs; why the heck would you need that for?!), 6 outs, all balanced. That means I can connect a mic, a guitar, a sampler maybe, and one hardware effect. And it’s $100 cheaper than the Mbox!

3:00pm
Installed the drivers. Loaded up iTunes. Works! Will this mean the official good-bye to my SB Live? Not forever.. I’ll keep it in my computer parts drawer, for the memories. When I get a platinum album released, I can brag in the interview to Future Music, “This is the card I started with”.

3:30pm
Recorded something in Cubase. Installation was really flawless. I’ve heard some good things about the Presonus drivers.

I thought there are no Intel Mac drivers for the firebox, but between the time I’ve checked on them and the time I bought the box, they have apparently come out. The installation couldn’t be simpler! I dragged two program icons into the Apps folder. No reboot or anything. Superbo!

4:00pm
Opened up the composition I made with SB Live which had audio artifacts at around 40ms of latency. Was pleasantly surprised that Firebox can only go down to 30ms! “I’m sorry, I’m too good to go anywhere below that”. The track played without any pops at about 20ms of latency. Sweeet!

4:30pm
Made recordings identical to the Mbox tests, and compared by Solo-ing the Mbox and Firebox tracks one after another. Seems like the Firebox demonstrates a tiny bit of noise. Tried putting the Firebox on the floor, and playing guitar lying on my bed far away from other electronic appliances. The noise disappeared. I have to google up “grounding”.

5:00pm
Put together a list of things Firebox is better at compared to the Mbox:

* Twice as many inputs
* Three times as many outputs
* Twice the recording resolution (96k)
* Ultra low latencies – recorded at 1.5ms without any artifacts.
* Great software mixer for creating seperate headphone mixes and zero-latency monitoring
* Firewire connection (I need the damn USB slots!)
* Slick aluminum case
* WDM Driver – iTunes work!
* No Pro Tools!

It’s too good to be true, but I think I got more for less!

And I am very happy to be Pro Tools addiction-free! I no longer feel a desire to purchase an underdeveloped product, just because of the big name on the box and promises to be “just like the top producers”. As soon as you open the manual, every page will keep reminding you that you are just a wanna-be!

Outro
I hope that whoever has read this far is going to make some conclusions, or at least be cautious in how they spend their money.

What matters most is still what you prefer to work with. The best bet is to try as many things as possible, watch videos, read [unbiased] articles, and keep on looking for what clicks!

The awards mean shit!

They got the award for the $8+ grand software, not the (used loosely) cheap little Mbox!

Make sure you buy from a big store with a refund policy. When it comes to software like this, especially Pro Tools, there is no real way to try it out unless you have friends who use it (poor people). So even if the store adds the extra $50, even $100 dollars, go ahead. You can return it anyway. If you like the product, return it and buy for cheaper. The big stores don’t care! Just make sure you confirm that they don’t first. I can imagine the Mbox’s are really cheap as dirt, so they don’t care for the open manuals or CDs.

While you’re at it, burn copies of the software and write down the keys! If they don’t care, why not take advantage of it!

Research. Well. Listen to people’s opinions of the products, especially if they have tried other products, and have more high-end devices to compare with.

Try things out. And, for the love of God, don’t fall into the trap of marketing! At least, not completely!

84 Responses to “The Mbox 2 and Pro Tools LE Tale”


  1. 1 hybernation July 5, 2006 at 8:44 am

    As a long-time SONAR user (and someone who also uses Tracktion and energyXT from time to time) I too was very interested in trying ProTools. Since I have (had actually) a FW410 (have since changed to an emu1212m) I thought I would try the DEMO of ProTools M-Powered. The only good thing I can say about it was that I didn’t have any latency issues, and that the demo was pretty full-featured (no save of course).

    Other than THAT, my experiences mirrored yours. I could not BELIEVE the lack of features. Protools LE/M to me is like a “toy” compared to SONAR.

  2. 2 hybernation July 5, 2006 at 8:44 am

    As a long-time SONAR user (and someone who also uses Tracktion and energyXT from time to time) I too was very interested in trying ProTools. Since I have (had actually) a FW410 (have since changed to an emu1212m) I thought I would try the DEMO of ProTools M-Powered. The only good thing I can say about it was that I didn’t have any latency issues, and that the demo was pretty full-featured (no save of course).

    Other than THAT, my experiences mirrored yours. I could not BELIEVE the lack of features. Protools LE/M to me is like a “toy” compared to SONAR.

  3. 3 Dmitry Kichenko July 5, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    Yeah.. I’m sure the latency issue is Mbox-specific. I just didn’t have the cash to try out an 002. And even with all its features, it’s still locked to be used with PTLE. Yeah, you can use it with other software, but that defies the purpose of buying Digi hardware.

    Alright, PTLE is a light version. But the 002r costs over $1,000. For that money you can get a MOTU Ultralite AND a decent piece of software which will exceed most of your expectations.–>

  4. 4 Sad Musician January 4, 2007 at 6:50 am

    Sad. That’s how I feel after trying to get my new, very expensive (to me) Mbox 2 to work with Pro Tools LE 7 on my machine. I don’t remember reading anywhere on the box that you needed a specific kind of chip to make this thing work, but apparently you do. My laptop is pretty high-end too, but still, no dice. Interrupt errors all over the place.

    I’m really irritated. I hope I can get my money back….

  5. 5 earpick January 4, 2007 at 6:57 am

    Brothers, let’s have a group hug!

    And after wiping the tears, we shall open a club of Digidesign victims.

    United we stand!

  6. 6 Niggi January 4, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    It took me a while to read the whole thing, but I guess that pretty much convinced me to stay out of pro-tools. I wonder why they call it an industry standard? Probably since it’s really minimal, that’s what they mean by standard. hehe.

    I actually used Pro-tools before they had MIDI functions on them, but I didn’t think it was that bad.

    Actually did consider getting an Mbox to use with Sonar, but I never knew it would have that much problems. I think I might end up getting an Edirol UA-25 heard pretty good things about that. (Since I don’t have firewire on my laptop) Otherwise I’d be geting a firebox too, or even that rackmounted one from Presonus.

  7. 7 earpick January 4, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Are you talking about the firewire chip in your machine?

    That would only be applicable if you were using an Mbox 2 Pro. I haven’t tried one of those out yet, but the software is going to stay the same anyway.

    As to the industry standard, I can’t figure it out either. People are either fooled into thinking that it can do all these great things, and those haven’t tried out other DAWs probably do indeed think so, or there is some sort of ‘secret level’ you get to after using PT for a while which opens up new features and swears to kill your family if you tell anyone else about it.

  8. 8 marc (london) January 5, 2007 at 12:06 am

    hi.
    i am a home user… I was led to believe that pro tools is the ONLY way. (so I got a digi 001) i was very happy (coz I am a newbie – so I have no idea what is good and what is bad!!), BUT I cant stant the layout and minimal functionality).
    (coming from a PC, I really didnt like the mac-style layout of pro tools).

    anyway.. I bought it, so I use it.

    I had tried sonar in the past and thought it was easy to use and had lots of stuff.. (pro tools seems to lack some things).

    now I am abroad and have my laptop only. i want to edit some of my old pro tools things, but that means I would be ‘forced’ to buy some new portable digi hardware!!! I dont wanna do that! I just wanna edit a few tracks!

    actually, if any of you guys know how I could edit some of my pro tools songs on my laptop while I am abroad without having to buy more hardware, I would really appreciate your knowledge :))
    my email: easybullet3@hotmail.com

    thanks!!

    marc

  9. 9 earpick January 5, 2007 at 12:41 am

    Hello, and welcome to the club! We treat each other very well, and on Thursdays this space is rented out by the Lesbians Against Makeup club.

    As to the Digi hardware, you’ve confirmed my guess about people getting Pro Tools simply because everyone seems to talk about it.

    Now, from what I remember, under OS X Digidesign hardware has Core Audio drivers, which means you should be able to use it with anything like Live, Cube, Digital Performer and Logic. In fact, DP can use the DAE engine directly bypassing the Core Audio drivers altogether, which, from what I understand, should enable you to use the RTAS plugis from within Digital Performer.

    If you liked Sonar, then your hardware should theoretically have a driver for Windows too. I’m not sure about Digi 001, but Mbox and 002 definitely have one, so hopefully 001 does too.

    Exporting your tracks from PT might be tricky since it doesn’t support anything like OMF or AAF out of the box (you have to get the addons which are worthless for the most part; you can get a box of Cube Studio 4 for the price, or even the full-featured version).

    I think what you’ll have to do is just finish up as much audio editing as you can, and then bounce each audio track to a single AIFF/WAV file, and then export MIDI if you have any, along with all your FX and virtual instrument presets. Assuming the plugins you use have VSTi/DXi/AU equivalents that is. Otherwise, you’ll have to print the FX as well, or try to match the settings with some other plugins.

    On the bright side, as we often talk about it in the club here, you will be able to break out of the circle, and start living a normal life. A life without Pro Tools. Feel M-Powe… empowered!

  10. 10 Ray January 20, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    At first glance, I didn’t think I’d make it thru this whole write-up… I have a very short attention span. The tale was very telling though and thank you for taking the time to do the write-up. I was thinking about changing from Cube to PT and researching hardware setups (410 vs mbox 2 pro, etc.) and came across this. Think I’ll just upgrade my hardware for Cube and stick with it! Thanks.

  11. 11 earpick January 20, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Thanks for the reply.

    And yeah, the length is kind of a filter =).

  12. 12 conard February 23, 2007 at 3:21 am

    You dumbass. Protools IS the industry standard, and for a reason. First off, there is ZERO latency on the Mbox2. You achieve this with the mix knob on the front of the hardware. That literally routes your input straight to your headphones. If you had truly read the manual you would have figured that out. The reason they force you to use their hardware is to make sure that the system is rock solid. I’ve seen many of my professional friends struggling with compatability with all there 3rd party cheaper stuff. Then my Protools friends plug their stuff in and start working. Once you get your Protools system settled down and straightened out, it’s rock solid. It rarely fucks up. The reason engineers love protools is because it mimics the way a real studio works more closely than any other software. All of the concepts in Protools make perfect sense to somebody who has been working in a studio for any amount of time. I’m not saying that there are no other good platforms out there…. but if you truly set out to make a pro sounding record you would eventually run into roadblocks with your software that only protools conquers. Protools is not geared towards composition (although it’s getting more that way). It is geared for recording, mixing and editing audio and in that regard nothing touches it. It’s midi capabilities are growing but still only about 75 percent as good as the best thing available. That’s the facts, baby.

  13. 13 syrendyr March 11, 2007 at 1:39 am

    I am mere inches away from my window…….I have my MBox2 in my hands and murder in my eyes. “Held off interrupts too long”…..”DAE playback error”…..I’ve adjusted everything upsidedown and sideways to try to get this thing to work. I even broke out the voodoo dolls and prayed for the strength it takes to resist smashing this cheap pile to all Hell. I use a P4 HP laptop that will smoke any program out ther like a 420 popsicle, but it can’t conquer this digifunkyshit. I work 8 to 5, M-F…..the exact same schedule of pro-tools’ technical team. Who needs support when I have a Hammer?

  14. 14 earpick March 11, 2007 at 2:25 am

    Join in, brother. Join in, and we can warn the others, others whose lives have not yet been ruined by the Mbox.

    Honestly though, the Mbox 2 is such a piece of shit. The firewire may have been an improvement, I’d have to buy it and see :). But I’d hope that they fixed the latency issues with 400mbps worth of bus speed.

  15. 15 Ron April 1, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    Firstly, let me just say that I’m an Mbox 2 owner, and I’ll be the first to admit that it does some things wrong. Pro Tools LE does some things wrong, and Digidesign are real dicks about what I can do with my system out of the box. And, yes, it’s real finicky about what hardware it wants to work with. If you don’t own a Mac, you’re rolling the dice. That’s fairly well-understood these days, but it’s pretty silly as well, and shows how little emphasis places on their prosumer products.

    Do I think Pro Tools is the best software ever made? Absolutely not. Does it allow me to do anything I should wish to do with a DAW, though? Absolutely, it does. What else are you looking for, exactly? What further editing capabilities do you need, specifically? I can draw in samples with the Pencil, and I can fade in, fade out and crossfade regions. These are the basic tools of digital audio editing, and Pro Tools provides them. When I want to make a complex arrangement, I send audio out of the same digital bussing system as an HD rig: a true 48-bit, “unclippable” mixer. It takes over 200 phase-aligned sine waves at unity to scratch close to clipping the internal mixer.

    Naturally, there are some severe catches to LE, one of the most prominent being the absence of timecode and sync. Digi wants me to pay $1200 for that luxury (and bundled with that luxury, the only thing anyone real cares about in the DV Toolkit, is a bunch of fairly useless nonsense and nonsensical tricks [the magical 48 track upgrade!]), but I’d rather not. But, you know, there’s also something to be said about features you don’t mention, such as almost total cross-platform support (want to dump a 7.3.1 LE session into 5.6 on a Mix24 rig with two 888s, or perhaps a 7.1 HD system with four 192IOs? No fuckin’ problem, my man!). I can take a rough edit of a project on my 7.3 LE setup and dump it on any Mix24/HD rig available to me at work. I keep the session setup, regions, audio files, fades, effects and effects settings, presuming that both rigs have the same plug-ins. Fantastic! I also have the option to very easily commit effects to regions (non-destructively) to free processing power.

    You don’t get the kitchen sink for $450, even though you seem to expect it. How many HD rigs would Digi sell if the $450 Mbox 2 did everything anyone could possible dream of?

    In closing, I’m truly sorry a $450 prosumer hardware interface ruined your life. Let’s just hope that Digidesign decides not to murder your entire family, as that would have the potential of being just as devastating as seems your dissatisfaction with the Mbox 2.

    Hey, we can hope, can’t we?

  16. 16 earpick April 2, 2007 at 1:31 am

    It didn’t ruin my life, not really. It was more of a reminder that there are cheaper alternatives which don’t lock you into crippled proprietary software and hardware, and actually let you use the device as opposed to having it plugged in as a mere dongle which it, according to a rather large number of Pro Tools users I’ve talked to, in fact is.

    On another note, people – the trailer, or the collection of small clips with long fade ins and outs, for GTA IV is out, and it’s fucking awesome!

  17. 17 Kaltar April 5, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    I Feel Your Pain Guys… Being There (With A DIGI002) And I Agree 100%. Digi Hardware Is A Dongle, and LE Is The same HD Interface, With The Track number Limitants. Protools Is A Software For mixing, Recording, Mastering… But Not A Composition Tool.

    I’ve Used Logic Pro, Sonar and Protools. The Piece Of Software That does LESS Tracks and LESS Features Is Protools.

    Protools Has Only 32 Tracks (That’s 16 Stereo) Compared To Unlimited stereo Tracks In Sonar and 256 Stereo In Logic.

    Midi Editing In Protools Is 5% Of What Logic Can Do and 10% Of What Sonar Can Do.

    In Protools You Will Suffer This Problems:
    You Want More Buses in Protools LE? You Need To Jump HD.
    You need More Tracks? You need To Buy The Expansion Plugin Or buy HD.
    You need To Import OMF? Get The Plugin.
    Want To Work With Video? Get The Plugin.
    Digidesign Has Such A Horrible Attitude To The consumer, That Maybe In Protools 8 They Will Remove The Playback Function Of The Space Bar, And Sell It Appart As A Plugin!

    Sadly, Most Studios Use Protools. Why? because It’s A “standard”. That Means, That Between Studios, People Usually Carry Arround Protools Sessions. Lets Admit It That there Is Nothing Better Than Having Everything You Did In A Premix Ready (Example: The Panning Envelope). If You Arrive To A Studio With Only The WAV Files, You Either Have The Panning Already In The Track or You Will have To Recreate All That. That’s The Only Good Reason To Use Protools: be Able To Carry Your Session And Work In Another Studio.

    HOWEVER, Many People Use Programs To Interface With Protools! Being In The Same Machine (Logic Or Digital Performer As an Interface to Protools) Or From Another Machine (Sonar, Cubase, Etc.).That Way You Work Only What Is Needed In Protools.

  18. 18 earpick April 5, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    Wow, it’s pretty hard to read text when all the words are capitalized. But I agree with what you’re saying.

    One thing though – I don’t think a direct comparison to Sonar or Logic Pro is appropriate. Logic Express and Cubase LE/SE/SL/Studio 4 are better candidates for the comparison, but they still manage to outperform PT.

    Granted, Pro Tools has its virtues as an audio editing tool. But what pisses me off is the after-purchase strategy behind the Digi products, and that you have to pay for any sort of extras, and pay a premium at that. I have used Avid editing tool, and they are exactly the same way.

    To sum what’s been said, and in a slightly more sane way – I don’t think that Pro Tools is a total piece of crap. I just think that Digidesign overcharges for a rather modest interface with limited software, and the money could be spent better on software and hardware which offer more for the buck. I suppose Digi is kind of like Apple in that way, but unlike Digi, I happen to like the Apple products. I think they deserve the price tag.

  19. 19 earpick April 5, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    Oh, and to quote the many Pro Tools users I’ve talked to in the store who thankfully were not huge fanboys – “I fucking hate Pro Tools, but it’s the only thing they use where I work”.

  20. 20 Ron April 5, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    To quote Kalter: “Sadly, Most Studios Use Protools. Why? because It’s A “standard”.”

    If it wasn’t Pro Tools, it would be something else. Some day, the standard may be Logic, but at this point, Logic doesn’t have some of the capabilities and ease-of-integration yet. We have eight-core Mac Pros now, but we still want to offload DSP (HD Process and Accel cards), and we still need a wide range of options to input, output and sync devices (192I/Os, 96I/Os, MIDI and SYNC) and means of hands-on editing and mixing (Pro Control and other devices). That just isn’t something we have access to with any other DAW platform. Without some sort of digital editing standard (which Avid attempted to jumpstart with OMF way back), this industry would be an absolute mess.

    Now, I’m obviously talking about HD TDM-oriented stuff here, but it’s a combination of factors that have made Pro Tools the standard. It didn’t become a staple of the industry because people really like the way the faders look in the Mix window, nor because it happened to come about at just the right time. It came in at the right time, it had the features engineers needed, and it still does for all intents and purposes. Nobody’s booking a studio at $400 an hour to compose MIDI, so obviously there isn’t much focus there.

    I don’t recommend Pro Tools LE as a composition tool unless it’s absolutely a certainty that the session is going to eventually make its way to an HD rig. I don’t agree with the opinion that Pro Tools’ MIDI functionality is 5% of Logic’s (I can’t really think of anything else I need out of MIDI, quite frankly), but there’s certainly room for improvement there, and there are definitely better options for that. Some of the shortcomings can be worked around, but asking someone to swallow that at Digi prices is a tough thing to ask.

    I hate (though hate’s a strong word) Digidesign as much as the next guy, but I really have no quarrel with Pro Tools, which seems to be the main point of earpick’s post.

  21. 21 earpick April 5, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Yeah, with all that said, I wouldn’t mind trying out PT HD, just to see how much is missing from LE.

    As to DSP, I’m not sure we Really Really need cards to offload plugins too. My main machine is a MacBook right now, and I’m having trouble overloading it with plugins. That’s keeping in mind that I’m pretty spoilt, and like to route drum samples each to a different channel, and apply separate FX.

    Having tried out Logic though, I really wish they implemented more audio features in v.8. That would make it an even better DAW. I really like everything else about it, but I work with audio almost as much as MIDI, and hardly any software has been able to provide a better Audio-Midi combo than Cubase.

  22. 22 Mikko May 8, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    ProTools is standard because it was the first DAW on the market in the early ’90. Cubase, Logic and Cakewalk (Sonar) with audio recording capacity came to the market somewhere ’round 1995. And in that time ProTools was already in use in the studios around the world and the rather conservative recording engineers didn’t want to learn anything else (new). Actually Cubase and other PT competitors become a real alternative for PT not until Windows XP and Mac OSX. Unfortunately no one tells how much there are Cubases,Protools and other on the market, I know that there are over one million registered Cubse users (+ illegal users). It’s hard to believe that there are as much PT users.

  23. 23 earpick May 8, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Mikko – my thoughts exactly. Except for Cubase, probably. It’s had audio capabilities for quite a while (plus VST was introduced in v.3), but what had to with PT being a standard is probably that it dealt with audio primarily, and not on the side like all the other DAWs.

    Indeed, PT is the only digital audio workstation that is only now, in baby steps, gaining MIDI capabilities.

  24. 24 Mikko May 8, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    I know that Cubase has audio capabilities back then (I have used Cubase since it’s 1.x for AtariST), but I’m not sure about Cakewalk and Logic (Notator). I liked your “The Mbox 2 and Pro Tools LE Tale”. I think that Digidesign just try to sell more their “real” Protools and try to make temptation for that with PT LE. If for example teachers use PT LE at home they may try to buy a real PT to school where they teach.

  25. 25 earpick May 8, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Well, obviously I dramatized it a bit, even though some people didn’t quite get it.

    The bottom line is that while the software is okay, it, along with overpriced hardware, locks you down in proprietary Digi standards.

    But that’s just beating a dead horse. Everyone already knows this, and the point of the tale is to get it across to those who still don’t.

  26. 26 pat May 22, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    I sympathize completely. Just bought MBox 2 Pro with LE 7.3 and it sucks , big time. Bought this piece of crap from Turnkey in London UK – “It’s the industry standard mate” I was told by the drone behind the counter. I’ve now spent three days trying to get LE functioning in a sane manner without the ” buffer underflowed ” error popping up every second. Needless to say Turnkey don’t have a refund policy. Anyone here thinking of buying MBox ; DON’T DO IT!.

  27. 27 jesse July 16, 2007 at 3:31 am

    I totally agree… but I bought mine second hand and can’t return it!!!
    Now I have to sell it to some other poor sap.

    I also have been assured that it’s the industry standard, however it simply does not suit my need to be able to easily edit audio and MIDI. Cakewalk is far easier to navigate and do this with… I’m quite disappointed. Can I even send audio to an external editor like Sound Forge (or whatever it is now) with Pro Tools? It doesn’t look like it.

  28. 28 Milk July 26, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I am thinking about to buy a firebox so I google “firebox”. and found out this site. I am currently using sblive.

    I am also thinking about to buy a RME HDSP9632. but it seems difficult to use.

    Wanna leave a message here, nice blog.

  29. 29 earpick July 26, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    I’d go for the Firebox just because it’s your first audio interface. Doesn’t make sense to go for the full blown RME if you’re not yet even sure how serious you’re gonna take this.

  30. 30 Milk July 27, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Good Evening from Hong Kong.

    I work as a musician in a toy company. In office, I use Sonar and Samplitude. At home, I use Sonar only.

    Recently wanna experience more music at home too. I will get QLSO softsynths including gold bundle, symphonic choir, stormdrum.etc. I have KX driver to improve latency. I’ll use lots of softsynth and I heard that 9632 deals with latency very well. That’s why I am still struggling…

    And firebox attracts me with its easy-to-learn interface. 9632 attracts me with “less latency” this keyword. But 9632 seems … i need to get WDM…mic-preamp…etc. Far more expensive.

    Still thinking…

    Thanks for the prompt reply, earpick.

    Enjoy weekend!

  31. 31 Howard Beale August 4, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Boo Hoo. ProTools doesn’t work with your Micky Mouse sound blaster so you bash PT. What bullshit.

    If you were serious about running PT, you would know that, YES; it IS picky about the hardware it uses, and requires some planning. No, you can’t use PT with many off-the-shelf PCs.

    I guess the millions of PT users are all wrong. LOL.

  32. 32 earpick August 4, 2007 at 2:09 am

    Judging by the numerous responses of people being lured into the Pro Tools world under the premises of it being an industry standard and the best thing out there, yes – millions of Pro Tools users are wrong.

  33. 33 zombie69 August 4, 2007 at 3:53 am

    Did you even read the compatability specs for the mbox before you brought it home?

  34. 34 AndHeSays August 4, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Here’s the thing guys; Protools is fast, easy to use, accurate, and sounds great! I’ve been using Cubase since version 2 and I still use it on occasion when I need specific editing capabilities and whatnot. However, once I became familiar with ProTools and became fluent with the keyboard shortcuts, you can’t beat it for a real world production environment. There’s basically two windows and you can do nearly everything in those two windows that you can do on other DAWs in half the time.

    I own an Mbox 2 and have had a lot of issues with it. USB 1.1 isn’t really fast enough to push several tracks of audio with effects and it probably wasn’t Digi’s best decision. it’s a low end system.

    My Digi003 however always works great and I’ve never had a problem. I just use the Mbox on my laptop when I want to do some quick mixes. There is a huge difference in reliability and sound quality (preamps) for that matter.

    I’m not knocking Cubase. In fact I love it! It’s great software. But when I need to get things done quickly and professionally, I usually go straight to ProTools.

  35. 35 earpick August 4, 2007 at 4:31 am

    It is entirely possible that it’s fantastic software in a production environment. This is all from more of a composer’s point of view.

  36. 36 todd b August 14, 2007 at 6:32 am

    I just bought an Intel-based iMac, because I was tired of feeling like my PC was constantly vulnerable. Being a longtime Cakewalk/Sonar user, I was disappointed that I had to switch software, but I’d always heard about Pro-Tools, so I bought the MBox2Pro LE. I have to say, just writing this almost brings me to tears. I am so frustrated with this stupid program. It’s absolute crap. Sonar is lightyears beyond this shite. I want to load Boot Camp/XP and run my good old Sonar. Has anyone done this? Please tell me it works, ’cause I’m dying over here. I’ve had this new machine for almost a year and I haven’t recorded a thing. Please help me.

  37. 37 todd b August 14, 2007 at 6:40 am

    Sorry, one more detail…

    will Sonar work okay with this MBox2Pro?

  38. 38 earpick August 14, 2007 at 6:42 am

    Yeaaaaah… Coming from the heavily MIDI driven Cakewalk and Sonar Pro Tools really must’ve seemed like a toy.

    Anyhow, yes, lots of people have used Boot Camp, including me. In fact I have it in on my MacBook. Runs quite well. It’s really no different from running Windows on a regular PC. The only time Boot Camp plays a roll is when you boot up your computer when it emulates the BIOS chip that Windows looks for. From that point on it’s a PC.

    On another note, which iMac did you get? The new slicks aluminum one or the white?

  39. 39 todd b August 14, 2007 at 6:45 am

    White. It was the only one at the time. But Sonar works okay with the MBox2Pro?

  40. 40 earpick August 14, 2007 at 7:19 am

    The Mbox does have ASIO drivers so I imagine it should work fine. Like I said, once you install BootCamp and Windows through it, it’s just like a PC. All the regular Windows drivers will work. Your brand new iMac has regular PC guts in it so all the software you can run on a PC under windows will work.

  41. 41 todd b August 14, 2007 at 7:28 am

    Thanks so much for your help. Seriously. Thank you.

  42. 42 earpick August 14, 2007 at 7:33 am

    Any chance you can return that piece of junk and get an RME or something? )

  43. 43 todd b August 14, 2007 at 7:42 am

    It’s been awhile and it cost me $700 (waste of money), so I doubt I can return it at this point.

    Byt the way, I’m looking through the Boot Camp setup assistant and it says it’s a “prerelease software licensed for use on a trial basis for a limited time”. Does this mean it will run out at some point?? Am I better off waiting for Leopard to be released?

  44. 44 earpick August 14, 2007 at 7:44 am

    I think the beta testing period might run out as soon as Leopard comes out. But I’m the kind of guy for whom 24 hours is a long time, so Leopard is really light years away. Even then, it’s not like I don’t know how to reinstall Windows. That’s all I did when I had a PC.

  45. 45 todd b August 14, 2007 at 7:46 am

    Fair enough. I’ve waited this long, and I’d really like to only do this once, if possible. Any word on how much Leopard will cost?

  46. 46 earpick August 14, 2007 at 7:49 am

    Same as Tiger costs now. $149 Canadian. $129 US I think. Fries not included.

  47. 47 todd b August 14, 2007 at 7:50 am

    Fantastic. Thanks again for all your help. It’s damn near impossible to get answers to these questions, so I really appreciate it.

  48. 48 earpick August 14, 2007 at 7:55 am

    No prob man. It’s really just looking in the right places. The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a good all-around resource, though lately everyone has gone apeshit over the iPhone there. That thing would sure be more useful if it could run on its own hype instead of batteries.

    And as to the Digi shit, it really is a jungle as far as requirements go. I’ve already had a pleasure of dealing with a number of people’s Macs when they installed all the wrong update, and the whole thing would just error out on startup. I don’t know what the fuss is all about, it’s not like it’s stable once you do get it working. Crashes just as much as any other DAW.

  49. 49 todd b August 14, 2007 at 7:59 am

    Well, I still haven’t found anything under $1000 that’s comes anywhere NEAR Sonar. Straight out of the box, it’s the most powerful and intuitive DAW available.

  50. 50 earpick August 14, 2007 at 7:59 am

    And guess what, it doesn’t require that ugly Mbox dongle.

  51. 51 Tony August 18, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    Well, I can second some of the frustrations you’ve had with Protools LE.

    It hogs a lot of resources, is not very responsive, breaks down and complains of being interrupted too often a lot where other DAWs happily continue and the plugin choices are rather limited if you’re on a budget.

    I’m a professional post production user who has worked on Protools for over seven years now. The TDM/HD version is a different world in responsivness and power.

    The one thing that realy sets Protools apart from everything else is its audio editing. So if you don’t realy need the best in that area, you won’t likely need Protools.

    If you’re thinking of using Protools LE, which is fairly decent at many things, get 2 GB of RAM when using 7.0+. It needs such resources. A double core CPU will help too if you’re running video alongside.

    If you want to work with audio, but don’t want to get locked in to limited software choices, higher prices, and rather unpleasantly behaving interfaces (on Windows) then try Reaper from http://reaperaudio.com . That’s the new rising star and it’s damn cheap too. Great community I might add and VERY high performance for audio.

    Btw, you can use rewire to transfer your mixes in to other applications. Limit ProtoolsLE to one CPU core(of you have two) and use the other one on Reaper, Sonar or Cubase. I know some folks who run VST instruments in Reaper over rewire, but all the midi and mixing in PT.

    NEVER believe the marketing of Digidesign. Always test, prod and read reviews. WAIT untill some folks have verfied that a software/hardware release is worth your trouble.

  52. 52 earpick August 18, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    Completely agree with what you have said. Someone pointed me to Reaper the other day too. I haven’t looked much into it, but the price tag is certainly amazing for it can do. I say choose it over TunaFish.

  53. 53 Marcos Vampa August 23, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Hi,
    I have a MBox2/PTLE7.3 system.
    Before I worked with Sonar5/M-Audio AudioPhile 2496.

    I never heard a system sounds so good as MBox2/PTLE7.3. And zero latency!!! ZERO!!!
    MBox2/PTLE7.3 sounds raw, real, fat, as a studio sound must be.
    Sonar sounds like a mixed CD playing on a home stereo system.
    It’s too much… polished!
    Pro Tools is a solid software, you have to interact with it, you are not totally in control. You must understand and accept how it thinks. It´s a dialetic relationship.
    Sonar comes to to you runing, open arms, smiling in a colorfull dress…
    You think: wow I really know record!…

    BUT

    I’m a MIDI-man, more than an Audio-Man…
    So, I came back to Sonar for MIDI recording.
    MIDI on PT stills needs improvements
    (Logic is the best , but I have not a Mac…)

    BUT
    After MIDI recording in Sonar…
    Recording with real musiciasn, lead vocal, backing vocal will be made on ProTools TDM on another studio, pre-mix and final fine tuning adjustments wil be made here, on MBox/PTLE7.3. And back to TDM for final mix.

    Windows users need a Logic 7 version…. :(

    Marcos

  54. 54 earpick August 23, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    ProTools phat? What are you talking about? It sounds just like any other DAW. The plugins are alright, but the way it sums audio sounds just like any other DAW.

  55. 55 Marcos Vampa August 23, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Well, I don’t think so…
    And I don’t think DAWs sounds the same way.
    Tracks exported to Sonar must be -3db down leveled, if don’t all they were clipping.

    ****

    I forgot to say on other post I bought a new computer matching Digi requirements. The old computer, where Sonar runs well, I can´t even clik play in PTLE 7.3…
    A software who needs so much resources must sounds better.
    (reference monitors: Yamaha MSP5)

    Marcos

  56. 56 earpick August 23, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Hah yeah, that’s what they have you believe. The whole point of this post and all the comments is to show you otherwise.

  57. 57 Marcos Vampa August 23, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    People complaining about crashes, but they don’t follow Digi requirements…
    People (like me) complaining about midi editing on a soft born to be audio…
    People who wants command a tool but wants to start where they were on other tool and can’t see it’s another approach…

    Work on Sonar is like to play guitar: it’s easy to do it badly.
    Pro Tools and Logic are softs hard to beguin but you walk so much faster when you know a lot.

    I don’t need believe them (Digi). I bought package and spended 3 months learning it. I think that evaluate a software looking to my watch and calendar to see if deadline to take it back to store is coming is not the best way to get a conclusion about it.
    I spend months and I have good will, a positive attitude.
    Nobody is number one just because starts first, or consumers are fool.
    People today wants good results fast. Fast food…fast satisfaction… fast answers…
    What happen about effort? Humility? Openness? Patience?

    I think Pro Tools sound better. Even plugins sounds better on it.

  58. 58 earpick August 23, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    You bring up some valid points. But let’s take a step aside and wonder – you have paid a premium for the supposedly superior software and hardware, and now you have to justify why you did it. The question is, why do you have it? If it was indeed superior, everyone else would have to measure up to its standard.

    But instead, we have to learn more, pay more, force ourselves to think that it sounds better, customize our machine to strict standards when other DAWs run on anything that can run an OS, suffer the consequences of accidental updates when everything stops working, and sacrifice, sometimes essential, aspects of our workflow such as MIDI editing, all just to be able to say that we use an “industry standard”. Does that make sense to you? Doesn’t to me.

  59. 59 Marcos Vampa August 24, 2007 at 1:13 am

    Well, I don’t force myself to think it sounds better, I just hear and it appears better to me.
    I heard PT in a friend’s studio and said: well, it’s really sound different…
    But I bought the package because I need to be full compatible with a bigger studio and they use PT. Software of my dreams is Logic 7.

    I don’t think everybody must sell their souls to Digi, just to be a “industry standard” user.
    I just think PT has a harder learning curve, it’s requirementes are larger, it’s midi editing is not so good, BUT it sounds better (maybe because software and hardware developers lunch together everyday :) …). If you agree it sounds better, well you must pay the price, if you don’t, may use other amazing software like Sonar, Cubase etc…
    (speaking frankly, all DAWs are unbelievable tools for anybody about 40 years old, we worked on reel tape, man…)

    I think Logic and Pro Tools are not softwares to love at first sight.
    But the time shows up their value, working everyday…

    My point is: Pro Tools is great, but many times people go to this software looking for stuff it really don’t have.

    I also like very much it’s absolutely clean visual interface.
    I made a fake all gray look to Sonar… until I finally get a Mac and a Logic ;)

  60. 60 chrisrenne September 4, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    i went to college for audio recording and was taught the basics on protools le with a digi001. or, the base model hd rig… all on OS 9.

    these machines worked great.

    i learned protools and all that you can do with it over the years… and yes, the learning curve is very steep, and yes, the mbox sucks, (don’t even get me started on what a waste the mbox 2 pro is) and yes, the software will suck if you’re running it on a pc (or a mac that isn’t properly equipped)

    but i still make damn good tracks in it and love it.

    and apparently so does all of the ridiculous top of the line/world class/world famous/professional recording studios i’ve ever been in.

    heh heh. no offense, i’m just sayin’. I hate digidesign but i love protools. ACTUALLY… i almost forgot… i had a problem with my digi002 mixer where the unit would turn on to these crazy dots in the lcds. it also wouldn’t be recognized by the computer… called up digidesign, gave them a serial number, my address, and a quick description of the problem… i had a new power harness which i easily installed the NEXT DAY.

    can’t hate on the support for those kinds of things…

  61. 61 chrisrenne September 4, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    PS:

    protools LE 7.3 has the vertical re-sizing of the tracks ;)

  62. 62 earpick September 4, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    I dislike it but if it works for you then, hey, that’s only great. If you don’t edit MIDI then go for it. As long as you realize there are alternatives there and don’t think that the word Digidesign should somehow be edited into the Bible then all is good.

    I’m personally digging Logic as of late. It’s really superb for Midi editing, and the plugins are very nice. Cool software.

  63. 63 ShoeflyDBM September 15, 2007 at 12:42 am

    Man, I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. I had been saving my money to buy my first audio-hardware this summer, and had heard so much good about the MBox2 Pro, and as you say, the marketing really tells you that this is the best hardware/software package available. So I bought it, and now I run my Mbox2 Pro with a Macbook 1,83Ghz and 1 GB RAM.. and all that ever shows up is that damn Buffer Overflowed Error message. It’s really restraining, mostly from a composer’s standpoint.
    At the same time I feel like I should give it some more time, maybe buy another gig of RAM and stuff like that. I’m just so afraid I’ve spent my savings really badly, as my store does not have a return-policy.
    Man, I feel like shit now. :P
    But thanks for this post.. it’s good to know I’m not alone.

  64. 64 earpick September 15, 2007 at 12:52 am

    Ok, don’t panic. The store doesn’t have a return policy, which means you can really take your time to explore the software and see if it’s your thing or not. If not, you can always sell it, big deal.

    Also, right now the RAM for MacBooks (PC2-5300 667 mHz SODIMM DDR RAM, to be more precise) has gone down in price like crazy. Best time to grab a pair of 1GB or 2GB sticks.

  65. 65 fish October 31, 2007 at 3:24 am

    i agree with conard a ways back up, though you are right about some things. digidesign does have a monopoly on the market and that really sucks, especailly because all of their equipment is so expensive. with that said, you can’t just throw pro tools out the window just because you had difficulties with the LE system because the HD system is a whole different story. pro tools is the industry standard for a reason. pro tools has many things and features that you would never even know just by simply using the program. one of the most important is that the logarithms within the program that pro tools uses for recording audio are far better than those of any other program, resulting in a higher-quality, better recording every time. no matter what other program or daw you use, you simply cannot get the same quality and detail from audio that pro tools provides. also, many of the plug-ins are much better than those for other daws (unless you happen to be using the quite expensive waves plug-ins, in which case you shouldn’t be complaining about the price of pro tools. with that said, pro tools is not for comosition; it is for tracking, mixing, and mastering. i personally use abelton live for any preproduction and even some production work because it does that kind of stuff better, just like other programs, such as cubase. when it comes down to it though, pro tools cannot be beat for audio quality and mixing/mastering capabilities. period. i feel you on your disgust of the mbox and pro tools le, but like i said, as far as tracking, mixing, and mastering, there is not a better system out than a pro tools hd rig.

  66. 67 Joee February 7, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Hi there. I’ve been using pro-tools to do alot of midi composing, which most people would use logic or cubase for, and it can handle it! I use an Mbox 2, and a cheap midi keyboard controller, and i get stuck on my computer for days! Once you get right into pro tools, it becomes just as good for composing as anything else out there, but the end results (fully mixed, EQ’d and reverbed master fader) sound so amazing! I personally produce drum and bass, and i feel as though i am one of a rare breed that thinks drum programming, midi editing etc. is perfect on pro-tools. However, the moral of the story is… use what you are comfortable with, but PT LE can easily produce professional compositions, that with make a club full of people think you are pendulum.

  67. 68 Tim April 28, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    I have been fortunate to record in multi million studios, using massive SSL desks, and PTHD 7.0.

    Went down to another studio, (also multi million SSL the full works) but PTHD 6.9.

    Disaster – the Hard Drives from the PTHD 7.0 would not open…….so much for industry standard and travelling from PT studio to PT studio with your WIP.

    Same happened during mastering…………..arrgh!!!!

  68. 69 Gavin July 13, 2008 at 2:19 am

    I brought the Mbox 2 mini with the intention of recording some basic demos. I didnt want to do any fancy editing or mixing or expect professional results. I just wanted to fool around in my bedroom with this thing as I assume most other people who purchase a setup in this price range would.

    Firstly, I wouldnt even consider using Pro Tools unless I owned a Mac (or you a perpared to make the insane ‘enhancements’ to your system which NO consumer software should be asking you to make). The fact is that you can not even perform the simple task of recording a track without one error or another occuring literally every 30 seconds. Although my system does meet the recommended requirements, I admit that I didnt perform all of the suggested enhancements that could of possible solved my problem. But why should I, when there is other FREE software out there that does the exact same job, works straight out of the box and is much more user friendly?

    Oh, I forgot, its the ‘industry standard’. How Digidesign can even attach such claims as this to a $300 product I will never understand. You know how all the cool kids wore Nike or whatever in primary school? Well Pro Tools is the musicians equivilent, givings it users bragging rights and a fales sense of superiority of us who choose to use lesser alternatives. Please look past the marketing when purchasing!

    The fact is that for people in my position who want to make bedroom recodings Pro Tools can not do anything that other software can not do. And that is what a system in this price range is supposed to do, right? I infact prefer to use the FREE Kristal. Its free, works out of the box, and is user friendly.

    Also, for reasons unkown to me, Pro Tools seems to make all plugins sounds like garabage to the point where they are literally unusable.

    My beef isnt with the Mbox, but with the Pro Tools LE software itself. If anybody can tell me how to use my Mbox in Sonar I would be happy =]

  69. 70 Johnny November 20, 2008 at 3:01 am

    Sorry you had a rough time with the Mbox. I enjoyed reading your writing though, nice pictures on the new blog too. I just couldn’t find this on the new blog.

    Don’t give up on Pro Tools. I love using it and believe they are leading in every aspect of CPU recording.

  70. 71 earpick November 20, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Hi there.

    Nah, since then I have switched to Logic and couldn’t be happier. Doubt I would ever give PT another try. The article is over here btw:

    http://earpick.cubicfruit.com/2006/07/04/the-mbox-2-and-pro-tools-le-tale/

  71. 72 Mateo Bigg January 24, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Pro Tools is not a ‘standard’ because there are studios that don’t use Pro Tools. For example, there are studios that do video and post (in the bay area where I am from) that use Logic. A true standard is agreed upon by a standards organization within an industry and, as an audio professional, I can tell you that no one DAW has been designated a standard. We would really be in trouble if that were the case. Digi is just using the word ‘standard’ to market Pro Tool.

    -Matt

  72. 73 Steve A August 1, 2009 at 7:18 am

    I’ve got both an Mbox 2 Pro and a Firebox strangely enough, so I’m glad you wrote about this… The Mbox 2 is a dirty piece of shit! I’m always running into errors (especially when returning to Logic from Pro Tools) and have had massive daisy-chaining screw ups with it… I was using the Firebox before I started going to school, and now I’m tempted to go back and just write off Pro Tools completely. Digidesign (oh sorry, AVID) really needs to get their act together and stop cheating people as bad as they do. Unless you have the money for an HD (TDM) system plus thousands of dollars for decent plug-ins/hardware, it’s just not worth the headache.

  73. 74 bob January 26, 2010 at 1:28 am

    After using logic, cubase, pro tools, reason and hardware options…

    I came to the conclusion they all have there ups and downs.

    The main reason i like pro tools is the sound. I just think it sounds better.

    When i rewired reason into it, reason sounds so much better.

    but really as far as midi goes. Logic and cubase are horrible for midi.

    I actually play keyboards, and dont drop dots in on a grid.

    I wold rather use reason 4. Reason 4 has a simple to use interface.

    Logic is so slow and akward. Cubase is terrible with its crashing and incompatibility.

    Add VSTs and get more crashes!

    I really like using hardware for midi and composition.

    Roland fantom and pro tools is better then any computer daw..

  74. 75 Terry King March 4, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I won the Mbox 2 in a competition so I shouldn’t really moan about how shit it is as I wasn’t unfortunate enough to pay for it. However it is one of the worst audio products of all time and Digidesign should be ashamed.

    Oh yeah.. the box wasn’t sealed either so I guess they picked the stock up from the returns department which makes sense!

  75. 76 jiffyslot December 12, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Long time user of AMII, AMII, and I have an aging 001 on a PPC 533 running Panther and PT 6.4. It Is Solid.

    Using a Mbox2Mini on a Macmini PPC and a G5 with Tiger and sometimes Leopard. Let me tell ya’. The MBox 2Mini is a piece of crap. I can hear the jitter creep in on iTunes, even.

    Buffer overflows and other nonsense. I’m doing everything right by Avid. But the conclusion is unless you like unplugging you interface, rebuilding disk permissions every hour or two, I can state that after almost a year’s use, even using it with Logic Pro, I can tell you with certainty that this thing is a big blue turd. I’ve just stopped recording music. It’s to much trouble anymore. There’s plenty of other stuff for people to listen to online.

    I made some cool records back in the days of DAT, but my 4-track never gave me any grief like this.

    I’m done.

  76. 77 THOMAS The Great ! ! March 5, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Sue Avid For Mbox 2 Pro Scam/Protools LE Scam ! ! ! !

    Stop your idle wining and do something about these establishment pigs ! ! They are holding our creative dreams hostage, while they collect ransom in exchange for the promise in an excellent home studio. There are no Protools LE’s, nor Mbox 2 Pro’s that work ! ! It’s time for us to band together and sue these pigs ! ! E-mail THOMAS The Great ! ! at TALTransmit@hotmail.com and join the fight for independence and dignity. Otherwise, let the junkies at Avid keep laughing at you ! !

    THOMAS The Great ! !

  77. 78 Arlie February 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    L’Oreal For Men, Macho Maybelline, Elizabeths Boxers. Haunted House Ride Video. The commercial success of Banksy prints allows the artist traveling the world that will create political works highlighting issues in post-hurricane Katrina New Orleans, the Barcelona Zoo and also the West Bank barrier separating Palestine from Israel.

  78. 79 Malcolm April 11, 2013 at 9:57 am

    First of all I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question
    which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I’ve had
    a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I
    truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend
    to be wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any recommendations or tips? Appreciate it!

  79. 80 tradestation June 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I am going to at once understand your feed because i are unable to to locate your current contact request backlink or perhaps e-newsletter services. Are there almost any? Make sure you let me personally fully grasp so that I can signed up. Many thanks.

  80. 81 Esperanza July 4, 2013 at 8:50 am

    - Fresh extract of root the flower is good in cough.

    The tradeoff is that you will have to let torrent seed for
    a few while before you decide to close it. However, every travelers in India, Indian
    or of foreign origin , would flourish to
    plan his trip upfront to enable him to locate a hotel bid that most suits his needs.

  81. 82 single cup coffee maker July 29, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    It’s remarkable in favor of me to have a web site, which is helpful for
    my know-how. thanks admin


  1. 1 Cubase vs. Logic « earpick Trackback on April 14, 2007 at 8:46 am
  2. 2 Protools LE Experience - Gearslutz.com Trackback on April 30, 2007 at 11:33 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s





Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: