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Old 11-24-2011, 08:46 AM
Carl Kolchak Carl Kolchak is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 2,198
Default Re: Sold my MBox 2... what next?

If you're taking your 414 with you anyway, I can't see why you'd ever need anything else?

I still can't believe Avid/m-audio never made the Microtrack available as a integrated audio interface.

At the time that I got mine it was a far better option than the Zoom H4 (original version) and Pro Tools was tied to Avid hardware anyway.

I did consider the H4 simply because of the audio interface capability, but it was limited to 16bit recording at 44.1k/48k (and a stripped down version of Cubase???).

I'm not 100% sure if the newer H4n allows you to use it as an interface at 24bit and any sample rate, but the fact that you can theoretically use it as an interface makes it very appealing - Avid need to jump on board.

There are also other quirks with interoperability between the Microtrack and pre-PT10 versions of Pro Tools, which is hugely frustrating as they are both part of the Avid audio family, you would think these things would have been thought through.

The two main ones being that it only records interleaved files when recording in stereo, and the rather handy "marker" function that allows you to create regions within an audio file on the fly, does not work with versions of PT prior to PT8 - instead when you try to import specific regions, the first region will contain audio, but subsequent regions produce a spike of noise then silence and PT crashes - so you just end up having to import the entire audio file anyway.

It was also a pain, prior to PT9's acceptance of USB drives, to constantly be having to mount and unmount the Microtrack when importing new files, otherwise PT would throw up "Drive fragmented or too slow" messages.

With PT9, for stripped down "emergency field recordings" where I don't have an interface, but I have the Microtrack, I will build a track in PT using VI's and then if I wanted to record a mono source, such as a guitar or vocal, I output the PT click and backing track from the laptop into one channel of the Microtrack, and record the mono source to the other track - then import in to PT, line up the recorded click track to the grid so that my mono source recording is in sync, and then delete the click track side of the multi-mono file.

It's a pain in the a5$ workaround, but in a pinch... Stereo is more of a pain, and it depends on what the source is as to what the strategy will be.

If Avid made a more integrated solution I would have been all over it, so would many others, and I think it's something they should look at - I doubt a firmware update would solve it for existing Microtracks, but if they are looking at a mkIII it's worth them considering.

I've heard very good things about the new mbox3's - though they seem a little bulky, but that may be the price you pay for having something that is also apparently bomb proof.

Otherwise the offerings from Apogee would be tempting (supposedly the new mbox3's are their equal sonically) as they are small and robust, but you have to deal with flying leads rather than built in sockets...
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