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  #1  
Old 11-23-2011, 04:24 PM
Dism Dism is offline
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Default Sold my MBox 2... what next?

So I officially sold off my MBox 2 the other day to a friend who is content with staying back a few OS builds, and he doesn't use Pro Tools anyway.

Now that I'm without a mobile recording device, I'll be in the market soon for a new one. What I'm wondering now, is if I should go with a new MBox or something similar... or perhaps a stereo field recorder such as an H4N?

I like bringing my 414 on mobile recording sessions, but with a laptop, interface and mic it's not always ideal. I wouldn't mind having a field recorder I can just take with me and plug it into a laptop later, or maybe even use it as an interface for Pro Tools, therefore skipping the need for an interface between the mic and Macbook. The H4N seems ideal because it has an XLR input so I could plug in my 414 to it if I want... but I've also heard that it doesn't play nice with Pro Tools. I guess I'm just looking for the ultimate all-in-one device that I can use on the road.

Any suggestions are more than welcome!
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2011, 04:52 PM
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zedhed zedhed is offline
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Default Re: Sold my MBox 2... what next?

I use an H4N for field recording and it's a great little unit. I don't use it as an interface with Pro Tools for recording or playback, instead I just import the files from the H4N into PT so I can't comment on how well the two "play together" as integrated units.

The stereo mics that are part of the H4N aren't too bad for some jobs either.
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  #3  
Old 11-24-2011, 04:12 AM
arhall arhall is offline
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Default Re: Sold my MBox 2... what next?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zedhed View Post
I use an H4N for field recording and it's a great little unit. I don't use it as an interface with Pro Tools for recording or playback, instead I just import the files from the H4N into PT so I can't comment on how well the two "play together" as integrated units.

The stereo mics that are part of the H4N aren't too bad for some jobs either.
I'm using mine in a similiar way and it's a great little device. However I tried once using it as a interface to record my guitar but I'm not sure it's a good idea. I got a horrible latency.
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  #4  
Old 11-24-2011, 08:46 AM
Carl Kolchak Carl Kolchak is offline
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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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  #5  
Old 11-24-2011, 11:25 AM
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Top Jimmy Top Jimmy is offline
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Default Re: Sold my MBox 2... what next?

Carl, I'm not specifically trying to question your experience with the Microtrack, but I tried two of them four years ago and found them to be outright dogs. High noise floor, cheaply manufactured, poor design, and a lack of any semblance of "pro" methodology all combined to convince me to buy an Edirol.

As for Avid thinking things through before they make a move, it's obvious that they don't. "Forward-looking" means to hell with everything up till now, we only care about future earnings not past integration. I bought an Axiom keyboard just 2 months before the Axiom Pro was introduced. The Axiom Pro got all the glory and praise for integration with Pro Tools and the Axiom got the shaft despite the fact that they're essentially the same controller, only the Pro got updated cosmetics and integration to what was maybe a 2 year old piece of hardware? Hardly legacy.


Diz, ir you opt for another interface, I would suggest anything other than Avid. Why? Because support for the Mbox3 will eventually be dropped like the 001 and original Mbox. As long as Pro Tools remains interface agnostic, third-party interfaces will be supported far longer.
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  #6  
Old 11-24-2011, 12:01 PM
cubivore cubivore is offline
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Default Re: Sold my MBox 2... what next?

i've been thinking of getting the sound devices usb pre2. anyone have experience with this? also curious about latency for on the go VO recording.
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  #7  
Old 11-24-2011, 05:22 PM
The Dougfather The Dougfather is offline
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Default Re: Sold my MBox 2... what next?

Quote:
Carl, I'm not specifically trying to question your experience with the Microtrack, but I tried two of them four years ago and found them to be outright dogs. High noise floor, cheaply manufactured, poor design, and a lack of any semblance of "pro" methodology all combined to convince me to buy an Edirol.
Agreed, i went for an Olympus in the end but that was for foley work, great piece of kit.

On another note, a few of the guys on GS have had good results with the Roland R-44 for field recording.
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  #8  
Old 11-24-2011, 05:29 PM
Carl Kolchak Carl Kolchak is offline
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Default Re: Sold my MBox 2... what next?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Top Jimmy View Post

Carl, I'm not specifically trying to question your experience with the Microtrack, but I tried two of them four years ago and found them to be outright dogs. High noise floor, cheaply manufactured, poor design, and a lack of any semblance of "pro" methodology all combined to convince me to buy an Edirol.

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Was it the mkII or the original version of the Microtrack you tried?

At the time, I looked at the Edirol R09HR as well as the Zoom H4 (original version) and I found them both to be fiddley, plasticy, and I hated the U.I. and transport controls on both of them, so that rendered them not really suitable for my needs.

The original Zoom H4 was particularly bad in that you were constantly having to deal with millions of sub-menu's to get anything done - not good if you wanted to change recording formats or turn on phantom power in a hurry.

What the Zoom had in it's favour was dedicated XLR inputs (and I think the ability to record 4 tracks using the XLR's and the built in stereo mic's, though that may just be the newer H4n model) and conventional batteries - the audio interface functionality was very tempting too.

The Edirol again had the advantage of conventional batteries, and built in stereo mic's. It also had the nice features of a built in loudspeaker and a remote control.

I just found that none of those added up to the usability of the Microtrack, which had a much friendlier U.I. and was more compact and robust.

I would rarely use the built in stereo mic's on any model, so the fact that the Microtrack's one was not built in did not bother me, in fact it actually makes it easier for using as a lapel mic, or stealth recording by attaching it to the brim of a cap.

Extra battery power is easily achieved with a very small USB rechargeable battery pack - though I've rarely needed it.

Having 1/4 inch jacks is no problem, as it's actually quite convenient to have a 1/4" to XLR adaptor flying lead trailing out of the protective bag I have, and make connections without stressing the connectors.

With regards to noise floor, I've never found that to be a problem, though I usually record sources with a high SPL through a pair of AT4040's. Even when I have used the supplied mini stereo mic for recording ambiences in a pinch, it's been really good, and totally usable (when I tested them, the Edirol and the Microtrack were on a par as far as I could tell. The Zoom was much better than I expected, but still the worst of the group).

The other thing, as stupid as it sounds, was that I couldn't bring myself to use the Edirol R09HR on the grounds that it looked like an old Braun electric shaver, and the Zoom H4 looked like some Star Trek fanboy had taken a knock off Tricorder and stuck a pair of Uhura's earpieces to the top of it .
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  #9  
Old 11-24-2011, 05:59 PM
Stay Where I Can Stay Where I Can is offline
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Default Re: Sold my MBox 2... what next?

Check out the Apogee One or Duet. Depending on your I/O needs, as I know neither are really to elaborate in that department, they are phenomenal interfaces. I have a One for mobile reasons but most of the time when I am writing or not in need of more than one input (99%) of the time it is the best interface I've ever owned, hands down. You really hear the difference with its awesome convertors upon first listen.

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  #10  
Old 11-24-2011, 06:07 PM
Carl Kolchak Carl Kolchak is offline
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Default Re: Sold my MBox 2... what next?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dougfather View Post
Agreed, i went for an Olympus in the end but that was for foley work, great piece of kit.

On another note, a few of the guys on GS have had good results with the Roland R-44 for field recording.

Yeah, I looked at both of those.

The Olympus was really nice for what it was designed for, but the connectivity just rendered it impractical for me.

The Roland R-44 was what I was originally looking at (unless it was a slightly earlier model of the 4 track version, I can't quite remember as it was a few years back) and I think it would be really handy as a 4 channel field recorder (as either a poor mans Aaton Cantar / Zaxcom Deva type device, or for situations where they would be overkill) but in the end, for my purposes it made no sense, as I might just as well take the laptop along as I would be running off mains power anyway.

So that's when I started looking at the Edirol R09HR.

I did also look into the Korg MR1000 & the MR1, both of which were tempting, but the MR1 had the connectability issues and was a little fiddley, and the MR1000 was overkill - not least in terms of price for what I wanted.

The other thing was that as great as DSD is on paper, it's just not practical at that point in the stream, and I can't really see Pro Tools ever going that way, or needing to.

Anyway, there are plenty of options out there for the O.P.

Good luck!
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