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  #1  
Old 03-01-2013, 12:03 PM
PPM6 PPM6 is offline
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Default M-Box 3 SPDIF output - is it truly separate?

I have an Avid M-Box 3 which I'm running with PT9 on my MacBook Pro.

Soon I'll need to record a female vocalist, and I'd like to have my PT/M-Box 3 outputs like this:

1 - Vocal takes track
2 - empty
3 - Backing track L
4 - Backing track R

I have an analogue mixer (Mackie 1402 VLZ3), so I'm thinking of getting a little SPDIF>analogue converter for channels 3-4. I have just one question:

Is the SPDIF output separate to the analogue output, or is it just a copy of the analogue outputs? I wouldn't want to get it all plugged up to find I can't route other things to the SPDIF!
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: M-Box 3 SPDIF output - is it truly separate?

Don't own an Mbox, but the SPDIF on my 003 works great with its own 2 channel mic pre(DBX-386). You may need to go into the IO setup anbd add the paths for it
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:25 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: M-Box 3 SPDIF output - is it truly separate?

Yes, they are separate. It's stated on page 1 of your manual.

However, what you're trying to do sounds kind of convoluted. Can you explain in more detail what you're trying to accomplish? There may be an easier (and cheaper) way. And do you need an analog to digital or digital to analog converter?

Either way, with what they cost, it may be the same price to simply buy a different interface that has the proper amount of I/O.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:26 PM
PPM6 PPM6 is offline
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Default Re: M-Box 3 SPDIF output - is it truly separate?

Cool. I *guess* I can route separate tracks to it, as I see it as an option in PT. I just thought I'd check with the experts!

I've had my PT9 and M Box for about a year and a half, but never needed to record onto it like this (I use it mostly for speech editing)...
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:58 PM
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Default Re: M-Box 3 SPDIF output - is it truly separate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PPM6 View Post
Cool. I *guess* I can route separate tracks to it, as I see it as an option in PT. I just thought I'd check with the experts!

I've had my PT9 and M Box for about a year and a half, but never needed to record onto it like this (I use it mostly for speech editing)...
If I understand this correctly, all you want to do is sum the 3 outputs so you can monitor them in either a stereo or monitor mix, correct?

If that's the case, you don't need to use the external mixer or any extra i/o, just set the output of each of the 3 tracks to the same output, and adjust their levels and panning in the pro tools mixer
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:36 PM
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Default Re: M-Box 3 SPDIF output - is it truly separate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John_Toolbox View Post
If I understand this correctly, all you want to do is sum the 3 outputs so you can monitor them in either a stereo or monitor mix, correct?

If that's the case, you don't need to use the external mixer or any extra i/o, just set the output of each of the 3 tracks to the same output, and adjust their levels and panning in the pro tools mixer
Interesting as I read it that the OP wanted to record 3 or 4 inputs at the same time. Personally, I would skip the Mackie/SPDIF converter combo, and use a 2 channel SPDIF preamp. ART Digital MPA, DBX 386 and API A2D(big bucks but REALLY good).
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:00 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: M-Box 3 SPDIF output - is it truly separate?

Those would be great choices, but with the cost of those, he might as well just get a Saffire Pro 40 that has all the I/O he needs, and just use it instead.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:39 AM
PPM6 PPM6 is offline
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Default Re: M-Box 3 SPDIF output - is it truly separate?

With respect, I think a lot of you have misunderstood/misread my OP.

I am not concerned with its inputs, just the outputs. I certainly don't want to sum all the outputs down into just stereo - I can do that already of course.

I just want to confirm that the SPDIF output ISN'T just a duplicate of the analogue outputs (which would be useless for me, but I can imagine manufacturers doing this). The Manual isn't quite clear on whether they are separately assignable, or just a clone of the analogue outs.

I effectively want to convert the M-Box's SPDIF output so that I end up with FOUR, seperately assignable analogue outputs, as opposed to two.

I then want to use those four, separate analogue outputs on my mixer, on four, separate channels, so I can set-up a pre-fade aux mix for my singer, and a different mix for me. The SPDIF>analogue I'll buy converter doesn't need to be super-quality as it's purely for artist's reference headphone monitoring.

So I just want to check that the SPDIF output is separately assignable.

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Old 03-02-2013, 08:10 AM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: M-Box 3 SPDIF output - is it truly separate?

As I mentioned, it's on page 1 of the manual, here's the quote, with italics for emphasis:

"• S/PDIF inputs are available independently,
in addition to analog inputs 1–2
• S/PDIF outputs are available independently, in addition to analog outputs 1–2"


I have also used the Mbox and I can confirm it works this way. I believe the old Mbox 2 did not have them independently, and that is where your concern may be coming from. But this one definitely does.


So to the next issue, a two channel Digital to Analog converter.

The problem is that hardly anyone makes a cheap one, especially a two channel. Most people wanting to use outboard D/A converters are usually wanting to greatly improve the sound by bypassing their interface's conversion, so they are looking for higher quality, and that's what the market caters to.

The cheapest thing I can think of that might help is the Aphex Headpod 4, because it has a Spidf input and then 4 headphone outs. You could use this for the vocalist's separate mix, and then you can listen from the Mbox main headphones for your own mix, and then skip your analog mixer all together.

Here's info on it:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HeadPod4
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:32 AM
PPM6 PPM6 is offline
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Default Re: M-Box 3 SPDIF output - is it truly separate?

Thanks. I read that in the manual, but I was skeptical of the 'available independently'. They could be meaning physically independently, while still just a clone of the analogue. I don't entirely trust manufacturers. Weirder things have happened!

Cheers, you've told me what I need to know, so I can now move forward in getting just a little converter box (Amazon do little ones for about £30). I'm not too concerned about a little bit of latency, as it's just to squirt out a backing track and reference material to the cans.
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