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BLA mod for MBox Pro
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Piedpiper
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#1
31st August 2011
Old 31st August 2011
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BLA mod for MBox Pro

Black Lion Audio is now offering Standard and Premium Mods for the New MBox 3 Pro.

In talking with BLA about it, although the MBox Pro offers a few more interesting features than the 002R and 003R, they say that the MBox Pro does not have the room inside to install the additional power supply and clock that the Signature 002R/003R Mod includes. So from the standpoint of sound quality, the Sig mod 002R is still the most cost effective way to get a top quality sounding interface, given the price of a used 002R being about $250 on eBay. I've seen used BLA Sig mod 002R go for about the price of a new MBox 3 Pro/ProTools 9 bundle plus the Premium BLA mod. They did say that the chips they put in the mic pres of the MBox Pro are particularly punchy. I do like the additional monitoring features in the MBox Pro, as well. For someone who already has an MBox 3 Pro, it sounds like a very nice way to get serious sound quality.

So I won't be trading my BLA Sig 002R for the latest not quite greatest...
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#2
31st August 2011
Old 31st August 2011
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Tim - I have a client that's buying a Pro for his mobile writing setup. Can you elaborate on something you said. You said there was not room in the Pro for the updated clock and powersupply. Does that mean they are outboard, or that they do not do that mod on the Pro. Client needs uber-portability and will not be happy with having to carry an outboard clock/PS. Thx.

bp
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31st August 2011
Old 31st August 2011
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Hi Bill. IOW, that portion of the BLA Signature 002R mod that involves the separate additional (but internally installed) power supply and upgraded clock cannot be done on the MBox 3 Pro. This is why the sound quality of the BLA Signature Modded 002R is still superior to that of the BLA Premium Modded MBox 3 Pro. This is also why I still recommend getting a used 002R and getting the BLA Signature Mod rather than any other option, speaking of both cost effectiveness as well as sound quality. From what I remember, the only additional features that the MBox has over the 002R are a second headphone amp with discrete volume control, speakers A/B/C switching, and up to 192k sampling instead of 96k. I/O are the same.

zat clear?
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31st August 2011
Old 31st August 2011
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Very cool.

I'm also a big fan of the Digi 002 Signature Mod. (No personal affiliation, just happen to live in the same city.)

I'm curious—how long until we hear sound samples, if not comparisons?
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1st September 2011
Old 1st September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
zat clear?
No. You're not saying wether the MBox 3 has a better clock to begin with over the 002 or wether the op amps/filters etc. are also better to begin with. Also, what exactly is the mod to the MBox 3? I noticed Black lion offered 2 mods but no details.
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1st September 2011
Old 1st September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
Hi Bill. IOW, that portion of the BLA Signature 002R mod that involves the separate additional (but internally installed) power supply and upgraded clock cannot be done on the MBox 3 Pro. This is why the sound quality of the BLA Signature Modded 002R is still superior to that of the BLA Premium Modded MBox 3 Pro. This is also why I still recommend getting a used 002R and getting the BLA Signature Mod rather than any other option, speaking of both cost effectiveness as well as sound quality. From what I remember, the only additional features that the MBox has over the 002R are a second headphone amp with discrete volume control, speakers A/B/C switching, and up to 192k sampling instead of 96k. I/O are the same.

zat clear?
Yup, clear. But a no go for us. Carrying on an 002r is out of the question.
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1st September 2011
Old 1st September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alndln View Post
No. You're not saying wether the MBox 3 has a better clock to begin with over the 002 or wether the op amps/filters etc. are also better to begin with. Also, what exactly is the mod to the MBox 3? I noticed Black lion offered 2 mods but no details.
First of all, I am not associated with BLA. Secondly I am making no comment about either stock unit except to say that neither the stock clock, which cannot be changed internally due to space constraints, nor the stock op amps in the MBox 3 Pro, are purported to be as good as that of the Signature modded 002R. I am saying that the Signature modded 002R is purported to be better sounding than the MBox 3 Pro with the BLA Premium Mod, even when bundled with the BLA Sparrow ADC, and obviously, MUCH better than the stock MBox 3 Pro.

They have not gotten to writing up descriptions yet, as they are a small operation and are very busy. If you want more info, call them and they will be happy to describe it in more detail.
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1st September 2011
Old 1st September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Yup, clear. But a no go for us. Carrying on an 002r is out of the question.
What's out of the question about it for you?
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1st September 2011
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As I said earlier, it's for a mobile writing rig. Would you want to do an 002r as carry on luggage with your clothes, laptop, and other misc stuff. Too big. Other than that, it would be fine, but this is for a VERY stripped down mobile writing setup. Too bulky.
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1st September 2011
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ah. wasn't thinking about the size...
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5th September 2011
Old 5th September 2011
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@DrBill:

The Mbox3Pro is a very serious piece of gear.
#12
7th September 2011
Old 7th September 2011
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7th September 2011
Old 7th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodstar57 View Post
[URL="http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?2762705-Avid-Mbox-Pro-Computer-Interface-Now-with-Conclusions"]Also the MBox 3 pro has the same converters from the Apogee duet and Ensemble. I would like to to do the Mod to my unit but BLA won't lower the cost for me; because i don't use the Preamps on the Mbox 3 pro at all so i dont need them to upgrade them. However they said no.
Where did you hear that, about the converters being the same as Apogee?

I'm guessing BLA's margins are too small to accommodate custom configurations.

...and thanks for the link to the review. definitely inspires confidence.
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7th September 2011
Old 7th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piedpiper View Post
Where did you hear that, about the converters being the same as Apogee?

I'm guessing BLA's margins are too small to accommodate custom configurations.

...and thanks for the link to the review. definitely inspires confidence.
Well the BLA site states such. " The Mbox3 Pro is Avid’s redesign of the old consumer-grade Pro Tools interface, the Mbox2, but now with Cirrus Logic CS4272 converters, which feature 24-bit/192kHz conversion and a dynamic range of 114dB (the same converters used in the Apogee Duet and Ensemble)."
Which would stand to reason why they don't touch the convertors. Also it sounds damn good to my ears...lol. I will be investing in the a standalone clock tho; I'm certian this will help with the overall performance.
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8th September 2011
Old 8th September 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodstar57 View Post
Well the BLA site states such. " The Mbox3 Pro is Avid’s redesign of the old consumer-grade Pro Tools interface, the Mbox2, but now with Cirrus Logic CS4272 converters, which feature 24-bit/192kHz conversion and a dynamic range of 114dB (the same converters used in the Apogee Duet and Ensemble)."
Which would stand to reason why they don't touch the convertors. Also it sounds damn good to my ears...lol. I will be investing in the a standalone clock tho; I'm certian this will help with the overall performance.
Thanks for the clarification. Last I looked, there was no write up at all.

What could stand to be improved according to BLA, is the power supply, something they can't do, due to space constraints. Of course, there is never a point at which improving a power supply would stop making a difference.
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8th November 2011
Old 8th November 2011
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This is a more interesting option, now that Avid has announced that Protools 10 will be the last version that supports the 32 bit drivers that the 002 and 003 rely on. Protools 11 will be 64 bit and will require the mBox 3 or other more current units. IOW, my BLA modded 002 won't be able to be used with Protools 11 and beyond... not that it will cease to work just fine...
#17
3rd February 2012
Old 3rd February 2012
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yeah I was wondering if this was snake oil... loving our MBox Pro 3 and for $600 looks like a serious investment.

The BLA ADA8000 we we're given seems like a beast, granted we've only hooked it up once.

any one pull the trigger? Samples? Thoughts?
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3rd February 2012
Old 3rd February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anna_britbass88 View Post
yeah I was wondering if this was snake oil... loving our MBox Pro 3 and for $600 looks like a serious investment.

The BLA ADA8000 we we're given seems like a beast, granted we've only hooked it up once.

any one pull the trigger? Samples? Thoughts?
no experience here, except with BLA in general and with my 002R, both of which I trust. if something can't be reasonably improved, they tell you. snake oil is not in their product line...
#19
6th February 2012
Old 6th February 2012
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I've been a Gearslutz lurker for a long time and this is my first post.

I wonder if you use an external clock on the modded Mbox Pro if it gets you in the range of the modded Digi 003? There's still the power supply that is address ed in 003 mod so it's probably still a bit better than the BLA Mbox Pro.
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7th February 2012
Old 7th February 2012
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Originally Posted by petesteen View Post
I've been a Gearslutz lurker for a long time and this is my first post.

I wonder if you use an external clock on the modded Mbox Pro if it gets you in the range of the modded Digi 003? There's still the power supply that is address ed in 003 mod so it's probably still a bit better than the BLA Mbox Pro.
That's exactly what BLA told me...

see post #7 and earlier posts.

Again, the advantages of the modded mBox Pro 3 in relation to the modded 002R or 003R, are it's size, the second headphone jack, speaker switching, 192k sampling rate capability, and perhaps most importantly, its forward compatibility with the proposed 64 bit PT11 and onwards. The sonics remain on the side of the signature modded 002R and 003R with a slight nod to the 002R due to internal wiring differences that put it ahead of the 003R once modded.
#21
7th February 2012
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For the price of a modded Mbox Pro it's in the range of a used ULN-2 which is probably a step up in sound quality although has less inputs. I rather have the future proof Mbox than a BLA 002/003. I'll probably wind get a used Mbox Pro and mod it later.
#22
8th February 2012
Old 8th February 2012
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Slightly different question but hoping you folks can answer -

Have had my 002r since 2005 and so far it's fine. Usually record 1-2 mics tops and have 1 good preamp, will be probably getting 2 more. Line inputs would be 2 synths, although only one would always be hooked up; the other could be optional.

Stock 002r vs. stock mbox 3 pro - how much better sonically, both in terms of A/D, D/A, etc? Can the mic inputs 3/4 be used as line inputs and defeat the mic pres? Looking to upgrade from my 002r - it was OK at the time, but starting to hear the issues on mixes.

If not the mBox 3 pro, what else in that price range?

To be clear, not looking for a BLA mod (although 2 years ago would have pulled the trigger) but what's in the same league stock.

thanks.
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#23
8th February 2012
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I would say the mbox pro is a major upgrade from the stock 002R in every way. And you can check out the features and review in the link in post #12. I believe it will serve your purposes very well.
#24
8th February 2012
Old 8th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
Slightly different question but hoping you folks can answer -

Have had my 002r since 2005 and so far it's fine. Usually record 1-2 mics tops and have 1 good preamp, will be probably getting 2 more. Line inputs would be 2 synths, although only one would always be hooked up; the other could be optional.

Stock 002r vs. stock mbox 3 pro - how much better sonically, both in terms of A/D, D/A, etc? Can the mic inputs 3/4 be used as line inputs and defeat the mic pres? Looking to upgrade from my 002r - it was OK at the time, but starting to hear the issues on mixes.

If not the mBox 3 pro, what else in that price range?

To be clear, not looking for a BLA mod (although 2 years ago would have pulled the trigger) but what's in the same league stock.

thanks.
Piedpiper is correct the new Mbox 3 pro is a nice piece of gear and is better stock for stock to the 002r and 003r. If avid would have named it different they could have rallied more people to it (when people hear Mbox they think ......piece of crap).

The line inputs in the back will bypass the on board pre's. IMO the pro is the only one to get......these things need juice and the USB does not cut it.

Buy it and try it out let your ears be the judge.
#25
9th February 2012
Old 9th February 2012
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Thanks all - hadn't seen Craig's review, but coming from him, that's good enough for me.
#26
9th May 2012
Old 9th May 2012
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ext power supply?

I know I'm resurfacing this thread after 3 months, but has anyone ever heard about creating an external power supply for the Mbox pro?

I would be interested to try it myself, if I wasn't such a noob o_O
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9th May 2012
Old 9th May 2012
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Quote:
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I know I'm resurfacing this thread after 3 months, but has anyone ever heard about creating an external power supply for the Mbox pro?

I would be interested to try it myself, if I wasn't such a noob o_O
My memory is that I asked BLA about that and they had no interest in going there.
#28
9th June 2012
Old 9th June 2012
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has any1 used the modded mbox 3 pro?
#29
11th June 2012
Old 11th June 2012
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^Wondering the same thing.

Mbox 3 Pro BLA mods anyone?
#30
14th June 2012
Old 14th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodfellow View Post
^Wondering the same thing.

Mbox 3 Pro BLA mods anyone?
this mod must suck no reviews anywhere on the net
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