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Thinking of consolidating my recording setup, looking for opinions. Audio Interfaces
Old 4th September 2011
Here for the gear
Thinking of consolidating my recording setup, looking for opinions.

Hey folks,

First-time poster - I see that you guys are all pretty pro, so I registered purely to pick your brains on this :D

I've been recording with a combination of Pro Tools 7.4 LE and REAPER on a 32bit XP Professional install for a while. I've been using a MOTU Ultralite (MkII), and a Digidesign mBox 2 Mini. I recently upgraded to a Win7x64 setup (unfortunately I don't have the cash or space for separate recording/desktop machines), and my Ultralite has started causing system freezes and other general funkiness. As everybody seems to know, MOTU's support is terrible - i've raised several tickets with them over the past few months, none of them have even been opened, let alone answered.

As a result, i'm going to ditch my Ultralite - i've really enjoyed using it, but I can't even leave it plugged into the system any more, because it'll make the system die. This seems to be an issue with the OS/drivers rather than the hardware (though i've only been able to test on another Win7x64 machine, so a hardware fault isn't totally ruled out).

This leaves me with the Mini, which is fine, but I figure if i'm able to sell on my Ultralite, i'll have some spare cash available to buck up the Mini, now that i've 'lost' a lot of I/O.

So my plan, now that you know where I stand, is to sell the Ultralite, and use the money from that sale to purchase a Pro Tools 7.4 > 9 crossgrade from Avid, and dual-mono preamp (almost all of my recording is either stereo, or two-mic jobbies, generally with a set of ribbons, but also with the occasional condenser set), maybe even a kit to keep costs down (I've been looking at building a 1U rack containing two of the Dantimax ThatMic pres for fun and profit - ThatMic - That1512 Mic Pre ), and perhaps a dedicated MIDI interface of some description (though i'm not sure what the market is like for these).

My alternative to this is to sell both the Ultralite and the Mini (thus losing the chance for a crossgrade), and see about picking up an mBox 3+PT9 deal from somewhere. This does seem to come in fairly expensive - preliminary pricing puts an mBox 3 at around £500. However, it has all the I/O i'm looking for - two independent mic/line pres with switchable phantom, two DI inputs (a bonus), MIDI I/O and S/PDIF I/O (another bonus), all over USB.

So, my question to you guys is simple; is it worth keeping the Mini, crossgrading, building/buying a two-channel pre and a MIDI interface, or would it be better to scrap the entire setup and just move to an mBox 3? I'm fairly interested in moving to PT 9 whichever way things go. A thought has just occurred - perhaps buying a pure PT9 license with no hardware, and then shopping around for a used interface of some sort? I hear good things about RME's offerings.

Thanks for sticking with my post - I hope it all made sense to you! If it didn't, please let me know and i'll clarify anything which needs it.

Thanks again,

Old 5th September 2011
Lives for gear
You have to consider converter/clock quality as well so I personally wouldn't wan't to spend any $$ on a good pre only to have it go throught the old M-Box Mini. That said, the MBox 3 sounds like the better idea. My brother was considering that as well, but wound up getting the much cheaper Focusrite Scarlett 18i6 which is much cheaper but sounds great and has similar features so you might want to consider that as well. I'd keep the mini to get the crossgrade price then sell it.
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