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Avid 003 Rack

Avid 003 Rack

3.1 3.1 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

I don't like this Avid 003 Rack.

22nd January 2012

Avid 003 Rack by dwells

  • Sound Quality 2 out of 5
  • Ease of use 1 out of 5
  • Features 1 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 2 out of 5
  • Overall: 1.5
Avid 003 Rack

I don't like this thing made by Avid called the 003 Rack. I in fact despise it. To be clear I am a Windows user, I don't care for Apple for many reasons so I don't use Macs. At first it was pretty good, I would have ranked it a 7 or 8, but this was with version 7 of Protools on XP. I also switch between 2 DAW platforms, Cubase and Protools. I prefer Cubase over Protools, but still find a place for both. I think this was the last time Avid or Digidesign unofficially stopped supporting the 003 line. There were several bugs in 8 that was eventually worked out, mind you this is XP. I like most people was hesitant with switching from XP to 7, like most I also skipped on Vista. Windows 7 was extremely stable and very reliable. Avid never did develop a driver that can work on Windows 7, but they sold it as Windows 7 compatible. I understand the issues that 7 has with firewire and had my system setup the way Avid recommends and it still doesn't work, at least not with Avid's drivers. I was able to get it able to playback (not record) audio with a 3rd party driver, ASIO4ALL. This way I can at least mix. So I still need to record in XP in PT8 (9 and 10 are not XP compatible) I think I was able to get PT to playback fine in 10 with Avids drivers, still cant record. And in Cubase I can only get playback with ASIO4ALL. Avid still claims the 003R is Windows 7 compatible and is continuing to sell it so. Claiming that they will still support the 003R until PT11 is released. But I have seen no efforts by them to hold up to their claims. I'm looking for a new interface for my Windows 7 Cubase / Protools setup.

1st February 2012

Avid 003 Rack by LauKeiding

  • Sound Quality 3 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Avid 003 Rack

This is a product that, like many other by Digidesign/Avid, has been influenced by the negative reputation that units, such as the Digi 001, still have on the Internet.

Now, to what extend this reputation is justified is of course a personal verdict, but having used the 003 Rack for a while, I see this unit as a workhorse.

Having 4 built-in preamps as standard, with an option for expanding both through optical and by line-input, it offers enough simultaneous inputs for most home-studios.

The 003r has a very neutral sound, but while it doesn’t add anything worth mentioning to your signal, it doesn’t degrade it either, leaving your source material sounding as you recorded it.

The connectivity is good, with main and alt. monitoring outputs, the above mentioned options for expanding the inputs, and 2 firewire-ports to allow daisy-chaining, just to name a couple.

To sum-up, to 003r is about being flexible and having a neutral sound.

Concerning the performance with Pro Tools, I have found this setup very stable. Low-latency monitoring has been working as it is supposed to, and I’ve had very few issues with crashes.

Note: I've used the 003r with Pro Tools running on OSX.

27th March 2012

Avid 003 Rack by tone_rekooda

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Avid 003 Rack

Hey gearslutters,

Today I am going to review my second sound interface.

Digidesign 003 Rack

Some Gossip

When I bought my very first interface (M-Audio Delta 1010) I installed the included Pro Tools Demo and liked that DAW very much. I wanted to use the full version so I decided to do a step upwards and buy a new interface with the included full version. Here we go, I bought the Digidesign 003 Rack incl. Software.
That`s about 3 years ago. In the meantime I´ve used nearly every feature and possibility so I can say a lot about everything. Of course just individual statements.

Build Quality and Stability

Basically the build quality is very good! I never had any problems. But I think it`s easy to break those long knobs on the front plate. Strange design. Touching them and twisting is a comfortable feel, but anyway, if it`s rackmounted and you “touch” it a little bit harder with your foot/shoe I think it can be broken pretty easily.

Basically I experienced working with that interface as very stable. It never crashed during playback or recording. But what happened often and that just under Windows OS is that it didn`t started right when I pushed the “on”-button. Then all the LEDs were blinking like mad and no connection could be achieved and I had to retry switching on for at least 4 or 5 times. When I switched to OSX I never ever had this problems again so I think it`s a software-driver`s issue.

Preamps and AD/DA

This interface is the best gear of this type I`ve ever used in my studio so far. So I can just talk about how I experienced the quality of the preamps and AD/DA and how good it sounded to me.

I`ve recorded a lot hardware synths and drummachines and always got very nice and useful results. But I have the feeling that the preamps and AD always blurred the sound just a little bit. It sounded like there is a subtle noticeable “curtain” on the recorded material. As long as I don`t have a reference I do think that other higher priced interface are going to give better sounding results. But anyway, it worked very well. What I`ve recorded was always useful and lead to nice results when further processed.
Same goes for drum recordings I`ve done. Most of the time toms and overheads were recorded with the Digi`s preamps. Bass Drum and Snare most of the time recorded with the TL Audio Fat Track`s preamps or with A-Design`s Pacifica.

Drums like toms or overheads sounded nice and useable, but nothing special.
DA worked well too, whatelse would you expect from an interface. I can`t say how good the conversion is working but I never had the feeling that something is missing. Nevertheless I would love to upgrade in the near future because I am curious how more expensive and better DA and especially AD is sounding.

Other features

ADAT and Sync

I often used a Focusrite Pro 40 interface together with my Digi 003 Rack to use extra preamps via ADAT. Focusrite was in standalone mode. Synced via SPDIF. Worked flawless!

Midi In/Out

I`ve synced my synths and drummachines via Digi`s Midi ports. Worked well so far. On my livegigs I used some midi controllers which were connected via Midi with Ableton Live and never had a Problem.


If you can get your hands on a cheap and used Digidesign 003 Rack and you don`t want to spend much more money I think it`s a good deal. Of course it`s by far not the best interface but you get a lot Inputs and Outputs, 4 preamps, ADAT and much more and it works very stable.

But one strange sidenote at the end of my review : When I updated Pro Tools to V9 my Digi didn`t worked anymore. I`ve used it with Ableton Live and no problem. Pro Tools 7 and 8 no problem too. It was no problem because I changed the Digi 003 Rack and used a Motu 24 I/O which worked very well with Pro Tools 9. But anyway, must be another problem with the drivers maybe.


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