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The Mbox 2 is basically Digidesigns flagship interface and is sold as such.
I bought this Mbox for college and am still using it in uni and without it I can firmly say I would not have passed my A-levels.
The Mbox 2 can record two microphones at once and is expandable to be able to record 4 microphones at once if you have a separate mic preamp which can support S/PDIF. The microphone channels can also be used for DI by the pressing the button which is great for guitar.
The Mbox is a very useful piece of kit because it can be totally powered from the USB port of any laptop and yet still managers to provide phantom power for condenser microphones.
The Mbox also has 2 midi ports (1in/1out) which have a good latency time and I have use them with a keyboard to create a backing track many times.
The monitor outs are simply mono jack sockets which just do the job so not really much to say there. The headphone socket is useful just be careful the weight of the lead does not pull the Mbox over.
The Mbox can also act as an interface for other programs other than just Pro tools such as Cubase and Logic....Just not at the same time....
My one moan about this Mbox is some of the design points.
Firstly it has the sticking out handle to stop it falling over but knock it to the right and it just falls down with a great thud...Which is why mine lives next to the bookend and rests against it.
My second point is that some of the knobs are sometimes fiddly and can be hard to turn separately.
The design point that I do like is the fact that the handle is removable and can be replaced easily with the sort of stubby standing edge which you see in the photos of the Mbox laying on its side instead of standing up straight.
Ahhh the mbox 2 from Digi design... what can i say, it's brilliant!! comes in many different package selections and options there is the mbox 2, mbox2 mini, mbox 2 factory and also the pro factory.
I own the Mbox2 factory edition and it has been brilliant for recording demos... the mbox itself is very easy to install being pretty much plug and play. It has two mic inputs and 2 di (direct input) ports also which alows you to record with an accoustic guitar with a di or miked and voice or electric guita and voice or two guitars, it's great fun. There is also a midi inout on the mbox 2 aswell which opens up your recording horizons for a midi keyboard etc and quite alot of midi devices are compatible with the software. When you are recording or playing back there are headphone monitoring options and also monitor options for speakers, but the speakers have to have their own power supply and be seperate from the computer, but there are as i say inputs for the speakers on the mbox 2. Also the mbox 2 has a 48v phantom power for those mics that require it and a mono option aswell.
The Mbox 2 also comes as standard with the protools software - Protools le 7.4 was what came with mine although recently protools 8.0 has been launched so i don't know where that stands. The protools software is one of the most commonly used pieces of software in the recording industry to date being used in studios all over the world as its simple and easy to use even without know the shortcuts. you can record up to 16 tracks (i might be wrong) you can import and export mp3 tracks and have fun playing around wwith the many effects which come with it. Recording with protools is very simple and easy to get the audio down and into editing... protools 7.4 le comes armed with many different effects to get your recording how you sound ranging from eq and reverb to putting things into reverse and clip managment... the factory package also comes with many other add ons and effects it also comes with the iLok device whcih is a usb device with licenses for trials and other software provided with the mbox 2.
All all in the digidesign team have created a fantastic and affordable way of recording for those on a budget or for those wanting to record their ideas before they lose them or for demos, everything that comes with the mbox2 software etc make it well worth the money and you should be able to pick an mbox 2 factory up for around £285-380 ( i think). so i hope this helps anyone looking to get into the recording world, its so far been a great bit of kit and will be holding onto mine for along time.
here are some sites i have found useful for finding this sort of equipment:
Mbox 2 is a next-generation USB-powered audio/MIDI production system that builds on the performance and simplicity of the original Mbox. Combining high-performance hardware and award-winning, industry-standard Digidesign Pro Tools LE software, Mbox 2 gives you essential tools to help you realize your creative vision.