Mbox – the Pro Tools HD interface of choice?

For many musicians, the transition from imitator to innovator happens gradually over time.  It was the same for me.  I spent many years doing my best to sound exactly like my idols.  I never really got good enough at aping them to satisfy myself, but a funny thing happened along the way:  I discovered that I had a pretty good sound myself!

From there, it was only a matter of time before I wanted to start writing and recording my own music, so I began getting educated on the available home recording software options out there.  There are quite a few of them available, and you can spend a good deal of time figuring out which setup is right for your home studio needs.

Among the best-known recording programs available is Digidesign's Pro Tools, which is designed with the serious audio engineer and recording musician in mind.  The user interface is both beautiful and powerful (thought not as user friendly as Apple's offering, called Logic), and the feature list is almost endless.  There is a wide variety of virtual instruments (computer-generated waveforms with remarkable likenesses to the real thing), and a staggering array of processors, amplifiers, effects, and editing tools.  It's extremely capable.

But you can't just buy the recording software, as you also need a Pro Tools HD interface device to convert analog signals to digital.  Digidesign builds and markets an interface called MBox 2, which contains a couple of preamplifiers for microphone and instrument inputs, a stereo headphone jack for monitor output (so you can hear what you're recording), as well as a USB interface to communicate with your computer.

It's a powerful combination, but not the only combination available.  Other units provide faster interface speeds and greater throughput via FireWire, and Digidesign also markets an audio interface for Pro Tools that doubles as an external guitar processor, freeing up your computer's processor to accommodate more tracks and effects.

Let your ear and your wallet be your guide.  MBox 2 is a highly capable interface, but it's not the only option available.

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