DIGIDESIGN MBOX MINI
Yet another MBox! This time it’s the infinitesimal MBox2 Mini. Built for the travelling ProTools warrior, the Mini is the smallest ProTools LE interface available (4.4 x 12.7 x 15.2cm); small enough to hurl into your backpack/handbag/dufflebag. The unit weighs a piffling 503g, even though the casing is built entirely from metal and looks like it’ll take good degree of bashing. But surely there’s a catch – what does one forfeit when acquiring a ProTools interface that’s so small?
Well, firstly, the MBox Mini goes without any digital I/O , which is fair enough. It’s strictly an analogue affair with two inputs and outputs on the back panel. All the I/O is unbalanced 1/4-inch jack, with the Channel 1 input doubling as an XLR microphone input. This preamp input offers 48V phantom power and a 20dB pad. Connection to your computer comes via USB 1.1. The USB cable also bus-powers the unit (with no provision for an external PSU). And there’s a Kensington security lock port for the educational facilities (which I’m sure are ecstatic with this release) – it’ll take up way less room on students’ work surfaces and cost far less than purchasing say 30 standard MBox2 units.
The front panel houses four MBox2-style level knobs, including a Mix control for balancing between recorded and monitoring signals to avoid any latency issues. There’s a 1/4-inch headphone output, of course, and a ‘monitor mute’ button to kill the external monitor outputs at a moment’s notice. Extras included on the software front include the usual ProTools Ignition pack, which contains plug-ins such as BFD Lite, Amplitube LE and Reason Adapted V3. Digidesign also chucks in the XPand! sample playback instrument and the usual set of complementary Bomb Factory plugs. In short, there’s more than enough to get your material edited and on its way to world exposure – or at least into the car stereo and your iPod.
The Mini will obviously sell bucketloads. People would even be queuing up if there was no I/O whatsoever. Why? It’s ProTools. And it’s cheap. The Mbox2 Mini is very hard to fault. – Brad Watts
Digidesign: (02) 9698 9089 or www.digidesign.com.au