Avid Mbox 3 Mini
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Avid Mbox 3 Mini

Mbox 3 Mini, USB audio interface from Avid in the Mbox series.

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kondwanikaphaizi 11/07/2014

Avid Mbox 3 Mini: Produktbewertung von kondwanikaphaizi (content in English)

"Awesome & Durable Audio Interface"
5

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When I started recording and mixing music away from my main setup (at home) I got tired of unplugging my audio interface when leaving then plugging it in again when I got back home, so I thought the best thing would be to get a second interface. I never need to record more than one voice at a time so a small portable device would suit my needs. Initially I had my eye on the Presonus AudioBox 22VSL and M-Audio FastTrack C400 but as soon as I came across the Mbox 3 Mini I was hooked.

The Mbox 3 Mini is a USB audio interface aimed at the home studio/semi-pro level. It's a beautiful, metallic, grey unit which is really solid and of top notch build quality. It's quite heavy and built to last. The device uses the same cable for data transfer and power so you don't need any extra cables. It also comes packaged with quick setup guide and ProTools LE 8, which is an added bonus.

The rear side has one XLR mic/line combo input with phantom power, two balanced monitor outputs, two 1/4 inch instrument inputs and the USB cable slot. The front end has a gain knob for the XLR/line in channel with a -20dB pad, a gain knob for the instrument in channels (also with a -20dB pad), a mix knob for direct monitoring, one headphone output and a huge volume knob.

The pre-amp in this unit is transparent and loud. I use it mostly for recording vocals and never have to turn up the gain too loud to get a good signal. It's compatible with Windows and Mac. Personally I use a laptop running 64 bit Windows 7, with 4GB RAM and an i5 quad core, 2.30GHz CPU. I use mostly the XLR input to capture audio from my condenser mics and it works great.

UTILIZATION

I use the unit mostly for powering up my condenser mics and recording audio. The round-trip latency I get with it is roughly 24ms which works great for me. The direct monitoring option is also great because I can listen to any on-going recording with zero latency.

I use it mostly with REAPER which is the main DAW I use for recording and mixing as well as FL Studio. I've also tinkered with it in Studio One. I haven't had any issues with Studio One and FL Studio using either the WDM, DirectSound or ASIO4ALL drivers. However, in REAPER I get a loud, crackling, continuous white noise when I use the ASIO4ALL driver even when I set the latency really high. When I switch to DirectSound or WDM I have no issues. I'm not sure if this is a general issue with REAPER or if it's just my PC but I doubt it's an issue with the ASIO4ALL driver because when I use the same driver in FL Studio or Studio One I don't experience any issues. But this is not a show-stopper for me because even with DirectSound or WDM the latency is really low.

I use the device with several different mics including an Audix CX212B, Blue Spark, AKG C1000s and Rode NT1. All of them sound good through the Mbox. I record only one track at a time which is perfectly fine for my use. If you want to something in the Mbox series but with more inputs and outputs you should consider looking at the Mbox Pro. All in all the device performs great.

GETTING STARTED

The unit is very easy to setup. On my Windows 7 machine I just plugged it in and the drivers were installed automatically. The process was quick and simple. In case there are any issues with the automatic installation of drivers you can download them from the Avid website and install them manually. The controls are very straight-forward for anyone who has used an audio interface before and the quick setup manual, though small does the job of helping you setup your device for use.

The specific configuration for various DAWs is different but in FL Studio, REAPER and Studio One it's very straight-forward. You just select the "Mbox Mini" option in the device windows of each respective program tinker with the latency settings and you're done.

OVERALL OPINION

All things considered this unit is absolutely great. The pre-amp is really loud and transparent, the build quality of the device is top notch, it has a direct monitoring option and comes with ProTools 8 LE which will get you started in recording if you don't have any other DAW. There are other devices in this price range which have multiple monitor outputs as well as multiple headphone outputs. But if you are considering buying the Mbox Mini 3 then it's likely you're not interested in having a big setup, so that's not a big deterrent. You could always buy a splitter if you want to monitor using 2 pairs of headphones.

Pros:
- Loud, transparent pre-amp
- It has direct monitoring
- Brilliant build quality
- Comes with Protools LE 8

Cons:
- Only 1 output for headphones, but you can buy a splitter to resolve this.
- Only 1 set of monitor outputs, so if you have several sets of speakers that you use in your studio you have to constantly unplug and unplug them according to which pair you need to use.

I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever for purchasing this unit. It has not disappointed me to date and it's worth every penny it costs. You will get great, professional sounding results from this if you couple it with a great mic.