You Gotta Love The Mbox

My regular digital audio workstation that I use for my job is a Pro Tools 24|Mix Plus. It’s the old hardware, I know, but I haven’t really needed to upgrade to HD. (Though that support for breaking timecode in the 6.4 software makes it awfully tempting. Loading production sound roll DATs would be much easier.)

I’ve also been the owner of an Mbox for a while now but I never used it very much. I bought it with the thought that I could do work at home if I wanted to, but the situation never arose where I decided to do so. I also bought the DV Toolkit to unlock the timecode and feet+frames options so that Pro Tools LE is nearly identical to my full system in the office. Plus at $1450 ($450 for the Mbox and $1000 for DV Toolkit) it’s a far cry from $16K+ for a TDM system.

This job I’m working on over at Universal has me away from my main Pro Tools system that’s set up at Fox. So since my Mbox and a pair of Sony MDR-7505 headphones don’t take up that much more space in my bag, I’ve been bringing it to Universal and using it a lot and I’m really impressed. My zippy laptop is certainly a factor in this. I have a 15″ Aluminum PowerBook at 1.25GHz. But still, I’m amazed at the amount of things I’m able to do as an assistant sound editor with an Mbox.

I can’t load digital picture from videotapes since the editors use various MJPEG A cards (DC30+, Fuse, and Igniter) but if we were using DV picture with a box like from Canopus, I could. I can’t print cuesheets because I can’t get stupid Tape to work in OS X and my laptop doesn’t boot into OS 9. And I can’t deal with SCSI drives, but most of our editors I cutting off Firewire drives. (And if I really needed SCSI support, there are various SCSI PC cards I could use, or maybe even a Firewire to SCSI interface.)

But I can do everything else. It’s really fantastic. Titan 3 works great. The DigiTranslator that comes with DV Toolkit converts my OMFs to Pro Tools sessions. Soundminer runs well. It is a viable alternative to a full-blown system.

Of course I could always do all the paperwork-related assistant things with Excel, Word and BBEdit. I’m reallying digging this.