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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2003, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,989
Mbox

I just got a new laptop, and now I'm looking to get a USB or firewire interface of some kind, and the Mbox is looking mighty nice right now. How much should I expect to pay for one if I ordered it off the net? (none in London that I've found yet, keep in mind this is in Canadian $$) Is it worth it's price?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2003, 09:20 AM
 
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I got quoted something like 800$ CDN.

Check out digidesigns' site for compatibility. You'll also need an external audio drive...
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2003, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat knup
I got quoted something like 800$ CDN.

Check out digidesigns' site for compatibility. You'll also need an external audio drive...
You'll need an external drive?? Ah man, nuts to that
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2003, 11:34 AM
 
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Yeah You shouldn't record audio to the system drive. It's never recommended.

www.digidesign.com/compato/xp/mbox/

for system compatibility issues. Your laptop may not even be compatible...
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2003, 07:20 PM
ns9
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Portland, Or
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Hi! $450 US is average. Dunno what customs would stick ya for tho...

Since you are planning on laptop use, I would highly suggest spending time searching about on the Digidesign User Conference
http://duc.digidesign.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi
It is currently down for maintenance, but should be back up Mon or Tues this coming week.

What laptop? Brand and model number, and I *may* know offhand what you will need.

As far as external drives: With a latop, yesh, you will need one. Laptop drives are notoriously slower than standard desktop IDE drives. Also, whether laptop or desktop, I would not even want to use an audio/midi app without a dedicated audio drive. Typically, the system drive (with the OS) will reside on the Primary-Master leg. If a third choice is not available, and a DVD or CD drive is on the system, it should reside on it's own, otherwise it will reduce all other devices on its *leg* to it's speed (=bad). Better to run it as Primary-Slave before cabled with a CD or DVD drive.

Once again, laptop model- does it have USB? Firewire? If it has firwire, drives avail for firewire are showing very good performance so far. USB2 drives are also decent.

One caveat with Mbox and USB: It eats 99% of the available power of a USB port. Although some ports will provide up to 4 connections, that one port only has 500mA of power avail across all the connections it provides. Some computers actually slightly underpower a port as well, making it even more of a nightmare. The DUC has had a few threads show up with people discussing laptop use with Mbox and the new Digi002/002R's.

Nikki
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2003, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Location: London, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,989
Well, it's a Hewlett-Packard, not sure of the model number, but here's the specs I remember off-hand:

Pentium (4 or Celeron, not sure) 2.0ghz
256 meg of ram (not sure what type)
CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive
60gb harddrive
USB and Firewire (one each I think, maybe two USB, and definitely not USB 2.0)
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2003, 09:18 AM
 
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So did you check it's compatibility?

I think the Mbox is a great little unit for the $$
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2003, 10:42 AM
 
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Check out Saved By Technology if you want ballpark Canadian prices.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2003, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat knup
So did you check it's compatibility?
Not yet, but I'm looking into it.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2003, 03:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darren wilson
Check out Saved By Technology if you want ballpark Canadian prices.
Yeah but their service in general is pretty crap.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2003, 06:05 PM
ns9
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Portland, Or
Posts: 223
Hi! What no one likes to hear:
Take the laptop to a *local* store and try it with an Mbox. Even without a dedicated drive for audio, it will allow you to see if it works or not.
Key things to look for if/when trying:
Crackles/dropouts with an input active, rec ready. Dont even need to hit record- just hook up and rec ready. If you are getting any distortion or dropout, the USB on that laptop MAY be the culprit, and getting around that will unfortunately be difficult, if not impossible. Most times it is an underpowered USB port. I would also suggest bringing a powered USB hub, brand name, known to be a very reliabke unit. This may supercede any shortcomings in the laptop's USB, although it is not supported or recommended bu Digidesign. Although the laptop may have two *ports* for USB (ie, 2 actual places to plug USB in), it more than likely has both running from the same "hub" internally. That hub has an allowance of 500mA by spec, although some manufacturers seem to have 'em underpowered.

Since you are here on Jemsite, I am assuming you are a guitar player, and looking to use it for recording guitar and more. When recording live instruments, an H/W Buffer size (you will find out quickly what this refers to, if you do not already) of 256 is comfy for tracking. Above that and it starts to get un-comfy. With the Mbox, you can choose to hear the direct signal, which is great for overcoming latency with higher HW settings. For some more reading:
http://www.digidesign.com/support/docs/
Manuals and other docs there.

Use a ps2 mouse! Any other "active" USB devices (mouse, internet, etc) will interfere. "Passive" USB devices (iLok, etc) will be fine in most cases.

I would highly recommend adding more memory. Memory will not directly affect number of tracks or general performance; however, certain plug-ins will grab memory. I have found 512M to be a minimum comfortable amount when using audio/midi apps with Win XP. Careful attention to tweaking ends up being a must in most situations.

I would create a second hardware profile specifically for using an Mbox. Disable any unneeded devices, and set power features to always on. System Restore is also a huge hog, and although great, a workaround is to use a drive imaging app, such as Norton Ghost, Acronis True Image, or some other. There are quite a few tweaks that can help.

For an audio drive: I would suggest grabbing a firwire enclosure. This will allow you to use an IDE drive of your choice, and will allow you to swap out drives a bit more cheaply, although the enclosure+drive may be slightly more for the first set. It will also allow you to grab a smaller, but still fast enough, drive if cost becomes a factor, and simply grab a new. larger & faster drive to pop in it later when you have recovered from all this.

Once again, the DUC (Digidesign Users Conference) is an excellent place to get info and interact with other users. Hopefully they will have it back up Mon or Tues this week. There is a dedicated section for Windows users of the Pro Tools LE systems, Mbox, Digi001 and Digi002/002r.
Good luck, and if I can offer any more help, please feel free to ask, and I will do my best. Nikki
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