New Avid Pro Tools Express Mbox Bundles

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The Mbox series from Avid has always stood out as an excellent way for new users to dive into the professional realm of computer recording and as a vehicle for experienced users to harness the power of Pro Tools in a portable and compact package. The newly announced Mbox Express Bundles continue the legacy of this popular hardware and software solution, giving you Pro Tools recording power at attractive entry level prices. The key here is the new Pro Tools Express application (included with the bundles), which offers extended software capabilities without weighing down the overall cost.

New Mbox Pro Tools Express bundles are available for the Mbox and the Mbox Mini (including the option for educational versions of the Mbox and Mbox Mini as well). Additionally, when you're ready to turn up the heat a little, a software cross grade is available to upgrade from Pro Tools Express to Pro Tools 10.

With Pro Tools Express, you get an elaborate suite of recording and mixing capabilities. Compared to Pro Tools SE (which came bundled with some M-Audio hardware), Pro Tools Express simply outguns it. Both programs offer a total of 16 mono or stereo tracks and while third party plug-ins are not supported in SE, you're free to use them in Express. Advanced features from Pro Tools 10 such as Automatic Delay Compensation are also included in Pro Tools Express. The maximum sample rate is 96 kHz (the cap in SE is 48 kHz). Hardware permitting, the software allows for up to 8 inputs and outputs.

Pro Tools Express sessions are fully compatible with other versions of Pro Tools software, so you can easily interchange sessions and files with other studios. An iLok dongle is included with the new bundles, as is an arsenal of plug-ins. You get the Boom drum machine/sequencer, Structure sample player and twenty-nine other effects and utilities (including the BF76 Compressor and the Xpand!2 synthesizer).

Unlike Pro Tools 10 (which can be used with nearly any audio interface), Pro Tools Express will only run with the Mbox that comes in the bundle. However, considering the power of Pro Tools Express, and the significant savings to be had, the new Mbox bundles are a great new option in the Avid lineup.

If you’re not familiar with the Mbox family, it's composed of popular audio interfaces with a range of inputs and outputs for music creation and sound design. Plus, they’re solidly built (you surely wouldn’t want to drop one on your foot). The Mbox features four inputs and four outputs, two microphone preamps, instrument inputs, digital S/PDIF in and out, MIDI, a built-in limiter, guitar tuner and onboard DSP. The Mbox Mini features two inputs and two outputs, a single mic preamp and two instrument inputs.

The models that come as Pro Tools Express bundles are the most recent, third-generation versions. The layout of their controls and I/O is very intuitive and they have a handy, oversized volume knob and a USB port for connectivity to both Mac and Windows computers (all of the included software is cross-platform as well). In addition to compatibility with Pro Tool Express and Pro Tools 10, they’re fully compatible with most DAW (digital audio workstation) software available.

  Mbox Mini Mbox
Total # Of Channels 2 x In, 2 x Out (simultaneous total) 4 x In, 4 x Out (simultaneous total) - 2 x In, 2 x Out (simultaneous analog)
Mic Preamps 1 2
Inserts No No
Direct Inputs 2 x Instrument/Line DI 2 x Instrument DIs
DSP No Yes
Phantom Power 48V 48V
Limiter No 2 x Soft-clip limiters (on each preamp)
Tuner No Yes
Max Resolution 24-bit/48kHz 24-bit/96kHz
Assignable Buttons No 1 x Assignable software control button
Controls Mute, Dedicated monitor volume knob Mono, Dim, Mute, Dedicated monitor volume knob
Connectors 1 x XLR/TRS Microphone/Line Combo Input
2 x Instrument Inputs (DI)
2 x Balanced 1/4" Line Outputs
1 x 1/4" Stereo Headphone Jack with Volume Knob
1 x USB 1.1 Port 
2 x XLR/TRS Microphone/Line Combo Inputs
2 x Instrument Inputs (DI)
2 x Balanced 1/4" Line Outputs
2 x S/PDIF Connectors (I/O)
2 x MIDI Connectors (I/O)
1 x 1/4" Stereo Headphone Jack with Volume Knob
1 x USB 2.0 Port 
Power USB bus USB bus
Compatibility  ASIO, Core Audio, WDM, MME and multi-client drivers  ASIO, Core Audio, WDM, MME and multi-client drivers 
Dimensions (WxDxH) 6.7 x 6.2 x 2.3" (170 x 157 x 58mm) 8.9 x 7.6 x 2.3" (226 x 193 x 58mm)
Weight 2 lb (0.9 kg) 3.3 lb (1.5 kg)
System Requirements Avid-qualified Mac or PC, Audio recording/music-creation software (Core Audio, ASIO, WDM, MME, and multi-client drivers included - audio software not included), Available USB port for Mbox Mini connection  Avid-qualified Mac or PC, Audio recording/music-creation software (Core Audio, ASIO, WDM, MME, and multi-client drivers included - audio software not included), Available USB port for Mbox Mini connection 

If you want to learn all about audio interfaces for producing music, creating voice-overs and scoring soundtracks for video and film, be sure to check out the B&H InDepth Audio Interface Buying Guide.