Home > DAW, Interfaces, Reviews > AVID MBOX 3 MINI / Pro tools LE 8

AVID MBOX 3 MINI / Pro tools LE 8

Whazuup Dawfreaks…
It´ts time for my second Review today..
The story is that since returning to windows lets say i have been a bit unlucky.. my old Focusrite saffire LE called the quits on me so i needed to get me a new one fast.
I took a trip down to 4sound in Karlstad and after a 30 min in the store i decided on the MBOX 3 MINI.
Since im writing this review 2 weeks after i got it i did not cover a full unboxing photo session but here we go.

The Box ...The Pro tools Mbox 3 mini package looks realy awsome, you get the feel that even though this is the smalest version of the MBOX 3 series it is quality.

Showing the Mbox 3 mini and installation dvd.Inside the box is a Installation guide, the MBOX 3 MINI , USB cable and the Installation DVDs.

The Mbox 3 mini front and back Panel.
(I Borrowed this image from http://www.jeejuh.com)


Total # Of Channels
2 x In, 2 x Out (Simultaneous)
Mic Preamps
Direct Inputs
2 x Instrument DIs
Phantom Power
Yes, 48V
Max Resolution
1 x XLR/TRS Mic/Line Combo Input
2 x 1/4″ Instrument Inputs (1 DI, 1 DI/Line)
2 x Balanced 1/4″ Monitor Outputs
1 x 1/4″ Stereo Headphone Jack
1 x USB 1.1 Port
USB Bus Power
ASIO, Core Audio, WDM, MME, and Multi-Client Drivers
Dimensions (WxDxH)
6.73 x 6.22 x 2.28″ (17.1 x 15.8 x 5.8cm)
1.98 lbs (0.9kg)

One of the first thing i noticed when i picked up the Mbox 3 mini is how well built the unit is, steel cover and really sweet knobs gives a professional feeling to the Mbox 3 mini.
There is realy nothing to complain about here at all.

Installing the software took a while but it was not a to hard process even though i must say the installation guide was not much of a help .
After the installation is complete comes  the first to me fail,
updating anything from AVID is seriously to problematic.
finding the driver for the mbox3 mini might not been to hard.
But pro tools it self does not send you directly to the latest update….
It actualy took me 3 days to know that there was something called 8.0.4cs2
and i found that in the user forums.
Seriously there should be dedicated well informative sections on the AVID homepage for this.
And another thing! Customers that buy ANY Mbox3 atleast from the end of  November and so one should not have to pay that much for the Pro tools 9.
Compare the priceing to upgrade PT8 LE to Pro tools 9 with say Cakewalk sonar. where if you buy sonar 8.5 you get x1 for free.
I Feel AVID could have done a bit more on the upgrade price for people who buy Their hardware specially after they took away hardware requirements in pro tools 9.

next up..

I have tested and used most of the common DAWs out there and Pro tools is by far the slowest to boot up,
I do not know if this has to do with windows 7 (64bit)  but 2 min to start up an application in the year 2010 is way to high.

Pro Tools LE 8
When it comes down to a DAW
Pro Tools is a industries standard and there are some verry nice things in here.
The workflow is really nice and it did not take me long to get rolling in Pro Tools.

Here is a overview of how the edit window look.

The over all feeling of Pro Tools for a new user is really nice, but then if you know your ways around in one sequencer  u wont have trouble getting around in any of them.

Looking at the Plugin section i have to say you have most you need, and there is some very good presets to use as start points  for people who still are learning how to process when mixing.
Pro Tools and Cubase have 1 thing in common.
They both miss out on a good sampler, And after 1.5 years in Logic i wish more would give the customers something like EXS24.
looking at the CPU usage specially when using Instruments there is still allot i think they can do.
using Instruments in Pro Tools on my i7 930 will very fast start eating cpu, compared to lets say logic and cubase RTAS instruments are heavy on the CPU.
But over all Pro Tools from my 2 weeks of using this program, is a well good program and the AUDIO engine is one by far the best iv heard.

Now back to the MBOX3 Mini.

Using the MBOX with Pro tools is realy easy and fun..
The Mix knob works wonderfull and the preamps are just awsome
there is nothing i can complain about at all, the MBOX 3 MINI has all inputs and outputs i need and more.
The sound quality is nothing more then awesome!
And the complete package $329.00, for an awesome sound card and Pro Tools LE is not bad at start,
BUT if you want the next gen of Pro Tools you also have to ad $249.00 to the price and i feel that is a bit to much specialy for new customers.

Mbox 3 mini  Pros and cons.

+ Well built
+ Awesome preamp´s and hardware.
+ The mix knob!!!!!!!
– For what i do.. ther is NO cons what so ever..

Pro Tools LE 8 Pros and cons.

+Very nice plugins.
+ Loads of presets.
+ The audio Engine.

– Very long boot up time.
– RTAS instruments takes allot of CPU compared to other sequencers
– for people that buy the MBOX 3 family now after the v9 of Pro tools is out $249.00 for the upgrade  is overpriced

The MBOX 3 is a true pleasure to work with, the sound quality is freaking sweet and the build quality is outstanding.
i cant do anything but to give the MBOX 3 mini 5/5 Daw poins

Seing that Pro Tools 9 has arrived, i cant se the point in the price tag on upgrading from  Pro Tools 8, when u buy it NOW.
There has to be something AVID can do to customers who like me bought this product now, Just look at cakewalk !!
Pro tools 8 is realy sweet to work with but on my system when i star using Instruments i tend to very fast get cpu warnings and that feels weird since i have a I7 930 CPU
But the workflow is realy nice and i wish i could have had version 9 from the start since im saving up for a mac pro i feel that pro tools 9 sadly have to wait (unless AVID want me to wright a huge review on Pro tools 9).
The AVID homepage needs better sections for each product, its not easy to find updates to the Pro Tools / Mbox u use.
So all in all i will give Pro tools 8 LE 3/5 Daw points.

Over all this package is a good package but as i stated the lack of a sampler, and the upgrade price for customers who buy the MBOX 3 series after the Pro Tools 9 release brings down the Daw points.
The long start up times and the huge CPU usage of RTAS instruments is not fun at all
I hope this is somewhat fixed in Pro Tools 9.

Thanks for tuning in
// Dawfreak

  1. anish
    January 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    thanx sir it helps me a lot coz m planning to buy mbox but m not sure about to buy it or not!

    then i search on internet and i found u r page i read i think i have to buy this mbox 3 mini

    thanx sir once again………….

  2. January 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I couldnt agree more.I have owned an HD 2 accel system,and the previous TDM systems.I then ditched pro tools cards at PT8 because i was mixing and composing more and more on the road with my macbook pro.Now at PT9 i have finally given up on pro tools because rtas instruments are so cpu intensive.The code must labrynthine,and now that i am getting film score work i am not happy not having freeze tracks or offline bounces.In 2011 thats ridiculous.With 8 gigs ram on my macbook and cubase and logic for the same price as pt9 and its instruments i am very happy doing film and final mix work.If its good enough for Hans Zimmer and Disney its good enough for me.

    • March 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm

      Yes The rtas is bad, but i now own The eleven rack and pt9
      That is à killer combo. And since i mainly use toontrack superior 2 i dont mind . I can always bouns in s2 😉
      I am hopingbfor à 64bit release of pt9
      Maby then they Will fix it.
      I just dont get why they dont implanent vst support?

  3. Abraham
    March 11, 2011 at 1:38 am

    I need your help Sir. I cant get a sound out when i use my mbox 3. but when i use my old m-audio usb. i get sounds.

    • March 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      Sorry for The late answer,
      Do you still have The issue?
      Pleas reply to me and il se if I Can help.

  4. March 15, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Great review!

    I also got one to replace my old Mbox 2 mini which
    was okay but nowhere near the power and quality of
    this baby. Glad you like it too.

    • March 15, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      I actialy took it to à new level and got The eleven rack now.
      Will soon do à review on it 🙂

  5. kaleb
    March 15, 2011 at 6:16 am

    the mbox mini 2 sounded better then ,y new mbox mini 3 do u have a idea why?
    thank you

    • August 9, 2011 at 11:32 am

      Sorry i dont know why.
      Have you spoken with avid about it?

  6. February 24, 2012 at 1:13 am

    will my MA Audio 400W 5.25″ 2-Way Studio Monitor Speakers work with mbox3

    • February 24, 2012 at 1:48 am

      Hello and thanks for your question.
      I could not find your speakers on the web.
      If your speakers / studio monitor are active (self powerd ) they will work with no issue.
      If they need an amplifier to drive them you will need to.connect the Mbox output to one of the inputs on your amplifier.
      Hope this answers your question.

  7. Ultrasoundii
    February 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I just Got the MBox 3 Mini Yestd, and I tried Loading the Drivers But it Doesn’t Load. Pls Sir I need Ur Help. I think its because I’m Using windows Vista.

    • February 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      This issue could be caused by many things.
      First install the mbox3 drivers and protools.
      Then go to AVID homepage and download the latest driver.
      There are 2 things u need to look at.
      Disable UAC
      and always rightklick run as administrator.
      So after u disabled UAC restart your PC
      then rightklick on the new driver you downloaded.
      And run as administrator.
      When the installer is complete restart your computer.
      Install protools and make sure you update protools.
      I hope this works.
      If not get back to me.

  8. Ultrasoundii
    February 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Thnx a million I really appreciate Ur swift responce.
    I actually downloaded the latest Version yestd and I Got a Message Saying “this version of Windows is not supported by the MBox Mini installer.
    I don’t really Have plans of Using It with Protools For Now, I’m Using Cubase, may be Latter I’ll start Using Protools.
    I jst want my system to Work perfectly with It, thnx in advance.

  9. Ultrasoundii
    February 27, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Thnx for the responce again U must be a very nice person.
    The Driver I downloaded was exactly the one U showed me in Ur previous comment. I tried again as U instructed me and It gave me the same complain abiut the Windows not being compatible. But I latter found an earlier Driver, the one that came with Protools LE 8.0.4 or its Updat 8.0.5 I think it will work Because its was specified that it Runs on Vista.
    The challeng now is that I can only find links to the Updater no the real Driver it self. If U can Help me with the Direct link to this driver I’ll be most Greatful, Thnx in Advance.

    • February 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      Hi again.
      Give this a try.
      Install protools from the cd and read up on how to install the MBOX 3 mini (use the driver from the cd)
      after that update to the latest protools version here is the protools 8.05

      having protools on your system is not a bad idea, always nice to have a second daw to test out.
      If you after this can run the MBOX 3 mini with cubase all is well.

      try this and ses if it helps.
      / D

  10. Ultrasoundii
    February 28, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Thanks Man for the Help I’ll do jst that after this time out. on the other side I was thinking May be my version of Vista Has something to do with it because It was specified in one of the updates that the driver runs on windows Visa SP II. I use windows Vista Business and I run updates regularly. But now I;m downloading all the Service Packs for Vista 32bits. Meanwhile I’ll try out your suggestion and get back to you.Thanks a Million.

    • February 28, 2012 at 11:39 am

      Hey man. Sounds like a plan, Im half i can help. And i hope things work out but if not let me know.
      I do however suggest you to get windows 7 its way better and stable for music creation !!

  11. D. Craft
    July 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    having a hard time getting protools l.e 8.0.5 to work with the mbox mini 3 .. when im uploading the updates should i upload 8.5 m-powered or 8.0.5 l.e ??

    • July 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm

      M-powerd is only for M-audio products so you should use the other version.
      Remember to rightklick nd run as admin to mare sure you have full rights.

  12. D. Craft
    July 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    i finally have the protools running with the mbox mini 3 .. but when im bout to rec a track i have little poppin noises in between the tracks . i went to my playback engine and fixed the settings and i still hear the poppin noises .. i was thinkin do i have to upgrade to window 7 ultimate because im running off the Home premium ??

  13. greg
    June 13, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Hello, I just purchased a MBOX3 Mini (was borrowing an MBOX2 Mini.) I mic my amp with a SM57 next to the grill cloth, and run to xlr input in back of the MBox., and on mic. I have to have my Amp up unreasonably loud and the gain input turned 3/4 or more , just below peaking to get proper input(yes, the -20 pad is off) . This does not seem right should not have to tuyrn up so loud to get good input, driving my wife crazy… Anyone else have the same issue with the MBox3 mini?

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