Original Pro Tools M-Box End of Software Support – by Jeff Towne
As evidenced by many articles here on Transom, we have long been fans of Pro Tools LE, using the M-Box as an interface. Despite the annoyance of Pro Tools requiring that the device be attached at all times, the original M-Box was a pretty nice little interface. Sure, it could have been a little smaller, but it could be squeezed into a bag along with a laptop and a few accessories without too much trouble. The two mic inputs sounded quite good, smooth and clean, as did the quarter-inch line inputs, and in many cases, having those inputs obviated the need for a mixer. Requiring that the M-Box act as the interface saved us from the temptation of recording directly into the computer’s audio input, which would almost certainly have been more noisy. It even had S/PDIF digital I/O, which came in handy those times we needed to get something off an old DAT tape.
Time marches on, and Digidesign stopped making the M-Box, replacing it with the larger M-Box 2 Pro, and the smaller M-Box2 Mini, and the tiny M-Box Micro, each of which had advantages and disadvantages over the original. But if you had an original, there was no real compelling reason to upgrade, unless you wanted the additional inputs of the Pro, or the space-savings of the Mini and Micro.
There has long been a confusing dance of compatibility between versions of Pro Tools and versions of computer operating systems, but for the most part, one could keep one’s hardware, one just had to make sure that the version of Pro Tools and the version of the computer’s OS meshed. But there is something about Mac OS 10.6.4 (Snow Leopard) and Windows 7 that has led to Pro Tools no longer supporting the original M-Box. Your box will keep on working as long as you don’t upgrade ProTools beyond version 8.01, but you’ll need to upgrade Pro Tools beyond that version if you want it to run under Snow Leopard or Windows 7.
There’s been some confusion and misinformation floating around, this end of support is for the original M-Box only, the newer M-Box 2, Mini and Micro should still work fine, as should the 002 and 003 family of interfaces.
For more information, please see the original documents in the Avid website:
It’s also worth remembering that, with the proper drivers, the M-Box can still be used as a Core Audio or ASIO interface with other audio programs, so the M-Box doesn’t turn magically into a doorstop, even if it won’t work with the newest versions of Pro Tools.