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How to get six input channels from your Digidesign Mbox?

The Digidesign Mbox is a simple two-in, two-out audio interface. But it might be possible to get six separate inputs. So how is it done?


A recent article about the Mackie Spike triggered the following response...

"Your article about mackie's spike is a bit false, first digidesign's m-box can be used for more than 4 inputs, if u do tweaking u can get 6 mono channels. besides , Mackies software can not even compete with protools le , consider the amount of plug ins available for pt le? pt le is by far the best editing program for , audio, music, and video/film audio tracks, it works in-hand with Avid Xpress Pro. and various other avid products, this is not to mention, avid just purchased m- audio, aka, midiman."

In summary, the Digidesign Mbox is capable of six input channels, if tweaked!

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Seeing as the Mbox is nominally a two-in, two-out unit, this really would be an advantage. But how is it done? I asked, and received this reply...

"You can get six mono channels if you do it right. you would need a mixer of course. i would suggest a mackie 1402 vlz pro. just because of its excellent quality and preamps. they would all be mono. and you could use a y- jack splitter into the rca/xlr input. choosing to make a stereo channel with your new track. then what you do after you have captured both of your different tracks on the same track but on two different audio channels. i would create 2 new mono tracks , and then cut an paste the 2 different audio channels and change their fader settings."

I have to say that this doesn't make any sense at all to me. Maybe it's just me being thick. Or maybe not.

However, a look at the rear panel of the Mbox does reveal some clues. Firstly there are two XLR/jack inputs. I would guess that the XLR and jack connections lead to the same input circuit though and cannot be used independently, no matter how much mechnical ingenuity is applied.

But there are also two sned/return insert points. Depending on how these are configured internally, perhaps there could be the possibility of using them as separate inputs.

And then there is the S/PDIF stereo digital input. Normally this would be used instead of the analog input. But perhaps there is a way to use it independently?

So yes indeed, the Digidesign Mbox does have six inputs. But can you use them all as separate channels simultaneously?

Any ideas?

By David Mellor Tuesday May 10, 2005