Digidesign has taken a minimalist approach to their latest audio interface, the USB-powered Mbox 2 Mini. The new hardware gives the mobile Pro Tools LE user the basics for on-the-go use, and nothing more:

  1. One mic input (on a dedicated XLR, though only 2 inputs max can be used at once)
  2. 48V phantom power
  3. Two 1/4″ unbalanced ine-/instrument-level analog ins

  4. Two 1/4″ unbalanced analog outs
  5. 24-bit, 44.1k/48k operation
  6. 5 x 6 x 1.75″, 1.12 lbs

Mbox 2 Mini [Digidesign Product Page]

The ultra-compact size, I’ll bet, will earn some fans, especially since Pro Tools won’t function without a connected Digidesign audio interface (or M-Audio interface for M-Powered). US$329 would actually be a really high price for this interface, but as with the other Mbox models, what you’re really buying here is Pro Tools LE. The Mbox 2 Mini doesn’t “mini-size” the software bundle, either: Pro Tools LE 7, the XPand! instrument, Bomb Factory plug-ins, and the usual extras are included. For a beginning Pro Tools user who only needs to plug in a single mic and doesn’t need a MIDI interface, this should be a good bargain.

That said, I’ll bet some Pro Tools users who would like to travel light will be a little disappointed, because there’s no unbundled version; why not offer a US$99 interface to existing Pro Tools LE users? LE users are forced to either (effectively) repurchase the software every time they want a new interface, or pay all over again for Pro Tools M-Powered and buy an M-Audio interface.

[tags]hardware, Digidesign, Pro-Tools, audio-interfaces, Windows, Mac[/tags]