What do you use in your home studios for Pro Tools hardware? Some people seem to just want to use the hardware as a dongle, others need better D/A converters, yet others need Pro Tools-oriented hardware to work with other software DAWs like Nuendo and Logic. For some, the home studio's ProTools instance is all they have, while others have higher-end systems at work or the mixing rooms/stages where they work.

How do you navigate these waters?

12 Answers 12


I'm a small timer here with just MBox Mini running 8.0.1., and it gets used as a dongle-type setup 99% of the time. The only time I use it as an i/o is sometimes foley on the input, and monitoring a mix on the outputs. Instead of using the Pro Tools inputs to get sounds in, I just drag and drop from my H4n through USB, which keeps my files at 96kHz for cleaning in RX without my MBox taking it down to 48kHz. Otherwise, Editing, cleaning, designing, and basic mixing all get done from the software end of it.

For what I use Pro Tools for, the MBox Mini is the most practical and affordable option. It would be nice to have a controller, or even just a fader or two, but I get along fine without it.

  • I think you can buy USB fader controllers which are just 1 fader but assignable to any track in PT.
    – Utopia
    May 12, 2010 at 3:41
  • Presonus Fader Port is one I've seen mentioned before. I've my eye on one for Christmas. Dec 6, 2012 at 13:27

I have my 002 Rack just so I can run PT8.0. I also have an Mbox 2 for random mobile stuff. Cool thing about the Mbox is that if I'm running Logic, I can trick it into running at 192k. Haven't tried it with the 002R yet, but I should. I also use a MOTU Traveler for other things.

Digidesign Mbox 2

I'd like an HD system with an Apogee front end, but I don't have that kind of cash floating around right now. Apogee stuff sounds amazing!

For now, my 002R is working for me. I don't actually use its preamps (I have outboard pres, and I generally record straight into a Sound Devices 744T anyways). Sometimes I use it's A to D, but rarely. If I was consistently using it's A/D, I'd probably be more pro-active about procuring a new interface.

Digidesign 002R
(source: ntbbb.com)

BTW, I don't use it's D/A either. I have the JBL LSR series monitors, which have D/A converters in them. They have worked pretty well for me so far.

(source: jblpro.com)

  • P.S. I also have access to HD Systems at work, so if I need to horsepower, I can get to it.
    – Colin Hart
    May 12, 2010 at 2:14
  • @Colin Those LSRs are nice, we have a set of the 8's in one of our edit suites. Had no idea they had a monitor controller though, and at $300 that's really nice. Jul 15, 2010 at 14:00

I've been very happy with my Pro Tools 8.0.3 HD3 and 192 I/O. It gives me the same level of horsepower and flexibility that I'm used to at the big studio sound departments. For samplers I'm staying in the box with Structure for now.

Avid Structure
(source: avid.com)


My mix studio at work is a HD2 PT8.0.3 system with a ProControl, 192, SyncHD, Focusrite8 pre-amp, BSS DPR-402 compressor and use either Neumann TLM103 or 170 mics and ATC monitoring. It's a mixing system for large format cartoons and television and does a great job in my opinion.

At home I have my own iMac G5, PT7.3LE, MBox2 and a pair of Genelec 8030s. It doesn't have the power of my work system but only recently I did the sound design and mix on it for a friend's short film and it performed excellently.

I also do some editing work from home for work and use their MacBook Pro with an MBox2 Mini and Genelec 8020s on my kitchen table and for basic things like cutting sound it's a great way to be at home and still work. It's especially useful when I need to work late or look after my ill wife.

To me all those systems have their advantages, it depends on what I need to do. I wouldn't dream of cleaning up location recordings at home as I don't have the monitoring for example. I think the cheaper systems are great for giving me some flexibility in where I work and also to do my own personal projects on the side. If I need lots of power then there are ways to use a small LE system (powerful computers and use RTAS plugins) to do jobs but I believe in the right tool for the right job.


I recently (5 April 2011) purchased the new Pro Tools 9.0 Full version. I am running an iMac i3 processor with 4Gb's Ram and a Presonus Firebox. I was apprehensive about it all working having searched forums and read reviews where people mentioned major issues with their hardware and Pro Tools 9.0.

I must report, although an absolute beginner with Pro Tools, I am ecstatic! It installed with no problems, and ran full tilt with the demo files and interfaced with my M-Audio KeyRig 49 flawlessly.

I then downloaded and applied the update to Pro Tools 9.0.2 and was again ecstatic when it launched again without a hiccup and has had me digging into it with much gusto since!Happily, no issues nor problems encountered at all!

EDIT: The new Pro-Tools 9.0 comes with the ability to import OMF and AAF files! Thank goodness! :)


I use Pro Tools 7.4.2 LE with either a Mbox 2 micro, mini, or pro at home, depending on what I am doing. At work it is Pro Tools 7.4.2 HD3 on a Mac Pro, as well as a 003R for my laptop.


My post studio is an HD2 with a 192 interface. I could do most of what I do with an LE rig but prefer the security of the HD rig. In the studio I have 2 Focusrite Trackmaster Pro units for recordings voiceovers etc.

The other reason I prefer my HD rig is when I do music recording, not having latency to battle with makes tracking so much easier. I have a Focusrite Octopre for mics when I a recording music and again I prefer the hassle of taking my HD rig with me rather than work with an LE rig.

I have an LE rig based around a MacBook Pro with an Mbox Pro and a 002R. For simple speech work I will often use the mic preamps in the 002R but if it is more complex then I will use the Octopre and go into the 002R via the optical port.

As to monitoring I use BBC LS3/5a speakers together with a small active sub to cover the low end. On the road I will either take a pair of the LS3/5a speakers or I use my Sony MDR-7509 headphones.

Regarding outboard gear I have very little now. I don't use a mixer at all now other than a Behringer line mixer as a 'soft router' on the rare occasions I need to play something into Pro Tools in real time.

When I do an ISDN session I have a template session in Pro Tools to create the appropriate clean feed and monitoring. With plug-ins and a reasonable amount of I/O there is very little need for any other outboard gear.

I hope that helps.



M-audio ProFire 26/26 and PT 9 bare.

Having used an M-box2 mini and 7.4 for years it's a definite step up. Perhaps not the best interface ever, but I like it better than any of the 002s or 003s I've had the chance to use in the past.

I used to do a lot of music so the 8 analog I/O came in very handy. Now that I'm more sound design and SFX focussed I record through an H4N in tandem with an Audio Technica 2035 for center focus. I'm very happy with it.

When I get sick of my room I take my MacBook pro, my dongle, and some headphones to my (thankfully) relatively quiet local coffee shop and edit my samples. I love 9 for not having to carry the M-box around any more.


Yep, I use Avid hardware (an old Mbox2). Works well for what I use it for. I use it via SPDIF to my Presonus Central Station for my DA conversion. Mainly just a dongle, but it does offload some of the cpu for processing audio.


I USED to use a 002 at home (HD2/192 at the big studio), but since PT9, I've had better stability using my good ol' MOTU828mk3, and it's one less interface to deal with (I also use it with Logic for composition).


I run an M-Audio Profire 26/26 interface with Presonus Digimax D8 as optical in, with capability of running extra adat preamp, into pro tools 9, for use as a portable studio if you will to record simple live rehearsals and demo ep's/albums, with possibility of doing live show recordings in the future. ran through Mac OSX 10.6.7, 3.06 GHz interl core 2 duo, 4gb ram


Avid Pro Tools HDX ! In the studio I'm working. It's an incredible tool. My mate bought some Electrodyne and PAcifica Preamps. Bought a JCF A/D D/A converters. They're awesome. Have a look.

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