Thunderbolt/USB Audio Interface with 8 Microphone Preamplifiers and AVB Audio Networking

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The MOTU 8M is a Thunderbolt audio interface that features 48-channel mixing, AVB audio networking and 8 pristine mic preamps.
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Our Price: $1,495.00
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The MOTU 8M is a Thunderbolt audio interface that features 48-channel mixing, AVB audio networking and 8 pristine mic preamps. The eight inputs are combo-style jacks that accept XLR or 1/4" plugs from a synth, keyboard or other line-level input. You can also plug in your guitar without an amp or cabinet, to run your guitar through amp/cab simulation plug-ins in your host software.

The eight mic/guitar inputs are equipped with pristine, transparent preamps and offer individually adjustable 48V phantom power and -20 dB pad. Preamp gain can be adjusted directly on the front panel or from the web app control software running on your computer, tablet or smart phone. Mic inputs can be operated individually or in stereo pairs as needed. All mic/guitar inputs are equipped with V-Limit, a hardware limiter that helps prevent digital clipping from overloaded input signals. With V-Limit enabled, signals can go above zero dB (where limiting kicks in) to as high as +9 dB above zero with no distortion due to digital clipping.

With the 8M, you get the best of both worlds: analog preamp gain with digital precision and control. The 8M preamps provide 53 dB of gain, which you can adjust in 1 dB increments using detented digital rotary encoders. As you turn the encoder, you see long-throw graphic feedback and input metering in the LCD screen. you can also control all preamp settings - gain, pad and 48V phantom power switch - from the web app running on your Mac, iPad, iPhone or other wireless device. You can even save preamp configurations on your computer for future recall.

The 8M employs ESS Sabre32 Ultra converters - known for their industry-leading performance - together with expertly engineered analog circuits that reflect more than three decades of pro audio engineering expertise. The result? The 8M achieves actual, measured performance of 123 dB dynamic range (A-weighted, 20 Hz - 20 kHz) on its balanced TRS analog outputs.

Every digital audio workflow has some latency, but the question is "How much?" In the case of the 8M, the answer is not much at all. In the 8M, latency is measured in a handful of samples, from the time an audio signal first goes digital to its arrival somewhere else (to an output, the mixer, or the computer). By keeping latency this low in the hardware, the 8M helps minimize latency introduced by your host software:

Analog In to Out 48 khz








DSP In/Out





               32 (0.66 ms)

Thunderbolt lets you connect displays, hard drives and other peripherals to your computer along with the 8M, and more importantly, Thunderbolt gives you an astonishing 256 channels of computer I/O (128 in and out). You can use them to route audio to the physical inputs and outputs on the 8M, plus the 48-channel mixer inside the 8M, plus audio network streams. Along with the 1248 and 16A interfaces, the 8M is the first and only interface to combine Thunderbolt I/O connectivity with AVB audio networking. Don't have a Thunderbolt-equipped computer yet? Hi-speed USB 2.0 provides across-the-board compatibility with pretty much all laptops and desktops. The 8M is USB audio class compliant, which means you enjoy OS-level USB compatbility and support, including iPad support (with Apple Camera Connection Kit). Since USB 2.0 devices are compatible with USB 3.0-equipped hosts, your 8M interface is a future-proof investment in your studio.

The software that you use to control the 8M doesn't reside on your hard drive, it's a web app served from the hardware itself. This means you can control the 8M's on-board DSP, mixing, device settings and network audio routing from the web app software running in your favorite web browser on a laptop, tablet or smart phone connected by wire or WiFi to your local area network. Use any web client on any platform - Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android - as long as it shares the same network. Connect an Apple Airport or other WiFi router directly to the 8M with a standard Ethernet cable and control the 8M's powerful mixing and DSP effects from your smart phone or tablet without a computer.

With one click on the 8M's routing grid, you can route any source signal to any destination. Sources can be analog or digital inputs on the interface, computer channels, mixer bus outputs or audio network streams from other devices on the network. Destinations include interface outputs, host software inputs, mixer inputs or any other device (or computer) on the AVB network. You can even split any single input (or stereo pair) to unlimited multiple output destinations.

The 8M is equipped with a 48-channel digital mixer designed just like a large format mixing console. The 48 inputs can take signal from anywhere, the physical inputs on the 8M interface itself, audio chennels from host software on your computer, audio network streams or even mixer outputs. The mixer provides 7 stereo aux busses, 3 groups, a reverb bus that can alternately serve as a 4th group, a Main Mix and a separate Monitor bus that can serve as a solo bus. In essence, the 8M is a capable and transparent mixer.

British analog mixing consoles are renowned for their musical EQ profiles, and the 8M meticulously models these classic EQs to give you the very same magical EQ response found on those coveted desks. Each input channel also provides a classic compressor module with optional peak/RMS operation. Groups and the Main Mix bus are eqipped with MOTU's Leveler, an accurate model of the legendary Teletronix LA-2A optical leveling amplifier, known for its unique and highly sought-after Automatic Gain Control (AGC) characteristics.

The 8M network port introduces AVB Ethernet, the new industry standard developed by the IEEE for profesional audio networking. Add a second MOTU AVB interface (1248, 8M or 16A) with a simple CAT5e or CAT6 Ethernet cable. Expand your system even further by connecting up to five MOTU interfaces using a MOTU AVB Switch (sold separately). Build a network with multiple interfaces and computers using standard AVB switches and network cabling, with ultra-low latency, even over long cable runs (hundreds of meters). Stream hundreds of audio channels among devices and computers on the network.

The 8M is so flexible, it can serve many roles - in the studio, on stage and throughout an installation. The Quick Setup menu lets you instantly reconfigure the 8M for many common situations from operation as a standard audio interface to serving as a network "snake" from one location to another. Once a preset is chosen, you can easily customize the routing grid and mixer settings to further suit your specific needs, and then save your own custom presets.

MOTU 8M Specifications:

  • Sample rates  44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz
  • Analog Inputs:   
    • 8 x XLR/TRS combo-style mic/line/instrument inputs
    • Mic Input Dynamic Range:  112 dBA
    • Mic Input THD+N (unweighted): -104 dB
    • Mic Input Max Level: +24 dBu (with pad)
    • Mic Input Trim Range (in 1dB steps): 63 dB
    • Line Input Dynamic Rnage:  112 dBA
    • Line Input THD+N (unweighted):  -102 dB
    • Line Input Max Level:  +17 dBu (with pad)
    • Line Input Trim Range (in 1dB steps):  53 dB
  • Analog Outputs:  
    • 8 x 1/4" TRS line out (balanced)
    • Dynamic Range:  123 dBA
    • THD+N (unweighted):  -110 dB
    • Max Level:  +20 dBu
    • Trim Range (in 1dB steps):  24 dB (-4 to +20 dBu)
    • 1 x 1/4" TRS stereo headphone
  • Digital I/O:
    • 2 banks (16 ch) of ADAT optical at 1x sample rates
    • 1 bank (8 ch) of SMUX optical at 2x sample rates
    • Stereo RCA S/PDIF up to 96 kHz (with SRC on input)
  • Total I/O:
    • 24 inputs and 26 outputs (50 total) at 1x sample rates
    • 16 inputs and 18 outputs (34 total) at 2x sample rates
    • 8 inputs and 10 outputs (18 total) at 4x sample rates
  • Computer I/O:   
    • 1 x Thunderbolt (compatible with 1 and 2)
    • 1 x USB 2.0 audio class compliant (3.0 compatible)
  • Sync I/O:   
    • 1 x word clock in
    • 1 x word clock out
  • Headphone:  1 x 1/4" TRS stereo phone(assignable)
  • Phantom Power:  8 x individual +48V
  • Front Panel:
    • 1 x 1/4" TRS headphone output
    • 1 x Digital Rotary Encoder:  Phone volume
    • 8 x Digital Rotary Encoders:  Mic preamp gain
    • 16 x Switches:  (8) Pad and (8) 48V Phantom switch
    • 324 x 24 pixel LCD for level meters / menu nav
    • 1 x AC power switch
  • Power:  International 100-240V auto-switchingsupply, 50-60 Hz, 0.5A max
  • Included Software:
    • Thunderbolt and USB 2.0 drivers
    • MOTU AVB Discovery App for Mac (finds connected MOTU interfaces)
    • MOTU AVB Discovery App for iOS (available from Apple App Store)
    • MOTU AVB Control web app (served from the hardware itself)
    • AudioDesk 4.0 (available as a separate download)
  • System Requirements:
    • Mac:
      • 1 GHz Intel-based Mac or faster
      • 2 GB RAM; 4 GB or more recommended
      • Mac OS X version 10.8 or later
      • Available Thunderbolt or high-speed USB 2.0 port
      • A large hard drive (at least 500 GB for recording)
    • Windows:
      • 1 GHz Pentium-based PC compatible or faster
      • 2 GB RAM; 4 GB or more recommended
      • Windows 8 or later
      • Available Thunderbolt or high-speed USB 2.0 port
      • A large hard drive (at least 500 GB for recording)
      • NOTE:  Windows support is coming soon
    • Web App Support:
      • Any web client platform: Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android
      • Any web browser: Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Explorer, etc.
      • Web client must be connected to the same network as the MOTU AVB interface by wire or Wi-Fi

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