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MOTU 828 mk3 Hybrid Firewire / USB 2.0 Audio Interface

The 828mk3 provides flexible connectivity to any Mac or PC via FireWire or high-speed USB 2.0, with ten channels of pristine 192 kHz analog recording and playback, combined with sixteen channels of ADAT digital I/O and stereo S/PDIF

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    Product Code: 200001342

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    As a hybrid audio interface, the 828mk3 provides flexible connectivity to any Mac or PC via FireWire or high-speed USB 2.0, with ten channels of pristine 192 kHz analog recording and playback, combined with sixteen channels of ADAT digital I/O and stereo S/PDIF. Expand your system by connecting additional MOTU audio interfaces or the 8pre mic input expander.
  • Chassis dimensions, excluding rack ears and front and back panel knobs and connectors: 19 - 7 - 1.75 inches (48.26 - 17.78 - 4.45 cm).

  • Knobs and connectors extend up to 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) from front and back panels, adding 1 inch (2.54 cm) to depth.

  • With rack ears attached, fits standard 19 inch (48.26 cm) rack at 1U high.
  • Hybrid FireWire/USB2 connectivity - connect to your computer via either plug-and-play FireWire or hi-speed USB2.

    CueMix FX - flexible 28 input/16 bus mixer with on-board DSP effects, including reverb with sends/returns, plus EQ and compression on every input and output.

    28 inputs / 30 outputs (at 44.1/48 kHz) - there´s no channel sharing in the 828mk3; the mic inputs, S/PDIF I/O, headphone out and main outs are all handled as separate channels.

    Front-panel control - access any setting in your entire 828mk3 mix directly from the front panel.

    Stand-alone operation - program your mixes at the studio and then bring the 828mk3 to your gig - no computer needed. Need to tweak the mix? Do it on site using the back-lit LCD and front-panel controls.

    Multiple CueMix FX mixes - for example, create different monitor mixes for the main outs and headphones. Or add send/return loops for outboard gear - with no latency.

    Two front panel combo jacks provide hi-Z 1/4 - guitar input or low-Z XLR mic input with phantom power, pad and plenty of gain.

    Mic/guitar instrument sends - add your favorite outboard EQ, preamp, reverb or other processor to the two mic/guitar inputs, before the signal goes digital.

    Clip protection - Mic/guitar input limiter prevents digital clipping and distortion from overloaded signal levels up to +12 dB over zero.
    -Eight 24-bit 192kHz analog inputs and outputs on balanced/unbalanced 1/4" TRS jacks

    Precision Digital Trim - Digitally controlled analog trim on all analog inputs (mic/guitar inputs + quarter-inch TRS inputs) provides accurate adjustements in 1 dB increments. Fine-tune the balance of your analog inputs and then save/recall trim configurations.

    Flexible optical I/O - 16 channels of ADAT lightpipe, 8 channels of SMUX (96 kHz) or two pairs of stereo TOSLink. Mix and match formats between the two banks.

    Sample-accurate MIDI - connect a MIDI controller and/or sound module with no separate interface needed. MIDI I/O is sample-accurate with supporting software.

    Foot switch input - connect a standard foot pedal switch (sold separately) for hands-free punch-in and punch-out while recording. Or map the pedal to any keystroke function in your host software.

    Expandable - add additional interfaces for more I/O as your needs grow.

  • Separate XLR main outs and front-panel headphone jacks, each with independent volume control.

  • Stereo 24-bit 96kHz S/PDIF in/out

  • Word clock in and out

  • SMPTE in and out

    DC-coupled TRS outputs - can be used with Volta - (sold separately) to manipulate and sequence voltage-controlled modular synthesizers from a host DAW.

  • Includes 32- and 64-bit native drivers for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista/XP, including ASIO, WDM, Wave, Core Audio, and Core MIDI. Supports all popular Mac and Windows audio software.

  • 100% compatible with all host-based effects processing in today´s popular audio programs.

  • Includes AudioDesk full-featured sample-accurate workstation software for the Macintosh with recording, editing, mixing, real-time 32-bit effects processing & sample-accurate sync.

  • Plug-and-play operation with your Mac or PC via FireWire or high-speed USB 2.0.

    Front panel volume control for monitoring. Stereo, Quad, 6.1, 7.1 and user-defined surround monitoring setups available.

  • Two front panel headphone jacks with independent volume controls.

  • Front panel meters or activity LEDs for all analog, digital and MIDI I/O, plus SMPTE sync tach and lock LEDs.

  • Dedicated front panel clock status LEDs.

  • International 100-240V, 50-60 Hz autoswitching power supply.

  • Mic/guitar inputs
    Two convenient front panel mic/guitar inputs are equipped with high quality preamps, plus overload protection and all the features you need to record any mic or guitar with excellent sound quality.

    Each input is equipped with its own 48V phantom power switch and 20 dB pad switch. Both inputs also include a switch that toggles between the low-impedance XLR mic input and the true high-impedance quarter-inch guitar input jack.

    Precision digitally controlled analog trim is also available on all of the 828mk3´s balanced quarter-inch (TRS) analog inputs on the rear panel. Level matching analog inputs has never been easier or more convenient. You can carefully tune the balance among your analog inputs using the CueMix FX software and then save the entire configuration on disk for instant recall. You can create and save as many trim configurations as you need.

    V-Limit hardware limiter

    Both 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 +12 dB above zero with no distortion due to digital clipping.

    Soft Clip
    Additional protection can be applied to the mic/guitar inputs by enabling the 828mk3´s Soft Clip™ feature, which engages just before clipping occurs and helps reduce perceptible distortion.

    Each mic input has a corresponding rear panel send that allows you to insert outboard gear before the signal goes digital. Any input can be used as a return.

    Comprehensive I/O
    The 828mk3 allows you to connect a wide variety of studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines, effects processors and more.

    Front panel I/O
    In addition to the two mic/guitar preamp inputs on the front panel, the 828mk3 provides two independent headphone jacks with independent volume knobs, one of which also controls the XLR main outs on the rear panel. Alternatively, this "Master Vol" knob can be programmed to control any combination of outputs (analog and/or digital). For example, it can control monitor output for an entire 5.1 or 7.1 surround mix.
    Discrete inputs and outputs

    The phone jack below the MASTER VOL knob labeled "(MAIN)" is hard-wired to (mirrors) the XLR main outs. In all other cases, inputs and outputs are discrete. For example, using a mic input does not "steal" an input from the TRS analog I/O bank. Even the second headphone jack operates as an independent output with its own volume control, although you can program it to mirror any other output pair (such as the XLR main outs).
    Digitally controlled analog input trim

    All of the 828mk3´s analog inputs are equipped with digitally controlled analog trim controls that allow adjustments in precise 1 dB increments. The mic/guitar input trims can be adjusted using front-panel digital rotary encoders that provide feedback in the front panel LCD. All analog inputs, including eight TRS analog inputs, can be trimmed using the CueMix FX control software for Mac and Windows.

    This allows you to fine-tune your trim settings for synths, effects modules and a wide variety of analog inputs for optimum levels. Different trim configurations can then be saved as files on disk for instant recall.

    Rear panel I/O
    Eight balanced (TRS) 24-bit analog inputs and outputs, as well as two XLR main outs and the two preamp inputs, can operate at sample rates up to 192 kHz (a total of ten analog inputs and outputs). Two optical banks provide 16 channels of ADAT optical at 48 kHz, 8 channels of S/MUX optical I/O at 96 kHz or two banks of stereo TOSLink at rates up to 96 kHz. The banks operate independently, allowing you to mix and match any optical formats. RCA S/PDIF connectors also supply independent stereo digital I/O.

    Each mic input has a corresponding rear panel send that allows you to insert outboard gear before the signal goes digital. Any input can be used as a return. (These two dedicated sends are not counted as outputs in the table below.)

    The two optical banks provide 16 channels of ADAT optical at 48 kHz, 8 channels of S/MUX optical I/O at 96 kHz or two banks of stereo TOSLink at rates up to 96 kHz. The banks operate independently, allowing you to mix and match any optical formats.

    Control room monitoring
    Powered monitors can be plugged directly into the outputs of the 828mk3 and you can attenuate the output from the software or the front-panel MASTER VOL control. Main out volume is not limited to stereo operation: quad, 5.1, 7.1 and even user-defined configurations are available. You can even program the 828mk3 to control all 30 outputs with the MASTER VOL knob.

    Mixing and effects
    The 828mk3 is an audio interface, but it´s also a 16-bus digital mixer, complete with EQ, compression and reverb.

    The 828mk3 is really two devices in one: an audio interface plus a 28 x 16 digital mixer. In fact, you could even think of the 828mk3 as a digital mixer in a single rack-space form factor.

    Operating as either a computer interface or stand-alone, the 828mk3 provides DSP-driven digital mixing with effects processing (reverb, EQ and compression) for all 28 inputs. You can connect all your gear and then mix, process and monitor everything from the 828mk3's main outs or headphone jacks.
    A 28 input by 16 bus digital mixer with effects

    All I/O is routed to the on-board 16-bus (8 stereo) digital mixer driven by hardware-based DSP with 32-bit floating point precision. The mixer allows you to apply no-latency effects processing to inputs, outputs or busses directly in the 828mk3 hardware, independent of the computer. Effects can be applied when the 828mk3 is operating stand-alone (without a computer) as a complete rack-mounted mixer. Input signals to the computer can be recorded wet, dry, or dry with a wet monitor mix (for musicians during recording, for example).

    Complete mixing at your fingertips
    All of the mixer settings in the 828mk3 are accessible from the programmable front-panel backlit LCD. You can also launch the CueMix FX™ control software for Mac OS X, Windows XP and Windows Vista. CueMix FX provides complete on-screen access to the 828mk3´s on-board, hardware-based mixing environment.

    Classic Reverb
    Apply smooth, detailed reverb with several room models, three independent frequency bands and length up to 60 seconds.

    The CueMix FX Classic Reverb provides five different room types, three frequency bands with adjustable crossover points, shelf filtering and reverb lengths up to 60-seconds.

    Each input, output and mix bus provides a send to the Classic Reverb processor, which then feeds reverb returns to mix buses and outputs, with a selectable split point between them to prevent send/return feedback loops.

    7-band EQ
    Modeled after analog British console EQ´s, known for their highly musical gain/Q settings, CueMix FX EQ provides a high pass filter, low pass filter, two shelving or parametric filters and five parametric bands.

    The EQ section provides 7-band parametric EQ modeled after British analog console EQ´s, featuring 4 filter styles (gain/Q profiles) to effectively cover a wide range of audio material. LP and HP filters are also supplied with slopes that range from 6 to 36 dB per octave.

    EQ settings can be adjusted graphically by dragging control points on the large graph in the main EQ tab, as shown above, or using the knobs for individual bands in each channel strip, demonstrated below:

    Vintage compression
    CueMix FX´s flexible dynamics processing includes a high-quality conventional compressor, plus a leveling amplifier modeled after the legendary LA-2A™ optical compressor.

    Conventional compressor
    CueMix FX offers a conventional compressor with standard controls for threshold, ratio, attack, release and gain.

    Adjust the threshold graphically while viewing accurate, long-throw metering in the compressor section of the CueMix FX software.

    Leveler (automatic gain control)
    The CueMix FX Leveler is 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.

    Conventional compression and limiting with threshold, attack, ratio, release, etc. do not apply here: the heart of the LA-2A is the T4 opto-coupler, a photoelectric device with almost magical (signal dependent) self-adjusting behavior that makes optical compressors the tool of choice for smoothing out just about any audio material, from vocals to bass guitar to full-program mixes, without destroying perceived dynamics.

    The Leveler faithfully models the LA-2A using the on-board DSP with 32-bit floating point precision. Its controls match the front panel of the original LA-2A: Gain Reduction and Makeup Gain knobs, along with Limiter/Compressor buttons.

    Clock and sync

    The 828mk3 uses extremely accurate Direct Digital Synthesis for internal clocking and for resolving to external word clock or SMPTE time code sources. The 828mk3 can resolve directly to time code, with no additional sychronizer required.

    On-board SMPTE time code synchronization
    You can slave your 828mk3 system directly to SMPTE time code, without a dedicated synchronizer, via a dedicated quarter-inch SMPTE input jack. A SMPTE out jack is also provided for time code generation. The 828mk3 provides a DSP-driven phase-lock engine with sophisticated filtering that provides fast lockup times and sub-frame accuracy.

    SMPTE Console software

    The included MOTU SMPTE Console software (for Mac OS X, Windows XP and Windows Vista) provides a complete set of tools to generate SMPTE for striping, regenerating or slaving other devices to the computer. Like CueMix FX, the synchronization features are cross-platform and compatible with all audio sequencer software that supports the ASIO2 sample-accurate sync protocol.

    The 828mk3 includes a 16-channel MIDI interface that provides sample-accurate timing with supporting software.

    Connect a MIDI keyboard, sound module or control surface, and you are ready to go. The FireWire cable carries both MIDI and audio so you don´t need to connect an additional USB cable for MIDI.

    Expansion & drivers
    Expand your 828mk3 system and run it with all your favorite audio software.
    Adding more I/O to your 828mk3 system

    As with other MOTU FireWire interfaces, the 828mk3 supplies two FireWire jacks so it can be daisy-chained with additional MOTU FireWire audio interfaces or other devices.

    The 828mk3 is also fully compatible with the 8pre, a single rack MOTU interface that adds 8 mic preamp inputs to the 828mk3. Because the 8pre connects to the 828mk3 via ADAT optical, its mic inputs are fully integrated into the 828mk3´s on-board CueMix FX digital mixer.

    Drivers and AudioDesk workstation software
    The 828mk3 provides CueMix FX and drivers for Mac (OS X) and Windows (XP and Vista) for cross-platform compatibility with virtually all audio software via WDM/ASIO/Core Audio drivers.

    The 828mk3 includes AudioDesk®, the advanced workstation software for Mac OS X with 24-bit recording and editing, along with 32-bit mixing, processing and mastering

    CueMix FX software
    CueMix FX gives you comprehensive graphic control over your mix.

    CueMix FX is a completely new software front-end with attractive graphic mixing, graphic editing of parametric EQ and a convenient tabbed interface for quick access to all mixing features, digitally controlled trims and other settings in your MOTU FireWire audio interface.

    CueMix FX can be operated side by side with any host audio software for Mac or Windows, and it can be controlled from the Mackie Control Universal Pro automated worksurface.

    One window with convenient tabs
    Three separate tabs show inputs, mix busses and outputs. Click the "Focus" button on any channel or bus to edit its settings in the area on the right-hand side, which provides separate tabs for graphic editing of parametric EQ, compression and other effects. Each channel strip displays a graphic thumbnail of EQ curves, compressor settings and other channel specific parameters. There is also a section for talkback and listenback.

    Eight stereo buses
    Your MOTU FireWire audio interface supports up to eight separate stereo mixes (seven for the UltraLite-mk3) assigned to any digital or analog output pairs. For example, you could set up separate monitor mixes for the main outs and headphone outs, while two additional stereo buses could be used for send/return loops to reverb units or other outboard gear. Each mix can support all inputs (analog and digital).

    DSP resources for mixing and effects
    The CueMix FX flexible effects architecture allows you to apply EQ and compression on every input and output (up to 58 channels, depending on your interface), with enough DSP resources for at least one band of parametric EQ and compression on every channel at 48 kHz. However, DSP resources are allocated dynamically and a DSP meter allows you to keep tabs on your interface´s CueMix FX processing resources.

    Each input, output and mix bus provides a send to the Classic Reverb processor, which then feeds reverb returns to mix buses and outputs, with a selectable split point between them to prevent send/return feedback loops.

    Software metering
    Signal activity of all inputs, busses and outputs can be monitored via the meters pane. In addition to the meters present on individual channels, a high-resolution meter and output bus activity associated with that channel can be displayed in the primary status window.

    Effects programming
    The EQ, compression and reverb tabs give you complete access to CueMix FX on-board effects, and because they are driven by hardware DSP inside the interface itself, they won´t tax your host computer´s CPU. You can even use the effects without a computer connected.

    The tabs shown above let you focus on one channel at a time and edit its settings using the high-resolution graphic display. But EQ and dynamics settings can also be edited on all channels in line (within each channel strip), where you can compare critical settings side-by-side, as shown below.

    Advanced real-time signal analysis
    CueMix FX provides an optional real-time FFT display super-imposed on top of the graphic EQ curve so you can see as well as hear the effect of your equalization adjustments.

    CueMix FX also provides real-time spectrogram "waterfall" display that provides rich, detailed visual information about the frequency content of any signal or mix. You can expand the spectrogram to fill the entire resizable CueMix FX on-screen window. You can also combine the spectrogram with the FFT display and EQ curve in the same display, or separate them to view them individually but simultaneously.

    The new CueMix FX Oscilloscope graphs the amplitude of an audio signal in real time, just like a real hardware oscilloscope. It opens in a separate window that can positioned anywhere on screen and adjusted to any size. With many features found on conventional oscilloscopes, the CueMix FX oscilloscope will feel easy and familiar to expert users, and it will be an ideal way for beginners to learn the basics of how to use one. But innovative features are also provided, including Waveform Recognition, which searches through new audio data looking for a waveform which most resembles that which was previously displayed. The result is a highly stablized, easy-to-view waveform on screen that transforms its shape based on important changes to the incoming signal.

    The new oscilloscope can be used in many ways during the routine operation of your recording studio. For example, you can:

  • Analyze and compare harmonic content
  • View transients such as drum hits when tweaking signal processing settings (such as compression)
  • Perform accurate clip detection
  • Build synthesizer patches with live, real-time visual feedback as you make changes
  • Build guitar tones while visually observing the effects of pedals, processing, etc.

    Phase analysis can be used for a broad range of applications in the studio and on the stage. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Recording with multiple mics the Phase Analysis window lets you compare multiple mic sources with each other to check for potential phase cancellation caused by varying distances in mic placement from the recorded source.
  • Checking the overall polarity of a stereo mix quickly check for phase issues in your stereo mix.
  • Summing to mono if your stereo material needs to be summed to mono, Phase Analysis lets you see what frequencies will be canceled out when summed.
  • Tuning and checking PAs or sound reinforcement place mics in strategic locations in your venue to check for critical phase issues in the listening environment.

    Front-panel LCD access to all mix settings
    All of the mixing features described on these pages (except for the signal analysis tools mentioned above) are available during stand-alone operation, and all of them can be accessed from the front panel LCD. This means you can program your mixes with the CueMix FX software in the studio and then take your MOTU interface on the road as a stand-alone digital mixer. Tweak your mix on location from the front panel.

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