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MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface

B&H # MAAE8456 MFR # 8456
MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface

MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface Angle View Front View Back View Back Angle View Screen Shot w/Optional Computer

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Product Highlights

  • 6 Input / 6 Output
  • Dual Microphone Preamps with 48V Phantom
  • S/PDIF and MIDI I/O
  • 8-Bus Digital Mixer
  • Front Panel Controls
  • Extensive Metering
  • CueMix FX Software (Mac and Win)
  • AudioDesk Software (Mac Only)
  • Mac OS X
  • Windows Vista/7
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You Pay: $395.00

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The Audio Express from MOTU is a compact, yet fully featured digital audio interface that connects to any current Mac or PC via FireWire or high-speed USB 2.0. The interface is compatible with virtually all DAWs on the market today, but can also function as a standalone mixer, both in the studio and for live events.

The unit provides a lot of connectivity for a compact unit. Connect a microphone, guitar, keyboard, and digital input, and the interface is ready to make pro-quality recordings. Quickly balance the levels of the analog and digital inputs, right from the front panel. Each instrument has its own volume control. Route inputs directly to any output pair, each with its own unique mix - main outs, line outs, S/PDIF out, and phones.

Because immediate volume adjustments are always within reach, the Audio Express serves as the perfect compact, portable live mixer, with or without a computer. Even without a computer, the interface provides complete control over all four mix busses with direct access to volume, mute and solo for each input. So for a live event, one mix can be sent to the main PA while another mix is sent to the personal monitors.

On-screen mixing with the included CueMix FX application provides comprehensive graphic control over a mix and other settings in the Audio Express. The application 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 work surface.

  • 6-input, 6-output audio interface for Mac and Windows
  • 6 x 8 physical input/output channels - all channels are available simultaneously and operate independently
  • Hybrid FireWire/USB 2.0 connectivity - connect to your Mac or PC via either bus-powered FireWire or high-speed USB2
  • 8-bus digital mixer routes and mixes all six inputs to any output pair
  • Four separate mixes - each output pair (main outs, line outs, S/PDIF out, and phones) can have a completely different mix of all six inputs, with or without computer tracks
  • Two microphone/guitar combo jacks provide hi-Z 1/4" guitar input or XLR microphone input with phantom power, 20dB pad, Precision Digital Trim, and plenty of gain
  • Stereo analog inputs on line-level, balanced TRS quarter-inch jacks - great for keyboards or other line level-input signals
  • Stereo main outs on balanced TRS quarter-inch jacks -connect directly to powered speakers (or other line-level analog destination)
  • Stereo 24-bit/96kHz S/PDIF digital in/out
  • Stereo headphone output on quarter-inch jack with independent volume control
  • Support for standard sample rates up to 96 kHz
  • Precision Digital Trim - digitally controlled analog trim on all inputs provides adjustments in approximately 1.0dB increments - fine-tune the balance of your inputs and then save/recall trim configurations
  • Front-panel mixing and control with each input having its own dedicated volume knob
  • Control multiple mixes with clear feedback from front panel LEDs and metering
  • CueMix FX cross-platform mixing software - attractive on-screen graphic mixing with an instrument tuner and audio analysis tools including real-time FFT display, spectrogram "waterfall" display, oscilloscope, X-Y plot and linear or polar phase analysis
  • Stand-alone operation - bring the Audio Express to your gig, with or without a computer - just plug in the included power adapter and you are ready to go - need to tweak the mix? Just turn the front-panel knobs
  • Front panel volume control of main outs and headphone jack
  • Add additional interfaces for more I/O as your needs grow
  • Timecode support directly resolves to (or generates) time code via any quarter-inch input or output, without the need for an extra synchronizer
  • Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS), a DSP-driven phase lock engine and internal clock source that produces imperceptibly low jitter characteristics (below the noise floor), even when the Audio Express is resolved to an external clock source via SMPTE Timecode
  • Sample-accurate MIDI (with supporting software) - connect a MIDI controller and/or sound module with no separate interface needed
  • 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
  • DC-coupled TRS outputs can be used with Volta (sold separately) to manipulate and sequence voltage-controlled modular synthesizers from a host DAW
  • Plug-and-play operation with your Mac or PC via FireWire or USB2 - compatible with all current and recent generation Macs and PCs
  • Includes native 32- and 64-bit drivers for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista, 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 Mac with recording, editing, mixing, real-time 32-bit effects processing and sample-accurate sync
  • Bus-powered FireWire operation
  • No need for external power when operating as a FireWire interface connected to a computer
  • Power supply included for stand-alone operation
Converters 24-bit
Sample Rates Up to 96kHz
Analog Input 2 x 1/4" TS/XLR combo Microphone/Instrument
2 x 1/4" TRS phone Line
Analog Output 4 x 1/4" TRS phone
1 x 1/4" TRS phone Headphone
Digital Input 1 x RCA coaxial S/PDIF
Digital Output 1 x RCA coaxial S/PDIF
Other Connectors 2 x 5-pin DIN MIDI I/O
1 x FireWire
1 x USB2
1 x 1/4" TS phone Footswitch
Headphones Yes, with individual volume control
Phantom Power +48V individually switchable for either preamp
Metering Main/Line Output: 2 x 5 dual ladder LEDs
Mic/Inst Input: 2 x 10 dual ladder LEDs
Power Requirements FireWire or USB powered
9-18VDC "+" or "-" tip, 5W power supply (included)
System Requirements Mac
PowerPC G4 1GHz or faster (including PowerPC G5 and all Intel processor Macs)
OS X 10.5 or 10.6 (10.5.8 or later required)
1GB RAM (2GB or more recommended)
FireWire or USB2 port
Large hard drive (preferably at least 100GB)

PC
Pentium IV (or equivalent) 1GHz or faster
Windows Vista SP2 or later, 32- or 64-bit, Windows 7 32- or 64-bit
1GB RAM (2GB or more recommended)
FireWire or USB2 port
Large hard drive (preferably at least 100GB)
Dimensions (WxDxH) 9.5 x 7 x 1.75" (241 x 178 x 45mm)
MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface
  • Limited 2-Year Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    MOTUAudio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface
     
    4.4

    (based on 11 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (5)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (5)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (1)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    91%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Easy to use (6)
    • Good audio (6)
    • Versatile (6)
    • Compact (5)
    • Durable (5)

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Home studio (7)
      • Performances (7)
      • Professional recording (7)
      • Amateur recording (5)
        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Experienced (5), Professional musician (4)

      Most Liked Positive Review

       

      Just what I needed

      I was looking for a small, portable, felxible, rugged and reliable interface that also sounded good and could offer firewire bus power.
      This box was the answer and I am very...Read complete review

      I was looking for a small, portable, felxible, rugged and reliable interface that also sounded good and could offer firewire bus power.
      This box was the answer and I am very glad I went with it.
      It sounds great, works well and was pretty easy to set up with my laptop and Pro Tools DAW. Latency is a non issue also. Yay. Big ticks.

      The front controls are a little small but, it's a small portable device so...things are therefore small...

      A little confusion at first with the mulitple functions of each knob but once I got the hang of it, it makes great sense and provides some quick and easy options in work flow.

      I did a lot of research on the net about Motu equipment and to be fair, the reviews and feedback was not always so great. Despite these I decided on purchasing one as it was one of the few I/Os in it's price range to offer firewire bus power and present so many options for monitoring and recording. I looked at the Apogee and RME protable boxes but the idea of having the breakout cables looked messy.
      I have to say that so far I have had no issues with the device. Am really enjoying it.
      Thanks!

      S

      VS

      Most Liked Negative Review

       

      Good; no computer level to box

      Clean sound, great features, except it does not allow the level of the audio from the computer to be attenuated. Some high and low end boxes don't allow this either. In studios dedicated...Read complete review

      Clean sound, great features, except it does not allow the level of the audio from the computer to be attenuated. Some high and low end boxes don't allow this either. In studios dedicated to audio or with mixing consoles to do the leveling this wouldn't be a problem. In a more modest studio, controlling the computer level is critical and the ability to do so also appears in some high and low level boxes.

      Reviewed by 11 customers

      Sort by

      Displaying reviews 1-11

      Back to top

       
      4.0

      Great Interface

      By Thereisnoh

      from Boston, MA

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Clear Sound
      • Compact
      • Lightweight
      • Versatile

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Events
        • Home Studio
        • Mobile DJ
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

        Great sounding, compact, and versatile. One of the only smaller sized interfaces that has more than 2 balanced analog outputs. Phones output can also be handled independently which can be very useful. Only downside is using the knobs to control parameters without a computer can be a little tricky at first but is on par with other interfaces in its class.

        Share this review

         
        5.0

        Impressive!

        By Pedro Rizzi

        from São Paulo, Brazil

        About Me Professional Musician

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Clear Sound
        • Durable
        • Very Good Pre Amps

        Cons

        • Bit Confusing
        • Bulky/Heavy
        • H

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

        I´ve just plugged in this beauty on my PC via fireware connection and presto! Clear and loud sounds, a very very nice software to control it directly from computer and it´s very solid(metal heavy-duty case).
        My previous audio interface was fast track pro... there´s no comparision at all!
        The only issue about this interface is that took me a while to get use to all those leds and buttons. At times gets a litlle confusing. But you ll get use to it. I definitely recommend it!
        (I am a professional musician and use it to do home recordings and to produce soundtrack music to short movies and commercial videos)

        Share this review

         
        5.0

        Like the Perfect Woman

        By Daddy

        from Los Angeles

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Compact
        • Durable
        • Easy To Use
        • Lightweight

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Events
          • Home Studio
          • Mobile DJ
          • Performances
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

          Just plug her in and she does all the work. Sweet, silent, compact, light and yet rugged. Take her with you or leave her at home. She just keeps on keeping on.

          Share this review

           
          5.0

          the Audio Express hits the mark!

          By MM

          from South Carolina

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Clear Sound
          • Compact
          • Durable
          • Easy To Use
          • Lightweight
          • Versatile

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Amateur Recording
            • Home Studio
            • Professional Recording

            Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

            I am using the MOTU Audio Express (AE) for my personal studio. The Audio Express is a great little unit, well built and easy to use. The AE is also a very handsome artical of equipment! Kudos MOTU...

            Share this review

             
            4.0

            Just what I needed

            By steve g

            from Wellington New Zealand

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Clear Sound
            • Compact
            • Durable
            • Easy To Use
            • Lightweight
            • Versatile

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Professional Recording

              Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

              I was looking for a small, portable, felxible, rugged and reliable interface that also sounded good and could offer firewire bus power.
              This box was the answer and I am very glad I went with it.
              It sounds great, works well and was pretty easy to set up with my laptop and Pro Tools DAW. Latency is a non issue also. Yay. Big ticks.

              The front controls are a little small but, it's a small portable device so...things are therefore small...

              A little confusion at first with the mulitple functions of each knob but once I got the hang of it, it makes great sense and provides some quick and easy options in work flow.

              I did a lot of research on the net about Motu equipment and to be fair, the reviews and feedback was not always so great. Despite these I decided on purchasing one as it was one of the few I/Os in it's price range to offer firewire bus power and present so many options for monitoring and recording. I looked at the Apogee and RME protable boxes but the idea of having the breakout cables looked messy.
              I have to say that so far I have had no issues with the device. Am really enjoying it.
              Thanks!

              S

              Share this review

               
              4.0

              affordable AD/DA

              By phillip

              from Minneapolis

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Clear Sound
              • Compact
              • Durable
              • Easy To Use

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Home Studio
                • Performances

                Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

                Installed quickly. USB works fine for most applications. One of two macs does not like to "see" the interface on start up so I have to unplug the USB and plug it back in.

                I am still trouble shooting, but it does work and sound good.

                Share this review

                 
                4.0

                difficult but good

                By Electric Flutist

                from NY, NY

                About Me Professional Musician

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Versatile

                Cons

                • Difficult To Use

                Best Uses

                • Performances

                Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

                — I'm putting mic into the Motu - altering sound via Guitar Rig and Ableton Live - coming out of the Motu into amp.
                — the 4 mic inputs is just what I need. Motu is small and portable. You can adjust both input and output levels
                — If you're not a geek, the manual is difficult. took a while to get it running. The button/dials are multi-functional and you really got to read the manual.

                Share this review

                 
                5.0

                Nice sound, better flexibility...

                By jacosmusic

                from Cali, COL.

                About Me Professional Musician

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Easy To Use
                • Excellent Sound
                • Powerful
                • Versatile

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Home Studio
                  • Performances
                  • Professional Recording

                  Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

                  Very easy to install, studio quality sound, fast and stable drivers, what else do you need? MOTU audio express is the perfect partner for recording and live situations.

                  Share this review

                   
                  5.0

                  This baby packs it's punch

                  By PianoAnn

                  from Seattle, WA

                  About Me Professional Musician

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easy To Use
                  • Excellent Sound
                  • Versatile

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Home Studio
                    • Performances
                    • Professional Recording

                    Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

                    great mobility with this weightless soundcard.
                    works easily with my laptop, and recording software, and converts my analog sound to digital very simply. Quality fidelity all along the process.

                    Share this review

                     
                    4.0

                    Great sound, not easy to configure

                    By Neil Fein

                    from Highland Park, NJ

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Dual Firewire and USB
                    • Solid Contruction

                    Cons

                    • Difficult interface
                    • Documentation

                    Best Uses

                    • Project Studio

                    Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

                    The Audio Express is solid and sturdy, and comes with adapters so you can mount it on a rack shelf. I'm still learning how to configure it; my first session with the AE took a very long time, and there are still things I haven't figured out how to do (like hardware monitoring).

                    The USB/FireWire interface works well, and the unit will power itself off bus power while on FW, but needs the included audio adapter when using USB.

                    The front panel is difficult to figure out, and will take me some time to get used to; a lot of functions are accessed by pressing the pots in to cycle through different modes.

                    A nice touch is the locking connectors for the combo XLR sockets; no more pulling a mic out accidentally, at least not out of the Audio Express. (This'll put my mind at ease a bit when using phantom power.)

                    Recommended tentatively, since I'm still leraning the unit; I'm also undecided on whether I should have spent the extra $150 on the MOTU 828.

                    Share this review

                    (0 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    3.0

                    Good; no computer level to box

                    By MIDI Life Crisis

                    from Los Angeles, CA

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Clean Sound
                    • Great Features
                    • Great MOTU support

                    Cons

                    • No PC level adjustment

                    Best Uses

                    • Digital Audio

                    Comments about MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface:

                    Clean sound, great features, except it does not allow the level of the audio from the computer to be attenuated. Some high and low end boxes don't allow this either. In studios dedicated to audio or with mixing consoles to do the leveling this wouldn't be a problem. In a more modest studio, controlling the computer level is critical and the ability to do so also appears in some high and low level boxes.

                    Share this review

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