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MOTU 4pre - Compact Hybrid FireWire/USB Audio Interface with Microphone Preamps

B&H # MA4PRE MFR # 8460
MOTU 4pre - Compact Hybrid FireWire/USB Audio Interface with Microphone Preamps

MOTU 4pre - Compact Hybrid FireWire/USB Audio Interface with Microphone Preamps Front View Back View Back Angle View

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Product Highlights

  • 6 Input / 8 Output
  • 4 Microphone Preamps
  • 8-Bus Digital Mixer
  • Digital I/O
  • Phantom Power
  • Time Code Support
  • 24-bit/96kHz
  • Standalone Operation
  • Mac OS X
  • Windows Vista/7
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You Pay: $449.00

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The 4pre from MOTU is a compact hybrid digital audio interface that features both FireWire and USB 2.0 connectivity. The interface can also function as a standalone mixer without the need for a computer. Four individual microphones or two stereo pairs can be recorded via the combo microphone/guitar inputs.

The transparent preamps offer individually switchable phantom power and a -20dB pad, with all settings adjustable on the front panel, or from the included CueMix software. Two guitar jacks provide high-impedance load characteristics suitable for passive and active pickups. Line inputs can be matched for keyboards, analog mixers, effects processors, or other equipment with difference reference levels.

Four analog outputs allow for connecting powered studio monitors to the main outs, while separate line outs can be used for a variety of purposes, either mirroring the main outs, or acting as a completely independent output pair. Two headphone jacks facilitate working with others. Digital input/output make digital transfers easy with support for sample rates of up to 96kHz.

Digitally controlled analog trim deliver analog quality with digital precision with the ability to save and recall trim settings. The S/PDIF digital inputs can also be trimmed. Immediate volume adjustments are always within reach, so the interface serves as the perfect compact, portable live mixer, with or without a computer.

The included CueMix software delivers on-screen mixing and control and can be operated side by side with any host audio software for Mac or Windows. It can also be controlled from the Mackie Control Universal Pro work surface, or any HUI-compatible controller. Additionally it provides talkback and listen back features, along with a range of software analysis tools.

The 4pre can be daisy chained to another pre or MOTU audio interface. Direct SMPTE time code sync is supported without the need for a separate synchronizer. The included SMPTE Console software (for Mac OS X and Windows) provides a complete set of tools to generate SMPTE for striping, regenerating or slaving other devices to the computer.

  • 6 x 8 audio interface for Mac and Windows with all channels available simultaneously and operating independently
  • Hybrid FireWire/USB 2.0 connectivity
  • Eight-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
  • Four combo jacks provide four XLR microphone inputs, two hi-Z 1/4" guitar inputs, and stereo line-level (+4/-10) input
  • Microphone inputs provide individual preamps, phantom power, a 20dB pad, Precision Digital Trim (digitally controlled analog trim on all inputs provides adjustments in approximately 1.0dB increments), and plenty of gain
  • Stereo main outs on balanced 1/4" TRS jacks for connecting directly to powered speakers (or other line-level analog destination)
  • Stereo 24-bit/96kHz S/PDIF digital input and output
  • Two headphone outputs with independent volume control for each phone output
  • Headphone output can be either the same as main outs or completely independent
  • Supports standard sample rates up to 96kHz
  • Fine-tune the balance of inputs and then save/recall trim configurations
  • Front-panel mixing and control
  • Each input has its own dedicated volume knob
  • Control multiple mixes with clear feedback from front panel LEDs and metering
  • Independent volume control of the main outs and phone output, or mirror the main outs on both phone jacks
  • CueMix FX cross-platform mixing software
  • 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 allows for bringing the 4pre to a gig, with or without a computer
  • Need to tweak the mix? Just turn the front-panel knobs
  • Add additional interfaces for more I/O as needs grow
  • Time code 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 produces imperceptibly low jitter characteristics (below the noise floor), even when the 4pre is resolved to an external clock source via SMPTE time code
  • 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 a Mac or PC via FireWire or USB2 (compatible with all current and recent generation Macs and PCs)
  • Native 32- and 64-bit drivers for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista
  • Includes ASIO, WDM, Wave, Core Audio, and Core MIDI drives
  • Supports all popular Mac and Windows audio software and fully compatible with 3rd-party 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
  • No need for external power when operating as a FireWire interface connected to a computer
  • Power supply included for stand-alone or USB2 operation
  • Compact form factor
Connectivity USB 2.0
FireWire 400 1
Please Note:

FireWire port uses FireWire 800 connector for greater reliability, but unit runs at FireWire 400 speed

Converters 24-bit
Sample Rates 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96kHz
Analog In 4 x Neutrik Combo/XLR
2 x 1/4" TRS phone (balanced/unbalanced)
2 x 1/4" TS phone Hi-Z instrument
Analog Outputs 2 x 1/4" TRS phone Main
2 x 1/4" TRS phone Line
2 x 1/4" TRS phone Headphone
Digital Input Connectors 1 x RCA coaxial S/PDIF
Digital Output Connectors 1 x RCA coaxial S/PDIF
MIDI In/Out No
Sync In/Out S/PDIF
SMPTE Time Code (LTC)
Headphone Output 2 x 1/4" TRS phone with Volume Control
Phantom Power +48V, individually switchable
Display 2 x Main out 10-segment ladder LEDs
4 x Input 5-segment LEDs
2 x S/PDIF I/O signal present LEDs
2 x Stereo line out signal present LEDs
4 x Phantom power LEDs
4 x Pad LEDs
5 x Mix/trim (main, line, S/PDIF, phone, trim) LEDs
1 x Vol/Pan LED
Power Requirements 9~18VDC, 5W, tip + or - via included power adapter (required for stand-alone and USB 2.0 operation)
FireWire bus power
System Requirements Mac
PowerPC G4 CPU 1GHz or faster (including PowerPC G5 CPUs and all Intel processor Macs)
OS X v10.5.8 or later required, 10.6, or 10.7
1GB RAM (2GB or more recommended)
Available FireWire or USB2 port
Large hard drive (preferably at least 250GB)

Pentium-based 1GHz PC compatible or faster equipped with at least one USB2 or FireWire port
Windows Vista SP2 32- or 64-bit, or Windows 7
1GB RAM (2GB or more recommended)
Available FireWire or USB2 port
Large hard drive (preferably at least 250GB)

Included Software
CueMix FX
AudioDesk (Mac only)

64-bit Operation
Available for Mac OS X v10.6 or 10.7
Available for 64-bit versions of Windows 7 or Vista
Requires a 64-bit CPU (and host application for plug-in versions)
Dimensions 9.5 x 7 x 1.75" (241 x 178 x 45mm) 2
Please Note:

Chassis dimensions with rack ears

Weight Not specified by manufacturer
Compatible Software Mac
MOTU Digital Performer
MOTU AudioDesk
Avid Pro Tools (version 9 or later)
Apple Logic Pro
Apple Logic Express
Apple GarageBand
Apple SoundTrack Pro
Ableton Live
Propellerhead Record and Reason
Steinberg Cubase
Cockos Reaper
Native Instruments KONTAKT
Waves stand-alone applications (and plug-ins, via compatible host)

Avid Pro Tools (version 9 or later)
Ableton Live
Cakewalk Sonar
Steinberg Cubase
Propellerhead Record and Reason
Image Line FL Studio
Sony Vegas Pro
Sony Sound Forge
Sony Acid
Cockos Reaper
Native Instruments KONTAKT
Waves stand-alone applications (and plug-ins, via compatible host)
MOTU 4pre - Compact Hybrid FireWire/USB Audio Interface with Microphone Preamps
  • External Power Supply
  • 9-Pin to 9-Pin IEEE 1394 FireWire B Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Software CD ROM
  • Two (2) Year Warranty

    by PowerReviews
    MOTU4pre - Compact Hybrid FireWire/USB Audio Interface with Microphone Preamps

    (based on 3 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars



    • 4 Stars



    • 3 Stars



    • 2 Stars



    • 1 Stars




    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.


    • Good audio (3)


      Best Uses

          • Reviewer Profile:
          • Experienced (3)

        Reviewed by 3 customers

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        Displaying reviews 1-3

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        additional outputs for mixer output

        By Solon

        from Hong Kong

        About Me Experienced

        Verified Buyer


        • Clear Sound
        • Compact


          Best Uses

          • Home Studio
          • Mobile DJ

          Comments about MOTU 4pre - Compact Hybrid FireWire/USB Audio Interface with Microphone Preamps:

          got this box in hand for about 2 weeks,
          really need to spend some time to trial & error! as the manual not able to cover all the functions! especially the part for USB connection to computer!
          originally we use the 4PRE for sound recording fm mixer. as the original mixer usb connection to commputer not stable, then use it as a replacement. in the begining, usage is a bit complicated but still ok once u get use to all the functions.
          besides, the extra bonus is to route the computer output via USB port to motu then back to mixer! this reduce the low zizy noise ( i think fm the looping) while playback sound to the speakers!

          my recomandation is : Good! if you can afford this cost!

          p.s. i spent 1 week to figure out the motu playback devices in computer are all connect to the mic/line 1-2! & the cuemix FX is not able to control this output to mixer!! or i still need to spend sometime for the trial & error?

          but overall, at this price, i feel this box is great!!

          Share this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


          MOTU 4pre

          By Alfredo Prada

          from Las Vegas, NV

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer


          • Clear Sound
          • Compact
          • Durable
          • Versatile


            Best Uses

            • Events

            Comments about MOTU 4pre - Compact Hybrid FireWire/USB Audio Interface with Microphone Preamps:

            I got this product for test and measurement using Smaart/Systune and Easera
            acoustical software. It might seem as overkill for this application, but accuracy
            and precision are key here. The mic preamps are very low noise and distortion. The ability to save mic preamp settings are very useful to keep and return to SPL calibration quickly. At first the operation of this unit might seem
            complicated but after using it, it is very easy to navigate. The companion software makes everything even easier. Also the fact that you can use either
            USB or Firewire are a major plus.It even operates without a power supply with firewire. I also used it as a playback unit and it also performed exceptionally .
            Another plus is the ability to send signal to several independent mixes. Great metering and solid built. I could not find anything I don't like.

            Share this review

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


            Great Sound; Fiddly Controls

            By Sideshow Mike

            from Morgantown, WV

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer


            • Clear Sound


            • Awkward Controls

            Best Uses

            • Home Studio

            Comments about MOTU 4pre - Compact Hybrid FireWire/USB Audio Interface with Microphone Preamps:

            I purchased the MOTU 4pre to upgrade from a Steinberg CI2, which only has two mic preamps. The MOTU produces clean, clear sound, and enables me to record my drums using two LDC overheads and dynamics for kick and snare. No complaints here.

            The included AudioDesk software can be a little buggy. For instance, there are color schemes listed in the Setup menu that simply do not work; others will create tracks that show white tracks on a white background, which can be a real headache for editing. Compared to the Steinberg, which provides an intuitive interface for recording and editing in Cubase AI5 (included with the CI2), AudioDesk seems downright clunky. (Note: never thought I'd call Cubase "intuitive," but compared to AudioDesk, it is.)

            Some controls on the interface itself can be bothersome. For instance, the knobs on the front panel serve several purposes. If you want to turn phantom power on channel one, you need to press the Mix button to cycle through several mixes to get to "trim mode," after which you can push and hold the button for channel one to get phantom power. Then you need to return to the Mix button to cycle back into the mix you were using.

            Another little headache has to do with how the volume controls are affected when the interface is plugged into or removed from the computer. When the interface is plugged in, the volume levels on the computer jump automatically to maximum volume regardless of where they were set before. This is hearing loss just waiting to happen. Similarly, the interface allows you to control the output volume from the computer itself, but muting sound on the computer will only mute playback volume. The surge from turning phantom power on or off will still play through the headphones. Again, risky if you own cans that can handle high sound pressure levels.

            I've already learned how to live with the little quirks, and I'm enjoying studio quality sound.

            Share this review


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