MOTU 8A - Thunderbolt and USB3 Audio Interface with AVB Networking and DSP (8x8, Line)

MOTU 8A - Thunderbolt and USB3 Audio Interface with AVB Networking and DSP (8x8, Line)

MOTU 8A - Thunderbolt and USB3 Audio Interface with AVB Networking and DSP (8x8, Line)

B&H # MA8A MFR # 9360
MOTU 8A - Thunderbolt and USB3 Audio Interface with AVB Networking and DSP (8x8, Line)

MOTU 8A - Thunderbolt and USB3 Audio Interface with AVB Networking and DSP (8x8, Line)

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Product Highlights

  • 8x Analog Inputs and 8x Analog Outputs
  • AVB Up to 256 Thunderbolt Channels
  • 48-Channel Software Mixer with DSP
  • Remote Control Using Web Application
  • 8-Channel ADAT Optical
  • USB 3.0 Audio Compatibility
  • DSP-Modeled EQ and Compression
  • Digital Routing Through CAT-5e or CAT-6
  • Standalone Mixer Operation
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MOTU 8A overview

  • 1Description

Building upon the success of the MOTU 16A interface, the MOTU 8A - Thunderbolt and USB3 Audio Interface with AVB Networking and DSP (8x8, Line) offers the same quality, form, and function, but in a smaller, highly portable ½-rack space enclosure. The 8A is designed for studio recording, installed sound, and live sound-reinforcement applications such as mixing a small band in a club or music venue. The device features eight balanced line-level inputs and eight balanced line-level outputs over 1/4" TRS connectors, a pair of 8-channel ADAT optical ports, for a total of 16 inputs and 18 outputs. Additional I/O can be added to the system through AVB networking.

The audio interface utilizes ESS Sabre32 Ultra converters to provide a dynamic range of 123 dB while recording at up to 24-bit/192 kHz resolution. Using Thunderbolt connectivity, the audio interface can stream 64 audio channels in and 64 channels out to the interface's physical outputs, the DSP-powered 48 digital routing matrix, or AVB audio network streams. The interface can also use high-speed USB 3.0 using class-compliant drivers to work with most digital audio workstations.

The 48-channel digital mixer can mix physical inputs on the interface, audio channels from your host computer software, AVB audio network streams, or mixer outputs. It features seven stereo auxiliary busses, three groups, a reverb buss that can serve as an alternate 4th group, a main mix buss, and a separate monitor buss that can function as a solo buss.

The mixer includes 32-bit floating-point precision DSP-powered models of three British analog console EQ profiles, a classic compressor module with optional peak/RMS operation, and a model of the legendary Teletronix LA-2A optical leveling amplifier with automatic gain control (AGC) characteristics. Each input channel strip features a high-pass filter, a gate, a four-band parametric EQ, and a compressor.

This interface features an AVB Ethernet port that adopts the AVB industry networking standard for transporting high-bandwidth, low-latency audio and video over Ethernet. It was developed by the IEEE and enables connection to a second MOTU AVB audio interface (624, 1248, 8M, or 16A) via a CAT-5E or CAT-6 Ethernet cable. The standard is open, meaning it is not proprietary, and will allow for interoperability across different devices and brands.

The system can be further expanded through connection to an optional MOTU AVB Switch, for five total devices, giving it the capacity to stream over 512 channels on the network. Eight 8-channel network streams may be broadcast while simultaneously listening to eight 8-channel network streams. The AVB network provides its own network-wide time base for phase locking all connected devices, and also allows one of the connected devices to be assigned as the master clock. An added benefit of the AVB network standard is the automatic device discovery for self-configuration, 100-meter cable runs, as well as the system's Stream Reservation Protocol, which provides guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS) and an uninterrupted point-to-point network connection.

The audio interface's on-board DSP, mixing, device settings, and network-audio routing can all be controlled through a web application running on a web browser from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone connected by wire or Wi-Fi to your local area network. This allows the interface to be controlled using Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android devices, provided they share the same network. By connecting an Apple Airport or other Wi-Fi router directly to the interface with a standard Ethernet cable, the mixing and DSP controls of the interface can be managed using a Smartphone or tablet, without the need for a computer.


Quality Audio and High-End Converters
Renowned ESS Sabre32 DAC technology delivers 123 dB dynamic range, the same audio quality as MOTU's flagship 16A
Ultra-low Latency and High-Performance MOTU Drivers
Round-trip latency (RTL) performance as low as 1.6 ms at 96 kHz over Thunderbolt with high-performance DAW hosts
Mobile Operation and Universal Connectivity
Connects to your computer with Thunderbolt, super-speed USB 3.0 or AVB/TSN Ethernet for up to 256 audio channels (128 in and 128 out). Class-compliant firmware and industry-standard drivers work with any audio apps; connects to iPad with a standard camera connection kit (adapter)
34 Simultaneous Audio Channels
8 x 8 balanced analog, 8-channel ADAT optical and independent phone out for 16 inputs and 18 outputs
DSP Mixing and Effects Processing
Flexible 48-input digital mixer with 7 stereo aux busses, 3 group sends, access to 64 network inputs, and DSP effects, including reverb, 4-band EQ, gate and compression
32-Bit Floating Point Processing
The 8A's mixing and effects DSP engine delivers virtually unlimited headroom and well-regarded sound quality
Modeled Vintage Effects Processing
Classic reverb, compression modeled after the legendary LA-2A compressor, and EQ modeled after British analog console EQs
Flexible Matrix Routing and Splitting
Send any input to any output or multiple outputs such as routing to and from the computer, plus any devices on the audio network
Standalone Operation with Wireless Control
Connect an Apple Airport or other Wi-Fi router with a standard Ethernet cable for wireless control of device settings, powerful 48-channel mixing and DSP effects
Web App Control
Control everything from your favorite web browser on a laptop, tablet and smartphone connected to your local Wi-Fi network
System Expansion
Add a second MOTU AVB-equipped interface with a simple CAT-5e Ethernet cable, and connect up to five MOTU interfaces using the optional MOTU AVB/TSN Switch
AVB/TSN audio networking
Build a network with multiple interfaces and computers using standard AVB/TSN switches and network cabling, with ultra-low network latency, even over long cable runs (100 meters point to point); stream hundreds of audio channels among devices and computers on the network
Optical I/O
Connect outboard digital processors, digital mixers or other gear via 8 channels of ADAT at 44.1/48 kHz, 4 channels of SMUX at 88.2/96 kHz or stereo TOSLink (optical S/PDIF) up to 96 kHz
Comprehensive Metering
The full-color LCD lets you view all signal activity at a glance with detailed metering for all analog and digital I/O, and enjoy access to hardware settings from a simple and convenient menu
Audio Desk
Includes AudioDesk workstation software for Mac and Windows with 24-bit recording, sample-accurate editing, and 32-bit mixing and mastering
UPC: 839128006041
In the Box
MOTU 8A - Thunderbolt and USB3 Audio Interface with AVB Networking and DSP (8x8, Line)
  • Power Cord
  • Limited 2-Year Warranty
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    MOTU 8A specs

    Sample Rates 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz
    Analog Inputs 8 x 1/4" / 6.35 mm balanced TRS line inputs (balanced/unbalanced)
    Max Level: +24 dBu (range -96 to +22)
    Analog Outputs 8 x 1/4" / 6.35 mm TRS line out (balanced, DC coupled 5 V)
    Max Level: +20 dBu (digitally adjustable -4 to +20)
    1 x 1/4" / 6.35 mm TRS stereo headphone
    Digital I/O 1 bank (8 ch) of ADAT optical at 1x sample rates
    1 bank (4 ch) of SMUX optical at 2x sample rates
    Switchable to stereo TOSLink (optical S/PDIF)
    Total I/O Channels 16 inputs / 18 outputs (34 total) at 1x sample rates
    12 inputs / 14 outputs (26 total) at 2x sample rates
    8 inputs / 10 outputs (18 total) at 4x sample rates
    Computer I/O Computer I/O
    1 x Thunderbolt 2 (Mac and Win, Thunderbolt 1 & 3 compatible)
    1 x USB 3.0 (Mac and Win) - USB 2.0 and iOS compatible (class compliant)
    1 x AVB/TSN Ethernet (Mac only, requires OS X 10.11 or later)

    Computer I/O channels
    Thunderbolt (44.1 to 96 kHz): 128 in/out
    Thunderbolt (176.4 to 192 kHz): 64 in/out
    USB 3.0 (44.1 to 96 kHz): 128 in/out
    USB 3.0 (176.4 to 192 kHz): 64 in/out
    AVB/TSN Ethernet: 16 to 128 in/out (depends on host computer speed)
    Headphone 1 x 1/4" / 6.35 mm TRS stereo phone (assignable)
    Front Panel 1 x 1/4" TRS headphone output 1 x digital rotary encoder - main/phone volume 5 x switches - menu navigation 160 x 128 pixel RGB LCD for level meters / menu nav Power switch
    Dynamic Range Line Output: 123 dB A-weighted
    Line Input: 117 dB A-weighted
    Phones: 108 dB A-weighted
    THD + N Line Output: -110 dB (unweighted)
    Line Input: -110 dB (unweighted)
    Phones: -100 dB (unweighted)
    Maximum Level Line Output: +20 dBu
    Line Input: +24 dBu
    Phones: 80 mW
    Gain Trim Range Line Output: 24 dB (-4 to +20 dBu) in 1 dB steps
    Line Input: 118 dBu (-96 to +22) in 1 dB steps
    Phones: 128 dB
    Mac Requirements 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, USB or AVB/TSN Ethernet port (AVB/TSN Ethernet audio interface operation requires OS X 10.11 or later)
    A large hard drive (at least 500 GB for recording)
    Windows Requirements 1 GHz Pentium-based Windows compatible or faster
    2 GB RAM, 4 GB or more recommended
    Windows 7, 8 or 10
    Available Thunderbolt or USB port
    A large hard drive (at least 500 GB for recording)
    Remote Control 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 interface by wire or Wi-Fi
    Operating Systems For Computer Audio I/O: Mac OS X 10.8 or later; Windows 7 or later
    For web app control: Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android
    Mac Compatible Core Audio Drivers for Mac OS X
    MOTU Digital Performer
    Avid Pro Tools (version 9 or later)
    Apple Logic Pro
    Apple Logic Express
    Apple Garage Band
    Apple SoundTrack Pro
    Ableton Live
    Propellerhead Record and Reason
    Steinberg Cubase
    Cockos Reaper
    Native Instruments Kontakt
    Waves standalone apps (and plug-ins via compatible host)
    Windows Compatible WAVE and ASIO drivers for Windows 7, 8, and 10
    MOTU Digital Performer
    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 standalone apps (and plug-ins via compatible host)
    Power External 12-18 VDC power supply 1.0 A max (tip pos or neg)
    Dimensions 8.6 x 7.0 x 1.8" / 21.8 x 17.8 x 4.4 cm
    Weight 2.2 lb / 1.0 kg
    Packaging Infodcbrswdzfvbyzaacedbecyxr
    Package Weight 4.75 lb
    Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 15.0 x 11.4 x 5.4"

    MOTU 8A reviews

    8A - Thunderbolt and USB3 Audio Interface with AVB Networking and DSP (8x8, Line) is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 3.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Solid The MOTU 8A does all it advertises and then some. This is a great little (half rack) device that functions beautifully over MOTUs web interface. The ability to connect to this device and control it over a WIFI network is perfect for personal monitor mixing or checking a system on the move. MOTUs included DAW Audio Desk functions well enough and has plenty of flexibility, if Audio Desk isn't for you the 8A plays nicely with 3rd party DAWs as well. If you're looking for a small form factor device with a lot of horse power the 8A fits the bill well.
    Date published: 2017-01-09
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great quality conversion Bought it to use as DAC in a custom high efficiency speaker setup of mine (JBL 4722n mains and B&C 21 ported subs). Motu 8A is replacing an aging e-mu 1616m. I must say Motu 8A sounds noticeably better/cleaner in the same signal chain. I have an SPL Volume8 (active analog 8-channel volume controller) between the 8A and the amplifiers. I love how versatile this unit is, it can be used in stand-alone mode (as a converter from the ADAT to analog outs), which is how I'm currently have it setup. It can also be connected via usb and thunderbolt and used as a computer sound interface. Motu's mixer/routing isn't overly complicated. The web based configuration tool/app is very usable. I haven't tried the analog inputs so I can't comment on the quality of those but I'd guess they're good enough for government work ;) Build quality is exceptional in my book, feels VERY solid. I'd say comparable to some military/lab gear I've seen. Kudos to Motu!
    Date published: 2017-02-24
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love all MOTU products, and great service. Easy to install, got it working right away.
    Date published: 2017-08-13
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