MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface

MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface

MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface

B&H # MAAE8456 MFR # 8456
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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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MOTU AE8456 overview

  • 1Description

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
UPC: 839128005402
In the Box
MOTU Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface
  • Limited 2-Year Warranty
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    MOTU AE8456 specs

    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)

    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)
    Packaging Info
    Package Weight 5.25 lb
    Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 14.9 x 11.4 x 5.4"

    MOTU AE8456 reviews

    Audio Express - Firewire/USB Audio Interface is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 16.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Impressive! Ive 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 its very solid(metal heavy-duty case). My previous audio interface was fast track pro... theres 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)
    Date published: 2014-03-21
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Solid build, great sound. With Windows 10 go to Motu sight and download the latest driver as the one on the included disc did not work for me. Youll have to crack the manual to figure this piece out but its worth it. You have to turn unit on every time you power up. After that this little interface is rock solid, and has not crashed yet!
    Date published: 2016-04-18
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good interface, fantastic customer service! I like the audio express very much. Build quality does seem solid, and for reasons I don't understand, it brought a feeling of calm and order to my work area. The multifunction knobs, like others have noted, take a while to figure out. Reading and keeping the manual handy is a must. Sound quality is good. I sent a little five track song, guitars, bass and vocals, I made with it in Logic 9 to a neighbor, a musician, and he said it sounded great! But customer service was amazing! I first ran the interface on usb 2.0, and while recording went smoothly with no crashes and no perceivable latency, cpu use went up to 50% and the cooling fan kept coming on, even when playing back a song in iTunes, or the computer was just sitting idle. I emailed Motu customer service about it on Friday, the answer arrived on Monday, and for 3 days and 14 emails the incredible tech support guy there stayed with me trying to locate the cause. He looked at activity monitor screen shots and had me try a lot of things, and even brought in an engineer to check it out. It appears to be something inside my computer. Finally I realized I could hook the audio express up to firewire using a 9-pin to 6-pin firewire cable. Immediately the problem went away. Cpu use dropped to less than 10% on iTunes and mid 30's when playing back five tracks in Logic. And now there was bus power. Motu's devotion to solving my problem definitely made me a fan!
    Date published: 2016-06-09
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from So far, so great! I've used it at my home studio and house of worship, and so far it's been great. Both the USB and Firewire work well, and the sound is very clear. It works great out of an interface out of the box, but there's a lot more to it beyond that, and I'm still learning all that.
    Date published: 2016-12-11
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect mixer to work with mac Everything he does is good advertising audio recording for Web radio. Oscilloscope and advanced tools allow me to analyze the problems of the audio of the other teams that I am using
    Date published: 2016-02-22
    Rated 3 out of 5 by from 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 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.
    Date published: 2011-03-31
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from difficult but good 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.
    Date published: 2011-07-28
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great 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.
    Date published: 2015-02-24
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