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

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

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

B&H # MA4PRE MFR # 8460
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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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MOTU 4pre overview

  • 1Description

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
UPC: 839128005815
In the Box
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
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    MOTU 4pre specs

    Connectivity USB 2.0
    FireWire 400

    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
    MOTU SMPTE Console
    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) saazaxcfaawxxttsawesequffvctftecfct

    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)
    Packaging Info
    Package Weight 5.25 lb
    Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 15.0 x 11.4 x 5.4"

    MOTU 4pre reviews

    4pre - Compact Hybrid FireWire/USB Audio Interface with Microphone Preamps is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 4.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from MOTU 4pre 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.
    Date published: 2013-01-02
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Find your sound. The Motu 4pre audio interface is designed for musicians that like to experiment with recording. There are 2 unique features not seen in the competitor's devices. First, each of the four inputs has its own preamp with its own phantom power or -20dB pad. This gives tremendous flexibility for using multiple microphone types for recording an acoustic guitar or DI box and mics for electric guitar. The competition gangs the inputs in groups of two, or globally. Second, there are some tools for analyzing the track waveforms to help with creating a wide stereo field and minimize phase cancellation. If you just want to make a sound, go with the competition's equipment, it is inexpensive and reliable. If you want to find your sound, go with the Motu 4pre. The 4pre literally comes suspended in its packaging and stood up to UPS delivery. The manual thoroughly covered each feature. Although I am not a fan of multifunction potentiometers, the trim pots are sturdy. The software has to be downloaded from the Motu website, which went smoothly. The Cue mix software duplicates the 4pre controls if you prefer clicking and dragging to pushing and turning. The manual covers how to install the proper driver for several DAWs. Also check your DAW's website for instruction, not only for setting up drivers but also routing the signal. The 4pre can be used live by itself or in a home studio with computer. The accompanying Cue Mix software allows for zero latency monitoring of live input. I measured round trip latency at 7.5 milliseconds, using the USB connection, 64 samples per buffer on a duel core, 2.4 MHz AMD Turion II P540, with windows 7. Not a speed record but not a slouch either and in the same ballpark as the competition. A firewire connection is also available for those unwilling to use windows 10 or that have older equipment. In doing my research of audio interfaces in the August of 2015, Motu already had a driver for Windows 10. The completion did not.
    Date published: 2016-11-22
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Sound; Fiddly Controls 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.
    Date published: 2012-04-30
    Rated 4 out of 5 by from additional outputs for mixer output 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!!
    Date published: 2013-04-07
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