The New MOTU Track16: Compact and Well-Equipped


Compact, desktop-style computer audio/MIDI interfaces have really grown in popularity over the past few years, and the new Track16 from MOTU is the latest, and perhaps the most compelling addition to the bunch. The Track16 offers a hefty number of inputs and outputs, hybrid FireWire or USB 2.0 connectivity, compatibility with both Windows and Mac computers, and a surprisingly budget-friendly price tag (considering how much power it puts on your table). While some competing products offer slick industrial design and advanced sonic performance, they tend to fall short in the I/O department. The new Track16 manages to look sharp, sound great and outfit project studios with enough inputs to track an entire band.

Simply glancing at the new Track16 tells you a great deal about the device. It’s got a really clean, minimal layout, and the controls are arranged in very straightforward manner. It features a generous number of metering for such a compact interface (eight 7-segment meters in all), a handsome, oversized volume/controller knob, and backlit, labeled buttons for operation. The forward-facing panel features a 1/4” guitar input, a stereo mini-plug line-level input and two headphone outputs (1/4” and 1/8”). The rear panel has optical in and out (that you can switch between ADAT, SMUX and S/PDIF), a multi-pin connector for the included 44-inch breakout cable, a USB 2.0 port and a Type B FireWire 400 port. The optical in allows you to expand the number of  audio inputs with a Lightpipe expander like the MOTU 8Pre or the Behringer ULTRAGAIN PRO-8.

One of the great things about this style of computer audio interface is that it acts as your monitor controller as well. With the press of a backlit button, the Track16 will switch between two sets of outputs (that you can connect to various studio monitors). The breakout cable supplies you with two XLR mic inputs (with selectable phantom power), a second “DI” guitar input, a pair of 1/4” TRS line-level inputs (for connecting the stereo line outputs of a keyboard or a drum machine), four 1/4” TRS line-level outputs (for connecting studio monitors and sending signals to external sources) and MIDI in and out. A host of powerful included software completes the package, which supplies you with everything from reverb, compression and EQ effects, extensive routing capabilities, an instrument tuner and much more.

Converters 24-bit
Sample Rates 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz
Analog Inputs 2 x XLR mic inputs
2 x 1/4" TRS line inputs (balanced/unbalanced)
1 x 1/8" stereo mini line inputs (unbalanced)
2 x 1/4" Hi-Z guitar inputs
Analog Outputs 2 x 1/4" balanced TRS main out
2 x 1/4" unbalanced TRS line out
1 x 1/4" TRS stereo headphone
1 x 1/8" stereo headphone
Digital I/O 8-channel ADAT optical at 1 x sample rates
4-channel SMUX optical at 2 x sample rates
2-channel TOSLink (optical S/PDIF) up to 96 kHz
Computer I/O 1 x FireWire 400 (Type B connector)
1 x USB 2.0
Sync In/Out SMPTE time code (LTC)
Headphone Output 1 x 1/4" TRS stereo phone
1 x 1/8" stereo phone
Phantom Power Individual +48V
Top Panel 2 x 7-segment ladder LEDs: main outs
2 x 7-segment LEDs: mic in or line 3-4 in
2 x 7-segment LEDs: guitar in or phones
2 x 7-segment LEDs: line in 1-2 or line out
2 x LEDs: -20dB pad
5 x backlit switches: input select
3 x backlit switches: output select
1 x backlit switch: meters toggle
1 x backlit switch: power
Power Requirements 9-18V DC, 5W, tip + or -
FireWire bus power
DC power adapter included, required for stand-alone and USB 2.0 operation (except with FireWire bus power)
Mac System Requirements PowerPC G4 CPU 1 Ghz or faster (including any Mac with a PowerPC G5 or any Intel processor)
1GB RAM; 2GB or more recommended
OS X 10.5, 10.6, or 10.7; v10.5.8 or later required
Available FireWire or high-speed USB 2.0 port
A large hard drive (preferably at least 250GB)
Windows System Requirements 1 gHz Pentium-based PC compatible or faster equipped with at least one USB 2.0 or FireWire port
1GB RAM; 2GB or more recommended
Windows 7 or Vista, 32- or 64-bit; Vista SP 2 or later required
Available FireWire or high-speed USB 2.0 port
A large hard drive (preferably at least 250GB)
Included Software CueMix FX
AudioDesk (Mac only, optical CD drive required)
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
Dimensions 6.4 x 5 x 1" (163 x 127 x 25mm)
Weight 1.5 lb (0.7 kg)

Thanks for checking out this B&H InDepth announcement. If you have any more questions about the MOTU Track16, we encourage you to submit a comment below.