updated 12:04 pm EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
New devices can receive up to 128 channels of audio across Thunderbolt
Audio device manufacturer MOTU has announced three new Thunderbolt audio interfaces with 48-channel mixing, DSP effects and AVB Ethernet audio networking for system expansion. Based on a new shared technology platform, the 1248, 8M and 16a use ESS Sabre32 Ultra converters, and provide low analog latency, with round-trip performance of only 32 samples (0.66 ms) at 48 kHz.
As the most versatile of the three, the flagship 1248 offers 8 x 12 balanced TRS analog I/O, four mic inputs with digitally-controlled individual preamps, two front-panel hi-Z guitar inputs, two independent phone outs and stereo RCA S/PDIF digital I/O.
The 8M provides eight balanced TRS analog outputs, plus eight mic/line/instrument "combo" style inputs, individually equipped with digitally controlled preamps, 48V phantom power, pad and MOTU's hardware-based V-Limit overload protection.
The 16A has 32 balanced TRS analog connections (16 inputs and 16 outputs). All three units provide two banks of optical digital I/O, word clock I/O and computer connectivity through either audio-class-compliant USB 2.0 or Thunderbolt.
All three interfaces are equipped with a single AVB Ethernet network port, as well as a 324x24 pixel LCD. Users can add a second MOTU interface to their system with a simple CAT-5e Ethernet cable, or build a system of three to five interfaces connected to a separately available five-port, 1-Gigabit MOTU AVB Switch.
Each MOTU interface on an AVB network, or any computer connected through Thunderbolt, can simultaneously send and receive 128 channels of network audio I/O. A MOTU AVB network supports over 512 audio channels, and point-to-point network latency is fixed at only 30 samples (0.625 ms), even over multiple switches, when operating the system at 48 kHz.
Control software for the 1248, 8M and 16A is a web app, served from the unit itself to any web browser running on any web client connected through Thunderbolt, USB, Ethernet, or Wi-Fi. Any available network port, including the extra Ethernet port on the MOTU AVB Switch, can be connected to a standard Wi-Fi router or directly to a local Ethernet network, to give users complete access to device settings, audio routing features and the 48-channel mixer.
All three interfaces, plus the MOTU AVB Switch, are now shipping. The price for each interface is $1,495. The cost of the MOTU AVB Switch is $295.