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MOTU 828es--Any impressions?
Old 11th October 2017
  #1
MOTU 828es--Any impressions?

Is anyone using this piece? I have a friend looking for an interface for no more than $1000. He has all the pres he needs. I had a modded 828mkII that served me well for many years, and I understand the DAC is better on all the new MOTU gear. Any opinions from users would be appreciated. Thank you.
Old 20th October 2017
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Walker View Post
Is anyone using this piece? I have a friend looking for an interface for no more than $1000. He has all the pres he needs. I had a modded 828mkII that served me well for many years, and I understand the DAC is better on all the new MOTU gear. Any opinions from users would be appreciated. Thank you.
Bump, looks solid. I'm trying to find out if it has SMUX options, not seeing them mentioned anywhere. If not would def be a bummer
Old 20th October 2017
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by szyam View Post
Bump, looks solid. I'm trying to find out if it has SMUX options, not seeing them mentioned anywhere. If not would def be a bummer
It has SMUX but not SMUX4. So 16 channels i/o at 44.1/48kHz, and 8 channels at 88.2/96kHz. Both the lightpipe and coaxial s/pdif are disabled at 176.4/192kHz.

I figure it's not a problem. I'll be using this interface with the DAW multitrack, which I generally run at 48 or 88.2 kHz. If I want to mixdown to a higher sample rate, I'll run the mix into a different machine or 2-track.

And if I need 8 channels of 176.4/192kHz out of my (2) Mytek 8x192, I'll get an RME Digiface USB. What I need right now is a normal interface with analog i/o, since my Myteks are on their way to the shop for headphone pot repairs. And I can't continue on forever with Lynx AES16 PCI cards. So I ordered an 828es.
Old 22nd October 2017
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdunn View Post
It has SMUX but not SMUX4. So 16 channels i/o at 44.1/48kHz, and 8 channels at 88.2/96kHz. Both the lightpipe and coaxial s/pdif are disabled at 176.4/192kHz.

I figure it's not a problem. I'll be using this interface with the DAW multitrack, which I generally run at 48 or 88.2 kHz. If I want to mixdown to a higher sample rate, I'll run the mix into a different machine or 2-track.

And if I need 8 channels of 176.4/192kHz out of my (2) Mytek 8x192, I'll get an RME Digiface USB. What I need right now is a normal interface with analog i/o, since my Myteks are on their way to the shop for headphone pot repairs. And I can't continue on forever with Lynx AES16 PCI cards. So I ordered an 828es.
Cool, thanks, that works. I've actually just been running 44.1 but was considering move to 48 and *trying* 96, just for tracking. Currently have an Apollo 8 mkii but never track with plugins so considering grabbing a lesser expensive interface, but only if the drivers and adc/dac are fairly equal. This new Motu is definitely a possibility...
Old 9th November 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdunn View Post
I ordered an 828es.
Did you get it yet? How's it working for you?
Old 9th November 2017
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infindebula View Post
Did you get it yet? How's it working for you?
I got it. I've been dealing with Windows issues all week so haven't plugged it in yet. As of yesterday the issues are solved and now I can try the 828es. I'll hook it up today and report back as soon as I've run some audio through it.
Old 12th November 2017
  #7
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
The suspense is killing me!
Old 20th December 2017
  #8
Playing with the new MOTU 828es in studio tonight; CPU load running USB appears identical with my 828mkII (Firewire). Clean audio output running a modest work-in-progress with Ivory and Omnisphere + Audio in Digital Performer 9.51/Sierra on my Hex Mac Pro 5,1; no clicks, pops or stutters. Pretty impressive setup routine and solid hardware and software, so far! Web app is very cool, and I'm viewing hardware mixer on my iPhone. Updating firmware was simple. Looks like tracking monitoring will be very player-friendly. The mkII may soon be retired.
Old 5th January 2018
  #9
Update: 828es working nicely in-studio. A few custom cables were required to handle 828es balanced out > misc unbalanced in and taking full advantage of the extensive routing capabilities required some study, but the interface integrated into my studio with about as little pain as one could imagine. Clients now have touchscreen control of their personal stereo mixes from their phone or tablet. The unit sounds extremely clean. I am very pleased.
Old 22nd January 2018
  #10
Here for the gear
I’m curious to hear more impressions of the Motu 828es. I currently have a lynx aurora 8 but the feature set on the Motu would be perfect for my needs. I’m mostly using outboard preamps (capi).

Motu adc is 118db A-weighted while the lynx is 117db A-weighted. Not sure if that means much...
Old 22nd January 2018
  #11
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There are a few other threads with comments, notably the announcement thread in the New Gear section. I had one initial stumbling block (see footnote) but everything since then has been smooth sailing. Not that I’ve put it to heavy use just yet, but as a highly configurable digital mixer and audio interface it’s hard to imagine what more I might want - aside from even more inputs. I haven’t done extensive testing, but what I have heard out of it has sounded transparent with both line level inputs and bass/guitar work.

Coming from a much simpler interface, it took a while to learn the mental model for configuring routing, but the manual is well written and there are a lot of thoughtful touches in the web UI used for configuration. Seeing inputs and busses light up when signal is present has made troubleshooting trivial in the early stages, and I love having multiple browser windows open with different submixes, etc. It really very well thought through, solidly built, and aggressively priced. I’m using a Thunderbolt connection with a Mac and haven’t had any driver issues so far.

* I had to initially get over the fact that the second optical input/output cannot be configured as TOSLink (contrary to all documentation and promotional material which states quite clearly that it can.) MOTU acknowledged the issue and promised to update everything. It has been two weeks, so hopefully they’re getting close to doing so.
Old 22nd January 2018
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Are Double You View Post
Motu adc is 118db A-weighted while the lynx is 117db A-weighted. Not sure if that means much...
It means virtually (and practically) nothing.
Old 16th February 2018
  #13
decisions?

Very much considering the 828es but then saw the 1248, which is referred to as the "flagship," but other than having 2 more preamps (and losing MIDI ports), they look damn near identical (other than the 500 dollar difference in price). Is the 1248 that much better? Cause the 828es looks like a damn steal for a thousand bucks.
Old 17th February 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kojak View Post
Is the 1248 that much better? Cause the 828es looks like a damn steal for a thousand bucks.
The 828es is newer, so doubtless there’s some cost reduction and refinement in design that enables the lower price point in addition to the reduced number of instrument and mic inputs. Otherwise, the only real difference I’m aware of is the number of AVB streams the devices support at 32 channels of AVB audio both directions on the 828es vs. 128 on the 1248. Given the mixer’s limit of 48 channels on either model I’m not sure this is relevant in practice.

I tend to agree with your conclusion: the 828es is a steal. I may wind up with a second one if they don’t change the lineup substantially in the next year.
Old 17th February 2018
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
The 828es is newer, so doubtless there’s some cost reduction and refinement in design that enables the lower price point in addition to the reduced number of instrument and mic inputs. Otherwise, the only real difference I’m aware of is the number of AVB streams the devices support at 32 channels of AVB audio both directions on the 828es vs. 128 on the 1248. Given the mixer’s limit of 48 channels on either model I’m not sure this is relevant in practice.

I tend to agree with your conclusion: the 828es is a steal. I may wind up with a second one if they don’t change the lineup substantially in the next year.
Yeah I won't lie, I was looking at the RME Fireface 802 but it's twice the price and while I'm sure it's an amazing unit, I don't know that it's a thousand dollars more awesome. The converters on the 828 look pretty damn solid and it looks like the real deal in this area of the market. I just bought an Aphex 1788 so I've been looking for something with a couple of ADAT ins (in case I buy another one for 16 total channels, which I very well may do) and some good conversion and clocking and I think this might just be the ticket.
Old 17th February 2018
  #16
I'm loving my 828es. Rock-solid to date (macOS Sierra via USB), perfect feature set for me, and it sounds great. Just bumped up my studio from a 6 to 12 core 5,1. With the 828's extremely flexible AVB mixer providing my monitor mixes, I am not missing Thunderbolt.
Old 20th February 2018
  #17
Gear Head
 

can anyone post some samples from motu 828es?
Old 20th February 2018
  #18
Anyone using the ES with another Motu AVB device? Hows the latency and overall setup working out?
Old 20th February 2018
  #19
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dimosz View Post
can anyone post some samples from motu 828es?
What kind of material are you looking for? Most anything I can think of will tell you all about the source any little if anything about the audio interface. As it should be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by szyam View Post
Anyone using the ES with another Motu AVB device? Hows the latency and overall setup working out?
Not just yet. I did pick up an AVB switch shortly after my 828es in preparation for the inevitable. I needed a gigabit switch for the room in any case, so it seemed foolish to pick up anything else. Within a year or so I expect to expand to a second interface but I'm in no rush.

You might want to ask in this thread which covers more of the AVB family.
Old 20th February 2018
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
Not just yet. I did pick up an AVB switch shortly after my 828es in preparation for the inevitable. I needed a gigabit switch for the room in any case, so it seemed foolish to pick up anything else. Within a year or so I expect to expand to a second interface but I'm in no rush.

You might want to ask in this thread which covers more of the AVB family.
Cool, good idea. So, you don't need the AVB switch for just connecting 2 units right? You're just planning on adding more than 2 down the road?
Old 20th February 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by szyam View Post
Cool, good idea. So, you don't need the AVB switch for just connecting 2 units right? You're just planning on adding more than 2 down the road?
You can indeed connect two units directly, and that would almost certainly provide a sufficient number inputs and outputs for the foreseeable future in my case.

What you can’t do is connect two AVB units directly and bridge them to an Ethernet network. Within five minutes of experiencing WiFi access to the mixer from an iPad I was hooked and knew I’d want that flexibility in addition to having access from a USB or Thunderbolt attached computer. The AVB switch was a quick and easy way to allow that, Sweetwater happened to have a discounted demo model available, and I needed to buy an Ethernet switch for the room in any case (still settling into a new home.)
Old 5th March 2018
  #22
Gear Nut
 
wilkinsi's Avatar
Please can someone post an image/photo of all 4 display modes of the MOTU 828ES? Since it does display 2 channels of OPTICAL, I need to know if it is capable of displaying 8 or 16 channels of ADAT. Just makes it easier for me to prevent digital overs.
Old 5th March 2018
  #23
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(Images liberated from the manual, which is available online.)

The default shows inputs on the left and outputs the right along with clocking, and MIDI activity. As you can see with the two optical connections in this example it uses thinner bars for ADAT connections on Optical B to show every channel. Contrast this with the thick bars showing that Optical A is in Toslink mode:



Analog only omits the optical and S/PDIF connections, giving wider bars for every channel but no additional information:



Digital only omits all analog connections, and adds network status and time code information to the display:



Menu mode keeps the summary for all analog and digital I/O while providing access to the limited set of functions available directly from the front panel:

Old 6th March 2018
  #24
Gear Nut
 
wilkinsi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
(Images liberated from the manual, which is available online.)

The default shows inputs on the left and outputs the right along with clocking, and MIDI activity. As you can see with the two optical connections in this example it uses thinner bars for ADAT connections on Optical B to show every channel. Contrast this with the thick bars showing that Optical A is in Toslink mode:



Analog only omits the optical and S/PDIF connections, giving wider bars for every channel but no additional information:



Digital only omits all analog connections, and adds network status and time code information to the display:



Menu mode keeps the summary for all analog and digital I/O while providing access to the limited set of functions available directly from the front panel:

Thanks! Great post!

Does the 828ES have sample rate conversion, or is it still only the 8D that has this?

Last edited by wilkinsi; 6th March 2018 at 10:20 PM.. Reason: additional question
Old 6th March 2018
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkinsi View Post
Thanks! Great post! What's "T"? Timecode?
Thanks! The “T” represents the integrated talkback microphone in the unit. Other abbreviations are more obvious in context, but just in case: SP or SPD refer to the coaxial S/PDIF inputs and output, while PH or P1 / P2 refer to the headphone outputs.

I’ve found the unit to be incredibly well designed with good attention to user interface details. I do most of my visual level monitoring from a laptop or iPad with the mixing interface, which can be tailored to reflect only the inputs and mixes you care about, appropriately labeled so you don’t need to remember what is mapped to which input or output.
Old 9th March 2018
  #26
Eeeeeeek so pumped to order mine. After much weeping and gnashing of teeth, said goodbye to my Roland Octa-Capture, which has been a rock solid interface for me for several years and has recorded many cool projects...it was weird to get so into one piece of gear but it's been with me a while. But I know it will not get much (if any) use once I get the MOTU so I figured it can help me pay for the new piece so I have made the hard decision and sold it, and will be ordering my 828es this weekend...VERY stoked. A really great piece to center my new recording rig around, and I have some new preamps as well that I haven't gotten to try yet that I'll be using with the 828 so I'm super excited to get all this stuff up and running.

Can't wait!
Old 10th March 2018
  #27
UPDATE: Ordered today, after I saw eBay is offering 20% off ANYTHING you buy, just for today, with the discount capping at 100 bucks...so I ordered from the Sweetwater eBay store (vs. the regular website) and snagged one for 100 dollars off. Nice.
Old 11th March 2018
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kojak View Post
UPDATE: Ordered today, after I saw eBay is offering 20% off ANYTHING you buy, just for today, with the discount capping at 100 bucks...so I ordered from the Sweetwater eBay store (vs. the regular website) and snagged one for 100 dollars off. Nice.
Nice. Does ebay do that often? I'm always following the Reverb sales, and from different distributors but never paid much attention to ebay ad's. I saw it like 9:30pm and was on the hunt! Let us know how you dig that ES when you give it a go...
Old 11th March 2018
  #29
Gear Nut
 
wilkinsi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
Thanks! The “T” represents the integrated talkback microphone in the unit. Other abbreviations are more obvious in context, but just in case: SP or SPD refer to the coaxial S/PDIF inputs and output, while PH or P1 / P2 refer to the headphone outputs.

I’ve found the unit to be incredibly well designed with good attention to user interface details. I do most of my visual level monitoring from a laptop or iPad with the mixing interface, which can be tailored to reflect only the inputs and mixes you care about, appropriately labeled so you don’t need to remember what is mapped to which input or output.
As in I plug a mic into the unit, or talk into the rack? I've never used Talkback, nor do I expect to.
Old 11th March 2018
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkinsi View Post
As in I plug a mic into the unit, or talk into the rack? I've never used Talkback, nor do I expect to.
No need for talkback in my little space, either. The T source shown on the display is the integrated mic built right into the rack unit.

For studios where talkback is important, you can use the integrated mic or any other input for talkback. In cases like ours where there's no need, I guess you could use it as a mediocre microphone input for sampling with limited fidelity? I've just ignored it.
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