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MOTU 1248, 8M, 16A Thunderbolt interface Audio Interfaces
Old 19th November 2018
  #3721
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardtoe View Post
The ADC is also the ESS Sabre 32 on the 1248 - the 828 is a different (presumably cheaper) ADC - the DAC is the same ESS Sabre 32 on both units

So they will perform a little different on tracking...
Im pretty sure the Sabre is only the DAC I think it has cirrus ADCs
Old 19th November 2018
  #3722
Finnickyaudio provided this pertinent info in another thread:

Quote:
Just got the MOTU 828es the first of the year, and am very impressed with its high quality and super flexible I/O and mixing capabilities. There was a question earlier in the thread about the ADC. As Travis mentioned, it is a newer unit. I was curious, so I popped the lid and found that in fact it uses three four-channel ADCs, the AKM AK5574EN. This is a new 32 bit premium ADC capable of up to 786 kHz sampling. The specs say 121 dB dynamic range/SNR and 112 dB THD+Noise. In Channel Summing mode, it can achieve 127dB SNR. Interestingly, it also does DSD256. I wonder if this is a selectable output for DSD recording, or could be with firmware upgrade?

Aside from the outstanding AD and DA converters, the unit is controlled by a 32 bit, 456 Mhz ARM/DSP processor from Texas Instruments assisted by a 32 MB flash memory chip. It is a processing fiend, utilizing both an Xilink Spartan 6 Field Programable Gate Array (FPGA) with 1.2 million transistors, and an Altera FPGA to boot. In all, this seems to be a real quality audio powerhouse. Now if I can only figure out how to route signals!
Old 19th November 2018
  #3723
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ponzi's Avatar
Thanks for the info. I mentioned this earlier here, or in another thread, but in general, we are not in a position to be able to accurately evaluate the adc chips and infer sound quality by comparing models. The surrounding circuitry has a big influence on the sound quality. As 828 is a newer model, my presumption is that motu is using newer technology that makes sense compared to what was available 4 years ago when they designed the 1248. I note that the ak5574en goes for $7-12 at digi-key.

I consider the adc/dac to be digital devices, and we all know that technology moves forward on these things, and prices go down for a given functionality. Less so with analogue devices, though integrated circuits are available that are pretty hi-fi audio amplifiers.

Last edited by ponzi; 19th November 2018 at 10:06 PM..
Old 19th November 2018
  #3724
Quote:
Originally Posted by ponzi View Post
I mentioned this earlier here, or in another thread, but in general, we are not in a position to be able to accurately evaluate the adc chips and infer sound quality from them. The surrounding circuitry has a big influence on the sound quality.
I totally agree - this is why is suggested price, and the presentation of the feature advertising for each unit, indicate where Motu thinks the ADC conversion quality sits within their hierarchy of products. Motu clearly states that the 1248 is currently their flagship model, the 828es a more affordable option.

I'm sure its still very good conversion, but the differing TDH+N figures indicates that the analog section is different (and slightly inferior), if I am reading things correctly.

Also perhaps Motu has to pay more to use the Sabre ESS 32 branding, so chose to use a different chip?

At any rate, I'm sure the 828es still sounds great, just not exactly the same...
Old 19th November 2018
  #3725
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ponzi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardtoe View Post
I totally agree - this is why is suggested price, and the presentation of the feature advertising for each unit, indicate where Motu thinks the ADC conversion quality sits within their hierarchy of products. Motu clearly states that the 1248 is currently their flagship model, the 828es a more affordable option...
We can agree to disagree on how we interpret these marketing materials and so forth.
Old 19th November 2018
  #3726
of course we can I just want to point out that it IS a difference, as LesC was wondering about why someone might choose the 1248 over the 828es - someone might in order to get the ESS Sabre on the ADC, were that a priority for them (as well as 4x the AVB stream capacity).

Last edited by Hardtoe; 19th November 2018 at 10:45 PM..
Old 19th November 2018
  #3727
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This is tricky...Hadn't even looked at the 828 or 8pre-es as I assumed they'd be much lower in quality. Can the control room features be utilised on the 1248 through the software?

EDIT > Apparently the Sabre 32 was only used on the D/A side of the 1248 as well?
Old 19th November 2018
  #3728
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ponzi's Avatar
I am thinking about getting an 828 due to the feature set. I thought it was less expensive due to less mic-pres/the feature set/newer technology. I suppose I can look for another used 1248 if there are non-trivial compromises here, but I need to hear something more definite before I abandon the 828 idea.

I don't believe I have these on my 1248: Includes an oscilloscope, real-time FFT, X-Y Plot, and graphic phase analysis. Also, it claims new and improved mic pres.

PS. I set up a listening room in the basement and its using one of those little red focusrites. Sounds better than I would have expected by a long shot--better than it should, really... Think I like about the motu units is that I use them a lot for listening and I like being able to use the build in equalizer. I have looked at two channel eqs, but they are either really cheap or really expensive, so...

Last edited by ponzi; 19th November 2018 at 11:04 PM..
Old 20th November 2018
  #3729
For me, the 828es provides transparent audio and a perfect compliment of features.

In my studio, sessions range from tracking bands to composing/producing with VIs. With eight channels of optically-connected I/O and five channels of outboard mic pres, I have enough I/O to simultaneously capture 15 mics and 3 lines, plus provide six discrete near-zero latency monitor mixes (using the built-in AVB Mixer and an external headphone amp) which performers control individually with their tablet/phone plus send signal to my Leslie, an outboard tracking reverb (I/O via SPDIF) and the studio tuner. When I'm working solo, I love the foot switch control of punch-in and -out. Surround monitoring (I'm running 5.1) is supported, so I can create immersive audio for film projects.

If a user can't create great sounding recordings with it, the problem is not the 828.
Old 20th November 2018
  #3730
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HCMarkus View Post
Finnickyaudio provided this pertinent info in another thread:

Quote:
Just got the MOTU 828es the first of the year, and am very impressed with its high quality and super flexible I/O and mixing capabilities. There was a question earlier in the thread about the ADC. As Travis mentioned, it is a newer unit. I was curious, so I popped the lid and found that in fact it uses three four-channel ADCs, the AKM AK5574EN. This is a new 32 bit premium ADC capable of up to 786 kHz sampling. The specs say 121 dB dynamic range/SNR and 112 dB THD+Noise. In Channel Summing mode, it can achieve 127dB SNR. Interestingly, it also does DSD256. I wonder if this is a selectable output for DSD recording, or could be with firmware upgrade?
This is very interesting! I was planning to keep my RME ADI-2 Pro as my primary two channel ADC and monitoring DAC for use with the 828es. The ADI-2 Pro uses a single AK5574 ADC, which according to Finnickyaudio is similar to the 828es, and two AK4490 DACs.

If the 828es has implemented the ADC with the same quality, maybe I can seriously consider getting rid of the ADI-2 Pro, that would be a nice bonus. Unless the ADI-2 Pro output and headphone amp are significantly better. I have some testing to do.
Old 20th November 2018
  #3731
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ponzi View Post
I don't believe I have these on my 1248: Includes an oscilloscope, real-time FFT, X-Y Plot, and graphic phase analysis.
You do - they are part of the MOTU Tools app that came some time after the release of the 1248
Old 20th November 2018
  #3732
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by LesC View Post
This is very interesting! I was planning to keep my RME ADI-2 Pro as my primary two channel ADC and monitoring DAC for use with the 828es. The ADI-2 Pro uses a single AK5574 ADC, which according to Finnickyaudio is similar to the 828es, and two AK4490 DACs.

If the 828es has implemented the ADC with the same quality, maybe I can seriously consider getting rid of the ADI-2 Pro, that would be a nice bonus. Unless the ADI-2 Pro output and headphone amp are significantly better. I have some testing to do.
I have the 1248 and the ADI-2 Pro and I will say I notice an improvement with the output converters of the ADI-2 pro - transients are more intact and it sounds slightly more "3D". I have done lots of back and forth testing and definitely notice this difference. The AD I have noticed less of a difference but the ADI-2 Pro still has the edge. I would also give the edge to the headphone amp on the ADI-2 Pro, however, i still love the amp on the 1248

Although the 1248 has different AD converters than the 828es
Old 25th November 2018
  #3733
Gear Nut
 
wilkinsi's Avatar
I've been making some suggestions for new products, but MOTU Support are not giving any indication they are working on anything. They did say its unlikely the 8M will be succeeded. I'm starting to run out of inputs...
Old 25th November 2018
  #3734
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkinsi View Post
I've been making some suggestions for new products, but MOTU Support are not giving any indication they are working on anything.
I can't speak to MotU's corporate structure, but in most technology organizations support are the last people to find out about new products in development.

Quote:
They did say its unlikely the 8M will be succeeded. I'm starting to run out of inputs...
I assumed the 8pre-es was an 8M successor. Is that not the case? It supports fewer AVB streams but that doesn't seem likely to be a limiting factor for many.
Old 25th November 2018
  #3735
Gear Nut
 
wilkinsi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
I can't speak to MotU's corporate structure, but in most technology organizations support are the last people to find out about new products in development.



I assumed the 8pre-es was an 8M successor. Is that not the case? It supports fewer AVB streams but that doesn't seem likely to be a limiting factor for many.
I was gonna buy the 8pre-ES until I found out it does not have the hardware limiter of the 8M. That was the deal killer for me. I'm also confused as to why the mic inputs are normal 3 pin XLR in some images and combo-jack XLR in others.

Last edited by wilkinsi; 25th November 2018 at 11:51 PM..
Old 26th November 2018
  #3736
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkinsi View Post
I was gonna buy the 8pre-ES until I found out it does not have the hardware limiter of the 8M. That was the deal killer for me.
Fair enough. The 8M's limiter only allows an extra +9dB of headroom before clipping, so I'm curious in practice whether you wouldn't be just as well served on the 8pre-ES by trimming to target -9dB and using the DSP-based compresser configured with a really fast attack to bring levels back up. Still, if your needs are better served by a true hardware limiter then the 8M is your obvious option.

Quote:
I'm also confused as to why the mic inputs are normal 3 pin XLR in some images and combo-jack XLR in others.
All of the photos I've seen on MotU's official site agree with the specifications they list: they're combo jacks.
Old 26th November 2018
  #3737
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ponzi's Avatar
The signal to noise and dynamic range of the motu inputs is so large, there is no need to try and record hot into them--not like tape where hiss is a concern. I looked at the specs of a nice hardware compressor and the signal to noise was much higher than the motu, so using a compressor to avoid clipping simply lowers the noise floor compared to leaving a large safety margin on the input trim. It went against my feelings about how things work, but compressor tracking may be good for a given sound it imparts, but not needed to simply avoid digital clipping.
Old 26th November 2018
  #3738
Gear Nut
 
wilkinsi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Gaia View Post
Fair enough. The 8M's limiter only allows an extra +9dB of headroom before clipping, so I'm curious in practice whether you wouldn't be just as well served on the 8pre-ES by trimming to target -9dB and using the DSP-based compresser configured with a really fast attack to bring levels back up. Still, if your needs are better served by a true hardware limiter then the 8M is your obvious option.



All of the photos I've seen on MotU's official site agree with the specifications they list: they're combo jacks.
I've already tried using a compressor with short attack in the mixer section. I prefer a hardware limiter at input. But, since I bought an 8D and 828ES, I want MOTU to change their minds and release an ES version of the 8M, with the same lengthy LCD of the original, but in multi-colour. I want to have my cake and eat it.
Old 26th November 2018
  #3739
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkinsi View Post
I've already tried using a compressor with short attack in the mixer section. I prefer a hardware limiter at input. But, since I bought an 8D and 828ES, I want MOTU to change their minds and release an ES version of the 8M, with the same lengthy LCD of the original, but in multi-colour. I want to have my cake and eat it.
With modern converters and 24bit recording there’s no need to get anywhere near clipping. Average levels should be about -18RMS and peaks should be no higher than about -9dBFS. The only reason to use a compressor or limiter on the way in is if you like the sound. This will also give you the right levels for gain-staging plugins and your mix bus. A VU meter plugin like Klanghelm VUMT can be useful for this workflow.
Old 26th November 2018
  #3740
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ponzi's Avatar
For those used to tape, keep in mind digital clipping sounds bad, so it must be avoided as priority 1. Tape is more graceful with over-signal having sort of a built in compression with the non-linear hysteresis curve of the ferrous particles in the tape--in fact, very little of the hysteresis curve approaches linear, hence tape having its own 'sound' much different from an extremely linear digital transcription in comparison.

Magnetic hysteresis - Wikipedia
Old 26th November 2018
  #3741
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponzi View Post
For those used to tape, keep in mind digital clipping sounds bad, so it must be avoided as priority 1.
Indeed. The best way to avoid digital clipping is to aim for lower levels. If you want a tape sound you’ll need a plugin or processor that does that. The limiter on a MOTU isn’t going to give you that.
Old 7th December 2018
  #3742
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adamj31's Avatar
I'm trying to use my 828es and 16a via AVB with Pro Tools 12. In my I/O settings, it doesn't look like Pro Tools is recognizing the 16a's I/O. I can only see the 828es.

I can route a signal out to the 16a via AVB. I just only see the 828ES available for hardware inserts in PT I/O settings, meaning I only have 8 inserts available, instead of 24.

There's not much to setup in the PT I/O tab. I mean, I added the ins and outs of the 16a AVB stream, and bussed those to the proper outputs. But as far as HW inserts, there are no other options. I can add additional inserts, but there is no where to route them.

I'm thinking it's got to be something in the Motu setup. To be clear, I have my 828 setup as my main interface, with the 16a setup via AVB. On the 16a, I don't have any 'to computer' 'from computer' routing enabled. It's just the analog ins and outs, and the 2 AVB streams. Because the 16a isn't communicating with the computer directly, it's sending I/O to the 828, which in turn sends via AVB to the 16a and back. Right?
Old 7th December 2018
  #3743
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ponzi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamj31 View Post
I'm trying to use my 828es and 16a via AVB with Pro Tools 12. In my I/O settings, it doesn't look like Pro Tools is recognizing the 16a's I/O. I can only see the 828es.
I find the interfacing to be confusing as heck. On my 1248, there is a setting for how many inputs it presents to the computer. I set the number low as I am only using a few inputs on the motu and in its mind it has like 48. Maybe that setting is a limiting factor. Does the mixer in motu show all of the tracks? That will help narrow down what's wrong--if motu mixer sees then, then its the settings going to the computer interface side--settings on the left side of the routing matrix on my 1248

I recently increased the number of motu inputs I wanted to use in my computer, and I needed to invoke a cubase 'refresh' function to get it to learn what all the motu was exposing to the computer including the new ones. I don't have pro tools or avb experience, but I hope this helps.
Old 7th December 2018
  #3744
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Lady Gaia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ponzi View Post
I find the interfacing to be confusing as heck. On my 1248, there is a setting for how many inputs it presents to the computer. I set the number low as I am only using a few inputs on the motu and in its mind it has like 48.
When configuring AVB you're selecting how many streams are reserved for I/O, where one AVB stream carries eight audio channels.
Old 7th December 2018
  #3745
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adamj31's Avatar
I'm pretty sure I have the routing matrix set correctly. I can route a signal out to the 16a via AVB from PT. It's just that PT doesn't see anything beyond 8 I/O in the HW inserts tab. I think it has something to do with how I have each set in the 'Launch Setup' in the device tab. I set the 828ES as the audio interface, and set it as the master clock. On the 16a however, I don't see an option to set it as an AVB expansion. I see that option on the 828ES, but not the 16a.
Old 8th December 2018
  #3746
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I finally tried the firmware 1.34 that added the Touch Conosle - whilst I didn't think I'd use the Touch Console much, just wanted to stay on the latest FW.

Man, they have COMPLETLEY replaced the Aux Mixing tab with the same Touch implementation? That SUCKS!

On a non-touch setup, the Aux mixing window is next to useless compared to how it used to be! I can't see any way to change to Aux Mixing tab back to the traditional view.

So now in Aux Mixing:-
1. I can't show and hide channels for each Cue
2. I can't load and save Cue presets (this is such a timesaver for me setting up sessions!!!)
3. Have to click a dropdown menu to be able to change Cue?

None of this was even in the release notes!!! C'mon MOTU you guys are better than this!!!

Back to 1.32 I go...

NB, I have been seriously looking at the Cranborne R8 interface and the Cue mixing setup I get thru the Motu is one of the big reasons I'm staying with my Monitor 8, but if staying at the latest FW means hobbled Aux setup, then the Cranborne situ might need a rethink!!!!
Old 8th December 2018
  #3747
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adamj31's Avatar
Ok, I figured out the HW inserts.

Now a different question. I'm having trouble getting signal into the Motu mixer. I've got signal coming in, and I can access it in PT, but I'm not getting anything in the Motu mixer to monitor latency free. I've got my Analog in put routed to the mixer input in my Motu routing matrix. I can see the signal. It's just not showing up in the mixer view.
Old 8th December 2018
  #3748
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adamj31's Avatar
Ok, so get this. I can hear the signal through the Motu mixer, but it's not displaying the level meter. The signal is definitely coming through the mixer (i.e., mute and fader adjustments are audible), but I'm not seeing the meter.
Old 9th December 2018
  #3749
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamj31 View Post
Ok, so get this. I can hear the signal through the Motu mixer, but it's not displaying the level meter. The signal is definitely coming through the mixer (i.e., mute and fader adjustments are audible), but I'm not seeing the meter.
This glitch happen to me in chrome - try refreshing the mixer page 2 or 3 times until it appears as normal - I have to do this every day at least once as I’m
Getting things going
Old 11th December 2018
  #3750
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gradivus's Avatar
 

Just got a new 1248 hooked up. Works great so far, but the routing matrix is a cluster**** from hell.

I need to monitor my outboard synths (analog in 1-8) out through S/PDIF 1-2, which is my main out to my monitor controller. I have all of the levels showing up properly in the mixer in Pro Control if I playback MIDI, but not sure how the hell to route them so I can hear them. Audio playback through S/PDIF is working just fine.

If anyone has a simple explanation or a link to one, I'd appreciate it. This is maddening.

thanks
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