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4.4 4.4 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

16 Analog in/out interface Thunderbolt/avb.

28th January 2016

MOTU 16A by KommanderKeen

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5

I spent months researching Audio Interfaces for my project studio and eventually concluded that this Motu 16a was the most adaptable unit for my needs.

Plenty of analog in for my pres + potential to daisy chain additional units both from within Motu's new product range and 3rd party units.

The sound quality of an interface is a little hard to address as it's a fairly discrete part of the signal path. Musicianship, Microphones, pres and production ability all have more effect. Having said that I do feel like our studio productions have improved since buying this unit. It feels as though there's a little more depth and clarity in our recordings.

Reviews from better informed users confirm that the components are high quality.

Installation of the unit, maintenance and usage have all been very simple. I can almost forget the unit exists as it rarely needs addressing once set up. I think it's lost connection to the mac once in the last 12 months and a quick restart sorted it out.

To me it feels as though this unit can provide as good quality conversion, connection and adaptability as anything that might cost twice as much. It's certainly brought high quality multi-channel AD/DA into a price range that is (just about) reachable for small studios and home users.

  • 1
31st January 2016

MOTU 16A by FelipeG

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75

I bought this unit 10 months ago and so far it has been an incredible reliable, stable, and sounding interface.


The Motu 16A has -as the name implies- 16 analog in AND 16 analog outs in TRS balanced plug format. Worth noting is that you can plug TS un-balanced connectors on the inputs, but not so on the outputs.

It also has 2 optical inputs and 2 optical outputs that can work either in Toslink format or ADAT by a switch on the web-based control app. All the inputs and outputs can work simultaneously.

A feature that i personally like, but is not very known, is that the inputs have an digitally-controlled analog gain stage before the converter chip. Which allows you to add extra gain -or better yet- attenuate the signal before it hits the AD, allowing you to crank up the gain in the preamps to add some saturation without entering the nasty realm of digital clipping!

The web-based control app has a VERY powerful routing grid and the mixer is a very welcomed addition. The eq is nice and flexible. The gate and compressor are very usable feature and sound-wise (although the comp has a auto make-up gain that it cannot be turned off). The reverb included is not very good with some obvious close reflections, but you can eq-it and fiddle with it to get close-to-good results.

Sound Quality

So far it has been the best sounding interface i have ever own. VERY nice present, detailed but somehow silk-soft highs. Present mids and great bass response. My ears rejoice with the sound stage and my tests reveal flat frequency response across the whole spectrum.

Having said that, the influence that converters has on the sound is minuscule compared to other parts on the chain, as microphones, speakers, preamps, outboard gear, etc. So don't expect drastic, dramatic changes or amazing "night-and-day" differences.

Ease of use

I can see why the routing grid can prove to be difficult and confusing at first as so many has told-so on the forum. But for me it was an extremely fast and easy learning curve. And believe me, this thing is CRAZY flexible in combination with the mixer and very much worth the initial effort.

Bang for buck

To me this is the ultimate bang-for-your-buck in the middle-end. It has 16 channels of the same ESS Sabre 32 Ultra DA converter chips used in the Apogee Symphony and a whooping 123 dB of dynamic range for a fraction of the price. This to me by itself is worth the admission price (and bear in mind this is not counting the included mixer for live applications or the AVB connectivity).


In my case the interface has been extremely stable with thunderbolt and OSX (Mavericks) on my 2011 27' Imac and on my 2013 13' MacBook Air.

On USB-mode/Windows 7 i had some issues with pops and clicks and random disconnections with the web control app server. But some not-so-recent updates seemed to completely fix the problems for me. Anyways I don't use Windows much so for me it never was much an issue.


The best thing about this interface is that it is so transparent, you just set it up and forget about it. To me this is what a device of this kind should do, and it does it SO well. It sounds REAL NICE and the added features are welcomed additions!

I can recommend it to anyone searching for this input/feature format.

  • 2
11th September 2018

MOTU 16A by Chromalord

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4

I have been using MOTU products since 1990. Along the way I have had 9 different audio interfaces and at least a dozen MIDI thru boxes: all MOTU.
I recently did some A/B comparisons of mixes I had done with a 16A and 112D and Mixes I did 6 years ago on their 1296 interfaces. It should be pointed-out the source sounds were nearly identical, as was the cabling, console, and outboard modules.
More so, 6-yrs ago I was recording at 16/44.1, now everything is at 24/48.
Aside from that, I guess the biggest differences are: Thunderbolt instead of firewire from a expansion slot board, and going from DP7 to DP9.

Surprisingly, the older mixes had more presence to my ear.

I don't use a lot of the gobbletygoop on these boxes. Im use them as pure i/o converters and nothing more.

I had a VERY hard time setting these up (112D slaved off the 16A) The manual is long-winded and confusing. It should simply have multiples examples of graphic displays of what the set-up looks like when you are configuring inputs and outputs.

The meters are VERY small and monochromatic, and highly reflective which makes the levels hard to read.

In the 3 years I have had these, there has been 4 firmware updates.


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