Motu 828es

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Mr. Marty
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Motu 828es

Post by Mr. Marty » Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:05 pm

For some 15 years, perhaps more. I was using an Edirol UA-101 audio interface. It was a nice unit. Had 10 in and 10 out with optical ports. That was coupled with a Grace M101 pre. The result was a very transparent setup. The only fault was with the hard headed operator who insisted that no one knew anything about mic placement. Wasted a lot of recordings on that. Anyway.

The UA-101 recently started dropping input channels. I wanted something similar but more up to date. I started looking at some of Presonus mixer boards but they only had 48 kHz sampling rates. Even the UA-101 was capable of 192 kHz. It was shocking, So instead of searching for mixing consoles I searched for analogue to digital converters. Surprisingly there was not much and what was there was expensive. I finally figured out that audio interface was the proper term. After much comparing I settled on the Motu 828. There are three models. Just the 828, the 828x, and the 828es, The latter shows a different metering scheme on the displays. It also has Thunderbolt capabilities (mac only) but I did not care about that. I wanted the graphs on the unit. The unit is now in place of the UA-101. Sad to see it go. It was so very reliable for so many years.

The Motu 828es has 8 analogue in and outs on the back in the form of balanced 1/4" TRS jacks. There are mic inputs and pre's on the front (untested). Two main monitor outs on the back. Time clock inputs, ethernet ports, USB (this is what I use) which apparently the thunderbolt will use (I don't). The front has two LED panels that show bar meters for each input and output. Very helpful when you don't now what you are doing. Apparently routing can be handled by the knobs on the front but what is the fun in that.

The Motu 828es is a different beast than the UA-101 mainly because of the software interface. All aspects of the in/out are controlled by a web browser interface. It does not use the internet. It just uses the browser as an interface. Neat idea actually as much of the programing is left to the browser. Anyway, In the software one can control the input levels of all 10 in/out. This has allowed me to plug in a Pioneer RT-707 reel to reel and have the in/out gains set to either -10 db (RCA line out) or +4 db (XLR). It works but there may be issues with the reel to reel. Needs rebuilding. The additional input and output include the digital signals to and from the computer, up to 8 each. So that is what 32 in/out? Spaghetti.

What is interesting is that there is a routing section where one can select any input for any output. There is a mixing section where inputs can be routed to a mix out which becomes an input for another output such as main out. Confusing but very useful. All this is presented as sliders on a mixing board. Tracks appear and disappear as the inputs are turned on or off. Handy. As this is presented as a mixing board there are modules available like on any mixing board, compressors, EQ, gates, etc . There is also a 4 band parametric EQ that can be used. It is a nearly full complement of mixing components.

This is about as far as I have gotten with this thing. It is capable of so much more as it is intended to function as studio central. It also has talkback with a built in mic, though I have not tried that yet. I am fairly pleased with the unit right now. It still needs some tweaking on levels here and there. I have yet to try the mic pre-amps. I have used a mic and the Grace M101 into input 1 for a quick recording. It worked as expected. Changing the sample rate frequency is a bit of a bother as it is done in the software, or in the knobs on the unit (not done that yet). Right now it is set to 96 kHz at 24 bit width. 192kHz is the max sampling rate as is the 24 bit.

More as I figure out other bells and whistles.

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