MOTU 828x - Professional 28x30 Thunderbolt Audio Interface
Thunderbolt™ has arrived…on MOTU's all-time best-selling audio interface. Only the 828x gives you an award-winning combination of comprehensive features, inspired engineering, rock-solid performance, and connectivity to any Mac or PC with either Thunderbolt or high-speed USB 2.0.
828x feature highlights
- Thunderbolt connectivity — Compatible with Thunderbolt 1 and 2.
- Hi-speed USB 2.0 connectivity — Compatible with USB 3.0.
- 58 simultaneous channels — 28 inputs and 30 outputs, including two mic preamps with sends, 8 TRS analog in/out, separate main outs on XLR jacks, two banks of optical, S/PDIF, MIDI in/out, time code in/out, word clock I/O, and two front-panel headphone jacks.
- CueMix FX™ — High-powered DSP with mixing and effects on individual ins/outs. Includes classic reverb, modeled analog EQ, and vintage LA-2A compressor.
- Flexible mic/guitar inputs with preamps — Two front panel combo jacks provide hi-Z 1/4” guitar input or XLR mic input with individual phantom power and pad.
- Precision Digital Trim™ — Digitally controlled analog trim on all analog inputs (mic/guitar inputs + quarter-inch TRS inputs) provides accurate adjustments in 1 dB increments.
- V-Limit™ overload protection — Hardware-based input limiter on the mic/guitar inputs prevents digital clipping and distortion from overloaded signal levels up to +12 dB over zero.
- Front-panel control for stand-alone operation — Access any setting in your entire 828x mix directly from the front panel.
- Foot switch input — Connect a standard foot pedal switch (sold separately) for hands-free punch-in and punch-out while recording. Or map the pedal to any keystroke function in your host software.
- Direct Digital Synthesis™ (DDS) — DSP-driven phase lock engine and internal clock source produces imperceptibly low jitter characteristics (below the noise floor), even when the 828x is resolved to an external clock source via SMPTE time code.
- Time code support — Directly resolves to (or generates) time code via any quarter-inch input or output, without the need for an extra synchronizer.
- DC-coupled TRS outputs — Use the 828x with Volta™ (sold separately) to manipulate and sequence voltage-controlled modular synthesizers from a host DAW.
- Instrument tuner and audio analysis tools — Includes an oscilloscope, real-time FFT, X-Y Plot, and graphic phase analysis.
The 828x can also connect to any computer with high-speed USB 2.0, which is USB 3.0 compatible, so if you don't have Thunderbolt yet, the 828x has you covered.
The new 828x provides all of the same features as MOTU's latest 828mk3 Hybrid interface, including hi-speed USB 2.0 connectivity to a computer host, but replaces FireWire with Thunderbolt, the new ultra-fast connectivity standard now found on today's current-generation MacBooks, iMacs, Mac Pro, and various laptops from leading PC vendors like Hewlett Packard.
Thunderbolt allows you to connect the 828x and other Thunderbolt-equipped peripherals to a laptop for a sleek, state-of-the-art desktop production system. Even with a high-performance hard drive or RAID, plus a large computer display, the Thunderbolt bus allows the 828x to easily stream 58 simultaneous channels of audio (28 inputs and 30 outputs) with plenty of bandwidth to spare for smooth, glitch-free operation.
Up to six devices can be connected to a Thunderbolt daisy-chain, with the 828x at the end of the chain. Thunderbolt is a plug-and-play protocol, so devices can be hot swapped, even while the host computer remains powered up.
Hi-speed USB 2.0
As Thunderbolt becomes more widely adopted, Hi-speed USB 2.0 provides across-the-board compatibility with virtually all laptops and desktops on both Mac and Windows. Since USB 2.0 devices are compatible with USB 3.0-equipped hosts, your 828x interface is a future-proof investment in your studio.
28 inputs and 30 outputs
We pack it in, like no one else can: two combo-style mic/guitar inputs with preamps, 8 balanced analog in/out, XLR main outs, 16 channels of ADAT optical (8 channels at 96 kHz), plus S/PDIF, word clock and MIDI. Connect all of your studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines and even effects processors.
Recording up to 192 kHz
Now in its fifth generation, the 828 has become a benchmark for the industry, setting the bar by which others are judged. How has this level of respect been earned? Through consistent design integrity and intelligent use of current-generation parts and design technologies.
Studio-grade mic channels
Do you work with outboard EQs and compressors? Each 828x mic input offers a pre-converter send for mono or stereo mic channel outboard processing. The 828x's unique V-Limit™ hardware limiter employs a proprietary design to offer an additional 12 dB of headroom over digital zero with no digital clipping or harsh artifacts, for that added protection in dynamic recording situations. The 828x's preamps are clean and neutral, allowing you to use your favorite plug-ins and host software to color the sound just the way you want for each recording application.
On-board digital mixer with effect
Record, monitor, route and process all live inputs using the professional on-board CueMix FX digital mixer – with no latency and no processor strain on your computer. Apply DSP-driven compression, EQ and reverb to every input and output, independent of your host computer.
Stand-alone operation as a mixer
After programming the on-board mixing in the studio, unplug the 828x from the computer and take it on the road for operation as a stand-alone mixer with effects. All mixing and effects parameters are adjustable using the front panel backlit LCD.
Solid metal chassis
We still get calls and Facebook posts from happy users of the original 828, introduced more than 10 years ago! Like all MOTU interfaces, the 828x's aluminum alloy chassis is lightweight, yet incredibly sturdy and durable, and designed to withstand the rigors of the studio, stage, and road. In a world awash with cheap plastic, the cool feeling of the 828x's metal exterior in your hands is a reassuring reminder that you are holding quality engineering and construction.
Audio Connectivity - The Way It Should Be
Two mic inputs with individual preamps
Two convenient front-panel mic/guitar inputs are equipped with pristine, transparent preamps and offer individually adjustable 48V phantom power and -20 dB pad. All settings can be adjusted directly on the front panel, or from the 828x CueMix FX software running on your computer. Mic inputs can be operated individually or in stereo pairs, as needed.
Flexible combo jacks for guitar input
The two mic inputs are combo jacks that also accept quarter-inch plugs from a guitar or bass, without an amp or cabinet, so you can run your guitar input through amp/cab simulation plug-ins in your host software.
Individual 48V, pad and gain
Each mic input has individual 48V phantom power, -20dB pad and preamp gain to give you maximum flexibility with the microphones you choose to work with.
You get the best of both worlds: analog trim with digital precision and control. The 828x preamps provide 53 dB of gain, which you can adjust in approximately 1 dB increments using the detented digital rotary encoder. As you turn the encoder, you see graphic and numeric feedback in the front panel LCD, so you know exactly how much gain you are applying. The gain adjustment itself is smooth because it is analog, but the digital control gives you both precision and the ability to save and recall trim settings.
V-Limit™ overload protection
Both mic/guitar inputs are equipped with V-Limit™, a hardware limiter that helps prevent digital clipping from overloaded input signals. With V-Limit enabled, signals can go above zero dB (where limiting kicks in) to as high as +12 dB above zero with no distortion due to digital clipping.
Additional protection can be applied to the mic/guitar inputs by enabling the 828x's Soft Clip™ feature, which engages just before clipping occurs and helps reduce perceptible distortion.
Each mic input has a corresponding rear panel send that allows you to insert outboard gear before the signal goes digital. Any input can be used as a return.
A plethora of analog I/O
Eight balanced (TRS) 24-bit analog inputs and outputs, as well as two XLR main outs and the two preamp inputs, can operate at sample rates up to 192 kHz (a total of ten analog inputs and outputs).
Control room monitoring
Connect your primary, powered studio monitors directly to the XLR main outs. Add additional pairs of monitors to the TRS outputs. Control volume from software or the front-panel MAIN VOL control. Choose any combination of outputs to control from the front panel and your software.
Two headphone jacks
A second phone jack can be life-saver when you need to finish the mix with your colleague in close proximity to family or neighbors you don't want to disturb. The top phone jack always mirrors the main outs, and the "MAIN VOL" knob controls both. The bottom phone jack has added flexibility: it can mirror the main outs with independent volume control, or it can mirror any other 828x output pair.
Two banks of optical
Two optical banks provide 16 channels of ADAT optical at 48 kHz, 8 channels of S/MUX optical I/O at 96 kHz or two banks of stereo TOSLink (optical S/PDIF) at rates up to 96 kHz. Each optical input and output operates independently, allowing you to mix and match any optical formats, in and out.
S/PDIF digital I/O
Stereo digital transfers are an essential fact of daily studio life. The 828x's standard RCA S/PDIF input and output make stereo digital transfers a snap, with optional external clocking and support for sample rates up to 96 kHz.
Balanced analog inputs and outputs
828x balanced I/O connections are well-protected against RF interference, AC hum, and other noise-producing environmental factors.