When not predicting the doom of all around him based on their choice of monitor, Rob is actually a very knowledgable audio product specialist. New releases that have received his blessing include the MOTU 828es and Focusrite Red16 Line.
MOTU’s 828es combines the networking and control technology of its AVB lineup with the I/O options on the 828, giving 28 individual inputs and 32 individual outputs, all of which can be used simultaneously. It uses the same EES Sabre32 DAC technology as the MOTU 1248, giving you 123 dB of dynamic range and roundtrip latency of as little as 1.6ms.
As well as eight analogue inputs and outputs, the 828es’s 19″ 1U frame contains two mic/guitar ‘combo’ style inputs, which provide transparent preamps with remote control for individual gain/pad/48V phantom power and amp-like hi-Z guitar input. There are also 16 ADAT ins and outs, two RCA S/PDIF ins and outs, two XLR main outs, two stereo headphone outs, a built-in talkback mic, dedicated in and out sockets for Timecode support, and an AVB port so you can connect to additional I/O options via Ethernet.
The 828es supports flexible, matrix-style routing and splitting, so you can route audio straight to any computer or device on your network. It’s controlled from a web-based app, not from software stored on your hard drive, meaning that you can control it from any device that’s on the same network as it.
Rob’s verdict: “Every iteration of the MOTU’s 828 has been a hit and it’s nice to see it continue to evolve. It’s a format that works in terms of I/O, and MOTU stuff is always rock solid. The new AVB range has been really popular because it is so easy to create an expanded system by mixing and matching different models from the range – Ethernet is all you need. Its great for the 828 to now be part of that ecosystem. It’s the little things like the expanded CueMix DSP, timecode and upgraded Sabre32 DACs that make this an exciting evolution. The ability to remotely access the CueMix from any machine on the network is especially useful if you want artists to be able to control their own monitor mixes, for example.”
The M64 is a flexible MADI interface, router, repeater, splitter, converter and mixer with AVB/TSN networking. It supports 256 channels of MADI in total – 64 in and out channels each for optical and coaxial MADI. A front panel display lets you monitor any activity, and displays detailed metering for all your I/O. It also has enough DSP for you to mix 48 channels, and features EQ, compression and reverb modelled after analogue classics.
Rob’s verdict: “The MOTU AVB range is quickly becoming one of the most flexible interface systems on the market, and the M64 now allows you to add MADI to your setup. But the advantage of MOTU’s system over the competition is that any of the units can be used on its own or as part of an expanded system, so the M64 is great for someone who just needs to get MADI in and out of a portable solution.”
Focusrite Red 16Line
The latest addition to Focusrite’s interface lineup, the Red 16Line is the first Thunderbolt 3 interface of its kind, and has received loads of positive press after early showings at IBC and AES. It’s equipped with two new Thunderbolt 3 connections and two Mini DigiLink connections, so you can use it with Pro Tools HD or any other setup without needing to swap out option cards. You can achieve 64 x 64 interfacing with your DAW over the Thunderbolt or Mini DigiLink connections, or 32 x 32 using Dante for audio over IP.
The Red 16Line’s combination of impressive dynamic range (118dB A/D and 121dB D/A) and low latency mean that you can track plugins in place, so can use the same mix for recording and playback. It uses the same mic pres as the much-praised Red 4Pre and 8Pre – those on the Red 16Line can be stereo linked and provide up to 63dB of gain – and Red 2 and 3’s EQ and compression plugins.
Rob’s verdict: “The Red 4Pre is our most popular interface for Pro Tools HD systems – sound quality, I/O configuration and the fact that it can be used either as a interface that connects directly via DigiLink or as a Thunderbolt interface for other DAWs. The Red 16Line is going to be hugely popular with anyone who needs more analogue I/O and it keeps the impressive connectivity with Dante and two of Focusrite’s mic preamps. Nothing else offers what the Red series can deliver.”
The Red16 Line will be available from December, with an RRP of £2869. To find out more about these, or any other new audio releases, get in touch with the team on the details below.