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MOTU 828es Thunderbolt Audio Interface  From MOTU

Thunderbolt™/USB 2 audio interface with DSP, networking and MIDI



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828x Thunderbolt / USB 2.0 audio interface with DSP mixing and effects

The 828x connects to a Mac or PC computer with ultra-fast Thunderbolt™ or hi-speed USB 2.0 and delivers DSP effects and mixing for all 28 inputs and 30 outputs with 32-bit floating point processing. Effects include classic reverb, modeled analog EQ, and vintage compression modeled after the legendary LA-2A™. Two mic/guitar "combo" style inputs provide transparent preamps, true hi-Z guitar input, and hardware limited signal overloaded protection. All analog inputs offer digitally controlled analog trim.

Manufacturer's Description from MOTU

New dual-LCD design

Two full-color LCDs display all signal activity at a glance with detailed metering for all analog and digital I/O. Access hardware settings from a simple and convenient menu.


Superb analog audio quality and high-end converters

Renowned ESS Sabre32™ DAC technology delivers 123 dB dynamic range and the same proven, award-winning audio quality as MOTU's flagship 1248.


Ultra-low latency and proven, high-performance MOTU drivers

Round-trip latency (RTL) performance as low as 1.6 ms at 96kHz over Thunderbolt™ with high-performance DAW hosts.


Universal connectivity

Connects to your computer with Thunderbolt™, hi-speed USB 2.0 or AVB/TSN Ethernet for up to 256 audio channels (128 in and 128 out). Class-compliant firmware and industry standard drivers work with any audio apps. Connects to an iPad™ with a standard camera connection kit (adapter).


60 simultaneous audio channels

28 inputs and 32 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.


DSP mixing and effects processing

Flexible 48-input digital mixer with 7 stereo aux busses, 3 groups, access to 32 network inputs, and DSP effects, including reverb, 4-band EQ, gate and compression.


32-bit floating point processing

The 828es mixing and effects DSP engine delivers virtually unlimited headroom and the utmost in sound quality.


Modeled vintage effects processing

Classic reverb. Compression modeled after the legendary LA-2A compressor. EQ modeled after British analog console EQs.


Flexible matrix routing and splitting

Send any input to any output, or multiple outputs. Includes routing to and from the computer, plus any devices on the AVB network.


Stand-alone operation with wireless control

Connect an Apple® Airport™ or other Wi-Fi router with a standard Ethernet cable for wireless control of device settings, powerful 48-channel mixing and DSP effects.


Web app control from any device

Control everything from your favorite web browser on a laptop, tablet and smartphone connected to your local Wi-Fi network.


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.


Control room features

Built-in talkback mic with front-panel "talk" button and"A/B" speaker select buttons.


System expansion

Add a 2nd MOTU AVB-equipped interface with a simple CAT-5e ethernet cable. Connect up to five MOTU interfaces using a MOTU AVB Switch (sold separately).


AVB/TSN audio networking

Build a network with multiple interfaces and computers using standard AVB/TSN switches and network cabling, with ultra-low network latency, even over long cable runs (100 meters point to point). Stream hundreds of audio channels among devices and computers on the network.


Redesigned mic channels

Cutting-edge components deliver ultra-transparent sound with -108 dB THD+N, 118 dB dynamic range and -128 dBu EIN. Each mic channel provides individual preamp gain, pad, 48V phantom power, digital remote control and analog (pre-converter) sends for mono or stereo outboard processing.


Two headphone jacks

Each headphone output can be programmed with the same or different mixes, with independent front-panel volume control.


Two banks of optical I/O

Connect outboard digital processors, digital mixers or other gear. 16 channels of ADAT at 44.1/48 kHz, 8 channels of SMUX at 88.2/96 kHz or 4 channels of TOSLink (optical S/PDIF) up to 96 kHz. Mix and match formats among in/out ports.


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.


Time code support

Dedicated time code input and output jacks. Converts SMPTE time code (LTC) to MIDI Time Code (MTC) and passes MTC on to any MTC-compatible host software.



Connect MIDI gear without the need for a separate MIDI interface.


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 828es is resolved to an external clock source via SMPTE time code.


DC-coupled TRS outputs

Use the 828es 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.



Workstation software for Mac and Windows with 24-bit recording, sample-accurate editing and 32-bit mixing and mastering.



Sample rates:44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz

Mic/line/instr inputs:2 x XLR/TRS "combo style" inputs

Preamp gain: 0 to +63 dB (digitally controlled)

Analog inputs:

8 x 1/4" TRS line inputs (balanced/unbalanced) Max level: +24 dBu (digitally adjustable -96 to +22)

Analog outputs:

8 x 1/4" TRS line out (balanced, DC coupled) Max level: +20 dBu (digitally adjustable -4 to +20)

2 x male XLR with +20 dBu max

2 x 1/4" TRS stereo headphone

2 x 1/4" TRS sends (pre-converter)

Digital I/O2 banks (16 ch) of ADAT optical at 1x sample rates

2 banks (8 ch) of SMUX optical at 2x sample rates

1 bank switchable to TOSLink (optical S/PDIF)

1 x stereo S/PDIF on RCA (up to 96 kHz)

Total I/O:

28 in / 32 out (60 total) at 1x sample rates

20 in / 24 out (44 total) at 2x sample rates

10 in / 14 out (24 total) at 4x sample rates

Computer I/O:

1 x Thunderbolt 1 (Mac and Win)

      Thunderbolt 2 & 3 compatible

1 x USB 2.0 audio class compliant

      USB 3.0 and iOS compatible

Computer I/O channels Thunderbolt: 

128 in/out at 1x or 2x (44.1 to 96 kHz)

64 in/out at 4x (176.4 to 192 kHz)

Computer I/O channels USB

64 in/out at 1x (44.1 to 48 kHz)

32 in/out at 2x (88.2 to 96 kHz)

24 in/out at 4x (176.4 to 192 kHz)




16 MIDI channels to/from computer host

Foot switch

1 x 1/4" pedal input

Sync I/O

1 x BNC word clock in/out

1 x 1/4" time code in/out

Network I/O

1 x RJ45 AVB/TSN Ethernet (1 Gbps)

AVB streams (8 channels per stream)

4 in / 4 out @ 44.1 or 48 kHz

4 in / 4 out @ 88.2 or 96 kHz

2 in / 2 out @ 176.4 or 192 kHz

Headphone2 x 1/4" TRS stereo phone (assignable)

Phantom power2 x individual +48V

Front panel

2 x 1/4" TRS headphone output

2 x XLR/TRS combo inputs

2 x digital rotary encoders • phone vol

2 x digital rotary encoders • mic/instr input gain

2 x large digital rotary encoders • main vol / menu

4 x small switches • (2) Pad / (2) 48V Phantom pwr

8 x large switches • menu nav / A/B mon select, etc.

2 x LCD (128 x 160) for level meters / menu nav

PowerInternational 100-240V autoswitching supply 50-60 Hz • 0.5A max

Dimensions and weight:

19 x 7 x 1.75 inches

48.3 x 17.75 x 4.5 cm

4.1 lbs / 1.9 kg

with rack brackets removed:

17.25 inches (43.8 cm) wide

4.0 lbs / 1.8 kg

Mac System Requirements

1 GHz Intel-based Mac or faster

2 GB RAM; 4 GB or more recommended

Mac OS X version 10.8 or later

Available Thunderbolt 1/2/3, USB 2/3 or AVB/TSN Ethernet port*

A large hard drive (at least 500 GB for recording)

*AVB/TSN Ethernet audio interface operation requires OS X El Capitan or later

Windows System Requirements

1 GHz Pentium-based PC compatible or faster

2 GB RAM; 4 GB or more recommended

Windows 7*, 8 or 10

Available Thunderbolt 1/2/3 or USB 2/3 port

A large hard drive (at least 500 GB for recording)

Web App Support

Any web client platform: Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android

Any web browser: Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Explorer, etc.

Included Software

Thunderbolt and USB 2.0 drivers

MOTU Discovery App for Mac & PC (finds connected MOTU interfaces)

MOTU Discovery App for iOS (available from Apple App Store)

MOTU Pro Audio Control web app (served from the hardware itself)

MOTU Audio Tools (FFT, oscilloscope, X-Y plot, phase analyzer)

AudioDesk for Mac & Windows (separate download)

Operating Systems

For computer audio I/O: Mac OS X 10.8 or later; Windows 7* or later

For web app control: Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android