MOTU is one of just a few brands with such a wide range of professional audio interfaces. One of their most in-demand interfaces today is their bestselling 828x – an award-winning unit that offers a total of 58 I/O options in a single rack space. This is just one of the reasons it features in our chart on the best sub-$1,000 audio interfaces. Let’s take a closer look to find out more…
One thing we can all appreciate about MOTU is that their designs are always practical. Aesthetics – or the flashier aspects at least – seem to take a back seat with this model, and functionality becomes the driving force. We can’t complain as it’s ultimately exactly what we are looking for.
With that said, the 828x is still quite attractive, with a lightweight black aluminum alloy chassis, and all of the controls conveniently located on the front panel. The 19” chassis itself feels robust and really inspires confidence, while the rackmount ears are very easily installed. Overall, a solid design that works.
In terms of features, there is plenty to cover! To start, the 828x is a Thunderbolt unit, which guarantees pretty much zero latency and a high bandwidth right off the bat, futureproofing your studio. As for those I/O options, the front panel is where you will find the two standard XLR/TRS ports, while the rest of the 28 inputs are on the back – these include eight analog TRS ports and the digital options, including MIDI I/O.
The onboard DSP and built-in effects allow you to use the 828x as a standalone mixer – allowing you to program the on-board mixing while in the studio, before taking it on the road to use as a standalone mixer with effects. Meanwhile, a wide range of analytical tools are at your disposal, including an oscilloscope. This just scratches the surface of what the 828x has to offer!
Performance-wise, the MOTU 828x is a straight shooter. Having the Thunderbolt connection means that round-trip latency is reduced to nearly zero, while providing you with a high-quality 192kHz/24-bit resolution. Sound quality is also excellent, with the two mic preamps offering crystal clear and transparent audio.
Being so feature-packed, there’s a bit of a learning curve with this interface, but when you start to learn, you will realize the kind of positive impact the 828x can have on your workflow. Integration and compatibility with both Mac and Windows, and a wide range of DAWs, makes using the 828x a very smooth ride indeed.
Ultimately, the 828x is a very impressive package from MOTU – no wonder it’s a bestseller! With its quirky control layout and myriad of features, it takes a bit of getting used to. But with such power, speed and quality in sound, it proves to be a mighty tool to have for any professional recording studio or stage (or both!).