MOTU 896 Mk3 Hybrid

Recording System

  • Built-in DSP effects (reverb, EQ and compressor)
  • 8 Analog XLR inputs and outputs
  • Firewire and USB 2.0 interface
  • 48 V phantom power
  • 24 Bits / 44.1 / 48 / 88.2 / 96 and 192 kHz
  • Complex, multisegmented level display on the front
  • For all inputs and outputs and clock modes with peak holding times configurable via the software
  • CueMix FX allows latency-free monitoring
  • Including AudioDesk software
  • ADAT I / O
  • ADAT Sync
  • AES / EBU
  • Word Clock input and output
  • Headphone output
  • Input for foot switch for punch-in / -out
  • Format: 2U
  • Driver for Mac & PC, (ASIO / WDM / Wave / SoundManager driver)

Further Information

Recording/Playback Channels 28/32
Number of microphone inputs 8
Number of Line Inputs 8
Number of instrument inputs 8
Number of Line Outs 8
Headphone Outputs 2
Phantom power Yes
S/PDIF Connectors 1
ADAT Connectors 2
AES/EBU Connectors 1
MADI Connectors 0
Ethernet 0
Misc. Connectors No
MIDI Interface No
Word Clock 1xIn, 1xOut
max. Samplerate in kHz 192 kHz
Max. Resolution in bit 24 bit
Bus-Powered No
Incl. power supply Yes
Firewire Version 800
Width in mm 483 mm
Depth in mm 178 mm
Height in mm 89 mm

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68 Customer Ratings
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.5 /5
  • handling
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
Total
handling
quality
features
sound
Flexible, well designed interface with excellent feature set.
Stephen137, 24.09.2013
Having upgraded to this unit from a smaller Motu interface (Ultralite MK3), I expected good quality and wasn't disappointed. The 896HD is solid-looking and nicely built - although I feel the front panel doesn't feel quite as substantial as the one on the Ultralite Mk3. I was slightly disappointed that the throw switches for pad/phantom had been replaced with multi-function knobs, but in practice I barely notice this now. Having 2 front-panel headphone sockets is a nice feature which comes in handy. The front panel metering is extensive and useable and uses different scales depending on whether limiting/soft clip is engaged.

The unit (and the Cuemix software) installed easily on my Macbook, and after updating software and firmware I was up and running quickly. One negative point which I've pointed out to Motu support: the included firewire cable is of poor quality - to the extent that moving the unit or laptop caused connection problems and dropouts. I recommend immediately replacing it with a high quality firewire cable as I did. The connection is now rock solid even when moving the 896HD or laptop. I would have dropped a review star for this as I expect any bundled cables to be of adequate quality - but having used the 896HD for a month I'm willing to forgive Motu on the strength of their product design.

In use I've found the 896HD to be a solid performer. I've heard some criticism of the preamps/converters on certain forums, but I like the sound of Motu products. To my ears they tend towards a slightly bass-heavy sound - but I think they capture bass accurately, and I feel this gives me more 'meat' to work with in a mix. I've had some great results on a range of source material using this interface. The new 'V-Limit' function is useful and gives a bit of insurance when tracking live.

The included Cuemix software allows for flexible routing/monitoring, and gives you on-screen control of all features. Its a bit of a learning curve when you first use it, but it becomes extremely convenient and almost indispensable. It has decent reverb, EQ, compression and limiter which can be applied on inputs or outputs. This is great for setting up treated monitor mixes during sessions - all of which can be saved with the project.

The unit also ships with Audiodesk - Motu's stripped down relative of Digital Performer. I'm growing to love this software. Its great for tracking, and as a free item it adds real value. It works seamlessly with the interface and although limited, I find it really useful. Sadly it is Mac only so of no use to PC users.

Overall I'm very pleased with this unit. I'm happy with the sound quality and more than happy with the design and feature set. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an 8 channel interface.
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Total
handling
quality
features
sound
Versatile and very high quality
27.09.2015
The mic preamps have a very low noise floor. The reverb effect option for monitoring is very useful for recording vocalists, who don't feel comfortable having dry monitors. The multitude of interfaces makes it compatible with any machine. The physical controls and the display are super intuitive and one can perfectly do withough the software control tool.

If I must think of a feature that is missing from this interface, I can only think of that it would be maybe nice to have some extra effects for the monitors, such as noise gate.
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Total
handling
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It has stopped working, it is a waste of money ... !!!
Guitarrista NYC, 17.05.2016
After 4 years, the Motu brand has deigned to release drivers for Windows 10. I have been using it for 8 months, and it has stopped working; manufacturing problems of the power supply. It happens to everyone, at 2 years. Not buying ... is wasting money ... !!!
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de Original review (Show translation)
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Total
handling
quality
features
sound
Klingt gut und hat gute Ansätze...
CriticalVoice, 28.01.2012
... ABER, der Teufel steckt im Detail. MOTU verspricht viel, aber die Umsetzung ist leider meist nur mangelhaft:

Die Anzeige wird als "programmierbar" bezeichnet nun, das ist sie nicht, sie ist "selektierbar". Unter programmierbar stelle ich mir eindeutig anderes vor, wie zB die FREIE Zuordnung zu zB Mixes, oder einzelnen Ein- bzw Ausgänge. Doch das geht nicht, man kann nur zwischen fest vorgegebenen Gruppen wählen (Analog/Optical/Digital)

Das Umschalten der Samplingraten
Man hat auf TOSLINK zB ein Instrument oder einen CD-Player mit 44kHz und direkt über das Interface vom Computer schickt man 48kHz Signale.

Das Interface schafft nur das Umschalten zu 44kHz, jedoch nicht mehr zurück! Die LEDs blinken, es wird also versucht, doch es gelingt nicht. Logic zeigt auch folgerichtig ein Synchronfehler an - Man muß das Interface neu starten - unbrauchbar!
Dies soll ein Logic Fehler sein... allerdings funktioniert es nach Restart des MOTU Audio SetUp auch nicht, also doch Restart des Computers.

Synch umschalten
bei fast jedem Umschalten der Sync-Quelle entsteht ein hässlicher Spike, der als lautes Knacken (nicht durch die Regler beeinflussbar) in den Monitoren zu hören ist!
Vorschlag von MOTU als WorkAround: Monitore abschalten! (weltfremd!)
=> bei neuestem Driver behoben!

Nach Spielpause kurzzeitiges "Brüllen"
Wenn eine Pause beim Ausspielen gemacht wird (egal welche Quelle!), dann wird die jeweilige Monitor-Lautstärke nach etwa 1 Sekunde kurzzeitig auf volle Lautstärke und wieder zurückgesetzt. Das heißt, man wird kurzzeitig mit voller Lautstärke "angebrüllt". Das bedeutet, die Monitor-Level-Einstellung ist im Grunde völlig unbrauchbar!
ACHTUNG: Hierfür gibt es mehrere Gründe:
- ein defektes mitgeliefertes FW800 Kabel
- eine defekte FW800 Buchse
dieses Pärchen produziert auch gerne Wackelkontakte bei geringsten Berührungen bzw Vibrationen!

Mitschuld ist das wirklich schlechte mechanische Design der FW800-Schnittstelle, doch dafür kann MOTU nichts

CueMix
Die von MOTU als so toll gelobte CueMix software ist bestenfalls als "ungeschickt" zu bezeichnen. Tabs sind sichtlich "neueste Mode" und genauso unbrauchbar wie "modern". Die Bedienung ist umständlich und unübersichtlich, von intuitiver oder komfortabler Bedienung leider keine Spur.

Es soll allerdings in absehbarer Zeit ein Update kommen - man wird sehen.

OutputMeters und OutputBundles
DP ist darauf abstimmbar, Logic jedoch, weil keine Ausspielmatrix, kann an die Output-Ordnung nicht angepasst werden, dh. die Kanäle 1-2 werden auf den Metern als 3-4 etc angezeigt. MOTU offeriert dazu auch leider keine Lösung, denn es wäre eigentlich ein Leichtes die Kanäle 1-2 auch zusätzlich auf den Ausgängen und somit auch auf dem Meter als 1-2 zu Routen. Wird aber nicht angeboten, sondern die Schuld schlicht auf Logic geschoben.

Stereocoupling - Stand-Alone Mixer
Wenn 2 Kanäle gekoppelt werden, müssen am Gerät die Lautstärken (nur Gain!) jeweils extra geregelt werden - das verhindert ein zügiges Arbeiten im Stand-Alone Modus! - Sinnvollerweise sollte in diesem Zustand auch die Regler derart umstellen, daß ein Regler für Lautstärke der andere als Balance dient - doch leider ist das nicht so)

StandAlone Bedienung
Nun, besser nicht, als StandAlone Mixer ist das Ding NICHT zu gebrauchen, die Bedienung ist umständlich und langwierig (nicht zuletzt wegen der schlechten Implementierung der CueMix-Software) und teils auch Fehlerhaft.

EQ & Effekte
Nette Spielerei, und life ganz brauchbar, aber nicht hervorragend. Außerdem ist die Bedienung im StandAlone VIEL zu mühsam und daher unbrauchbar. Mit CueMix am Schirm wird das ganz ein wenig besser, aber aufgrund der Tabs und anderer Unübersichtlichkeiten ist es zwar eine Möglichkeit, aber mE nicht mehr, denn rasche Änderungen und intuitives Arbeiten ist kaum möglich.

Gain nur 53 dB
Das ist zwar nicht allzu viel, reicht aber im Grunde aus, auch sind die PreAmps recht rauscharm. Ribbons kann man daran aber nicht betreiben (außer active Ribbons)

Klang
Nun, ein Interface sollte meiner Meinung nach NICHT klingen, es sollte keinen eigenen Klang haben, also neutral sein. Das kann man in diesem Falle durchaus sagen, das 896 ist recht klangneutral und die AD/DA Sektion ist wirklich gut gelungen und durchaus empfehlenswert (wenn nicht obengenannte Mängel wären). Speziell, wenn man die Preiskategorie ansieht. Meiner Meinung nach ist hier deutlich besser als das (mir unverständlich hochgelobte) ProFire2626 von M-Audio!

Installation
Verläuft im Grunde klaglos, wichtig ist bloß, daß man den NEUESTEN TREIBER (AudioInstaller 20120502) hat. Bei mir läuft es aber nach dem Aufsetzen der neuesten Software auch unter MacOSX Lion klaglos und mit dieser SW ist auch eine Doppelanmeldung des Units im Apple MIDI Studio behoben!

Alles in allem ein eigentlich wirklich gut brauchbares und gut "klingendes" Werkzeug, wenn man lernt mit den Mängeln zu leben.
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