MOTU 896HD FireWire Audio Interface

Oct 31, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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At AES, MOTU unveiled its 896HD ($1,295), a double-rackspace, FireWire audio interface for Mac and Windows computers. The 896HD replaces the 896 at the same price and adds many new features, including more simultaneous outputs (22), 192kHz operation, 8-bus monitor mixing and stand-alone operation

Like the 896, the 896HD provides eight channels of 24-bit analog I/O, eight channels of ADAP optical digital I/O, eight built-in mic preamps, 96kHz AES/EBU digital I/O with sample rate conversion, Word Clock sync and sample-accurate ADAT sync. The analog inputs are on Neutrik Combo jacks and the outputs are on XLR jacks. The front panel provides three banks of 10-segment level meters, eight trim knobs for the analog inputs and eight toggle switches for independent 48-volt phantom power for each analog input.

The 896HD adds two additional separate main outputs (on XLRs), plus separately accessed front-panel headphone output, providing 22 separate outputs. All analog inputs and outputs are equipped with latest-generation 192kHz converters. The AES/EBU and optical digital I/O sections support sample rates up to 96 kHz. Like the 896, the AES/EBU I/O provides sample rate conversion on both input and output.

Additional new features include DSP-driven digital mixing and monitoring for all 18 inputs, front-panel fader control, stand-alone operation, 96kHz optical digital I/O, ADAT sync input, Word Clock input/output, two 1394 FireWire connectors, IEC power receptacle, universal compatibility with virtually all audio software on Mac OS 9/X and Windows Me/2K/XP, and includes AudioDesk, a sample-accurate workstation software for Mac OS with 24-bit recording/editing and 32-bit automated mixing/processing/mastering.

The 896HD is expected to ship in Q4 2003.

In other company news, MOTU has posted updated drivers for all MOTU FireWire audio interfaces and PCI audio interfaces to make them fully compatible with Panther (Mac OS X Version 10.3). These updates include new features, such as input and output names and control surface support for CueMix DSP, the latency-free monitor mixing features in MOTU’s latest FireWire and PCI audio interfaces. In addition, MOTU has posted an updater for Digital Performer Version 4.11 (available free to all registered DP4 users), which is required for full Panther compatibility. DP 4.11 also introduces several new features, including a utility for configuring synthesizer expansion card patch names.

Updated drivers include MOTU FireWire Driver Version 1.07 and MOTU PCI Driver Version 1.03. Both updates support all MOTU FireWire and PCI interfaces, including the original 828 and 896 FireWire interfaces, as well as first- and second-generation PCI-324 and PCI-424 systems running under Panther. In addition to Panther compatibility, the updates include features such as user-defined input/output names, control surface support to CueMix Console (pictured) and PCI-424 core systems, and default stereo input/output. The new FireWire audio driver also introduces the ability to resolve (slave) to another Core Audio driver.

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