MOTU 828ES Thunderbolt and USB Audio Interface
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MOTU 828ES Thunderbolt and USB Audio Interface

The workhorse MOTU 828 interface gets an upgrade with ESS Sabre32 D/A converters, dual color LCDs, and 28x32 I/O via USB 2, Thunderbolt, or AVB/TSN Ethernet.

Overall User Ratings (based on 3 ratings)
Overall:
5 out of 5 stars
Sound:
5 out of 5 stars
Features:
5 out of 5 stars
Ease of Use:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Quality:
5 out of 5 stars
Value:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Manufacturer Support:
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Wow Factor:
5 out of 5 stars
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
(3)
Submitted July 17, 2020 by Louis H
"AWESOME!!"
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
Only just got it today but this thing is awesome so far. This thing is almost zero latency and that is with the USB 2.0 (my computer does not have thunderbolt). Downloaded software, plugged it in, updated firmware and ready to go. That simple and easy. This thing sounds good too, very clean. No background his, no DI coming through when using plugins (I play metal and every plugin or stand alone I have used sounded horrible and I could not stop the DI signal from blaring through until now). I experimented with Studio One using Fortin Cali suite plugin and wow, sounded phenomenal. The first time I have used an interface and had it sound this good right out of the box. Didn't have to mess with latency settings or anything. So far I love this device. No experience with Motu support but had to put stars in to complete this review
Musical Style:
Extreme Metal
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Submitted June 23, 2021 by M D in Scottsdale, AZ
"Awesome Interface!"
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I had a much older MOTU interface that I replaced this one with. The latency, especially over Thunderbolt is awesome. The sound quality is amazing. I have a fair amount of outboard gear so having all the inputs was really very helpful. The onboard preamps are much improved over my old model. The web interface for using advanced features is a bit funky at first, but once you lean into it a bit and watch some Youtube tutorials, it begins to make sense.It doesn't have the onboard processing for effects the way that Universal Audio or Antelope does, but it does have some very usable utility DSP, namely High Pass Filter, Noise Gate, EQ and Compression built in. All in all I find this to be a very usable mid level interface. I looked at the competition pretty hard, but I couldn't find a better mix of functionality and quality in the price range for an interface with Thunderbolt support. This interface was particularly useful to me as a singer songwriter because it gives me the inputs for my external synths, sound modules and preamps, gives me the opportunity to record a fair number of tracks at the same time without having to resort to submit / audio bouncing for each track, it integrates well with my Mac and Logic Pro X, and the sound quality is very good. I didn't need the 8pre because I don't track live drums or a full band, but I did need the extra inputs to utilize my collection of synth dinosaurs without resorting to a mix down or track at a time bouncing to audio.I do occasionally experience glitches with it, but not if I restart the machine and interface and go directly into Logic. Mainly, watching video on Youtube while Logic is open can cause unpredictable audio playback. This is fixable by either reseting audio in Logic, or restarting the machine and interface. Of note - since the latest drivers update, I have yet to experience a glitch.
Sound
The sound is best quantified as 'transparent' which is such an overused word. It's just decent A/D, and D/A conversion with a bunch of inputs. It doesn't have a sparkle or sheen that it adds on its own, it's just reliable and honest about the sources you put into it.
Features
Most Useful - The number of inputs, the DSP utility is situational, but when you need compression, gating or HP filtering on a source, it's invaluable. I prefer to EQ in the box so I don't really use that part. Thunderbolt latency is FANTASTIC. If you use virtual instruments, this interface is awesome. Least Useful - I can't think of a least useful feature, for me it's probably talkback mic, but I'm sure it' useful to others.
Ease of Use
There is definitely a learning curve with the routing / mixing software. Once you get it down, it all makes sense. It is very powerful and you can create a lot of aux mixes and mix groups which makes it great for monitoring. Honestly I rarely use those parts. It's configured as part of my home studio with dedicated inputs for a lot of my gear.
Quality
The product seems well made, the buttons all feel pretty good. The one part that I worry about are the LCD displays and how they will hold up over time. My last interface (also a MOTU) lasted for fourteen years.. and is still going strong. But frankly, I monitor via the web console anyways, so if I needed to check levels, I'd do so there.
Value
I think it's well worth the price. It does everything I need in an interface and I expect to be using it for a very log time.
Manufacturer Support
I have not dealt with MOTU directly about any issues, and I think that says a LOT. I have been using their interfaces for 14 years. I have had a few issues here and there, but I've been able to keep my firmware and drivers up to date without incident and without asking them for support.
The Wow Factor
Interfaces are becoming a commodity these days. Lots of people have them and have them for far cheaper than the cost on this unit. What you are paying for here are .. the quality of the converters and preamps, the quality of the software drivers overall (MOTU definitely does their own). I can turn everything on and be up and productive in short order. There are more expensive interfaces out there with higher quality converters, but honestly at this point, the converters are fantastic at this price point. I'd be more worried about the room treatment and monitors than getting a 'better' quality interface. The biggest thing is I haven't had to fight the interface to be productive and make music. I use a ton of in the box virtual instruments, virtual amps and effects. This interface and it's latency have never felt like a bottleneck or 'the problem' at any time and that says a lot to me.
Musical Background:
Lifelong musician and songwriter
Musical Style:
Indie, Rock, Blues, Synth Pop
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Submitted March 25, 2021 by a customer from icloud.com
"Best for the Price"
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I bought the 828 primarily for its connectivity, which is pretty much unmatched at this price point, I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. A couple things you should probably know however, the knobs are notched, not the smooth rotary type (small gripe), if you have a newer Mac you’ll need to buy a thunderbolt cable and a usb-c apdater, if you want to use the thunderbolt connection, since the motu only comes with a USB cable, and lastly you need an ethernet connection to update the firmware for the interface, which means you need buy another adapter: ethernet to USB, which is pretty annoying. I don’t know many people that have a ethernet connection readily available in their studio, but if you do, you can obviously skip that step. Again I’m just passing what I believe is useful info, but the motu is well worth the price tag.
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