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Rating and Reviews: MOTU 896HD Firewire

2 FireWire ports. 18 inputs. 22 outputs. 8 mic pre-amps.

User Ratings
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"Very versatile and expandable." submitted November 5, 2007

By a customer from hotmail.com
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Musical Background: Drummer, recordist
Music Style: rock
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Sound: The pre-amps are very clean, not warm, but clean. some of the input knobs are a bit "scratchy". I wish it had -20 db pads though, even at the lowest volume my NT5's peak when used for overheads for drums. A plus though, even when they peak, I hear no distortion. Feature: I am not a Midi guy, so the lack of Midi ins and outs doesn't matter to me. I love how easy it is to hook your entire sound system into this unit. The CueMix software is great too. It has 4 buses with faders, Its pretty much a virtual mixing board. Also, the buses are zero latency because the unit will bus the audio back out with out running it through your computer first. Also It has the "motu audio setup" which allows you to use the unit as your main sound card and adjust all the settings. Instead of using the crappy built in mic in your computer to talk to people online, I use my GT55 with a compressor! Ease of Use: Plug and play at its best. I use Motu's DP5 and it couldn't be simpler. Quality: Only complaint is the "scratchy" pots. Value: Its great for live and studio. With 4 buses, you can record the live sound, then bus it out the the PA with no strain on your computer. Manufacturer Support: No problems yet. The Wow Factor: It looks boring until you use it and all the meters light up. Sound check is a breeze with the bright LED's. Overall: This is the heart of my studio. Even though the pre's aren't incredible, you can bypass them and use an external pre. The a/d converters are great, so have no fear there.
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"Every recording artist should own a MOTU 896HD!" submitted January 13, 2006

By a customer from aol.com
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Value
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Musical Background: Sound Designer and Recording Engineer
Music Style: Classical, Acapella, Rock
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Sound: Crisp and clean mic pres and A/D conversion. Even at 44.1 it sounds remarkable. The D/A is just as impressive. I really couldn't ask for a better sound. Feature: Love the ADAT and sync capabilities. Love the 8 Neutrik combo connectors for the ins!!! Solid, XLR out connectors so someone cant trip over your cables during a gig and rip them out. So nice to see MOTU break away from the norm of 1/4" outs. AES/EBU is THE standard. I only wish there was S/PDIF so I could integrate it with my Audiophile 192, but regardless, it's a rock solid unit! Quality: The MOTU 896HD is built extremely well. It has sturdy connections in a thick box. The knobs are no joke either - durable and and not too loose. I have already taken this beauty on the road and it works like a charm. Again, XLR AND Neutrik Combo connectors!! 8 individual phantom power switches!!! Value: For the price, you cannot beat what you get. Manufacturer Support: Never needed support. The Wow Factor: I've wanted this for a while. I did plenty of research before I bought it making sure it would be a reliable product. I was not disappointed. Overall: I plan on keeping the 896HD for a long time. I will use it in my studio and on the road. I would definitely buy it again.
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"Noisy preamps bring down the value of this otherwise excellent unit." submitted August 5, 2006

By a customer from comcast.net
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Musical Background: Amateur recording artist
Music Style: Classical, Jazz
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Sound: Very clean, full sound with 4 tracks at 192kHz. Haven't tried it with any more than 4 inputs. The downside: according to MOTU tech support, the preamps offer only 46dB gain, and according to my ears, the last 20dB of it is noisy. Like, carwash noisy. If you're doing anything quiet with fancy mics, you will not be able to use these preamps. Feature: Good mixing and routing features, with nice software controls. Ease of Use: Plug & play. Quality: All good except the preamps, and the input trims are not linear. Value: This unit would be a 10 if they would use respectable preamps. Manufacturer Support: MOTU is notorious for being disorganized and slow to respond, and that has been my experience with them. Overall: I've added a Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro for one reason: preamps. The mixer has no value in my setup, but I had to fork out the extra $300 because the 896HD preamps are not good enough for studio recording.
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"Reliability Issues for a "PRO" product." submitted March 31, 2006

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Orchestra Director
Music Style: Sacred
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Sound: Very clean. Feature: Channel levels metering is nice. Ease of Use: Definitely not plug & play, but got up and running pretty quickly after overcoming problems with the new laptop. (Tiger migration) Quality: Occurrences: (Mind you I use this system only 2 days per month) #1 Main Out went dead. Paid $70 for factory repair. Out $12 for shipping. #2 Power boot problems, whole unit dead. Covered under previous paid repair warranty. Out $12 for shipping. #3 Received "new" one. Screws missing holding up the XLR backplane. #4 In progress. This all happened under a span of 1 year! UNRELIABLE. Value: Value is why I bought this. However it has failed me when I have needed it, so I wouldn't buy another MOTU product again. Manufacturer Support: Ugh... Customer support line always busy. After getting in, the service is very good. I believe they only have one tech support guy, which has its upsides in that when you call back and get through, you talk to the same guy. The Wow Factor: I don't want mine anymore. Overall: Reliability issues. Tech support is good.
2 of 3 people (66.67%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"Nice box" submitted January 12, 2004

By a customer from earthlink.net
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Music Style: Jazz/Rock, Top 40, Folk
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Sound: I've tried recording at 192kHz, 96kHz, and 48kHz. The sound is transparant. Some might say that it's a bit clinical. But, I'm not looking for a digital I/O to color the sound, so am satisfied with it. I'm using the 896HD with Digital Performer 4.12, G4 dual 1.42 1.5G ram, Panther 10.3.2, and RAID array using a Sonnet dual SATA PCI controller and WD SATA drives. Feature: The ability to route any input to any output over 4 independent busses (two busses for the higher sampling rates) is very useful for things like providing a monitor feed. Quality: Seems like a very solid unit and I've no problems in 3 months of use. Value: For an 8 input 192kHz I/O that doesn't color the sound, I think it's a decent value. Manufacturer Support: Support is hit and miss with MOTU. Everyone knows that. Sometimes I get a very prompt and helpful response via email, and other times email seems to go to /dev/null. Their website could use some work in terms of keeping links up to date, especially in the support area. The Wow Factor: It's a great looking piece of gear. The level LED's can be seen from across the room, which is helpful. Peak LED behavior is controllable via software and is great when you can't keep your eye on levels during the whole record pass. Overall: I'll probably buy another one soon to increase my project studio's capacity to 16 tracks. I guess that says it all. Yes, I would (and will) buy it again.
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"Good Idea, Bad Box" submitted November 4, 2003

By a customer from yesmastering.com
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Features
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
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Music Style: All
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Sound: The mic pres in this thing sound like Mackie, but a little bit smaller. One mic pre failed within a year. The best way in and out of this box is through AES. That is, if you can get it working. But why buy this thing if you are going to bypass the internal A/D's? Feature: Many different ways in and out of the computer here. The mixing software that came supplied with it does not work in Win2K. MOTU seems very Mac oriented only. Quality: Just over a year old and the thing's kaput. First I lost a mic pre, then I lost my AES output, then it would take up to 4 hours and lots of finger crossing to get it to boot. Now it's not recognized by the Firewire controller (which test good with other devices) in my computer any more. Value: Yeah, great value if you use it right away and then resell it before it breaks. Manufacturer Support: Forget the words "Customer Support" with this company. You will never get through to anyone with a clue on the phone. My e-mails took three weeks to respond to and when I finally did get an answer it was so condescending ("...is the firewire card installed in your computer? Is it powering up?!?!#@"). The Wow Factor: It's got lots of lights and sexy gold inputs, but it's basically an ugly box. Overall: I'm looking at the competition from now on.
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"Fun but not very professional" submitted September 28, 2009

By a customer from yahoo.com.au
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Musical Background: Recording engineer, active musician, producer, artist
Music Style: Electronica
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Sound: It sounds ok but not great. The D/A conversion is a bit washy and not very focused. Stereo imaging is second rate. The A/D conversion isnt to bad. Feature: Great features. I/O is great. Cumix dsp is an awesome idea but the drivers arent so good on all windows systems. Ease of Use: Easy to use but driver not great on all windows systems. Clicks, pops and drops out on some systems (this happens during recording as well). Quality: nice quality. Reasonably sturdy. Will last you a long time. Value: At the time they were new it was great value. but now you can get a great sound card with awesome pci/pcie stability and better conversion for great prices (lynx l22, rme aio. Manufacturer Support: I have yet to deal with MOTU support direct but the Cumix dsp drivers arent that great on all windows systems. Overall: Im currently looking for a new product. Ive had it with this 896hd. Its a terrible idea to use fire wire as an interface for critical DAW recording/production etc.
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"awesome but i love my MIDI." submitted August 26, 2006

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Musical Background: studio owner
Music Style: everything
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Overall: good overall. i traded my 828 for this and was so disapointed that it didnt have MIDI or digital ins. its cool tho. im gonna get another 828 and daisy chain them together so i have the best of both worlds. MOTU rocks.
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"MOTU did one fine job!" submitted March 9, 2006

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Musical Background: Musician, Recording Engineer, Producer.
Music Style: Rock
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
Sound: The pres sound just great, totaly transparent, and a huge s/n ratio. I wouldn't spect anything less from MOTU. Feature: Really good, the fact that you can plug almost anything to it, even an Adat. Even though, it would be really usefull an S/Pdif connection. Ease of Use: No problem with it, it works like any other peace of profesional equipment. No time loss. Quality: Pretty solid, metal chasis, noiseless knobs... etc. Value: No complain, actually, it turned out to be better than I thought Manufacturer Support: Wouldn't know really, never needed it. The Wow Factor: Looks so nice... all that colorfull lights... Overall: This thing is just perfect for any audio aplication.
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