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June 2017 Giveaway

Hands On Review: MOTU Track16

A lot of different audio interfaces make their way through my studio, and they all have great features and capabilities to recommend them. But I’ve always found MOTU’s interfaces to be among my favorites for their intelligent blend of features, price, usability, and sound quality. Recently, I’ve been using the new Track16 desktop interface and it absolutely lives up to all the great things I’ve come to expect from MOTU!

The Track16 is a compact unit that’s designed to sit on your desktop within easy reach. It’s a hybrid interface (USB 2.0 or FireWire) with up to 16 inputs and 14 outputs. The Track16 has 10 front-panel buttons and a single large knob for controlling all the basic parameters you might need to access: monitor level, headphone level, mic gain, phantom power, and so on.  The front panel also sports eight nice LED meters. The unit itself has a guitar in, two headphone outs, a stereo line input, and optical I/O (eight-channel ADAT or stereo S/DPIF). The rest of the connections are on the included breakout cable: mic inputs, line outputs, MIDI I/O, another guitar in, and more.

MOTU’s CueMix software is included, which takes advantage of the Track16’s hidden secret: onboard DSP. CueMix allows for latency-free monitoring with effects during tracking: EQ, dynamics, even reverb. You can set up a variety of mixes for your monitors and headphones, and it’s all easy to configure and operate.

In use, the Track16 sounds great. Pristine but not sterile. It has two pro-level mic preamps, plus you can run your external preamps into the line inputs for more mic channels. There are separate monitor, stereo line, and headphone outs for routing at mixdown. And it’s all a snap to control from either the front panel or CueMix. Whatever software I chose to use (Track16 is Mac and Windows compatible)  the interface was rock solid and performed perfectly.

I like the Track16 a lot, and it has become one my go-to interfaces. The form factor is great, and the quality and compatibility are spot on. Highly recommended!

Mitch Gallagher

About Mitch Gallagher

Sweetwater Editorial Director, Mitch Gallagher, is one of the leading music/pro audio/audio recording authorities in the world. The former senior technical editor of Keyboard magazine and former editor-in-chief of EQ magazine, Gallagher has published thousands of articles, is the author of seven books and one instructional DVD, and appears in well over 500 videos on YouTube. He teaches audio recording and music business at Purdue University/Indiana University, and has appeared at festivals, conventions, and conferences around the world.
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