MOTU 16A 32x32 Thunderbolt / USB 2.0 Audio Interface with AVB

32-in/32-out Hybrid Thunderbolt/USB 2.0/iOS Audio Interface with 16 x 16 Line-level I/O, ADAT and S/PDIF Digital I/O, AVB Ethernet Compatibility, and 48-channel DSP Mixer Onboard with Processing and Effects - Mac/PC
MOTU 16A 32x32 Thunderbolt / USB 2.0 Audio Interface with AVB image 1
MOTU 16A 32x32 Thunderbolt / USB 2.0 Audio Interface with AVB image 1

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MOTU 16A 32x32 Thunderbolt / USB 2.0 Audio Interface with AVB
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Professional I/O with Room to Grow!

If you're looking for a system that can meet the needs of a wide range of professional audio applications, then check out the MOTU 16A hybrid audio interface. With 16 balanced analog inputs and outputs, the 16A serves as an excellent conduit for your outboard microphone preamplifiers and other studio gear, and an additional 16 channels of ADAT I/O on optical ports provide you with plenty of expansion for multi-channel mic pres and more. Thanks to its Thunderbolt connectivity, latency is no hurdle for the 16A, though the onboard DSP mixer offers latency-free routing for monitoring and mixing. MOTU's AVB Ethernet lets you network multiple AVB interfaces to your 16A, and advanced capabilities even let you use it as a standalone, iPad-controlled digital mixer if you like.

Classic MOTU audio quality with the shockingly low latency of Thunderbolt connectivity

At Sweetwater, we've been huge fans of MOTU for a very long time, and one of the things we've come to depend on them for is delivering top-shelf sound quality to studios on a budget, and a whole lot more. The 16A is no exception. With a mere -110dB THD+N of self-noise and 123dB (A-weighted, 20Hz-20kHz) of dynamic range, this 16A's 16-channel analog I/O offers you some of the cleanest audio around, and an additional 16 channels of digital I/O via ADAT optical ports bring your total channel count to 32 x 32. To go with this impressive selection of high-quality I/O, MOTU gave the 16A ultra-fast Thunderbolt connectivity (in addition to USB 2.0), so you get epically low system latency too.

DSP-fueled mixer onboard gives you the added benefit of EQ, compression, and effects

Granted, with the MOTU 16A's extremely fast Thunderbolt connection, system latency isn't much of an issue to begin with, but the onboard DSP mixer still offers a number of advantages you'll find useful in a variety of settings, such as when you're connected via USB. For starters, this digital mixer supports up to 48 inputs (via AVB expansion) and 12 stereo busses, allowing you to set up extremely complex routing schemes completely independent of your computer. In fact, if you connect a wireless router to your 16A, you can access all of its internal mixing functions, including effects and processing, via an app on your iOS device, turning this powerful audio interface into a fully capable standalone mixer. Speaking of onboard processing and effects, whether you're in the studio or onstage with your 16A, you'll find a ton of uses for its DSP EQ, compression, gate, and reverb.

Expand your production system with additional AVB networkable audio interfaces

Another extremely cool use of the 16A's Ethernet connection is the ability to link more MOTU AVB equipped audio interfaces to it. You can do this in one of two ways: directly via a simple Ethernet cable or as part of an audio network via one or more MOTU AVB Switch. If you go with just a single Ethernet cable, you can easily link a second 16A or other AVB ready device directly to your first one. With MOTU AVB Switches, you can create an audio network of up to five units, potentially linking hundreds of channels of I/O across multiple rooms. And since it's all over standard Cat-5e Ethernet cable, latency or cable runs aren't an issue.

MOTU 16A Hybrid Audio Interface Features:

  • A fantastic 32-in/32-out hybrid audio interface for studio and live sound applications
  • ADAT optical digital I/O lets you expand your system with additional gear
  • Choose from ultra-low-latency Thunderbolt, high-speed USB 2.0, or iPad/iOS (w/ Camera Connection Kit) connectivity
  • Onboard 32-bit floating point DSP-driven digital mixer with EQ, dynamics, and effects provides latency-free routing
  • Hook up a wireless router and take complete control of the onboard mixer from your iOS device - no computer needed!
  • MOTU's AVB audio networking lets you easily expand your system and additional AVB equipped audio interfaces
  • Create an AVB network via optional AVB Switches for support for up to five compatible interfaces

Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide
Meet the MOTU 8M, 1248, and 16A
MOTU Releases Three New Audio Interfaces

Tech Specs

Computer Connectivity 1 x Thunderbolt, 1 x USB 2.0 Type B
Form Factor Rackmount
Simultaneous I/O 32 x 32
A/D Resolution 24-bit/192kHz
Built In DSP/FX Yes
Analog Inputs 16 x 1/4" TRS (line in)
Analog Outputs 16 x 1/4" TRS (line out)
Digital Inputs 2 x Optical (ADAT)
Digital Outputs 2 x Optical (ADAT)
Data I/O Ethernet
Clock I/O In, Out/Thru
OS Requirements - Mac 1GHz Intel CPU or higher, 4GB RAM or more recommended, OS X 10.8 or later, iOS/iPad compatible (with camera connection kit)
OS Requirements - PC 1GHz Intel compatible processor or higher, 4GB RAM or more recommended, Windows 7 or later, USB 2.0 audio class compliant hosts
Rack Spaces 1U
Width 19"
Height 1.75"
Manufacturer Part Number 9320

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
Write your review

Extremely good conversion..quirky PC performance

I upgraded from a RME UFX gen 1 and a ADI-8 MkIII I was using for 16 channels IO to a SSL X-Desk. The RME is a great, solid interface, but its conversion tech is getting a bit long in the tooth. The specs on the 16A are really impressive and I wanted to see if it lived up to the marketing hype. Happy to report, it does! It is running the same ADDA conversion as the Apogee Symphony systems, and it delivers some amazing sound quality. I honestly was very skeptical of a noticeable improvement over the RME, but I definitely hear it, checking against some high res 24/96 reference tracks. Best way I can describe the sound is that the RME is very clinical. It's super clear, and punchy, but lacking some of that 3D depth and airiness around the sound sources. The Motu 16A has this sparkle and airiness, with a really 3D sound stage. It's got the clear punchy sound of the RME, but with this extra deep clarity and sizzle. It is amazing for the price, and this unit works great for summing/OTB mixing, since it doesn't have the extra headphone outs, mic pres, etc. It's just high quality IO. SO I feel like I am paying only for what I need. And it is a modular system, so if I need more down the line, they have a range of other products on the AVB platform. So what are the downsides? Well, it is tricky to get good performance on a PC at first and required some tweaking. I have a custom built workstation with an ASUS X99 WS-E MB i7, 64MB of RAM, with the thunderbolt expansion card, and initially I was getting a lot of clicks and pops, even with a high buffer. To be fair, I had not tweaked Windows 10 for audio production, but the RME had just worked in this regard. So I followed some steps the Focusrite website offers for tweaking, like setting the power mode to high performance, and setting priority for background services which helps drivers, I also disabled HPET per a forum recommendation, the High Precision Event Timer, which can be done in Device Manager or Bios. I also experimented with turning off Turbo Mode. But the big one for me, was also disabling wifi/antivirus and turning off my motherboard monitoring software, CAM. Then magically, I could run super low buffers 64/128 and get great latency

Good Audio Interfade

Needed to replace my 2408 when it died. I chose the 16A because it has lots of analog inputs. Works great.

Awesome Interface!

Out with the old, In with the new. Just bought the new mac pro, switching from PCI to Thunderbolt was as simple as purchasing this interface. It could be a placebo effect, but the converters seem to sound cleaner. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because it doesn't come with a Thunderbolt or network cable, and the only way to do firmware updates is with a network cable. Also, if you leave the network cable plugged in, you'll have issues changing sample rates.
Music background: Pro Musician, Producer, Song Writer, Recording Engineer


I needed to replace my 2 eight channel Echo Layla A to D converters. I have owned the Laylas for around 15 years and they were starting to get flakey. I replaced them both with 1 MOTU 16A and I am very happy with the 16A. I run a small recording studio in Minnesota.


This piece met every expectation except one. It is replacing two M-Audio Delta 1010s (because M-Audio driver doesn't support dual cards under Win7 - shame on you MA!!). Integration of the 16A was flawless and the latest drivers and firmware updates were easy to apply. After following the instructions, downloading the drivers and doing the firmware update, the unit answered up without hesitation or issue first time. The only issue is that when switching between sample rates, the unit takes 15-20 seconds to 'reboot' and process sound again. With my 1010s, this was instantaneous - but these were PI-card based with no DSP. It's only a minor inconvenience and only when for example I am doing the final rendering of a 48/24 file to a 44.4/16 for burning a CD. Sound is awesome and the stability is rock solid. Completely eliminated my digital distortion issues of my 1010s going out of sync. Unit runs cool (thermally). The connections in the back are solid close-grouped but very accessible. Nice job putting all those connections in a 1U space! Even though the case is plastic (I'd prefer metal), it does not feel cheap and mounts very solidly in the rack. Every now and then when I reboot my computer with the MOTU 16A powered up, the computer fails to recognize the 16A. BUT, I think that is more of a computer problem than a MOTU problem because my computer acts a little funky sometimes. All and all, I am very satisfied with this unit and got it at a very reasonable price from Sweetwater. If I had the funds, I'd buy two more and build a 32-channel live recording rig to replace my Alesis HD24 (again, shame on Alesis for dropping such a wonderful piece of gear). Thanks MOTU. Job well done! Can you do something about the delay when sample rates are changed? If you can't eliminate the delay, it would be great if you could at least reduce the delay. If not, I'm still very satisfied with this unit.
See also: USB Interfaces, MOTU, MOTU Thunderbolt Audio Interfaces, MOTU USB Audio Interfaces