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MOTU 896mk3 Hybrid Reviews

4.0 stars based on 10 customer reviews
Questions about the MOTU 896mk3 Hybrid?

Questions about the MOTU 896mk3 Hybrid?

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Sweetwater Advice

  • Tim Holsinger

    I use the 896mk3 in my home studio and it works great! Very reliable while recording and the 896mk3 gives me a great sound on my recordings. The onboard effects and MOTU's CueMix FX software really make this a great audio interface.

  • Jeff Bohan

    The mic pres on the MOTU 896mk3 Hybrid sound pristine. Plus, with the included Cuemix software I'm able to dial up any tone using the EQ, LA2A modeled limiter, compressor, and reverb. (All this without taxing my computer's processor because the signal is processed within the unit~) This super-light rackmountable interface is so versatile - I can use it with my computer's recording software, as a standalone mixer while practicing or playing live, or just plugging in and playing without booting up my computer.

  • Allan Ward
    from Meriden, Connecticut October 9, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician and Home Recording

    Great Gear and Even Better Service

    I cant' say enough about Sweetwater's Customer Service. My engineer Ryan Schmidt found just the right gear for me, (Motu 986mk3) and made sure I had it in time for the weekend. Works like a charm! Ryan took me through the set up process so understood what it would take to get up and running and I virtually had no problems doing so. I truly have never had a bad experience with Sweetwater and Ryan is an important part of that service. Sweetwater is a class organization and has all the good stuff musicians and engineers needs. Thanks for everything!

  • Gary
    from Long Island November 13, 2012Music Background:
    Semi-Pro Musician

    Great Audio Interface

    The 896mk3 is fantastic and exceeded my expectations. Sounds great and no problems. Works great with Windows 8 or standalone.

  • Tim
    from Seattle, WA USA August 23, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Recording Engineer

    Amazing Interface

    The 896mk3 is a dream come true for mac users. I have yet to encounter a single issue after almost a year of using it with Logic.
    I/O connections have been flawless.
    It has as good of preamps as you will find on a firewire/USB interface.
    It is solid, it feels like you could smash bricks with it and then boot it up ready to record.
    I would say it is one the best Firewire/USB interfaces on the market. Highly recommended.

  • Customer
    from April 13, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Muscian


    Versatile and powerful interface!

  • Dominic Maceri
    from Grand Blanc, MI April 4, 2017Music Background:
    Recording Engineer


    This is my 2nd MOTU 896. The first one I've used for 12 years and still using it. Never had anything go wrong with it. They work seamlessly with Logic Pro. Plug and play. This Mk3 is even slicker with all the newer features in the CueMix and the front panel pads. Didn't even have to open the manual. From box to rack and no lookin' back!!!

  • Lou Dorn
    from Northeast Kingdom, Vermont October 13, 2013Music Background:

    Motu 893mk3 Hybrid

    I have only had this unit for about two months at this point.
    I am using this as my interface with Pro Tools 10.3.7 & 11.2 also with Reaper. I have a AVID Eleven Rack also. Windows 7 Ultra 64 O.S.

    I am using the Motu as the master clock between it and the 11-Rack.
    My cabling is setup to use either the SPDIF or AES/EBU between the two units.
    I have a Firewire 800 PCIe card installed and have had no problems with either Pro Tools or Reaper.
    I am getting no clicks, pops noise or volume changes when recording from Microphones or thru the 11 Rack.
    I do have my computer optimized as a DAW only setup so that has really helped stabilize the system as far as latency and noise issues go.
    Everything I don't need as been turned off in the bios of the computer and I have disabled many operating system services that don't need to be running on a DAW only computer (USE CAUTION IF YOU ARE NOT SURE OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING).

    After learning to use both the Motu Audio Console and the Motu CueMix software I am getting really great results.
    First you have to setup the Motu hardware using the Motu Audio Console. Here is where you set the clock settings and you designate the different inputs and outputs. AFTER that has been done I can then start either Ptools or Reaper and get to work.
    I have found the CueMix software to be fairly intuitive but there is a learning curve. As I am only a hobbyist and am not a studio engineer in any fashion It took a little patience, READ THE MANUAL(S), for all your equipment and then tinker.
    I installed the latest drivers off of the Motu website and to date have had no issues with my install or use of the equipment.

    This is a wonderful unit to work with. I can not find any fault with the PRE's on this unit for my level of work and the built in effects are a great asset once you get familiar with the functions of the unit.
    The control knobs on the a little small for my big hands but not a big deal.
    There is a lot to this unit and I have not used all the features available yet, I sure hope it holds up for the long haul.
    Either the USB or the Firewire work great but I prefer the firewire setup .

    I would have no problem recommending this unit to anyone.
    I am happy that I was guided to this unit when speaking with my sales tech, Ryan Murphy.
    This is one of the advantages I find when dealing with Sweeter as their people really know there stuff and if they don't know the answer to a question they will get it for you.

    I am very happy with the results I have received from the Motu thus far.

  • Robert S
    from Upland, CA June 6, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Engineer/Live Sound

    Does what it's supposed to

    Solid interface. I've read at a few places that the pres on it arent good but im really impressed by the quality of the pres, theyre very smooth, clean and open sounding (My SM7B loves these pres). The onboard effects are really good too. I use the eq and compressor/leveler all the time on the way in with fantastic results and it saves me lots of time during mixing.

    Having the option of using firewire and USB is very nice and the reason i got it. Because my macbook has no firewire and I do mobile recording so I need to be able to take this with me and then come back and hook it up to my imac.

    My only gripe with it is the first on I got the front panel LED screen went crazy and I was useless. I was still able to record with it and sweetwater let me use the one i had until a new one arrived so there was no downtime as I do this for a living now. Also the footswitch option is kind of pointless as most people will never use it.

  • John Ware
    from Damascus, MD USA February 21, 2013Music Background:
    füll time pro musician, session musician, composer/arranger

    Excellent piece

    I got really great advice, as always, from my Sweetwater rep Mark Bruhn. i needed a firewire interface with spdif for my outboard preamps, and went through 2 (yes 2!) Focusrite Saffire Pro 40s in less than 2 years. i lost all confidence in Focusrite, and was looking for something that i could rely on every time. i do a lot of collaborating and recording tracks for others, and i can't afford to shut the studio down for weeks at a time, and having a backup that i use more than my main was not a good option for me.
    this thing is super solid, the preamps, while not quite as clean as my dedicated pres, are audibly more transparent than the Focusrite, and i very much prefer the hardware/software mixer with eq and compression on the way in, if i care to use it. just being able to set a high pass filter on the way in is huge in getting a cleaner sound right off the bat-saves time and energy during mix down, and having it be adjustable for that exact take is really just perfect for me.
    these are all small things that i do in my workflow constantly, and it saves me time to automate them as much as possible, and not do it "in the box" unless i choose to.

    the only reason i give it 4.5 starts instead of 5 stars is because of the manual. the manual tells in great detail all the things that this is capable of, but it doesn't tell HOW to do a lot of them, just that you CAN do them. when i call MOTU tech support, many of the functions seem to be a mystery to their techs as well. like using the spdif and AES/EBU simultaneously. the tech told me it wan't possible, even though the manual claims it is, for instance. i had to figure it out myself, without their tech support or their manual's help-but again with my top notch sales rep, Mark Bruhn.
    since the manual wasn't very helpful to me, the learning curve was a little steeper than i expected, but i was able to get it totally up and running within a few days, and within a couple of weeks of sessions, i became very comfortable and fast at doing what i need to do to get my work done and back out the door.

  • Customer
    from July 14, 2016

    Failed twice @ ~11 months

    I've had this for almost two years and it has failed twice at roughly 11 months. Both my original and replacement unit experienced the same failure. The issue (both times) started with the back light of the LCD dimming / showing dark spots around the edge of the display. Shortly after the display starts to experience this issue the unit will start randomly cutting audio output, generating a very loud low pitch hum, or producing output that sounds like heavily applied "digital distortion" (which I suspect is due to the internal clock not setting properly). The loud, low pitch hum on the original unit was loud enough to damage one of my Main monitors.

    When the product is working it is a great piece of gear, however, the reliability is far from what I had come to expect from MOTU. I specifically upgraded to the 896mk3 hybrid from my Presonus Firestudio Project based on my prior experiences with the original 896 & 896HD which I purchased second hand and never had an issue with either of them. Due to the consistency of the issue & time frame with which it occurred I'm doubtful the next replacement will last more than a year. As such, I can not recommend the product even though its a great interface when it is working properly.

    If it were not for this reliability issue I would give the 896mk3 hybrid 4 out of 5 stars. It has a great feature set, CueMix FX works really well, and the DSP based compressor & leveler work surprisingly well.

  • Customer
    from January 17, 2013Music Background:
    Recording engineer, musician, A/V tech

    Not impressed

    Thought I was making a good investment with this one. Did the research before I pulled the trigger. The layout and feature set are great. Obviously one of the few boxes out there with USB and Firewire. Unfortunately after using it a few times I just don't feel like it's worth the $1K price tag. The preamps are noisy and the gain is controlled by rotary encoders rather than real pots so there is a click or pop in the audio when adjusted. Not good for live recording where you need to adjust the gain on the fly and there are no second takes. I also didn't think the audio going in or coming back out was clean enough. Just seemed distorted to me. Couldn't find any real S/N or THD specs for this box. The DSP mixing seemed to be pretty good but has it's limitations. Read the manual before you buy. I'm bummed about sending it back but at least Sweetwater was cool about it.

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