MOTU 8A 16x18 Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Audio Interface with AVB

16-in/18-out Hybrid Thunderbolt/USB 3.0/iOS Audio Interface, 24-bit/192kHz, with AVB Ethernet Connectivity - Mac/PC/iOS
MOTU 8A 16x18 Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Audio Interface with AVB image 1
MOTU 8A 16x18 Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Audio Interface with AVB image 1

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MOTU 8A 16x18 Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Audio Interface with AVB
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Stellar Performance in a Portable Hybrid Interface

If you're looking for an audio interface with high-end sound, ultra-low latency, and generous I/O, you're in luck. The MOTU 8A exhibits excellent sound with an impressive 123dB of dynamic range, by virtue of ESS Sabre32 DAC technology. Round-trip latency as low as 1.6ms at 96kHz via Thunderbolt and 1.9ms via USB make recording a trouble-free endeavor. Connecting your line-level gear is easy, with 34 total channels of I/O on tap. Employ the 8A as a standalone mixer, or enjoy wireless control from your tablet, smartphone, and laptop. The MOTU 8A hybrid audio interface also features a DSP mixer for latency-free routing, and a range of useful digital effects.

High-end converters, ultra-low latency, and ample I/O offer top-shelf performance

Sweetwater and MOTU have enjoyed a long-standing relationship, due to MOTU's products offering our customers superb sound and solid performance. The 8A follows suit, packing top-notch sound, impressively low latency, and ample I/O into a portable half-rack enclosure. Renowned ESS Sabre32 DAC technology delivers 123dB of dynamic range, ensuring that the 8A's analog audio quality can hang with the most impressive gear on the market. Optimized drivers yield round-trip latency as low as 1.6ms at 96kHz via Thunderbolt and 1.9ms via USB. Packed with connectivity, the 8A includes eight analog inputs, eight analog outputs, and a stereo headphone output. The 8A also supplies you with eight channels of digital I/O via ADAT.

DSP-fueled mixer with EQ, compression, and effects

The MOTU 8A's built-in digital mixer delivers large-console-style mixing with 48 channels, 12 stereo buses, and 32-bit floating-point effects processing, so building complex, latency-free routing schemes is a piece of cake. And routing is extremely flexible. Send any input to any output, or even multiple outputs. Add Classic Reverb, with lengths up to 60 seconds. Sculpt your sound with a 4-band British parametric EQ. Apply vintage compression that's modeled after the legendary LA-2A. The 8A's mixing and effects DSP engine exhibits virtually unlimited headroom and outstanding sound quality.

Control everything from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone

If you connect a wireless router to your 8A, you can access all of its internal mixing functions, including effects and processing on your tablet, smartphone, or laptop, turning this powerful audio interface into a fully capable standalone mixer. Best of all, the control software is web-based. It runs in your favorite web browser on Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, or Android — basically anything — as long as it's on the same network.

Expand your system with additional AVB networkable audio interfaces

Another extremely cool use of the 8A'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 Switches. If you go with just a single Ethernet cable, you can easily link a second 8A 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 and long cable runs aren't an issue.

MOTU 8A Hybrid Audio Interface Features:

  • 16-in/18-out hybrid audio interface for studio and live sound
  • ESS Sabre32 DAC technology delivers 123dB of dynamic range and superb audio quality
  • Optimized drivers yield round-trip latency as low as 1.6ms at 96kHz via Thunderbolt and 1.9ms via USB
  • 8 analog inputs accommodate a wide variety of line-level gear
  • 8 channels of ADAT optical digital I/O expands your system with additional gear
  • 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 laptop, tablet, or smartphone
  • MOTU's AVB audio networking expands your system with additional AVB-equipped audio interfaces
  • Create an AVB network via optional AVB Switches with support for up to 5 compatible interfaces

Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide
Two New Mobile Interfaces from MOTU

Tech Specs

Computer Connectivity Thunderbolt, USB 3, AVB Ethernet
Form Factor Half Rack / Desktop
Simultaneous I/O 8 x 8
A/D Resolution Up to 24-bit/192kHz
Built In DSP/FX Yes
Analog Inputs 8 x 1/4" (line in)
Analog Outputs 8 x 1/4" (line in)
Digital Inputs 1 x Optical Toslink (ADAT, SMUX, S/PDIF)
Digital Outputs 1 x Optical Toslink (ADAT, SMUX, S/PDIF)
Headphones 1 x 1/4"
USB 1 x Type B 3.0
Data I/O Thunderbolt 2, AVB Ethernet
Software MOTU Discovery App (included), AudioDesk 4.0 (download)
OS Requirements - Mac OS X 10.8 or later, iOS
OS Requirements - PC Windows 7 or later, Android
Rack Spaces Half Rack
Depth 7"
Width 8.6"
Height 1.75"
Weight 2.2 lbs.
Power Supply 12-18V DC power supply
Manufacturer Part Number 9360

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Write your review

Awesome Control

My use of a sound interface is a little different than typical audio engineering. I am an amateur radio operator and amateur musician. The main focus in my choice of the 8A is for interfacing my PC to multiple radios and software defined radios for analog audio from 10-4000 Hz voice and AFSK digital modes to SDR IQ signals to the PC for panadapters and demodulating. I also use it for my single (purchased along with the 8A) Shure SM7B mic for the mic input of the various radios. Typically the audio is fed either to the PC via the PC speaker line in or via (also new AKG K712) headphones for both radio and music audio, but the 8A can take PC input on the Windows sound channel 1-2 as the PC output setting in order to listen to PC audio via the headphones or (depending on the digital communications application software) other direct channels for the AFSK digital modes. The 8A's onboard web browser control interface is very nice! It allows me quick access to the inputs and outputs and with the range of filters and compressors available in the mixing as well as the auxiliary and group sends, each radio has its own or even multiple inputs on the mixer that allow different "pre-set" filter settings for the various modulation modes used for voice or data to cut high frequency noise or boost the low or mid-range voice. It also lets me split the mic into several inputs again with various filter/compression settings for the different voice modes from a wide FM range to single-sideband modes where I use a "ragchew" conversational flat (SM7B through) response and a "DX" (long distance contacts) setting with a low shelf and emphasis on the 1-2k range for added punch on the SSB signal. I found that using the Thunderbolt interface is best (Windows 10 PC) as I had some glitches with USB 3 staying connected, although I believe that is a problem with my PC and not the 8A. I have many devices connected to USB and before adding the 8A one of the other USB 3 devices has had the same connection problem, that is my basis for the determination that the 8A is not at fault. Indeed I always intended to use Thunderbolt and the USB 3 use was only temporary while I acquired and installed the Thunderbolt 3 PCI card for my motherboard. The USB 3 cable was an important factor, I used two different brands as the cheaper of them just wouldn't get a 3.0 connection. And while the Thunderbolt connection will allow you to access the onboard software controls, that would sometimes get lost after long periods of being connected to the browser so I find that the ethernet LAN connection via my router is the best way to have "always on" web browser control. The sound via Thunderbolt is outstanding and glitch free and I nominally run at 96k for the bandwidth of the IQ panadapter view and other SDR and so the audio. The 192k works well too but for the types of use right now I don't deem it worthwhile just for the benefit of the frequency span of the panadapter, 96k is a good balance between the digital and the audio needs. With a buffer of 256 samples on the 8A and Ableton Live 9, Live 9 reports a latency of 3.33 ms each way for a total of 6.67 ms. Having described how well the 8A works for an amateur radio operator, from the perspective of music audio at least as coming from the PC as CD or internet music audio or the output of my Ableton Live 9 "productions" (I use quotes because I am a novice at that) into the headphones, the sound is fantastic. With no real intentions to use the 8A for music when I was purchasing it the fact that I also purchased my first MIDI controller/keyboard at the same time for use with the Ableton Live software, is certainly leaning me toward at least the use of the Shure mic via the 8A for the musical work that I am learning to do. The work was initially geared toward helping my wife produce Pre-K through 1st Grade audio teaching tools/clips for her teaching job but Im sure it won't stop there! So why the "WOW! Blown Away" rating? I have had (for amateur radio use as described above) a M-Audio Delta44 and a Focusrite Sapphire PRO 14. Typical PC sound cards don't have enough I/O for a serious ham. The Delta44 was a nice start to find that music audio sound interfaces are great for amateur radio. The Focusrite which is just one year old now, raised the bar with the ability to do some routing and mixing but I quickly outgrew the number of I/O. The MOTU 8A seriously raises the bar up high with many versatile I/O with performance and controls that make it an outstanding sound interface for my use. Hopefully I was not too wordy and the review describes all of the important points. I'm afraid that the actual music audio production/engineering that you may be looking for is not covered in this review but I hope that this review of the 8A as a sound interface is useful to both musicians and amateur radio operators.
Music background: I started with piano and then played tuba through high school winning some awards along the way, still have and occasionally tinker with both, in this electronic era I'm a novice with Ableton Live 9 and a Novation Launchkey 49.
See also: USB Interfaces, MOTU, MOTU Thunderbolt Audio Interfaces, MOTU USB Audio Interfaces, MOTU iPad/iPhone Interfaces