MOTU Audio Express

6x6 FireWire/USB Audio Interface and Standalone Mixer with 2 Mic/hi-Z Combo Jacks, 24-bit/96kHz - Mac/PC
MOTU Audio Express image 1
MOTU Audio Express image 1
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MOTU Audio Express
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Great for Desktop and Mobile Recording!

Make the Audio Express the centerpiece of your personal studio! This 6-in/6-out audio interface puts the right connectivity where you need it: on your desktop. It's perfect for the singer/songwriter first starting to record, yet the Audio Express offers premium sound quality (better than CD, at 24-bit/96kHz) so it's perfect for the top-level engineer who needs a mobile recording solution. Better yet, the MOTU Audio Express features both USB and FireWire ports. That means it'll work with nearly any computer you'll come across, so it's easier than ever to collaborate. Just put the MOTU Audio Express in your laptop bag, bring it to your bandmate's house, and you can get going.

  • MOTU Audio Express FireWire/USB Audio Interface at a Glance:
  • Powerful built-in mixer
  • Control CueMix with your iPad
Powerful built-in mixer

Beyond having helpful USB and FireWire connectivity, the MOTU Audio Express has other collaboration-friendly features. One you'll appreciate is the built-in mixer. With it, you can create four custom stereo mixes that you send through the main outputs, line outputs, S/PDIF outputs, and headphone jack. That opens up the possibilities during the recording process, enabling you to give each musician a custom headphone mix, while letting you keep your ears on the main mix in the control room. There are many ways you can and will use this feature. And you'll be glad to know, it's easy to create these mixes, thanks to the CueMix FX mixing software (Mac/PC) that comes with the MOTU Audio Express.

Control CueMix with your iPad

MOTU's CueMix FX software, the mixing software that drives the powerful routing of the Audio Express, can be controlled from your iPad. MOTU created CueMix templates for the TouchOSC controller app, giving you complete control over your Audio Express' mixing and effects processing over a Wi-Fi network. This means that when you're recording in your studio, you don't need to keep going back to your computer to adjust gain levels, change monitoring effects, or virtually anything else you rely on CueMix for.

Portable, packed with great sound quality, and loaded with the right I/O for the majority of home, personal, and project studio needs, the MOTU Audio Express offers a great value for any recording enthusiast or pro. Step up your sound quality with the MOTU Audio Express today!

MOTU Audio Express Features at a Glance:
  • 6-input, 6-output audio interface for Mac and Windows
  • 6 x 8 physical input/output channels - all channels are available simultaneously and operate independently
  • Hybrid FireWire/USB 2.0 connectivity - connect to your Mac or PC via either bus-powered Firewire or hi-speed USB2
  • 8-bus digital mixer - routes and mixes all six inputs to any output pair
  • Four separate mixes - each output pair (main outs, line outs, S/PDIF out, and phones) can have a completely different mix of all six inputs, with or without computer tracks
  • Two mic/guitar combo jacks - provide hi-Z 1/4" guitar input or XLR mic input with phantom power, 20dB pad, Precision Digital Trim, and plenty of gain.
  • Stereo analog inputs - on line-level, balanced TRS quarter-inch jacks. Great for keyboards or other line level-input signals
  • Stereo main outs - on balanced TRS quarter-inch jacks. Connect directly to powered speakers (or other line-level analog destination)
  • Stereo 24-bit 96kHz S/PDIF digital in/out
  • Stereo headphone output on quarter-inch jack with independent volume control
  • Support for standard sample rates up to 96kHz
  • Precision Digital Trim - digitally controlled analog trim on all inputs provides adjustments in approximately 1dB increments, so you can fine-tune the balance of your inputs and then save/recall trim configurations
  • Front-panel mixing and control - each input has its own dedicated volume knob Control multiple mixes with clear feedback from front panel LEDs and metering
  • CueMix FX cross-platform mixing software - attractive on-screen graphic mixing with an instrument tuner and audio analysis tools including real-time FFT display, spectrogram "waterfall" display, oscilloscope, X-Y plot and linear or polar phase analysis
  • Stand-alone operation - bring the Audio Express to your gig, with or without a computer. Just plug in the included power adapter and you are ready to go. Need to tweak the mix? Just turn the front-panel knobs
  • Front panel volume control of main outs and headphone jack
  • Expandable - add additional interfaces for more I/O as your needs grow
  • Time code support - directly resolves to (or generates) time code via any quarter-inch input or output, without the need for an extra synchronizer
  • Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) - a DSP-driven phase lock engine and internal clock source that produces imperceptibly low jitter characteristics (below the noise floor), even when the Audio Express is resolved to an external clock source via SMPTE time code
  • Sample-accurate MIDI - connect a MIDI controller and/or sound module with no separate interface needed. MIDI I/O is sample-accurate with supporting software
  • Foot switch input - connect a standard foot pedal switch (sold separately) for hands-free punch-in and punch-out while recording. Or map the pedal to any keystroke function in your host software
  • DC-coupled TRS outputs - can be used with Volta (sold separately) to manipulate and sequence voltage-controlled modular synthesizers from a host DAW
  • Plug-and-play operation with your Mac or PC via FireWire or USB2 - compatible with all current and recent generation Macs and PCs
  • Includes native 32- and 64-bit drivers for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista, including ASIO, WDM, Wave, Core Audio, and Core MIDI. Supports all popular Mac and Windows audio software.
  • 100% compatible with all host-based effects processing in today's popular audio programs
  • Includes AudioDesk full-featured sample-accurate workstation software for the Mac with recording, editing, mixing, real-time 32-bit effects processing & sample-accurate sync
  • Bus-powered FireWire operation. No need for external power when operating as a FireWire interface connected to a computer. A power supply is included for stand-alone operation
  • Chassis dimensions, excluding rack ears and front and back panel knobs and connectors: 9.5 x 7 x 1.75 inches. Knobs and connectors extend up to 0.5 inch from front and back panels, adding 1 inch to depth. With rack ears attached, fits one half of a standard 19 inch rack at 1U high.
The MOTU Audio Express is the perfect interface for personal and mobile recording!

Additional Media

Audio Express User Manual for Mac
Audio Express User Manual for Windows
Audio Interface Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Computer Connectivity FireWire/USB 2.0
Form Factor Rackmount
Simultaneous I/O 6 x 6
A/D Resolution 24-bit/96kHz
Built In DSP/FX Yes
Analog Inputs 2 x XLR, 5 x 1/4"
Analog Outputs 5 x 1/4"
Digital Inputs 1 x S/PDIF
Digital Outputs 1 x S/PDIF
Bus Powered Yes
Rack Spaces 1U
Depth 9.5"
Width 7"
Height 1.75"
Manufacturer Part Number 8456

Customer Reviews

Based on 12 reviews
Write your review


I was in the market for something that had firewire and usb connectivity and it had to sound clean. I don't do music I'm a VO guy so I didn't want anything that "colored" the sound. For my purposes the Motu Audio Express fit the bill perfectly. In use it's been flawless. Running it on two systems Windows 7 and Windows XP. Installation was simple and didn't have a bit of problem.
Music background: Voice Over dude

Very Impressive Interface!

This is my first experience with an audio interface, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I am very impressed by the MOTU Audio Express. First, it's very solidly built, with a thick metal chassis. In fact, it's so solid that if I were to ever stop making music (HA! fat chance), I could use it as a jack stand for my SUV in a pinch without a second thought! The buttons are all tight, no wiggling or feeling like they might pop off and all inputs grab nicely. Overall great quality look and feel. From a setup perspective, loading drivers and having my DAW see all its inputs and outputs was a breeze, although never having used an audio interface before, I did have to consult the manual in order to understand a few basic concepts, nothing major though. It's a plus that it can connect via either USB (2.0) or Firewire. The sound is amazing and being able to record audio (vocals or instruments) with latency so close to zero it's not even worth mentioning was what blew me away! The line input sound is very clean and uncolored. The mic pre-amps also are extremely clean and I'm sure they are neither adding nor removing anything tonally. Just crisp and clear and noticeably better than recording into my 24-track hard disk recorder with the same mics. Now, the controls are minimalist by design, meaning the few buttons have several functions depending on what mode you're in and if you've pushed any of the buttons (they are both rotary and pushable). Because of that, this baby can do more than it may seem just from looking at it. It's a bit confusing at first, but the learning curve is pretty steep (contrary to popular usage, a STEEP learning curve actually means something is EASY to learn). As I said, I have never used an audio interface before, but if some negative fate were to befall this one, I don't think I would hesitate to buy the same thing again, unless at that time I needed more inputs or something. You can certainly get less expensive interfaces, but I doubt they'd match the quality and performance of this one, and I think you'd lay a LOT more to get quality and performance that would be noticeably better.
Music background: Swimming in the Ocean of Tone


The Motu Audio Express is a great value . It is built like a tank and the sound quality beats everything I have owned . It's made in the US! I use Presonus Studio One Pro with no issues. I loaded the Audio Desk software that came with it and it seems to be a good software,again the quality was crystal clear and the plug-ins were a nice add on. I have not tried the USB but the Firewire works great for me. I am using a new Imac desktop.I have been playing music for 46 years and recording my own music for 10 years. I'm now 54 years old This product was not on my radar but thanks to the pros at Sweetwater I have a great product that sounds amazing. My Rep not only did he email me but he called to make sure everything was good! Why would you buy anywhere else when you get free support and service second to none?.WOW! and they are hear in the US not in a another country reading from a card! OUTSTANDING!
Music background: Semi-Pro Singer Songwriter/Musician

Rock Solid

I use this unit for everything - portable virtual keyboard, interface for portable recording, running YouTube videos through pro speakers, and playing virtual drum and bass tracks through a sound system for rehearsals. I jump the SPDIF jacks together to run Komplete patches through Guitar Rig with no signal loss. You can work it as hard as you please - you're only limited by your imagination. There's not much to dislike - it does exactly what it is supposed to and does it well. My only complaints - 1) The knobs and labels on the front are small and hard to deal with. 2) The power supply is the only part of the unit that is not built like a tank, so it gets beat up faster. Neither is a dealbreaker for an otherwise impressive piece of gear.
Music background: Pro piano and bass, semi-pro recordist, published composer and songwriter

So far so good

Ive only had it for a few weeks. Its got a ton of features, great functionality, and profesional grade sound quality (minus tube preamps of course). My only gripe is that the interface controls are a bit awkward, but thats to be expected from such a small unit with so few physical knobs and buttons. Other than that, its probabaly the best audio gear purchase Ive made to date.
Music background: Musician, Recording Engineer in training
See also: FireWire Interfaces, MOTU, MOTU FireWire Audio Interfaces, MOTU USB Audio Interfaces