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MOTU 16A Thunderbolt Audio Interface   

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MOTU interfaces can be found in studios around the world because of their superb performance record and trusted reliability. The 16A is one of severa...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

32-input Thunderbolt audio interface with 48-channel mixing and AVB networking capability.

MOTU interfaces can be found in studios around the world because of their superb performance record and trusted reliability. The 16A is one of several next-generation, high-performance audio interfaces, combining incredible audio, large console style mixing, and state-of-the-art features.

64 Audio channels - A feast of analog and digital I/O
16 balanced/unbalanced TRS analog inputs and outputs, plus 2 x 8-channel ADAT optical ports, deliver a total of 32 inputs and 32 outputs. Use the 16A for expanding analog I/O for your computer, or as a flexible, capable patchbay and mixer. Or both!

Superb audio quality - Pure sound, without compromise
The 16A employs latest-generation ESS Sabre32 Ultra converters, known for their industry-leading performance, together with expertly engineered analog circuits that reflect more than three decades of pro audio engineering expertise. The result? The 16A achieves actual, measured performance of 123dB dynamic range (A-weighted, 20Hz to 20kHz) on its balanced TRS analog outputs.

Ultra-low I/O latency - State-of-the-art latency performance
Every digital audio workflow has some latency. The only question is, how much? In the case of the 16A, the answer is, not much at all. In the 16A, latency is measured in a handful of samples, from the time an audio signal first goes digital to its arrival somewhere else (to an output the mixer, or the computer). By keeping latency this low in the hardware, the 16A helps minimize latency introduced by your host software.

Thunderbolt technology - Plug-and-play ease with massive bandwidth
Thunderbolt lets you connect displays, hard drives, and other peripherals to your computer, along with the 16A, and the Thunderbolt bus won't even break a sweat. But more importantly, Thunderbolt gives you an astonishing 256 channels of computer I/O (128 in and out). You can use them to route audio to the physical inputs and outputs on the 16A, plus the 48-channel mixer inside the 16A, plus audio network streams. The 16A is one of the first and only interfaces to combine Thunderbolt I/O connectivity with AVB audio networking.

Audio class compliant USB 2.0 - Broad compatibility with future-proof connectivity
Don't have a Thunderbolt-equipped computer yet? Hi-speed USB 2.0 provides across -the-board compatibility with pretty much all laptops and desktop computers. The 16A is USB audio class compliant, which means you enjoy OS-level USB compatibility and support, including iPad support (works with camera connection kit, sold separately). Since USB 2.0 devices are compatible with USB 3.0-equipped hosts, your 16A interface is a future-proof investment in your studio.

48-channel digital mixing - Control up to 12 separate stereo mixes
The 16A is equipped with a 48-channel digital mixer designed just like a large format mixing console. The 48 inputs can take signal from anywhere; the physical inputs on the 16A interface itself, audio channels from host software on your computer, audio network streams, or even mixer outputs. The mixer provides 7 stereo aux busses, 3 groups, a reverb bus that can alternately serve as a 4th group, a Main Mix bus and a separate Monitor bus that can serve as a solo bus. In essence: capable and transparent mixing.

Modeled analog EQ and compression - Vintage processing with 32-bit floating point precision
British analog mixing consoles are renowned for their musical EQ profiles. The 16A meticulously models these classic EQs to give you the very same, magical EQ response found on these coveted desks. Each input channel also provides a classic compressor module with optional peak/RMS operation. Groups and the Main Mix bus are equipped with MOTU's Leveler, an accurate model of the legendary Teletronix LA-2A optical leveling amplifier, known for its unique and highly sought-after Automatic-Gain Control (AGC) characteristics.

Matrix routing and splitting - Put the ultimate patch-bay at your fingertips
With one click on the 16A's routing grid, you can route any source signal to any destination. Sources can be analog or digital inputs on the interface, computer channels, mixer bus outputs, or audio network streams from other devices on the network. Destinations include interface outputs, host software inputs, mixer inputs, or any other device (or computer) on the AVB network. You can even split any single input (or stereo pair) to unlimited multiple output destinations.

System expansion and audio networking - Expand your system with more I/O and Wi-Fi control
The 16A network port introduces AVB Ethernet, the new industry standard developed by the IEEE for professional audio networking. Add a second MOTU AVB interface (1248, 8M or 16A) with a simple Cat-5e or CAT-6 Ethernet cable.

Connect up to five MOTU interfaces using a MOTU AVB Switch (sold separately)

Build a network with multiple interfaces, computers, and AVB switches using standard network cabling, with ultra-low network latency, even over long cable runs (hundreds of meters). Stream hundreds of audio channels among devices and computers on the network.

Web app control - Control everything from your laptop, tablet, and smart phone
The software that you use to control the 16A doesn't' reside on your hard drive. It's a web app served from the hardware itself. This means you can control the 16A's on-board DSP, mixing, device settings, and network audio routing from the web app software running on your favorite web browser on a laptop, tablet or smart phone connected by wire or Wi-Fi to your local area network. Use any web client on any platform - Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android - as long as it shares the same network.

Comprehensive metering - View all I/O activity at a glance
The large backlit 324 x 24 LCD lets you view all signal activity at a glance with detailed metering for all analog and digital I/O. Access hardware settings from a simple and convenient menu.

Quick setup presets - Completely transform your MOTU interface with one click
The 16A is so flexible, it can serve many roles - in the studio, on stage, and throughout an installation. The Quick Setup menu lets you instantly reconfigure the 16A for many common situations, from operation as a standard audio interface to serving as a network "snake" from one location to another. Once a preset is chosen, you can easily customize the routing grid and mixer settings to further suit your specific needs - and then save your own custom presets.

FEATURES
  • Audio Quality
  • Max bit depth: 24-bit
  • Max sampling rate: 192kHz
  • Inputs
  • Total inputs: 32
  • Mic preamps: 0
  • XLR/TRS combo jacks: 0
  • XLR only jacks: 0
  • 1/4" only jacks: 16 (TRS balanced)
  • S/PDIF in: 0
  • ADAT/optical in: 16
  • RCA in: 0
  • Outputs
  • Total outputs: 32
  • XLR out: 0
  • 1/4" out: 16 (TRS balanced)
  • S/PDIF out: 0
  • ADAT/optical out: 16
  • RCA out: 0
  • Other Connectivity
  • Computer connection: Thunderbolt & USB 2.0
  • MIDI I/O: No
  • Headphone output(s): 1
  • Word-clock I/O: Yes
  • Onboard Features
  • Platform compatibility: Mac & Windows
  • Phantom power: Yes
  • Direct monitoring: Yes
  • Onboard DSP: Yes
  • Metering: LED meters
  • Display: Yes
  • Latency control: Yes
  • Monitor control: Yes
  • Headphone control: Yes
  • Other
  • Width: Info not available
  • Height: Info not available
  • Depth: Info not available
  • Weight: Info not available
  • Construction: Brushed aluminum
  • Rack-mountable: Yes
  • Included software: Info not available

Get the ultimate in flexibilty and audio performance!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
MOTU16A Thunderbolt Audio Interface
 
5.0

(based on 1 review)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (1)

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Reviewed by 1 customer

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(12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

An elegant and versatile interface

By OldRedSentra

from Portland OR

About Me Professional Musician

Pros

  • Clear Sound
  • Compact
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Home Studio
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about MOTU 16A Thunderbolt Audio Interface:

    The MOTU 16A is a great sounding, elegantly implemented interface, and it's solved a number of problems for me in my studio.

    I have a small home recording studio, and while it is just 4 rooms in a basement, I've treated the acoustics pretty well and have amassed some nice gear. I have 12 channels of good mic pres (Neve, Pacifica, Great River, Avalon, API) plus a MOTU 8pre, so 20 mic pres all together, plus a rack of MIDI stuff mixed to stereo; all that plus a stereo pair for playback gives me 24 channels. I have a Behringer Powerplay system for monitoring, with P16-M modules in each room, and a pair of ATC powered monitors.

    For the last several years I've been running two MOTU 828mkii interfaces over firewire, and they've worked very well. But since upgrading my computer to a Mac trashcan, the 828's have been unstable running over Thunderbolt through adapters. So when MOTU announced the 16A, it looked like just the thing for my studio. All I wanted was a 16 channel interface that wouldn't crash my computer, but I got a whole lot more than that in the 16A.

    My first, admittedly subjective, impression was that the unit just sounded great. 828mkii's are also great sounding interfaces, but I'm pretty sure I hear an improvement in sound quality with the 16A. Another great advantage is that all 16 channels are in one box. Running two 828's there was always the awkwardness of running two instances of CueMix, with the two interfaces not being aware of one another, and since the 8pre was linked in via ADAT optical, it didn't show up in CueMix at all. The onboard mixer of the 16A obviously carries all its 16 channels, plus the 8 channels of the 8pre, so all 24 channels appear in the mixer.

    But once I got to playing around with the 16A onboard mixer, I realized that I could use its Aux busses for monitoring, and get rid of the Powerplay system. I've long suspected that the Powerplay was the weak link in my signal chain. It works well at what it does, and I now plan to use it for live stage monitoring, but compared to any of my mic pres and the ATC's, it's just not on the same level of quality. So I set up the 16A Mix and Aux busses to send out of 5 output pairs, ran those to the monitors and to headphone amps in the rooms. Now everyone can run their own headphone mix from an iPad or iPhone, and it's all the direct signal out of the 16A. And yes, the sound quality is vastly improved over the Behringer Powerplay system.

    MOTU really got it right with the 16A, at least for my application. 16 channels is a good size for a basic studio setup, and adding an 8pre gets me to 24 channels. I have a bunch of nice pres so I don't need any in the interface, and I appreciate the simplicity of just 16 TRS ins and outs plus ADAT optical. It's almost as if MOTU designed this thing for my studio! but I'm sure there are lots of similar setups out there that would benefit from it, and it's versatile enough to adapt to other environments too (e.g. live sound). I can only imagine what could be done in larger studios by linking multiple AVB units.

    If I had to come up with cons, I'd say that the manual is a little skimpy - all the info is there, and there are tutorials online too, but I would have appreciated a little more explanatory text and setup examples. In the onboard mixer, it would be nice if the Aux mixers would allow panning and reverb settings; as it is, those settings are done in the main mix and all the Aux mixes follow them. Maybe that will happen in an update.

    But for the money, the 16A does a lot of things very well. The sound quality is top notch, and the onboard mixer handles monitoring and multiple headphone mixes beautifully. For a 24 track studio, it's just about a perfect fit. I'm very satisfied with this purchase.

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