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MOTU 828x Thunderbolt Audio Interface   

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The 828x is MOTU’s best-selling audio interface of all time, and now it’s been upgraded to incorporate the lightning-fast Thunderbolt and USB 2.0 tec...Read More

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The 828x is MOTU’s best-selling audio interface of all time, and now it’s been upgraded to incorporate the lightning-fast Thunderbolt and USB 2.0 technology. The 828x boasts 28 inputs and 30 outputs, with high-end precision audio recording at up to 192kHz resolution, studio-grade mic channels, on-board digital mixer with effects, and a solid metal chassis that is built to last for years and years of recording and performing.

Thunderbolt Connectivity
If you’re operating a Mac as your main recording computer, then you’re no doubt familiar with the incredible speed and performance of Thunderbolt technology. Connect displays, hard drives, and other peripherals to your computer, along with the 828x, up to six devices total, at speeds that rival other connections in the way a finely-tuned race car would dominate a 4-cylinder sedan. Thunderbolt combines plug-and-play convenience with massive bandwidth and low latency for truly professional audio interface performance.

High-speed USB 2.0
As Thunderbolt becomes more widely adopted as a standard form of data transfer, high-speed USB 2.0 provides across-the-board compatibility with virtually all laptops and desktops on both Mac and Windows. Since USB 2.0 devices are compatible with USB 3.0-equipped hosts, your 828x interface is a future-proof investment in your studio.

28 inputs and 30 outputs
What kind of I/O can you expect from a single-rack audio interface? How about eight balanced (TRS) 24-bit analog inputs and outputs, two Mic/Guitar inputs with built-in preamps, a pair of XLR main outs, ADAT optical with 16 channels in and out, two RCA S/PDIF inputs, and two headphone outs for a total of 28 inputs and 30 outputs. That’s enough to track a full set of drums, and then some.

Recording up to 192kHz
So there’s obviously enough inputs for you to track your best DW kit, or a host of other high-end audio equipment, but how does it sound once it passes through the 828x into your computer? Lets just say at a resolution of 192kHz you’ll be tracking audio without compromise. After all, what good is the best instruments in the world if your passing the sound through a less than desirable signal path?

Studio-grade mic channels
Do you work with outboard EQs and compressors? Each 828x mic input offers a pre-converter send for mono or stereo mic channel outboard processing. The 828x's unique V-Limit™ hardware limiter employs a proprietary design to offer an additional 12 dB of headroom over digital zero with no digital clipping or harsh artifacts, for that added protection in dynamic recording situations. The 828x's preamps are clean and neutral, allowing you to use your favorite plug-ins and host software to color the sound just the way you want for each recording application.

On-board digital mixer with effects
Record, monitor, route and process all live inputs using the professional on-board CueMix FX digital mixer – with no latency and no processor strain on your computer. That means you can apply DSP-driven compression, EQ and reverb to every input and output, independent of your host computer.

Stand-alone operation as a mixer
Not only is the 828x a proven performer in a professional studio environment, but you can also go instantly from your studio straight to the stage. After programming the on-board mixing in the studio, unplug the 828x from the computer and take it on the road for operation as a stand-alone mixer with effects. All mixing and effects parameters are adjustable using the front panel backlit LCD.

Solid metal chassis
And what good is taking your interface out of the studio if it’s not able to stand up to the demands of the outside world. Like all MOTU interfaces, the 828x's aluminum alloy chassis is lightweight, yet incredibly sturdy and durable, and designed to withstand the rigors of the studio, stage, and road. In a world awash with cheap plastic, the cool feeling of the 828x's metal exterior in your hands is a reassuring reminder that you are holding quality engineering and construction.

MOTU's best-selling audio interface, now with Thunderbolt connectivity.

  • 28 inputs and 30 outputs
  • Thunderbolt technology
  • High-speed USB 2.0
  • Up to 192kHz audio resolution
  • Studio-grade mic channels
  • On-board digital mixer with effects
  • Stand-alone operation as a mixer
  • Solid metal chassis
  • Support for Mac OS X and Windows
  • MIDI I/O built-in
  • Analysis tools and oscilloscope

Who says you can't improve upon greatness? Get Thunderbolt connected today!


828x Thunderbolt Audio Interface

  • Technical Specifications
  • Converters 24-bit
  • Sample rates 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz
  • Analog inputs 2 x XLR/TRS combo-style mic/guitar inputs
  • 8 x 1/4" TRS line inputs (balanced/unbalanced)
  • Analog outputs 2 x XLR balanced main out
  • 8 x 1/4" balanced TRS line out
  • 2 x 1/4" TRS stereo headphone
  • Digital I/O 16 channels of ADAT optical at 1x sample rates
  • 8 channels of SMUX optical at 2x sample rates
  • 2-channel TOSlink (optical S/PDIF) up to 96 kHz
  • 2-channel RCA S/PDIF up to 96 kHz
  • Total I/O 28 inputs and 30 outputs at 1x sample rates
  • 20 inputs and 22 outputs at 2x sample rates
  • 10 inputs and 10 outputs at 4x sample rates
  • Computer I/O 1 x Thunderbolt (compatible with 1 and 2)
  • 1 x USB 2.0 (compatible with 3.0)
  • Sync I/O 1 x SMPTE time code in (LTC)
  • 1 x SMPTE time code out (LTC)
  • 1 x word clock in
  • 1 x word clock out
  • Headphone output 1 x 1/4" TRS stereo phone (assignable)
  • 1 x 1/4" TRS stereo phone (mirrors main outs)
  • Phantom power 2 x individual +48V
  • Front panel 2 x XLR/TRS combo mic/guitar in
  • 2 x 1/4" TRS phone
  • 2 x digital rotary encoders • phone/main volume
  • 2 x digital rotary encoders • mic trim
  • 4 x switches • Pad and 48V Phantom
  • 4 x digital rotary encoders for LCD control
  • 2 x 16 character LCD
  • 8 x 4-segment ladder LEDs • 1/4-inch analog in
  • 8 x activity LED • 1/4-inch analog out
  • 2 x 4-segment ladder LEDs • RCA S/PDIF in
  • 2 x activity LED • RCA S/PDIF out
  • 2 x 10-segment LEDs • mic in with V-Limit
  • 2 x 5-segment ladder LEDs • main outs
  • 6 x LED • sample rate indicator
  • 1 x LED • LOCK/TACH indicator
  • 2 x activity LEDs • optical bank A/B
  • 1 x activity LED • MIDI in/out
  • 1 x AC power switch
  • Power International 100-240V autoswitching supply
  • 50-60 Hz • 20 Watts
  • Mac System Requirements
  • A Mac with an Intel processor
  • 1 GB RAM; 2 GB or more recommended
  • Mac OS X version 10.6 or later required
  • Available Thunderbolt or high-speed USB 2.0 (or 3.0) port
  • USB cable included; Thunderbolt cable purchased separately
  • A large hard drive (preferably at least 250 GB)
  • Windows System Requirements
  • 1 GHz Pentium-based PC compatible or faster
  • 1 GB RAM; 2 GB or more recommended
  • Windows 8, 7 or Vista, 32- or 64-bit; Vista SP 2 or later required
  • Available Thunderbolt or high-speed USB 2.0 (or 3.0) port
  • USB cable included; Thunderbolt cable purchased separately
  • A large hard drive (preferably at least 250 GB)
  • Included software
  • CueMix FX
  • MOTU SMPTE Console
  • AudioDesk (Mac only, optical CD drive required)
  • Operating Systems
  • Mac OS X version 10.6 or later
  • Windows 8, 7 or Vista (SP2 or later is required)
  • 64-bit operation
  • Available for Mac OS X 10.6 or later
  • Available for 64-bit versions of Windows 8, 7 or Vista
  • Requires a 64-bit CPU

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
MOTU828x Thunderbolt Audio Interface

(based on 1 review)

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Reviewed by 1 customer

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(53 of 56 customers found this review helpful)


If you're buying this for thunderbolt


from Florida

About Me Professional Musician

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Verified Buyer


  • Compact
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Stabile
  • Versatile


  • Limited Functions
  • Pricey / Poor Value

Best Uses

  • Home Studio
  • Mobile DJ

Comments about MOTU 828x Thunderbolt Audio Interface:

I bought this unit after much consideration.
Problem is.... I bought it because of the capability of the speed and throughput of thunderbolt. Unfortunately, though it is stabile.... Due to the buffering process motu uses, it limits the use of the full potential.
Anyone looking for thunderbolt interfaces are trying to lessen their latency.
And unfortunately.......after testing and testing..... I called motu tech support.
Only to be told that the performance of the thunderbolt connection was no different than the firewire connection of the previous series. And that there would be almost no noticeable difference between usb and thunderbolt connections.
They verified..... 7-9 ms at best.....that's what I got....over and over.
I never write reviews but you all need to know.....this is not true thunderbolt performance. Though stabile....reliable....great tech support and guaranteed to last and be supported forever"....motu is great for that...
But those drivers.......and whatever they are doing with the double buffer situation, it's disappointing, when we all have studied the benefits of thunderbolt.
This thing has everything except the only reason to choose this model over the mark3, which is much cheaper.
Very disappointing.
Ok.....beware if you think you're gonna get that real time throughput with your power PC or Mac.......this thing is no faster than usb2 or firewire 400
More definitely more tracks at the lowest latency.
But the lowest just isn't what it should be with thunderbolt cable sticking out.
If this isn't enough to convince motu customer service.
They literally will give you the same numbers for latency throughput.
You've been warned.
Thank goodness for the great return policy here
But please just avoid the whole thing if using vst fx in realtime is part of your goal.
I'm out

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