828MK3 Hybrid Audio Interface

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Item: N13-2002

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828MK3 Hybrid Audio Interface
828MK3 Hybrid Audio Interface 828MK3 Hybrid Audio Interface 828MK3 Hybrid Audio Interface


As a hybrid audio interface, the 828mk3 provides flexible connectivity to any Mac or PC via FireWire or high-speed USB 2.0, with 10 channels of pristine 192kHz analog recording and playback, combined with sixteen channels of ADAT digital I/O and stereo S/PDIF. Expand your system by connecting additional MOTU audio interfaces or the 8pre mic input expander.

The 828mk3 is equally well-suited for studio and stage, with or without a computer. As an interface or standalone mixer, the 828mk3 provides 28 separate inputs and 30 separate outputs, including dedicated main outs on XLRs and two front panel headphone outs.

Connect all of your studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines and even effects processors. Record, monitor, route and process all of these live inputs using the professional on-board CueMix FX digital mixer—with no latency and no processor strain on your computer. Apply hardware DSP-driven compression, EQ, and reverb to every input and output, independent of your host computer. When recording from the mic/guitar inputs, the 828mk3's signal overload protection gives you an extra 12dB of headroom above zero with no digital clipping or harsh artifacts.

Analyze and scope your audio with advanced diagnostic tools, including a full-screen realtime FFT display, spectrogram waterfall display, full-featured oscilloscope, X-Y plot, and linear/polar phase analysis graphs.

After programming the on-board mixing in the studio, unplug the 828mk3 from the computer and take it on the road for operation as a Standalone mixer with effects. All mixing and effects parameters are adjustable using the front panel backlit LCD.

The 828mk3 provides cross-platform compatibility with Mac and Windows and all of your favorite audio software and host-based effects via WDM/ASIO/Core Audio drivers. Or you can use the included AudioDesk workstation software for Mac, with 24-bit recording/editing and 32-bit mixing/processing/mastering.

FireWire has long been recognized as a reliable, high-performance connectivity standard for professional audio interfaces like the 828mk3. Meanwhile, high-speed USB 2.0 has also developed into a widely adopted standard for connecting peripheral devices to personal computers.

To fully support both formats, the 828mk3 hybrid audio interface is equipped with FireWire jacks and a high-speed USB 2.0 (480MB/sec) connector, and you can use either port to connect the 828mk3 to your computer. This gives you maximum flexibility and compatibility with today's ever-expanding universe of Mac and Windows computers.

If your computer does not have a FireWire port, then obviously you will need to connect the 828mk3 to one of its high-speed USB 2.0 ports. However, if your computer has both FireWire and USB2, then it is your choice, and your decision will depend mostly on other peripherals you may also have.

Two convenient front panel mic/guitar inputs are equipped with high-quality preamps, plus overload protection and all the features you need to record any mic or guitar with excellent sound quality. Each input is equipped with its own 48V phantom power switch and 20 dB pad switch. Both inputs also include a switch that toggles between the low-impedance XLR mic input and the true high-impedance 1/4" guitar input jack.

The preamps provide 53dB of gain, which you can adjust in precise 1dB increments using the detented digital rotary encoder. As you turn the encoder, you see graphic and numeric feedback in the front panel LCD, so you know exactly how much gain you are applying. The gain adjustment itself is smooth because it is analog, but the digital control gives you both precision and the ability to save and recall trim settings. You get the best of both worlds: analog trim with digital precision and control.

Precision digitally controlled analog trim is also available on all of the 828mk3's balanced 1/4" (TRS) analog inputs on the rear panel. Level matching analog inputs has never been easier or more convenient. You can carefully tune the balance among your analog inputs using the CueMix FX software and then save the entire configuration on disk for instant recall. You can create and save as many trim configurations as you need.

Both mic/guitar inputs are equipped with V-Limit, a hardware limiter that helps prevent digital clipping from overloaded input signals. With V-Limit enabled, signals can go above 0dB (where limiting kicks in) to as high as +12dB above zero with no distortion due to digital clipping.

Additional protection can be applied to the mic/guitar inputs by enabling the 828mk3's Soft Clip feature, which engages just before clipping occurs and helps reduce perceptible distortion.

Each mic input has a corresponding rear panel send that allows you to insert outboard gear before the signal goes digital. Any input can be used as a return.

The 828mk3 allows you to connect a wide variety of studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines, effects processors and more.

In addition to the two mic/guitar preamp inputs on the front panel, the 828mk3 provides two independent headphone jacks with independent volume knobs, one of which also controls the XLR main outs on the rear panel. Alternatively, this "Master Vol" knob can be programmed to control any combination of outputs (analog and/or digital). For example, it can control monitor output for an entire 5.1 or 7.1 surround mix.

The phone jack below the MASTER VOL knob labeled "(MAIN)" is hard-wired to (mirrors) the XLR main outs. In all other cases, inputs and outputs are discrete. For example, using a mic input does not steal an input from the TRS analog I/O bank. Even the second headphone jack operates as an independent output with its own volume control, although you can program it to mirror any other output pair (such as the XLR main outs).

All of the 828mk3's analog inputs are equipped with digitally controlled analog trim controls that allow adjustments in precise 1dB increments. The mic/guitar input trims can be adjusted using front-panel digital rotary encoders that provide feedback in the front panel LCD. All analog inputs, including 8 TRS analog inputs, can be trimmed using the CueMix FX control software for Mac and Windows. This allows you to fine-tune your trim settings for synths, effects modules, and a wide variety of analog inputs for optimum levels. Different trim configurations can then be saved as files on disk for instant recall.

8 balanced (TRS) 24-bit analog inputs and outputs, as well as two XLR main outs and the two preamp inputs, can operate at sample rates up to 192kHz (a total of 10 analog inputs and outputs). Two optical banks provide 16 channels of ADAT optical at 48kHz, 8 channels of S/MUX optical I/O at 96kHz or two banks of stereo TOSLink at rates up to 96kHz. The banks operate independently, allowing you to mix and match any optical formats. RCA S/PDIF connectors also supply independent stereo digital I/O. Each mic input has a corresponding rear panel send that allows you to insert outboard gear before the signal goes digital. Any input can be used as a return.

Powered monitors can be plugged directly into the outputs of the 828mk3 and you can attenuate the output from the software or the front-panel MASTER VOL control. Main out volume is not limited to stereo operation: quad, 5.1, 7.1 and even user-defined configurations are available. You can even program the 828mk3 to control all 30 outputs with the MASTER VOL knob.

Operating as either a computer interface or stand-alone, the 828mk3 provides DSP-driven digital mixing with effects processing (reverb, EQ and compression) for all 28 inputs. You can connect all your gear and then mix, process, and monitor everything from the 828mk3's main outs or headphone jacks.

All I/O is routed to the on-board 16-bus (8 stereo) digital mixer driven by hardware-based DSP with 32-bit floating point precision. The mixer allows you to apply no-latency effects processing to inputs, outputs, or busses directly in the 828mk3 hardware, independent of the computer. Effects can be applied when the 828mk3 is operating stand-alone (without a computer) as a complete rack-mounted mixer. Input signals to the computer can be recorded wet, dry, or dry with a wet monitor mix (for musicians during recording, for example).

All of the mixer settings in the 828mk3 are accessible from the programmable front-panel backlit LCD. You can also launch the CueMix FX control software for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista/XP. CueMix FX provides complete on-screen access to the 828mk3's on-board, hardware-based mixing environment.

CueMix FX gives you comprehensive graphic control over your mix. CueMix FX is a completely new software front-end with attractive graphic mixing, graphic editing of parametric EQ, and a convenient tabbed interface for quick access to all mixing features, digitally controlled trims, and other settings in your MOTU audio interface.

CueMix FX can be operated side by side with any host audio software for Mac or Windows, and it can be controlled from the Mackie Control Universal Pro automated worksurface.

Three separate tabs show inputs, mix busses, and outputs. Click the "Focus" button on any channel or bus to edit its settings in the area on the right-hand side, which provides separate tabs for graphic editing of parametric EQ, compression, and other effects. Each channel strip displays a graphic thumbnail of EQ curves, compressor settings, and other channel-specific parameters. There is also a section for talkback and listenback.

Your MOTU audio interface supports up to 8 separate stereo mixes (seven for the UltraLite-mk3) assigned to any digital or analog output pairs. For example, you could set up separate monitor mixes for the main outs and headphone outs, while two additional stereo buses could be used for send/return loops to reverb units or other outboard gear. Each mix can support all inputs (analog and digital).

DSP resources for mixing and effectsThe CueMix FX flexible effects architecture allows you to apply EQ and compression on every input and output (up to 58 channels, depending on your interface), with enough DSP resources for at least one band of parametric EQ and compression on every channel at 48kHz. However, DSP resources are allocated dynamically and a DSP meter allows you to keep tabs on your interface's CueMix FX processing resources.

Each input, output, and mix bus provides a send to the Classic Reverb processor, which then feeds reverb returns to mix buses and outputs, with a selectable split point between them to prevent send/return feedback loops.


  • Hybrid FireWire/USB2 connectivity lets you connect to your computer via either bus-powered FireWire or hi-speed USB2
  • CueMix FX - flexible 28 input/16 bus mixer with on-board DSP effects, including reverb with sends/returns, plus EQ and compression on every input and output
  • 28 inputs / 30 outputs (at 44.1/48 kHz) - there's no channel sharing in the 828mk3; the mic inputs, S/PDIF I/O, headphone out and main outs are all handled as separate channels
  • Front-panel control lets you access any setting in your entire 828mk3 mix directly from the front panel
  • Standalone operation lets you program your mixes at the studio and then bring the 828mk3 to your gig with no computer needed
  • Tweak your mix on site using the back-lit LCD and front-panel controls
  • Multiple CueMix FX mixes - create different monitor mixes for the main outs and headphones, or add send/return loops for outboard gear with no latency
  • Two front panel combo jacks provide hi-Z 1/4" guitar input or low-Z XLR mic input with phantom power, pad, and plenty of gain
  • Mic/guitar instrument sends - add your favorite outboard EQ, preamp, reverb or other processor to the two mic/guitar inputs, before the signal goes digital
  • Clip protection - Mic/guitar input limiter prevents digital clipping and distortion from overloaded signal levels up to +12dB over zero
  • 8 24-bit 192kHz analog inputs and outputs on balanced/unbalanced 1/4" TRS jacks
  • Precision Digital Trim - Digitally controlled analog trim on all analog inputs (mic/guitar inputs + 1/4" TRS inputs) provides accurate adjustments in 1dB increments
  • Fine-tune the balance of your analog inputs and then save/recall trim configurations
  • Flexible optical I/O - 16 channels of ADAT lightpipe, 8 channels of SMUX (96kHz) or two pairs of stereo TOSLink
  • Mix and match formats between the two banks
  • Connect a MIDI controller and/or sound module with no separate interface needed
  • The MIDI I/O is sample-accurate with supporting software
  • Add additional interfaces for more I/O as your needs grow
  • Separate XLR main outs and front-panel headphone jacks, each with independent volume control
  • Stereo 24-bit 96kHz S/PDIF in/out
  • Word clock in and out
  • SMPTE in and out
  • Includes 32- and 64-bit native drivers for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista/XP, 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 Macintosh with recording, editing, mixing, realtime 32-bit effects processing & sample-accurate sync
  • Plug-and-play operation with your Mac or PC via FireWire or high-speed USB 2.0
  • Front panel volume control for monitoring - Stereo, Quad, 6.1, 7.1 and user-defined surround monitoring setups available
  • Two front-panel headphone jacks with independent volume controls
  • Front-panel meters or activity LEDs for all analog, digital and MIDI I/O, plus SMPTE sync tach and lock LEDs
  • Dedicated front-panel clock status LEDs
  • International 100-240V, 50-60 Hz auto-switching power supply


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Mac System Requriements

  • A G4/500Mhz Power Mac or faster equipped with at least one FireWire port
  • At least 256MB (megabytes) of RAM (512MB or more is recommended)
  • Mac OS X (version 10.4.9 or later)
  • A large hard drive (preferably at least 100GB)

Windows System Requirements

  • A 1GHz Pentium-based PC compatible or faster equipped with at least one FireWire port
  • A Pentium III processor or faster is recommended
  • At least 256MB of RAM (512MB or more is recommended)
  • Windows XP or Vista
  • A large hard drive (preferably at least 100GB)

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