MOTU has announced the Track16, a 16 x 14 desktop studio interface with mixing and effects. Track16 connects via FireWire or hi-speed USB 2.0 to a Mac or PC computer. The Track16 base unit with the included breakout cable provide a total of sixteen inputs and fourteen outputs, hybrid FireWire/USB connectivity, optical digital I/O, MIDI I/O, and SMPTE time code sync. Advanced features include a 16-bus digital mixer (with reverb, EQ, and compression), audio analysis tools such as an FFT with waterfall spectrogram, and an instrument tuner.
The Track16 base unit (approximately 5 x 8 x 1 inches) is constructed from solid aluminum cast metal, with a brushed-aluminum top. The top panel provides a large, multi-function knob, ten backlit buttons, and four pairs of 7-segment level meters. The front panel provides several connectors, including a hi-Z guitar input, eighth-inch stereo “mini” line input, and two mirrored headphone jacks (on quarter-inch and eighth-inch connectors). The rear panel provides a DB25 connector for the breakout cable, a FireWire 400 connector (on a 9-pin Type B jack, similar to other MOTU “hybrid” audio interfaces), a standard USB 2.0 port, and optical in/out jacks, which provide eight channels at 1x sample rates, four channels of SMUX at 2x samples rates, and stereo TOSlink (optical S/PDIF) at rates up to 96 kHz. The optical ports are ideal for system expansion, such as adding eight more mic inputs with a MOTU 8pre interface.
The custom-designed DB25 breakout cable is 44 inches long (tip to tip), with twelve female connectors for the rest of Track16′s I/O connections, including two XLR mic inputs, stereo balanced quarter-inch line inputs, stereo balanced quarter-inch main outs, stereo quarter-inch line outputs, a second hi-Z guitar input, MIDI IN/OUT, and a DC power input for the included power adapter. Individually shielded twisted pairs and balanced analog connections ensure optimum audio quality and integrity. An optional breakout box with the same connectors as the included breakout will be sold separately (pricing and availability TBA).
Track16 can draw bus power from the FireWire port, which supplies enough power to drive 48V phantom power for two independent mic preamps. Under bus power, users have the option of operating Track16 without the breakout cable, allowing them to record from the guitar input and listen on headphones with just their laptop computer.
The included DC adapter connects to the breakout cable (or breakout box) and powers Track16 for stand-alone use or connection to a computer using USB. Track16′s USB 2.0 connection provides across-the-board compatibility with Mac and PCs, including forward compatibility with the USB 3.0 connections on Apple’s latest MacBook and Mac Pro computers.
Track16 operation is simple. The top-row buttons select input channels; the bottom-row buttons select output channels. Turn the knob to adjust the selected channel volume. The large, multi-function knob (1.75 inches in diameter and 0.5 inches tall) is a slightly detented rotary encoder with a smooth, solid feel. Push it to mute/unmute the selected channel or to toggle phantom power or pad for each mic input. Users can also control CueMix bus input level by pressing both the input and the desired output bus. For example, to control the mix bus volume for the 2nd guitar input being routed to the line outputs, press GUITAR 2 and LINE OUT. They both illuminate and you are now controlling the CueMix bus fader for GUITAR 2.
Track16′s buttons are backlit with multi-color LEDs to facilitate operation in dark studio or stage environments. From the factory, the bottons glow amber (orange), except for the currently selected channel, which glows bright green. Six other color schemes are available in various combinations of green, red and amber.
Four pairs of 7-segment level meters provide monitoring of all analog inputs and outputs. Press the METERS button to toggle between the channels labeled in white and those labeled in blue. The main out meters remain dedicated to the main outs at all times.
» Converters: 24-bit
» Sample rates: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz
» Analog inputs: 2 x XLR mic inputs
» 2 x 1/4″ TRS line inputs (balanced/unbalanced)
» 1 x 1/8″ stereo “mini” line inputs (unbalanced)
» 2 x 1/4″ hi-Z guitar inputs
» Analog outputs: 2 x 1/4″ balanced TRS main out
» 2 x 1/4″ unbalanced TRS line out
» 1 x 1/4″ TRS stereo headphone
» 1 x 1/8″ stereo headphone
» Digital I/O: 8-channel ADAT optical at 1x sample rates
» 4-channel SMUX optical at 2x sample rates
» 2-channel TOSlink (optical S/PDIF) up to 96 kHz
» Computer I/O: 1 x FireWire 400 (Type B connector)
» 1 x USB 2.0
» Sync in/out: SMPTE time code (LTC)
» Headphone output: 1 x 1/4″ TRS stereo phone
» 1 x 1/8″ stereo phone
» Phantom power: Individual +48V
In most other respects, Track16 is a close sibling to MOTU’s current line of “mk3″ hybrid audio interfaces, such as the popular UltraLite-mk3 and 828mk3 interfaces, sharing their hybrid connectivity to Macs and PCs, 16-bus CueMix FX mixing engine, on-board effects processing (including classic reverb, modeled console EQ, and vintage compression), stand-alone operation, Precision Digital Trim™, SMPTE time code read/write capabilities, included AudioDesk™ workstation software, audio analysis tools, and an instrument tuner.
MOTU’s Track16 will be availabe this Fall for $595.