Motu 828mkII goes to USB
Motu has released a new model of its 828mkII audio interface, equipped with high-speed USB 2.0 for connection to any USB 2.0 compatible Mac. Both models are identical, except for their connection to the computer via either FireWire or USB 2.0. The 828mkII-USB provides a high-speed \"ultra-fast\" (480 Mbit) USB 2.0 connection to any USB 2.0-equipped Mac. Users can freely choose between purchasing the 828mkII FireWire model or the USB 2.0 model, depending their computer and other FireWire or USB devices they plan to connect to it.
The 828mkII-FireWire provides two 400 Mbit (\"FireWire A\") sockets for connection to the computer. The second socket allows for daisy-chaining multiple FireWire interfaces, including additional 828mkIIs or other models, such as the 896HD or Traveler. Alternately, you can use a standard FireWire hub.
The 828mkII-USB provides a high-speed \"ultra-fast\" (480Mbit) USB 2.0 connection to any USB 2.0-equipped Mac or PC. Additional 828mkII-USB interfaces can be connected via a standard USB 2.0 hub. In terms of actual performance, USB 2.0 provides essentially the same amount of I/O bandwidth as FireWire A.
Which model should you choose?
This mostly depends on your computer and other FireWire or USB devices that you plan to connect to it. Here are a few things to consider:
- Check to see if your computer has a built-in FireWire port. If so, you can use the FireWire 828mkII model, regardless of whether the socket on the computer is a FireWire A (400 Mbit) or FireWire B (800 Mbit) port. If it\'s a FireWire B port, then it will simply operate at 400 MBits with the 828mkII connected. (You might need to purchase a FireWire B cable or adapter.)
- If there\'s no built-in FireWire, you can either purchase a FireWire adapter product or use the 828mkII-USB model connected to any built-in USB port. Just make sure that the USB port supports the \"high-speed\" USB 2.0 standard. Most recent computers (built within the last several years) support the high-speed USB 2.0 standard. Older computers may not. To confirm that your PC is equipped with high-speed USB 2.0, open Device Manager and expand the Universal Serial Bus section. There should be an \"Enhanced\" USB host controller present. To confirm that your Mac is equipped with USB 2.0, choose \"About this Mac\" from the Apple menu and then click More Info to launch Apple System Profiler. Look in the hardware list for USB and click it. If the USB bus description on the right-hand side says \"USB High Speed Bus\", then your Mac supports USB 2.0.
- Consider other FireWire and USB devices that you might want to connect. For example, if you plan to use multiple 828mkIIs, FireWire might be the better choice because the FireWire model has two FireWire jacks on it, allowing you to daisy-chain 2-4 units (depending on the sample rate being used) without a FireWire hub. On the other hand, if you plan to use an external FireWire hard drive for disk tracks, archiving or general storage, then the USB model might make more sense because it has its own data bus to and from the computer (it won\'t have to share the FireWire bus with the hard drive). Conversely, you might own a USB 2.0 hard drive, in which case the 828mkII-FireWire might be the better choice for audio I/O.
- MOTU\'s advanced, low-latency drivers allow you to operate both FireWire and USB 828mkII interfaces on the same computer simultaneously. For example, you could operate two 828mkII\'s at 96kHz via FireWire (the maximum possible at 96kHz) and connect a third 828mkII via USB for even more 96kHz inputs and outputs.