This is What High-End Audio Can Do Now: New Trio of Thunderbolt Boxes from MOTU

You’d be forgiven for missing it in the blur of press releases and trade show hand-outs – and, let’s face it, most musicians are too focused on music to pay much mind. But slowly, steadily, audio interfaces have been getting a lot better. Talk to the people who make them, and they can tell you what’s happened even in terms of individual components. Next, they’re about to get smarter and more networked. And so that means it is worth paying attention today as industry heavyweight MOTU unveils a trio of new audio interfaces, compatible with Thunderbolt 1 and 2 and …

Looks familiar, but that's a good thing. Pics courtesy MOTU.

MOTU 828x: A Favorite Audio Interface Gets Thunderbolt Treatment

The MOTU 828 series has been a workhorse if ever there was one. Since the very first model, its more-then-ample I/O, mixing, clocking, and design have made it a favorite in a market crowded with lots of fairly-similar audio interfaces. It’s just more versatile and has easier access to controls and metering than some of its rivals. That means the arrival of an 828 with Thunderbolt matters. The 828x still has USB 2.0, so you aren’t limited to Thunderbolt connections, and it supports both OS X and Windows. But when connected to Thunderbolt, you get some distinct advantages. The bus …


From Apple, No Lack of Commitment to the Mac, Pros, Creation [WWDC]

Here’s a quick way to sum up the revelations in today’s Apple event: “Oh, so that’s what was keeping them.” It’s certainly true when it comes to OS X and the long-awaited Mac Pro. Critics of Apple and concerned loyal users have worried that the growing success of iOS and consumer platforms would erode support for the company’s pro users. But evidence of a strategic shift has been largely absent. Sure, Apple has added cloud features, an App Store, and iOS apps to the desktop platform – significant changes. But those are all essentially no-brainer updates, and need not conflict …


3 Approaches to Accessorizing the Studio: SPL, Softube, UA at Musikmesse

How can hardware make the computer-based studio more productive? Each trade show invariably brings new offerings that seek to answer that problem as vendors hawk their wares. At Frankfurt’s Musikmesse, steps from one another, three well-known names each each offered their own take. It comes at a time when the industry is re-imagining the role of our machines. It used to be that big, metal boxes said “pro” – and the studio was no exception. (Cue flashbacks trying to set up Digidesign expansion racks in the late 90s. Okay, now putting that out of my mind.) That’s still true in …

Thunderbolt means serious I/O for UA's DSP-based processing on the Apollo card - even on a lowly Mac mini. Image courtesy Universal Audio.

The Thunderbolt Age Dawns: UA Ships Thunderbolt on Apollo; More to Come – Where it Makes Sense

Universal Audio is first out of the gate with an audio interface add-on that uses Intel’s Thunderbolt bus, the high-performance, low-latency connectivity option on current iMacs, MacBook Pros and Airs, and Mac minis (though, conspicuously, not the ever-more-outdated Mac Pro). The solution isn’t the most elegant – you need to add in an option card with an included tool – but once installed, Thunderbolt appears right in the box (see image below). And what can you do with all that extra bandwidth? On the Apollo, you get better performance even as you push the envelope with sample rates, and more …


MOTU Track16: Finally, Slim-Line Audio Interface That Doesn’t Sacrifice I/O? [Preview]

Try a little thought experiment. In one column, write down everything you want in an audio interface. You probably come up with things like physical controls, proper meters so you can see levels, and lots of ins and outs (including digital and MIDI). Now, in another column, describe what you want it to look like. (You can draw a picture.) There are interfaces that will satisfy the whole wish list of the first category. But very often, they come in a big, hulking rack-mount case – actually perfectly ideal for dedicated studios or people who tour with a truck, but …


Touch, Plus Tactile: In Gaming as in Research, Physical Controls Augment Touchscreens

The gaming industry has made their bet, and it’s that touchscreens go better with tactile controls. Might digital musicians reach the same conclusion? A funny thing has happened on the way to the touch era. The vision of a device like the iPad is minimalist to the extreme: an uninterrupted, impossibly-slim metal slate, as impenetrable as some sort of found alien scifi object. The notion is that by reducing physical controls, the software itself comes to the fore. It’s beautiful conceptually … and then you find yourself tapping and stroking a piece of undifferentiated glass. For navigating interfaces – and …


Symphony I/O: Next-Gen Apogee High-end I/O, Works with Any Mac DAW Via USB

Looking for all the world like a high-end audiophile stereo radio receiver as much as pro audio equipment, the shiny, new Symphony I/O has arrived from Apogee. It’s a top-of-the-range audio interface designed for low latency, high-quality digital-to-analog conversion, and quality clocking, as well as flexible input and output, coming from a company known in the category. With Pro Tools HD support, it’s also a rival to Avid’s own audio interfaces, while also working with all major Mac DAWs – even Ableton Live. You’re talking an investment of a few grand here, depending on configuration, so this isn’t likely to …


Cakewalk V-Studio 100: Mixer + Recorder + Computer Audio Interface + Controller

Sometimes, audio products come in sexy, exciting packages. But sometimes, they simply solve a set of problems. And the products that fit into the latter category can be as beloved (dare I say sexy), if not more so. Since I first saw a prototype in the fall, I’ve been eagerly awaiting trying out Cakewalk’s V-Studio 100. It immediately resonated with features I wanted to see in hardware. Rather than talk the specs, let’s talk about the kind of problems you might like to solve in your mobile rehearsal, production, and performance rig: You want to mix live, but don’t want …