MOTU Thunderbolt 1248 Interface
Cambridge, MA (August 1, 2014)—MOTU has announced three new Thunderbolt audio interfaces, equipped with complementary I/O configurations, A/D/A conversion with high dynamic range, 48-channel mixing, DSP effects and AVB Ethernet audio networking for system expansion.

Based on a new, shared technology platform, the 1248, 8M and 16A differ only in their analog I/O configurations. The flagship 1248 offers 8 x 12 balanced TRS analog I/O, four mic inputs with digitally-controlled individual preamps, two front-panel hi-Z guitar inputs, two independent phone outs and stereo RCA S/PDIF digital I/O. The 8M provides eight balanced TRS analog outputs, plus eight mic/line/instrument "combo" style inputs individually equipped with digitally controlled preamps, 48V phantom power, pad and MOTU's hardware-based V-Limit overload protection. The 16A is packed with 32 balanced TRS analog connections (16 inputs and 16 outputs). All three units provide two banks of optical digital I/O, word clock I/O and computer connectivity through either audio class compliant USB 2.0 or Thunderbolt (1 and 2 compatible).

Each is equipped with ESS Sabre32 Ultra converters, DSPs, and a single AVB Ethernet network port. Analog I/O latency has round trip performance of 32 samples (0.66 ms) at 48 kHz. Each unit provides metering for all inputs and outputs on a large, backlit 324x24 pixel LCD.

The 1248, 8M and 16A are equipped with  DSPs that drive a 48-channel mixer; with 32-bit floating point precision, the mixer's 48 inputs can take signal from the physical inputs on the interface itself, audio channels from host software on the computer, audio network streams and mixer outputs. The mixer provides 7 stereo aux busses, 3 groups, a reverb bus that can alternately serve as a fourth group, a Main Mix bus and a separate Monitor bus that doubles a solo bus. Various effects and a matrix routing grid are also included.

All three interfaces are equipped with a single AVB Ethernet network port; through it, users can add a second MOTU interface to a system with a Cat 5e Ethernet cable or build a system of three to five interfaces connected to the five-port, 1-Gigabit MOTU AVB Switch (sold separately). Each MOTU interface on an AVB network, or any computer connected through Thunderbolt, can simultaneously send and receive 128 channels of network audio I/O. A MOTU AVB network supports more than 512 audio channels, and point-to-point network latency is fixed at 30 samples (0.625 ms) over multiple switches, when operating the system at 48 kHz. AVB provides unified, system-wide, precision clocking and synchronization that is measured in nanoseconds.
Any available network port, including the extra (sixth) Ethernet port on the MOTU AVB Switch, can be connected to a standard Wi-Fi router or directly to a local Ethernet network, to give the user—or multiple users—access to device settings, audio routing features and the 48-channel mixer from web app software.