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NEWS JANUARY 24, 2001
FireWire Mixes It up with USB Audio Interfaces
MOTU announces forthcoming IEEE 1394 audio device

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Having problems with USB audio on your Mac? Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) seems to have come up with a solution—a FireWire interface. For some time, users have been reporting a number of audio problems when working with Apple's USB implementation. In some cases, USB interfaces were completely non-functional, leading manufacturers like Emagic to warn customers about the problems until they could develop software to deal with them. (Emagic has since reported fixes for its USB interfaces.)

But MOTU's solution completely bypasses the problem by using FireWire. If it ships according to plan (by the end of March), it will be one of the first on the market. (Crest Audio has also announced a FireWire interface due around the same time, but details are scant at this point. We have also heard of a Metric Halo FireWire interface and are working on getting more information on that.)

MOTU's new device is called the 828, a single rack-space audio interface for Macintosh (and Windows 2000/NT5). It includes eight channels of ADAT optical digital input/output (switchable to S/PDIF optical), RCA S/PDIF, eight channels of balanced 24-bit analog input/output, mic preamps and an ADAT Sync input for sample-accurate synchronization. In addition, the 828 provides CueMix Plus zero-latency monitoring of live input with separate front-panel volume control over the monitored input signal. The MOTU 828 connects to any FireWire-equipped Mac. No PCI card or PCMCIA card is required. The 828 includes an ASIO driver for compatibility with all major audio software on both computer platforms. Also included is AudioDesk, a complete audio workstation software package for Macintosh.

The MOTU 828 FireWire interface is expected to ship this quarter for $795. We'll keep you up to date with information about FireWire developments in audio, including more information about MOTU's 828 in the near future. MOTU is at http://www.motu.com.

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