MOTU 8Pre Firewire Audio Interface
The 8pre FireWire audio interface delivers everything you need to turn your computer into a powerful 24-bit, 96kHz digital audio workstation. The 8pre provides eight microphone/instrument preamps with pristine 96kHz analog recording and playback, combined with 8 channels of ADAT optical digital I/O. Expand your system by connecting additional 8pres or other MOTU FireWire audio interfaces.
The 8pre as your primary audio interface
Use the included CueMix software to mix all 16 inputs from your computer. Eight channels of ADAT optical I/O make the 8pre an ideal companion for a digital mixer. Two ADAT lightpipe connections work together to support a full 8 channels of optical digital I/O at any sample rate up to 96kHz.
Connect all of your studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines and even effects processors. Then monitor all of these live inputs via the 8pre's main outs or headphone jack " with virtually no monitoring latency and no processor drain on your computer. You can even create separate monitor mixes for the main outs and headphones. Control everything, including talk-back and listen-back, from the included CueMix Console software, just like a large studio console.
The 8pre includes a 16-channel MIDI interface. Simply plug in your FireWire cable, and both MIDI and audio are ready to go. Connect any MIDI device, such as a controller keyboard, synth module, automated control surface or drum machine. Timing is sample-accurate with supporting software.
The 8pre provides cross-platform compatibility with Mac OS X 10.3 or higher, Windows XP and all of your favorite audio software and host-based effects via WDM/ASIO/Core Audio drivers. Or you can use the included AudioDesk workstation software for Mac OS, with 24-bit recording/editing and 32-bit mixing/processing/mastering.
The 8pre as a microphone preamp expansion interface
The 8pre is really two products in one. When it is not connected to a computer via FireWire, the 8pre functions as an eight-channel analog to digital (optical) converter. Connect the 8pre to your MOTU 828, 896, Traveler or even another 8pre via the optical "lightpipe" connection to add eight high-quality microphone pre-amps to your system. Since the connection is digital, 100% pristine sound is maintained, down to the very last sample.
The 8pre is the perfect way to instantly add eight more mic inputs to any audio interface or digital mixer with optical I/O. If you have a MOTU interface with on-board CueMix DSP mixing, such as the 828mkII, 896HD or Traveler, the 8pre inputs appear directly in the host interface's CueMix mixer to becomes a transparent extension of your system, operating together with your primary interface as a single, integrated unit " even when the host interface is not connected to a computer and is instead operating as a stand-alone mixer.
If you have a 2408mk3, digital mixer or other audio device that supports 96kHz optical and also has two optical inputs, the 8pre connects to it via both optical ports to provide a full eight channels of analog to optical conversion at the 88.2 or 96kHz sample rates.
8pre Inputs and Outputs
For example, using a mic-preamp input does not 'steal' an input from the ADAT optical input bank. As another example, the headphones and main outputs are available as separate mix destinations. In addition, CueMix DSP gives you all the flexibility you need. For example, you can configure CueMix DSP to mirror an existing mix bus to the headphones.
The 8pre includes a 16-channel MIDI interface that provides sample-accurate timing with supporting software.
Connect a MIDI keyboard, sound module or control surface, and you are ready to go. The FireWire cable carries both MIDI and audio so you don't need to connect an additional USB cable for MIDI.
You can connect mics, guitars, synths and effects processors, and monitor everything from the 8pre's main outs or headphone jack with no separate mixer needed and no latency.
The 8pre supports up to four separate stereo monitor mixes assigned to any digital or analog output pairs. For example, you could set up separate monitor mixes for the main outs and headphone outs, while two additional stereo buses could be used for send/return loops to a digital mixer. Each mix can support all 16 inputs (8 XLR/TRS analog and 8 ADAT optical digital).
The "CueMix Bounce Back" feature lets you route one of the four CueMix DSP mixes back to the computer. This allows you to record, for example, your entire mix - including monitored inputs - back into the computer.
CueMix Console provides Talkback and Listenback buttons. Talkback allows an engineer in the control room to temporarily dim all audio and talk to musicians in the live room. Conversely, Listenback allows musicians to talk to the control room. For Talkback, you can set up a dedicated mic in your control room and connect it to a mic input on your 8pre. For Listenback, you can set up a dedicated listenback mic in the live room for the musicians and connect it to another mic input.
CueMix in optical expander mode
When the 8pre operates as an optical expander, CueMix is hard-wired to route each analog input to its corresponding optical output channel (analog in 1 to optical out 1, analog in 2 to optical out 2, and so on).
In addition, when operating the 8pre at a 1x sample rate (either 44.1 or 48 kHz), the analog input signals are duplicated and sent to both optical output banks. This lets you send the analog input signals to two separate optical destinations, if desired.
When operating the 8pre at a 2x sample rate (88.2 or 96 kHz), the two optical output banks work in concert to provide channels 1-4 and 5-8, respectively, for a total of 8 channels of high-resolution digital audio.
The 8pre provides on-board SMPTE time code synchronization features.
These features allow you to slave your 8pre system to SMPTE time code without a synchronizer via any analog input. The 8pre also generates time code, which can be sent to any analog output.
The 8pre provides a DSP-driven phase-lock engine with sophisticated filtering that provides fast lockup times and sub-frame accuracy.
The included MOTU SMPTE Console software provides a complete set of tools to generate SMPTE for striping, regenerating or slaving other devices to the computer. These synchronization features are cross-platform and compatible with all audio sequencer software that supports the ASIO2 sample-accurate sync protocol.
The 8pre is two products in one: a FireWire audio interface and an 8-channel analog-to-digital converter.
When the 8pre is not connected to a computer via a Firewire cable, the front panel "Mode" LED changes from "Interface" to "Converter". In this mode, the 8pre acts as an 8-channel analog-to-digital converter that can add 8 mic inputs to another ADAT optical-equipped audio interface, digital mixer or other device.
For example, if you already own an 828, 896 or Traveler interface, you can connect the 8pre to the optical bank on your MOTU interface to seamlessly integrate the 8pre's additional eight mic inputs into your MOTU interface CueMix mixer or host software mixer.
When operating in this mode, the 8pre simply routes each mic input signal to the corresponding optical output channel (mic input 1 goes to optical output 1, etc.) When connected to a MOTU host interface, such as the 828mkII shown above, these eight optical input signals are then routed directly into the host interface's optical bank, so they appear side by side with all other inputs in the host interface's CueMix Console, as demonstrated below, which shows the 828mkII CueMix Console with the eight optical inputs (the eight faders furthest to the right) renamed according to the mics, instruments and other sources connected to the 8pre mic inputs:
This approach has benefits over simply connecting the 8pre as a second Firewire audio interface. For example, it conserves Firewire bus bandwidth (for other devices, such as hard drives). It also streamlines your workflow by avoiding the extra setup procedures, software settings and performance issues often encountered when operating multiple Firewire interfaces connected to your computer. By connecting the 8pre optically to another Firewire interface, it becomes, in essence, a seamless extension of the other interface.
The 8pre has the ability to support 8 channels of optical output at 88.2 or 96 kHz (the 2x sample rates). This means it can be connected to another device that also supports 2x optical sample rates (via two sets of optical connectors) to add all eight mic inputs at 88.2 or 96 kHz. A perfect example is the 2408mk3, which provides three optical banks that can operate at 96 kHz. By connecting both optical banks from the 8pre to two optical banks on the 2408mk3, you add eight 96 kHz mic inputs. And they can be mixed as a seamless extension of the 2408mk3.