MOTU 828mk3 Hybrid


28×30 USB/FireWire Audio Interface with 2 Microphone Preamplifiers, 8 TRS Inputs, 8 TRS Outputs, 2 XLR Outputs, 2 x ADAT I/O, MIDI I/O, Word Clock I/O, and Built-in Mixer with Onboard Effects – 24-bit/192kHz Resolution – Mac/PC

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the 828x with Thunder bolt Technology

MOTU’s all time best selling, award winning, audio interface, now with Thunderbolt Technology and USB 2.0

Thunderbolt technology

The future of connectivity

Thunderbolt fulfills the promise of a truly state-of-the-art connectivity standard for personal computers. With massive bandwidth, Thunderbolt allows you to connect displays, hard drives, and other peripherals to your computer, along with the 828x, up to six devices total (with the 828x at the end of the chain), and the Thunderbolt bus won’t even break a sweat. Thunderbolt combines plug-and-play convenience with massive bandwidth and low latency for truly professional audio interface performance.

Hi-speed USB 2.0

Mac, PC, and USB 3.0 compatible

As Thunderbolt becomes more widely adopted, Hi-speed USB 2.0 provides across-the-board compatibility with virtually all laptops and desktops on both Mac and Windows. Since USB 2.0 devices are compatible with USB 3.0-equipped hosts, your 828x interface is a future-proof investment in your studio.

28 inputs and 30 outputs

How can one audio interface offer this much I/O?

We pack it in, like no one else can: two combo-style mic/guitar inputs with preamps, 8 balanced analog in/out, XLR main outs, 16 channels of ADAT optical (8 channels at 96 kHz), plus S/PDIF, word clock and MIDI. Connect all of your studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines and even effects processors.

Recording up to 192 kHz

Audio quality without compromise

Now in its fifth generation, the 828 has become a benchmark for the industry, setting the bar by which others are judged. How has this level of respect been earned? Through consistent design integrity and intelligent use of current-generation parts and design technologies.

Studio-grade mic channels

Enjoy extras like sends and optional hardware limiting

Do you work with outboard EQs and compressors? Each 828x mic input offers a pre-converter send for mono or stereo mic channel outboard processing. The 828x’s unique V-Limit™ hardware limiter employs a proprietary design to offer an additional 12 dB of headroom over digital zero with no digital clipping or harsh artifacts, for that added protection in dynamic recording situations. The 828x’s preamps are clean and neutral, allowing you to use your favorite plug-ins and host software to color the sound just the way you want for each recording application.

On-board digital mixer with effects

Mixing and effects for monitoring and live mixing

Record, monitor, route and process all live inputs using the professional on-board CueMix FX digital mixer – with no latency and no processor strain on your computer. Apply DSP-driven compression, EQ and reverb to every input and output, independent of your host computer.

Stand-alone operation as a mixer

Go instantly from studio to stage

After programming the on-board mixing in the studio, unplug the 828x from the computer and take it on the road for operation as a stand-alone mixer with effects. All mixing and effects parameters are adjustable using the front panel backlit LCD.

Solid metal chassis

MOTU interfaces are built to last, and last, and last…

We still get calls and Facebook posts from happy users of the original 828, introduced more than 10 years ago! Like all MOTU interfaces, the 828x’s aluminum alloy chassis is lightweight, yet incredibly sturdy and durable, and designed to withstand the rigors of the studio, stage, and road. In a world awash with cheap plastic, the cool feeling of the 828x’s metal exterior in your hands is a reassuring reminder that you are holding quality engineering and construction.

Support for Mac OS X and Windows

Run all your favorite audio apps

The 828x provides time-tested drivers for Mac OS X and Windows (8, 7 and Vista) for cross-platform compatibility with virtually all audio software via WDM, ASIO, and Core Audio drivers.

Advanced extras

The engineering behind 828x runs deep, to give your audio recordings the depth of quality they deserve


Connect your MIDI gear without the need for a separate MIDI interface.

96 kHz Optical

With two optical banks, you get 8 channels of 96 kHz SMUX digital input and output.


Add another MOTU audio interface for more inputs and outputs as your needs grow.

Instrument tuner

Tune your guitar or other instrument to within a hundredth of a cent with this easy-to-read meter.

SMPTE time code sync

Resolve your workstation software to time code, without the need for a dedicated synchronizer.

Analysis tools and oscilloscope

Visualize the harmonic content of your mix with dynamic animation and vivid color. Check phase.

Need legacy FireWire support?

The 828mk3 Hybrid is for you

The 828mk3 Hybrid provides virtually identical features to the 828x (including USB 2.0 support), except that instead of Thunderbolt, it provides FireWire connectivity to any FireWire-equipped Mac or PC. The connectors are “Type B” jacks typically used for FireWire 800, but they operate as standard FireWire 400 ports and are compatible with any FireWire port on your computer (A or B).

Audio connectivity – the way it should be.

When it comes to audio I/O, the 828x proves there’s more than meets the eye. Or the ear.

Two mic inputs with individual preamps

These mic inputs are packed with extras

Two convenient front-panel mic/guitar inputs are equipped with pristine, transparent preamps and offer individually adjustable 48V phantom power and -20 dB pad. All settings can be adjusted directly on the front panel, or from the 828x CueMix FX software running on your computer. Mic inputs can be operated individually or in stereo pairs, as needed.

Flexible combo jacks for guitar input

True hi-Z guitar pickups for authentic feel

The two mic inputs are combo jacks that also accept quarter-inch plugs from a guitar or bass, without an amp or cabinet, so you can run your guitar input through amp/cab simulation plug-ins in your host software.

Individual 48V, pad and gain

Use any combination of mics

Each mic input has individual 48V phantom power, -20dB pad and preamp gain to give you maximum flexibility with the microphones you choose to work with.

Precision trim™

Digitally controlled analog trim

You get the best of both worlds: analog trim with digital precision and control. The 828x preamps provide 53 dB of gain, which you can adjust in approximately 1 dB increments using the detented digital rotary encoder. As you turn the encoder, you see graphic and numeric feedback in the front panel LCD, so you know exactly how much gain you are applying. The gain adjustment itself is smooth because it is analog, but the digital control gives you both precision and the ability to save and recall trim settings.

V-Limit™ overload protection

This hardware limiter has got your back

Both mic/guitar inputs are equipped with V-Limit™, a hardware limiter that helps prevent digital clipping from overloaded input signals. With V-Limit enabled, signals can go above zero dB (where limiting kicks in) to as high as +12 dB above zero with no distortion due to digital clipping.

Soft Clip™

Further protection for volatile inputs

Additional protection can be applied to the mic/guitar inputs by enabling the 828x’s Soft Clip™ feature, which engages just before clipping occurs and helps reduce perceptible distortion.


Bring in your outboard gear

Each mic input has a corresponding rear panel send that allows you to insert outboard gear before the signal goes digital. Any input can be used as a return.

A plethora of analog I/O

Eight glorious balanced TRS ins and outs

Eight balanced (TRS) 24-bit analog inputs and outputs, as well as two XLR main outs and the two preamp inputs, can operate at sample rates up to 192 kHz (a total of ten analog inputs and outputs).

Analog (balanced 1/4-inch TRS)88
Mic/Guitar inputs with preamps2
XLR main outputs2
Headphones output2
ADAT optical1616

Control room monitoring

Designed for studio operation

Connect your primary, powered studio monitors directly to the XLR main outs. Add additional pairs of monitors to the TRS outputs. Control volume from software or the front-panel MAIN VOL control. Choose any combination of outputs to control from the front panel and your software.

Two headphone jacks

Work with others, free from noise restrictions

A second phone jack can be life-saver when you need to finish the mix with your colleague in close proximity to family or neighbors you don’t want to disturb. The top phone jack always mirrors the main outs, and the “MAIN VOL” knob controls both. The bottom phone jack has added flexibility: it can mirror the main outs with independent volume control, or it can mirror any other 828x output pair.

Two banks of optical

Truly flexible digital I/O

Two optical banks provide 16 channels of ADAT optical at 48 kHz, 8 channels of S/MUX optical I/O at 96 kHz or two banks of stereo TOSLink (optical S/PDIF) at rates up to 96 kHz. Each optical input and output operates independently, allowing you to mix and match any optical formats, in and out.

S/PDIF digital I/O

The workhorse of digital connectivity

Stereo digital transfers are an essential fact of daily studio life. The 828x’s standard RCA S/PDIF input and output make stereo digital transfers a snap, with optional external clocking and support for sample rates up to 96 kHz.

Balanced analog inputs and outputs

Protect your sound from environmental noise

828x balanced I/O connections are well-protected against RF interference, AC hum, and other noise-producing environmental factors.

CueMix FX:

Its’s a 28 input, 16-bus digital mixer inside the 828x.

At it’s heart, the 828x has a full-blown DSP-driven mixer called CueMix FX that includes classic reverb, modeled analog EQ, and modeled vintage compression.

Eight separate stereo mixes

Dial up a separate mix for each output pair

The 828x mixer employs 32-bit floating point processing to take signals from its 28 inputs and mixes them to an output pair, such as the main outs. You control the volume of each input. Better yet, you can adjust input volumes differently for each output pair. In other words, each output pair can have its own unique mix. For example, you might create a balanced mix going to your PA via the main outs, but bring up the guitar for the mix going to your stage monitors via a pair of line outs, so you can easily monitor your guitar sound. You get eight separate mixes, which you can freely assign to any eight output pairs on the 828x.

CueMix Software

On-screen mixing and control

CueMix FX gives you comprehensive graphic control over your mix and other settings in the 828x. CueMix FX can be operated side by side with any host audio software for Mac or Windows, and it can be controlled from the Mackie Control Universal Pro automated worksurface.




Multi-touch iPad control

Use an iPad to control your 828x mix

It’s the ultimate hands-on experience: use TouchOSC software (sold separately) with a custom-designed template for your 828x and enjoy hands-on control of all mixing, EQ and compressor settings. Refining your mix has never been this fluid and intuitive.

Classic reverb

Five room types and tails up to 60 seconds

CueMix FX Classic Reverb™ provides five different room types, three frequency bands with adjustable crossover points, shelf filtering, and reverb lengths up to 60 seconds. Each input, output and mix bus provides a send to the Classic Reverb processor, which then feeds reverb returns to mix busses and outputs, with a selectable split point between them to prevent send/return feedback loops.

Modeled analog EQ

Smooth and musical, not harsh and sterile

British analog mixing consoles are renowned for their musical EQ profiles. The 828x meticulously models these classic EQ curves to give you the very same, magical EQ settings found on these coveted desks. Seven separate filters are available on every input and output, including low-shelf and high-shelf, with intuitive graphic control of each EQ parameter.

Classic compression

No studio is complete without a compressor

The 828x provides a classic compressor on each input and output, so you can apply compression liberally with the flexibility to decide if and when you want to “commit” to your mix. You can change the 828x’s compression settings at any time while recording or listening.

Control room monitoring

Talkback and listenback

CueMix provides Talkback and Listenback features. 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 interface. For Listenback, you can use one of the recording mics in the live room or you can set up a dedicated listenback mic for the musicians and connect it to a spare mic input.

Routing back to the host

Send a complete mix back to your host software using dedicated return channels

When mixing live inputs with computer tracks, sometimes you want to capture the result. The 828x driver provides dedicated return channels, making it a snap: just record the 828x’s ‘return’ bus back into your host software. Done! Say goodbye to jerry-rigged patching of cables from inputs to outputs…

Stereo operation

Configure inputs as stereo pairs

Two channels can be grouped to a single fader for true stereo operation. Two stereo panning modes are available: balance and width. Balance mode works much like a normal stereo balance control, one channel fades in and the other fades out. Width mode collapses the stereo image to mono by adjusting the relative pans of each channel gradually to center.

Front-panel LCD control

Complete mixing at your fingertips

CueMix FX allows you to apply no-latency effects processing to inputs, outputs or busses directly in the 828x hardware, independent of the computer. Effects can be applied when the 828x is operating stand-alone (without a computer) as a complete rack-mounted mixer. All of the mixer settings in the 828x are accessible from the programmable front-panel backlit LCD, for quick tweaks when a computer is not connected.

Comprehensive metering

Get a bird’s-eye view of all busses at one glance

Signal activity of all inputs, busses and outputs can be monitored via the meters pane. In addition to the meters present on individual channels, a high-resolution meter and output bus activity associated with that channel can be displayed in the primary status window.

Sharpen your engineering prowess with the 828x’s many advanced extras.

Optical Expansion: Need more inputs and outputs?

Connect a MOTU 8pre to the 828x’s optical input and you now have an additional eight mic inputs with individual preamps. Or connect any optical device to further expand the inputs and outputs of your 828x system. Best of all, the optical ports are fully integrated into the 828x’s on-board mixing environment, with seamless side-by-side operation with all other 828x channels.


Connect your MIDI gear directly

The 828x provides MIDI input and output featuring sample-accurate timing with supporting software. Connect a MIDI keyboard, sound module or control surface, and you are ready to go. The Thunderbolt or USB connection to the computer carries both MIDI and audio so you don’t need to connect an additional USB cable for MIDI.

Direct SMPTE time code sync

No separate synchronizer required

You can resolve the 828x directly to SMPTE time code, without a dedicated synchronizer, using the dedicated time code input, or any analog input. The 828x employs DDS, a DSP-driven phase-lock engine with sophisticated filtering that provides fast lockup times and sub-frame accuracy. This technology represents the very latest in high-performance, yet cost-effective digital audio clocking. DDS also allows the 828x to maintain an extremely stable clock while resolved to incoming clock sources that have substantially more jitter than the 828x itself.

SMPTE Console software

Synchronization made easy

The included MOTU SMPTE Console™ software (for Mac OS X and Windows) provides a complete set of tools to generate SMPTE for striping, regenerating or slaving other devices to the computer. Like CueMix FX, the synchronization features are cross-platform.

Instrument Tuner

Accurately tune guitars and other instruments

Just open the Tuner window, play a note, and use the large graphic display to get in tune with an accuracy of one 10th of a cent (one 1,000th of a semi-tone). Being in tune has never been easier. The Tuner displays the detected note by frequency (in Hertz), note name and octave, with an adjustable reference frequency for A4 between 400 and 480 Hz. The large meter gives you a clear indication of how high or low you are from the detected pitch. Large red arrows direct you up or down as needed to zero in on the correct pitch. You can even tune phase-coherent stereo signals. The CueMix Tuner is as advanced and accurate as any dedicated hardware tuner out there.

FFT display

Visualize your frequency content

Visually monitor the frequency content of your
music or other audio material as it plays. The CueMix software superimposes a Fast Fourier Transform directly on the spectrogram display so that you can see the relationship between the two for the audio material being monitored.

Spectrogram “waterfall”

A cascade of information — in vivid color

Observe rich, detailed visual information about the frequency content of any signal or mix. You can expand the spectrogram to fill the entire resizable CueMix on-screen window. You can also combine the spectrogram with the FFT in the same display, as shown below, or separate them to view them individually but simultaneously.




X-Y Plot

Check phase alignment with visual clarity

The X-Y Plot window graphs a stereo signal on a standard grid with left-channel amplitude on the x-axis and right-channel amplitude on the y-axis. Stereo material that is said to be “in polarity” (i.e., phase aligned) appears along the x = y axis. Stereo material that has phase problems will appear along the x = -y axis meaning the signal will appear predominantly in the upper left and lower right of the display. A signal with an extremely wide stereo field will appear much more randomly (not along either axis).





Phase Analysis

Check for phase cancellation when summing to mono

The Phase Analysis window graphs frequency versus phase difference versus amplitude of a stereo signal on either rectangular or polar coordinates. In the rectangular view, the vertical axis represents frequency, and the horizontal axis represents the phase of the left channel minus the phase of the right channel. Stereo audio that is predominantly in polarity will appear centered along the center vertical axis. Frequencies that would be canceled by summing to mono are those that touch the -1.0 or +1.0 lines on the left and right.




In the polar view, the radius represents frequency and the angle (theta) from the +y vertical axis represents the phase difference of left channel minus the right channel. Stereo audio that is generally in phase will appear along the +y axis (above the center point). The more the audio signal “tips” to the left or right, the more out of polarity it is. If it is completely out of phase, it will point downwards from the center point and hover around the -y axis (the part of the y axis below the center point).



Applications for phase analysis

Phase analysis can be used for a broad range of applications in the studio and on stage. Here are just a few ideas.

Recording with multiple mics

The Phase Analysis window lets you compare multiple mic sources with each other to check for potential phase cancellation caused by varying distances in mic placement from the recorded source.

Checking overall polarity

Quickly check the overall polarity in your stereo mix for phase issues.

Summing to mono

If your stereo material needs to be summed to mono, Phase Analysis lets you see what frequencies will be canceled out when summed.

Tuning PAs or sound reinforcement

Place mics in strategic locations in your venue to check for critical phase issues in the listening environment.


This is not your grandpa’s oscilloscope…

CueMix’s oscilloscope delivers a robust feature set combined with digital precision. Amplitude is displayed on the y-axis and time is displayed on the x-axis. The pause button lets you “freeze” the real-time display and then zoom in to the sample level for closer examination. You can choose among several different displays for stereo signals, including combined (as shown below) or split screen. The Waveform Recognition feature searches through new audio data looking for matching waveform data, and the trigger options let you specify detailed criteria for displaying the incoming signal’s waveform in the display. The oscilloscope can be used for a variety of daily studio tasks, such as analyzing and comparing harmonic content, closely inspecting transients such as drum hits, comparing timing between two signals, and performing clip detection. You can even use the oscilloscope to help you build synth patches and check them for non-obvious issues, such as DC offset.

AudioDesk 3: An audio production powerhouse. included.

828x ships with AudioDesk 3 workstation software for Mac OS X. All the audio production power you need. And then some.

AudioDesk 4

Advanced workstation software for Mac OS X and Windows

AudioDesk provides advanced recording, editing, mixing, processing, and mastering. AudioDesk delivers the power of modern digital audio workstation technology in an easy-to-use, inspiring multitrack recording experience. Together, AudioDesk and the 828x transform your computer desktop into a complete, professional recording studio.


Record as many tracks as you need — there are no track limits or other restrictions in AudioDesk.


Refine your tracks to your heart’s content. Dozens of advanced editing features await you.


Create the perfect mix with AudioDesk’s sophisticated, automated mixing environment.

Processing and mastering

Apply EQ, dynamics, reverb and other effects. Add master channel effects for final mixdown.

  • 24-bit

  • 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz

  • 2 x XLR/TRS combo-style mic/guitar inputs, 8 x 1/4" TRS line inputs (balanced/unbalanced)

  • 2 x XLR balanced main out, 8 x 1/4" balanced TRS line out, 2 x 1/4" TRS stereo headphone

  • 16 channels of ADAT optical at 1x sample rates, 8 channels of SMUX optical at 2x sample rates, 2-channel TOSlink (optical S/PDIF) up to 96 kHz, 2-channel RCA S/PDIF up to 96 kHz

  • 28 inputs and 30 outputs at 1x sample rates, 20 inputs and 22 outputs at 2x sample rates, 10 inputs and 10 outputs at 4x sample rates

  • 1 x Thunderbolt (compatible with 1 and 2), 1 x USB 2.0 (compatible with 3.0)

  • 1 x SMPTE time code in (LTC), 1 x SMPTE time code out (LTC), 1 x word clock in, 1 x word clock out

  • 1 x 1/4" TRS stereo phone (assignable), 1 x 1/4" TRS stereo phone (assignable)

  • 2 x individual +48V

  • 2 x XLR/TRS combo mic/guitar in, 2 x 1/4" TRS phone, 2 x digital rotary encoders • phone/main volume, 2 x digital rotary encoders • mic trim, 4 x switches • Pad and 48V Phantom, 4 x digital rotary encoders for LCD control, 2 x 16 character LCD, 8 x 4-segment ladder LEDs • 1/4-inch analog in, 8 x activity LED • 1/4-inch analog out, 2 x 4-segment ladder LEDs • RCA S/PDIF in, 2 x activity LED • RCA S/PDIF out, 2 x 10-segment LEDs • mic in with V-Limit, 2 x 5-segment ladder LEDs • main outs, 6 x LED • sample rate indicator, 1 x LED • LOCK/TACH indicator, 2 x activity LEDs • optical bank A/B, 1 x activity LED • MIDI in/out, 1 x AC power switch

  • International 100-240V autoswitching supply 50-60 Hz • 20 Watts