Any happy MOTU 828 original owners out there?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Opus
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Any happy MOTU 828 original owners out there?

Post by Opus » Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:23 am

been considering buying the original motu 828.

anyone have any probs?
stability is my main concern.

i'm not interested in other interfaces, so save it.

I actually owned a MOTU 828 MK3, but, it was way too unstable to use, especially live.

Robert Henke
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Post by Robert Henke » Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:38 am

Used it a lot when it came out on a Mac running 10.1. or 10.2. Had no problems with it, but was not too excited about sound quality. Quite muddy. No sparkling high frequencies and some odd resonance in the lower range. Unless you get it for almost nothing and sound quality does not matter, I would not buy it.

Robert

Opus
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Post by Opus » Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:40 am

really? damn. thankyou for your input. hmm. sound quality is important. but i'm on such a tight budget these days. What would you say about the TC Konnekt Live?

Robert Henke
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Post by Robert Henke » Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:10 pm

Don't know, did not try it. I use a first generation Motu Ultralite and the sound of it is totally fine, way way better than the old 828.

What do you exactly need? How many channels, etc... ?

Robert

Opus
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Post by Opus » Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:59 pm

well, about 2 hiZ guitar inputs (one will suffice), atleast one XLR w/ phantom power, at least one set of ADAT lightpipe in and outs, 2 sets of ADAT is even better, one set of coax spdif is also a plus. And at least 4 analog inputs for 2 stereo pair, and roughly the same amount of outputs for monitoring and sends.

i'll be using 1-2 guitars, one stereo synth, 1 mic, a talk box, a numark HDX, a desktop G5 with ADAT in & out, all rigged to my macbook through firewire.

I bought the 828 mk3, loved it, but the thing had serious problems. It's been 6 months or so, but I have no idea if they've worked out the problems yet, and can't afford to be a tester for them.

The main problem is money. I've been over due for an audio interface for a long time, and I'm beginning to consider using an analog mixer, but it will kinda limit what I plan on doing. USB2.0 isn't out of the question, but I'm leaning toward firewire, unless you think USB2.0 would be better.

musiker01
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Post by musiker01 » Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:20 pm

I've owned an original 828 for at least 5 years now and it has always been very stable though I've only used the analog ins. I'm quite content with the sound. But I don't really have much comparison except for my other interface which is a Line 6 UX2 and which sounds not quite as good. On Windows, I had to reset the audio driver at times when using Tracktion, but on the Mac that has never happened. Have switched it on and off while running without problems, something that for instance RME advises you not to do with their firewire interfaces.

There are some restrictions concerning the routing possibilities and you can not use the Cuemix application. If you have the chance to get it for very little money I'd still remmend it.

Axl

madlab
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Post by madlab » Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:42 pm

Been using one for 6 to 8 years now. Now with a macbook pro using 10.54. Very satisfied by the stability and the low buffer values I work with (huge difference with my novation X-station !). Sound quality is ok for me ( I also work a lot for performing arts with precise PA, multispeakers). I've used analog and optical outs with no problems. The preamps are not top notch but considering the price, it's a good choice for me.
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Opus
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Post by Opus » Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:56 pm

AHA, i thought so. I like to hear about stability. Thankyou for posting your experience with the 828. I used to work at sam ash, and sold a ton of these. everyone loved how good the sound was. I never owned one, so, I couldn't verify how good it actually was. Robert Henke says the sound quality isn't that great. Which kinda concerns me, but, more important is STABILITY. I can not afford a crash when doing a live show. So far, no one has mentioned anything drastic about stability, so, maybe i'll get one anyways. The thing is, the price is looking real nice these days, and it has about all the in & outs i need. I'm sure it has to be better than the audio input on my macbook.

Thomas Baker
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Post by Thomas Baker » Sat Nov 29, 2008 7:14 am

I have been using an original 828 forever, at least 6 years now. It sounds fine and has worked on both Mac and Windows platforms without complaint. On Mac I use Live and on Windows I use Live, FL Studio and Samplitude Producer 6 and 7. I don't get it when people say it sounds bad. I run mine 8x8 to an external mixer for tracking so latency is a non-issue completely. I have considered picking up another one because they are so cheap. Like you, I have a limited budget. Hope this helps.

Opus
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Post by Opus » Sat Nov 29, 2008 3:06 pm

+1 :D

Robert Henke
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Post by Robert Henke » Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:07 pm

Okay, I took the time to check it again, in a direct A/B comparison with the Ultralite, and with the totally unscientific test I did, the differences where small:

I played back a nicely recorded cymbal, piped it into the Ultalite and re-recorded it, so I got the whole DA / AD chain, then I did the same with the 828. I was not able to cancel the recordings out, which was no surprise given the fact that there are some analog circuits involved, but I could not tell a significant difference between both recordings when switching back and forth.
So, maybe my judgement from a few years ago was too harsh...

However, the fact that it is big and needs a power supply is a bit an issue if you want to carry it with you.

Cheers, Robert

Opus
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Post by Opus » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:17 am

hmm. okay.
I can't thank you enough for testing it out and comparing the sound quality. I'm in the market for one because of it's price, it's i/o's and excellent track record.

But I have a few questions about bit depths.
I plan on working in 16bit 44.1 khz CD quality. One, because I'm looking for the best CPU performance and storage space while getting the lowest latency possible. And two, all of my external gear and sample libraries are 16bit 44.1khz.
But I plan on recording all vocals and instruments from a microphone at 24bit to avoid using mild gain from a compressor for a hotter signal like when recording in 16bit. How will this affect my work flow in Ableton? How would I go about this properly, especially since the 828 converters work at 24bit, and as far as I know, setting Ableton's projects to 16bit will not change the bit depth in the 828. Will there be a loss in volume? How will Live handle having samples at different bit depths in the same project? I understand that conflicting formats can sometimes cause audio interfaces to crash or behave erratically.

I know that lower bit depths and sample rates will not sound as good after pitch/time shifting which i know is important for ableton users, but I'm hoping this loss compensates for better performance. I've always believed if you record things properly from the beginning, and stay within the "box" you will always achieve a clear sound. I've never been one to use dithering either when down-sampling. I've always just ran the signal out through external analog gear when down sampling to CD quality. Even the HD radio broadcasts are still using CD quality. All I know is that, in the 90's, CD quality worked great for a lot of albums, and since 2000, they've been using HD, but at the same time, squashing the dynamics to avoid bad FM radio compression being used at the stations, and all that "high-definition" is not really being used. Plus, it seems that the industry has kinda gone backwards with the advent of mpeg. I'm sure eventually the data compression will get better and eventually be compressed HD audio. But even CD quality audio in WAV format still sounds better than the 320kbps mp3s. I always hear artifacts in the high hats, or frequencies above 8khz. I noticed that Nine Inch Nails offers their new album Slip in HD for download, but haven't noticed anything really that impressive about the definition of sound.

I'm open to any opinions about which sample rates and depths are the best to use. Maybe I should just crack the Ableton manual open to see what it says about this topic...

Opus
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Post by Opus » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:37 am

???

Machinesworking
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Post by Machinesworking » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:25 am

If nobodies mentioned it, the original 828 is one of the devices Black Lion Audio will mod for better converters etc. So an initial investment, then if you want send it in to them for about $350 I believe and supposedly it sounds as good as an RME.

I just sold one a month ago, kind of regret it, as I'm getting back into hardware so the extra in/outs would be cool, but it was to finance the purchase of a used Poly Evolver. 8)

Machinesworking
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Post by Machinesworking » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:28 am

Opus, the 828 will record 16bit if the application asks it to, and it's generally better to record at 24bit 44.1khz as it leaves headroom blah blah etc.

Basically from what I've heard unless you're recording for DVD 24/44.1 is the most logical combo.

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