MOTUAudio Express USB & Firewire Audio Interface


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MOTU Audio Express

Despite its disarmingly compact enclosure, the MOTU Audio Express is a capable digital audio interface with six in/outs and a plethora of powerful features that make it an excellent addition to any personal or professional studio. The interface can connect to any Mac or PC via USB 2.0, and is compatible with most DAWs. Additionally, it can function independently from a computer as a mixer, meaning it can handle additional duties well beyond the demands of a recording studio. 

Balancing levels is a synch, as each input has its own volume control, which can be conveniently access from the front panel. This feature is especially handy when using the Audio Express as a live mixer. Users can also route inputs to any output pairing, giving each its own unique mix: main outs, line outs, S/PDIF, and headphones. 

When operating as a standalone mixer, the interface maintains control over its four mix busses, with volume, mute, and solo available per input. This means that each mix can be sent to a different destination. For example, consider a PA setup for a basic live event; using the Audio Express, one mix can be routed to the primary PA while another is routed to personal monitors. 

Audio Express Features

  • 6-input, 6-output audio interface for Mac and Windows
  • 6 x 8 physical input/output channels - all channels are available simultaneously and operate independently
  • Hybrid FireWire/USB 2.0 connectivity - connect to your Mac or PC via either bus-powered FireWire or high-speed USB2
  • 8-bus digital mixer routes and mixes all six inputs to any output pair
  • Four separate mixes - each output pair (main outs, line outs, S/PDIF out, and phones) can have a completely different mix of all six inputs, with or without computer tracks
  • Two microphone/guitar combo jacks provide hi-Z 1/4" guitar input or XLR microphone input with phantom power, 20dB pad, Precision Digital Trim, and plenty of gain
  • Stereo analog inputs on line-level, balanced TRS quarter-inch jacks - great for keyboards or other line level-input signals
  • Stereo main outs on balanced TRS quarter-inch jacks -connect directly to powered speakers (or other line-level analog destination)
  • Stereo 24-bit/96kHz S/PDIF digital in/out
  • Stereo headphone output on quarter-inch jack with independent volume control
  • Support for standard sample rates up to 96 kHz
  • Precision Digital Trim - digitally controlled analog trim on all inputs provides adjustments in approximately 1.0dB increments - fine-tune the balance of your inputs and then save/recall trim configurations
  • Front-panel mixing and control with each input having its own dedicated volume knob
  • Control multiple mixes with clear feedback from front panel LEDs and metering
  • CueMix FX cross-platform mixing software - attractive on-screen graphic mixing with an instrument tuner and audio analysis tools including real-time FFT display, spectrogram "waterfall" display, oscilloscope, X-Y plot and linear or polar phase analysis
  • Stand-alone operation - bring the Audio Express to your gig, with or without a computer - just plug in the included power adapter and you are ready to go - need to tweak the mix? Just turn the front-panel knobs
  • Front panel volume control of main outs and headphone jack
  • Add additional interfaces for more I/O as your needs grow
  • Timecode support directly resolves to (or generates) time code via any quarter-inch input or output, without the need for an extra synchronizer
  • Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS), a DSP-driven phase lock engine and internal clock source that produces imperceptibly low jitter characteristics (below the noise floor), even when the Audio Express is resolved to an external clock source via SMPTE Timecode
  • Sample-accurate MIDI (with supporting software) - connect a MIDI controller and/or sound module with no separate interface needed
  • Foot switch input - connect a standard foot pedal switch (sold separately) for hands-free punch-in and punch-out while recording, or map the pedal to any keystroke function in your host software
  • DC-coupled TRS outputs can be used with Volta (sold separately) to manipulate and sequence voltage-controlled modular synthesizers from a host DAW
  • Plug-and-play operation with your Mac or PC via FireWire or USB2 - compatible with all current and recent generation Macs and PCs
  • Includes native 32- and 64-bit drivers for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista, including ASIO, WDM, Wave, Core Audio, and Core MIDI
  • Supports all popular Mac and Windows audio software
  • 100% compatible with all host-based effects processing in today's popular audio programs
  • Includes AudioDesk full-featured sample-accurate workstation software for the Mac with recording, editing, mixing, real-time 32-bit effects processing and sample-accurate sync
  • Bus-powered FireWire operation
  • No need for external power when operating as a FireWire interface connected to a computer
  • Power supply included for stand-alone operation


  • Converters: 24-bit
  • Sample Rates: Up to 96kHz

Analog Input

  • 2 x 1/4" TS/XLR combo Microphone/Instrument
  • 2 x 1/4" TRS phone Line

Analog Output

  • 4 x 1/4" TRS phone
  • 1 x 1/4" TRS phone Headphone

Other I/O

  • Digital Input: 1 x RCA coaxial S/PDIF
  • Digital Output: 1 x RCA coaxial S/PDIF
  • 2 x 5-pin DIN MIDI I/O
  • 1 x FireWire
  • 1 x USB2
  • 1 x 1/4" TS phone Footswitch
  • Headphones: Yes, with individual volume control
  • Phantom Power: +48V individually switchable for either preamp
  • Metering: Main/Line Output: 2 x 5 dual ladder LEDs
  • Mic/Inst Input: 2 x 10 dual ladder LEDs
  • Power Requirements: FireWire or USB powered
  • 9-18VDC "+" or "-" tip, 5W power supply (included)

System Requirements: Mac

  • PowerPC G4 1GHz or faster (including PowerPC G5 and all Intel processor Macs)
  • OS X 10.5 or 10.6 (10.5.8 or later required)
  • 1GB RAM (2GB or more recommended)
  • FireWire or USB2 port
  • Large hard drive (preferably at least 100GB)

System Requirements: PC

  • Pentium IV (or equivalent) 1GHz or faster
  • Windows Vista SP2 or later, 32- or 64-bit, Windows 7 32- or 64-bit
  • 1GB RAM (2GB or more recommended)
  • FireWire or USB2 port
  • Large hard drive (preferably at least 100GB)

Other Specifications

  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 9.5 x 7 x 1.75" (241 x 178 x 45mm)
MOTU Audio Express USB & Firewire Audio Interface Reviews