2nd July 2010
MOTU has announced the MicroBook, a USB bus-powered audio interface that delivers studio-grade audio performance in a compact size small enough to fit in your pocket. The MicroBook turns a Mac or PC computer into a personal 4x2 recording studio with all the audio I/O and mixing needed to make professional-quality recordings.
"The MicroBook is small in size but huge when it comes to audio quality," said Jim Cooper, MOTU Marketing Director. "Our tests show that it matches or exceeds the measured audio specifications of other so-called 'high-end' interfaces on the market that cost two and three times as much. So it's perfect for discriminating users who want quality I/O for on-the-go recording, personal studio tracking, laptop-based DJing, and many other applications."
Complete personal recording and playback
The MicroBook gives users a complete personal recording solution for a Mac or PC laptop or desktop computer, with four simultaneous inputs for a microphone, a guitar, and a keyboard or other stereo line level device. The mic preamp delivers neutral coloration and pristine sound, with 20 dB pad and 48V phantom power for condenser mics. Programmable analog, digital, and headphone outputs provide flexible monitoring options.
Uncompromising audio quality
The MicroBook delivers uncompromising audio quality intended for the most demanding professional recording applications. Born from MOTU's line of FireWire, USB, and PCI audio interfaces, the MicroBook embodies decades of engineering expertise.
Some other audio interface brands (even expensive ones) cut corners with unbalanced analog inputs and outputs, which can result in significantly compromised performance well below an equivalent balanced circuit. Not the MicroBook: its balanced inputs and outputs ensure the best-possible protection against RF interference, AC hum, and other noise-producing environmental factors.
Due to its slim form factor, the MicroBook's mic input is a balanced quarter-inch jack. If a user would prefer to use a mic cable with an XLR plug, the MicroBook package includes an XLR-to-quarter-inch adapter. The mic input preamp and A/D converter deliver pristine sound and transparent coloration. True 48V phantom power can be enabled, powered by the MicroBook's USB connection to the computer.
The MicroBook's Precision Digital Trim feature provides digitally controlled analog trim on all analog inputs. This gives users the best of both worlds: the excellent signal quality of analog audio circuitry and the fine-tune precision of digital control. Users can even save and recall trim settings on their computer.
The guitar input provides the proper impedance loads for guitars, so users can play through guitar processing plug-ins in their host software with confidence, knowing that they are getting natural feel and response. To make host plug-ins feel and sound even more like a real classic guitar amp, users can connect a MOTU ZBox impedance adapter.
The "mini" eighth-inch analog input can be used to connect an iPod or other stereo line level signal. Audio input can be mixed with other inputs and routed to any output pair. For example, a user could plug in a guitar and rehearse with a mix from his iPod. Or the input signal can be routed to the computer to be recorded or mixed in host software.
Four output pairs and on-board mixing
The MicroBook provides four pairs of outputs: balanced TRS quarter-inch main outs, stereo "mini" line out, S/PDIF digital out, and phones (on a stereo "mini" eighth-inch jack). Users can connect powered studio monitors to the main outs and/or powered desktop speakers to the stereo mini output jack. With its internal mixing and routing features, the MicroBook lets users program up to five different stereo mixes consisting of any combination of inputs and host audio tracks. So the main outs, stereo "mini" out, and phones can each produce an independent output mix. Alternately, users can send the same mix to multiple outputs, or employ a separate output for the MicroBook's built-in test tone generator or white and pink noise generator. The S/PDIF digital output mirrors the main outs.
Modeled analog EQ and compression
British analog mixing consoles are renowned for their musical EQ profiles. The MicroBook meticulously models these classic EQ curves to provide 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 via the CueMix FX software. Classic compression is also available, with individual settings for each input and output.
Audio analysis and diagnostics
The MicroBook provides a wealth of tools for audio analysis and diagnostics to awaken one's inner engineer, including real-time FFT, spectrogram waterfall, oscilloscope, X-Y plot, and phase analysis, plus a test tone and noise generator that can be independently assigned to any output.
MicroBook feature highlights:
- 4-input, 2-output bus-powered "plug-and-play" USB audio interface for Mac and Windows.
- 4 x 8 physical input/output channels.
- 10-bus digital mixer to route and mix live inputs with live computer tracks.
- Pre-amp equipped mic input with Precision Digital Trim, 48V phantom power, and 20 dB pad.
- Guitar input with Precision Digital Trim.
- Stereo line level analog input (balanced TRS quarter-inch or stereo mini).
- Stereo balanced TRS quarter-inch line level main outs.
- Stereo eighth-inch "mini" line level out.
- S/PDIF digital out (duplicates main out).
- Headphones output on eighth-inch stereo "mini" jack with independent volume control.
- Digitally controlled analog trim for all analog inputs.
- Digital trim for all outputs.
- CueMix FX no-latency mixing and monitoring with EQ and dynamics processing.
- 7-band parametric EQ and compression.
- Test tone and white/pink noise generator.
- Advanced audio analysis software tools, including FFT display, spectrogram "waterfall" display, oscilloscope, X-Y plot, and phase torch.
- Industry standard Mac and Windows audio drivers (Core Audio, Wave, and ASIO) for across-the-board compatibility.
- Compatible with all current and recent generation Macs and PCs.
- Includes AudioDesk DAW software for Mac, USB cable, and mic cable adapter.
The MicroBook will ship in July, 2010. Price is $269.
For further information, visit the MicroBook web pages.