MOTU has announced Track16, a 16 x 14 desktop studio interface with mixing and effects. Track16 connects via FireWire or hi-speed USB 2.0 to a Mac or PC computer and features elegant design, compact size, simple one-touch operation, and studio-grade sound quality. Together, the Track16 base unit and included breakout cable provide a total of sixteen inputs and fourteen outputs, hybrid FireWire/USB connectivity, optical digital I/O, MIDI I/O, and SMPTE time code sync. Advanced features include a 16-bus digital mixer (with reverb, EQ, and compression), audio analysis tools such as an FFT with spectrogram "waterfall", and an instrument tuner.
An elegant desktop studio interface
Track16 consists of a base unit and breakout cable. The base unit (approximately 5 x 8 x 1 inches) is constructed from solid aluminum cast metal, with a sleek, brushed-aluminum top. The top panel provides a large, multi-function knob, ten backlit buttons, and four pairs of 7-segment level meters. The front panel provides several connectors, including a hi-Z guitar input, eighth-inch stereo "mini" line input, and two mirrored headphone jacks (on quarter-inch and eighth-inch connectors). The rear panel provides a DB25 connector for the breakout cable, a FireWire 400 connector (on a 9-pin Type B jack, similar to other MOTU "hybrid" audio interfaces), a standard USB 2.0 port, and optical in/out jacks, which provide eight channels at 1x sample rates, four channels of SMUX at 2x samples rates, and stereo TOSlink (optical S/PDIF) at rates up to 96 kHz. The optical ports are ideal for system expansion, such as adding eight more mic inputs with a MOTU 8pre interface.
The custom-designed DB25 breakout cable is 44 inches long (tip to tip), with twelve female connectors for the rest of Track16's I/O connections, including two XLR mic inputs, stereo balanced quarter-inch line inputs, stereo balanced quarter-inch main outs, stereo quarter-inch line outputs, a second hi-Z guitar input, MIDI IN/OUT, and a DC power input for the included power adapter. Individually shielded twisted pairs and balanced analog connections ensure optimum audio quality and integrity. An optional breakout box with the same connectors as the included breakout will be sold separately (pricing and availability TBA).
Track16 can draw bus power from the FireWire port, which supplies enough power to drive 48V phantom power for two independent mic preamps. Under bus power, users have the option of operating Track16 without the breakout cable, allowing them to record from the guitar input and listen on headphones with just their laptop computer.
The included DC adapter connects to the breakout cable (or breakout box) and powers Track16 for stand-alone use or connection to a computer using USB. Track16's USB 2.0 connection provides across-the-board compatibility with Mac and PCs, including forward compatibility with the USB 3.0 connections on Apple's latest MacBook and Mac Pro computers.
Track16's buttons are backlit with multi-color LEDs to facilitate operation in dark studio or stage environments. From the factory, the bottons glow amber (orange), except for the currently selected channel, which glows bright green. Six other color schemes are available in various combinations of green, red and amber.
Four pairs of 7-segment level meters provide monitoring of all analog inputs and outputs. Press the METERS button to toggle between the channels labeled in white and those labeled in blue. The main out meters remain dedicated to the main outs at all times.
A complete, hybrid "mk3" interface feature set Track16 is a close sibling to MOTU's current line of "mk3" hybrid audio interfaces, such as the popular UltraLite-mk3 and 828mk3 interfaces, sharing their hybrid connectivity to Macs and PCs, 16-bus CueMix FX mixing engine, on-board effects processing (including classic reverb, modeled console EQ, and vintage compression), stand-alone operation, Precision Digital Trim, SMPTE time code read/write capabilities, included AudioDesk workstation software, audio analysis tools, and an instrument tuner.
Price: $595 USD. Track16 will ship in Q3 of 2012.