MOTU Audio Express

MOTU Audio Express

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Audio Express, USB audio interface from MOTU.

9 user reviews
Prices starting at $395 Average price: $395

MOTU Audio Express tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: MOTU
  • Model: Audio Express
  • Category: USB audio interfaces
  • Added in our database on: 03/10/2011

We have no technical specifications for this product
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Buy new MOTU Audio Express

Amazon MOTU Audio Express $395
Sweetwater Audio Express USB / FireWire Audio Interface $395

MOTU Audio Express user reviews

Average Score:3.7( 3.7/5 based on 9 reviews )
 3 reviews33 %
 4 reviews44 %
 2 reviews22 %
Value For Money :

doudou26's review"Very good card"

MOTU Audio Express
I bought this card to use it with virtual instrument plug-ins of acoustic pianos, to have a better sound than with the headphone output of my latpop.
I also wanted MIDI to connect my digital piano to the soundcard.
I went for Motu due to their good reputation in terms of audio quality and I got the Audio-Express because I had no need of many audio inputs.

I use it with an Acer laptop running Windows 7 an I connect the card via Usb2.


No issues with the drivers, no crashes with USB with a laptop PC.

This card is not dangerous(!!): It hasn't harmed my speakers (due to a very high gain) because I have updated the firmware.

I haven't used the recording functions but, apparently, you can use all (6) inputs simultaneously.
As for the latency, I go down to 512 or 256 samples, depending on the virtual instrument plug-in (very resource-intensive piano banks). The latency of milliseconds depends on the frequency, I have gotten it down to 5ms at 96 khz.
I think it's possible to go even lower with sequencers/recorders (Live, Cubase, etc.)


No installation problems, the manual is easy to understand.

I had an incompatibility issue connecting it via a firewire extension card connected into the expresscard port of my laptop with a Texas Instrument chipset. It would only work at 44.1khz via firewire.
However, I had no problems via USB with any resolution.

Firewire must work better on a Mac...


It's my first audio interface and I've had it for 2 years. The audio quality is good, the sound is clearly better than with the laptop's headphone output.

It can also be used as a small mixer without a computer, which comes in very handy when you want to use 2 powered speakers with 2 mics + 2 instruments (or 4 instruments) + a player via spdif. There's no need to carry with you a more bulky mixer. Even more so considering that the Motu is well-equipped: Balanced inputs/outputs + phantom power on the mic inputs, different mixes for PA and monitors.

If I had to replace this soundcard, I'd be loyal to Motu, but since I have gone back to hardware I don't need an audio interface.

mrjason's review"Can be used as a mixer too!"

MOTU Audio Express
I have used the MOTU Express a few times over the last few months while working a special project for a local band. It can be used as a standalone mixer as well as an interface, I feel that feature is great for a device in this price range. MOTU has made many great interfaces and I have use a lot of them but this one is suppose to be one of the lower end ones that they make but by the quality of it, you really cannot tell that it is not one of the better ones that they make.


I didn’t have to set this interface up because all of that was already taken care of but opening it up in Pro Tools and working with it was very quick and easy. All of the ins and outs are on the back of this interface which at the studio I was using it at was a hassle because I had to keep switching cables in and out. But the mixer that is built into it is very good and I feel it is the best feature that it has. Many other interfaces that are even close to this price range will not work as a standalone mixer.


The preamps are not bad but they do add a little color to the sound. They also had a footswitch connected to it for punching in and punching out with. It was one of the first times that I have used a footswitch to control those functions and I have grown to love it. They also had another interface working with it for more ins and outs, so it is also expandable. There really isn’t anything not too like about this interface.


Also, like some of the other MOTU interfaces you can use this one with an iPad as well which was a pleasant surprise being that this is one of the “watered down” interfaces that they make. But really this interface feels just as good as some of the higher end ones that they make. The only main difference is that the preamps do not sound as clean as the higher end interfaces that they make.

stompboxjon's review"MOTU is taking over"

MOTU Audio Express
I was using the MOTU Audio Express back in 2011; it is a 6 by 6 USB interface that can also be used via Firewire. It is compatible with both Macs and PC’s and can be used as a standalone mixer. Setting up this interface was very easy and quick. It is pretty small and not rackable so it will just had to go on my table top which I was not a fan of but it was not that bad. The preamp is pretty clean for it to be in this price range, I would have actually kept this interface for a long time but I needed to have more inputs so I upgraded but still stayed with the same MOTU line just a bigger interface.


The built in mixer was something that I did not expect to get with an interface of this price and size. Right after I purchased this interface that the controls on the front of the interface did not seemed to be built as well as I would like them to be which is pretty common in smaller interfaces because they tend to lack quality especially when they are at a low price.


The manual do does come with this interface, and walked me through the set up process on both my PC and Macbook. I only had to refer to the manual for my MacBook though because I ran into some small driver issues. I have recorded vocals and guitar tracks with this interface and I was really impressed with the quality of it. I would have kept it but I needed more inputs and also wanted a rackable unit so basically I purchased the exact same unit but it is rackable and has more inputs.


MOTU has really changed the interfaces that they have come out with recently. They are much better than some of the other ones they have come out with and the preamps are probably the best thing about them. I have used many MOTU interfaces and some good and some bad, but these ones are awesome.

lamouette/rck's review"Lousy"

MOTU Audio Express
I needed a soundcard with a couple of inputs and MIDI. I wanted something simple and effective. I wanted an RME, but I preferred to save some money.
I use it to record synths, I also use it for MIDI, plus I use it as my every day soundcard for Internet, writing songs, a bit of everything.


Things start to go downhill when it comes to installation and use!

Even if you install the drivers supplied, the soundcard will make you deaf, forcing you to go to the Motu website to change that (but there is no indication of this anywhere, you must learn it the hard way...).

In terms of use, the software is pretty good, even if some parameters seem not to work. (volume control track by track?)

In terms of sound, I have loud crackles from time to time, which forces me to restart's very frustrating!


See above, but I don't think it's easy to use, no plug and play, even if the manual is pretty good.


I've been using it for six months.

I love the simplicity and the number of controls on the front panel. (the headphone/monitor volume management system is pretty cool). The sound is not too bad.

But I don't like the rest: It crashes, it crackles sometimes, you need to restart...

I had a focusrite saffire before which wasn't better, but at least it didn't crash. I could rely on it.

I don't recommend it. And I hope that MOTU makes some improvements in the future. In any case, they have lost a client for the time being. I'll switch to RME!

MOTU Audio Express news

MOTU Audio Express

MOTU Audio Express

Published on 03/10/11
MOTU has announced the Audio Express, a 6x6 hybrid FireWire/USB 2.0 audio interface and mixer for personal studio recording and live performance mixing.

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