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.
The Audio Express features MIDI connectivity, and the audio I/O needed for a personal studio. Other features include front-panel control of four stereo mix busses, stand-alone mixing, digitally controlled analog trim, DDS (Direct Digital Synthesis) audio clocking, and an instrument tuner.
Te Audio Express can connect to a Mac or PC via FireWire or USB 2.0 and provides six simultaneous inputs and outputs. Two XLR/TRS "combo" jacks with preamps provide input for guitars and microphones, with individual 48V phantom power for each input. Two additional quarter-inch (TRS) analog inputs let users connect a keyboard, drum machine, or other line-level instrument. Four quarter-inch (TRS) analog outputs can be connected to powered monitors, stage wedges, or other output destinations.
All quarter-inch analog connectors are balanced. The rear panel includes S/PDIF digital I/O, MIDI I/O, and a foot switch input for punch-in recording (or other computer keyboard function, programmed from the included setup software).
The Audio Express front panel provides mixing of all six inputs. Users can plug in a mic, guitar, keyboard, and a digital input device, and control the mix going to the main outs via four front-panel knobs labeled MIC 1, MIC 2, LINE 3-4, and S/PDIF, the latter two acting as stereo pairs. Users can also adjust input trim levels directly from the front panel.
In the studio, Audio Express front-panel mixing can be used for monitor-mixing while tracking into host software on a computer, or for playing connected instruments even when the computer is turned off. On stage, the Audio Express can be used for live mixing, either stand-alone or with a computer.
Equipped with four stereo mix busses, the Audio Express allows users to create a separate mix for each output pair (main outs, line outs, S/PDIF out, and phones). For example, a full mix could be sent to a venue's PA system, while a guitar-only mix could be sent to wedge monitors on stage via the line outs. Input trim levels are maintained across all four mix busses. Programming for all four mixes (and input trim) can be done from the front panel by pushing the MIX knob to cycle among the four mixes and trim mode.
Pricing & Availability
The Audio Express ships this month (March, 2011). Price is $449 USD.
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