This is the perfect PCI/ASIO based audio interface for all of us studio owners looking for a high quality, versatile, yet simple, audio interface for a full sized music recording studio. It's best asset? 24 inputs and outputs at 96k/24 bit in one rack space. Put simply, this will either replace your 24 track tape deck or make it easy to transfer tracks between an analog recorder and the digital world. All I've ever wanted in an ASIO interface is just this I/O configuration in a space efficient package and it's finally available after several years of having to own multiple interfaces and or converters to get more than 16 channels of I/O in one rack space. Bonus features? SMPTE read/write from any channel and word clock in/out. The new 424 PCI card also has near zero latency recording that's pretty bulletproof to deal with. The first time we used this box was on a tracking session into Cubase 5.0. The latency was 1.89 ms! I've heard that most high-end DAWs have a latency between 3-5ms, so this is pretty impressive. The session went fine, the latency was not detectable by any of the musicians. You can also interface any older MOTU interfaces to the newer 424 card, so at some point I'll look to pick up a used 2408 on the cheap on eBay for litepipe transfers. It will also interface with the new MOTU HD192 interface, allowing for some pretty severe upward mobility. Sonically, the conversion (on a subjective basis) seems right up there with other mid- priced converters such as Swissonic, older MOTU stuff and the Metric Halo MIO. The consensus around our studio was that the MIO still sounded a bit better but just a bit, while it was hard to tell the difference between 24 I/O and the Swissonic. We all felt the 24 I/O sounded better than our older 1224 and 2408 MKII converters. As a side note, we use a Lucid GenX6 clock as master clock in our system. Metering is provided through 5 segment LEDs which is fine for most apps. The unit came with a warning that it would run extremely hot, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn't generate as much heat as my Swissonic converters do. Lastly, the unit comes with the AudioDesk app, a slightly stripped down (there's no MIDI functions but quite a bit of audio functionality) version of MOTU's Digital Performer app, making this box truly plug-n play. It's pretty cheap too, I bought mine for $1420 at

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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