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MOTU 24Ai + 24Ao 48-Channel USB Interface Combo

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$1,790.99
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Quick Overview

Two new audio interfaces, each with 24 analog channels in one rack space, superb audio quality, AVB audio networking, and large console style mixing with 48 channels and 12 stereo busses...

Introducing the 24Ai and 24Ao

Two new audio interfaces, each with 24 analog channels in one rack space, superb audio quality, AVB audio networking, and large console style mixing with 48 channels and 12 stereo busses

The 24Ai and 24Ao are two new members of MOTU's high-end audio interface lineup that includes the 1248, 8M and 16A. You can mix and match their complementary I/O configurations and unify operation with their shared AVB audio networking platform.

72 audio channels

24 channels of analog, plus three 8-channel banks of digital I/O

The 24Ai offers twenty-four balanced analog inputs in a single rack space. The 24Ao offers twenty-four analog outputs. Both units include three 8-channel ADAT optical banks, for a total of 72 channels each (24 analog plus 48 optical). Use the 24Ai and 24Ao to add analog I/O to your computer, or as a flexible optical expander and mixer. Or both!

All analog I/O is supplied on multi-channel DB-25 D-sub connectors and Phoenix connectors for convenient, flexible wiring into studio and industrial installations alike. If you need individual quarter-inch connectors, check out the 16A interface.

 
 

Superb audio quality

The 24Ai and 24Ao employ the same industry-recognized analog design as MOTU's groundbreaking 1248, 8M and 16A audio interfaces.

 Dynamic RangeTHD+N
24Ao Line Out123 dB-110 dB
24Ai Line In110 dB-102 dB

 

Ultra-low I/O latency

State-of-the-art latency performance

Every digital audio workflow has some latency. The only question is, how much? In the case of the 24Ai and 24Ao, the answer is, not much at all. In the 24Ai and 24Ao, latency is measured in a handful of samples, from the time an audio signal first goes digital to its arrival somewhere else (to an output, the mixer, or the computer). By keeping latency this low in the hardware, the 24Ai and 24Ao help minimize latency introduced by your host software.

 

24Ai analog input at 48k 24Ao analog output at 48k
 Samples  Samples
24Ai A/D12 24Ao D/A6
FPGA in4 FPGA in4
FPGA out4 FPGA out4
DSP in/out6 DSP in/out6
Total              26 (0.54 ms) Total               20 (0.42 ms)

 

Audio class compliant USB 2.0

Broad compatibility with future-proof connectivity

Hi-speed USB 2.0 provides across-the-board compatibility with pretty much all laptops and desktops. The 24Ai and 24Ao are USB audio class compliant, which means you enjoy OS-level USB compatibility and support, including iPad support (with a camera connection kit). Since USB 2.0 devices are compatible with USB 3.0-equipped hosts, your 24Ai / 24Ao interface is a future-proof investment in your studio.

 

48-channel digital mixing

Control up to 12 separate stereo mixes

The 24Ai and 24Ao are equipped with a 48-channel digital mixer designed just like a large format mixing console. The 48 inputs can take signal from anywhere: the physical inputs on the 24Ai / 24Ao interface itself, audio channels from host software on your computer, audio network streams, or even mixer outputs. The mixer provides 7 stereo aux busses, 3 groups, a reverb bus that can alternately serve as a 4th group, a Main Mix bus and a separate Monitor bus that can serve as a solo bus. In essence: capable and transparent mixing.

Modeled analog EQ and compression

Vintage processing with 32-bit floating point precision

British analog mixing consoles are renowned for their musical EQ profiles. The 24Ai and 24Ao meticulously model these classic EQs to give you the very same, magical EQ response found on these coveted desks. Each input channel also provides a classic compressor module with optional peak/RMS operation. Groups and the Main Mix bus are equipped with MOTU's Leveler™, an accurate model of the legendary Teletronix™ LA-2A™ optical leveling amplifier, known for its unique and highly sought-after Automatic Gain Control (AGC) characteristics.

Matrix routing and splitting

Put the ultimate patch-bay at your fingertips

With one click on the routing grid, you can route any source signal to any destination. Sources can be analog or digital inputs on the interface, computer channels, mixer bus outputs, or audio network streams from other devices on the network. Destinations include interface outputs, host software inputs, mixer inputs, or any other device (or computer) on the AVB network. You can even split any single input (or stereo pair) to unlimited multiple output destinations.

System expansion and audio networking

Expand your system with more I/O and Wi-Fi control

Connect up to five MOTU interfaces using a MOTU AVB Switch (sold separately).

The network port on the 24Ai and 24Ao introduces AVB Ethernet, the new industry standard developed by the IEEE for professional audio networking. Add a second MOTU AVB interface (24Ai, 24Ao, 1248, 8M, or 16A) with a simple Cat-5e or CAT-6 ethernet cable.

Build a network with multiple interfaces and computers using standard AVB switches and network cabling, with ultra-low network latency, even over long cable runs (hundreds of meters). Stream hundreds of audio channels among devices and computers on the network.

Web app control

Control everything from your laptop, tablet, and smart phone

The software that you use to control the 24Ai and 24Ao doesn't reside on your hard drive. It's a web app served from the hardware itself. This means you can control the on-board DSP, mixing, device settings, and network audio routing from the web app software running in your favorite web browser on a laptop, tablet or smart phone connected by wire or Wi-Fi to your local area network. Use any web client on any platform — Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android — as long as it shares the same network.

                           

Stand-alone mixing with wireless control

Control everything from your iPad or iPhone

Connect an Apple Airport™ or other Wi-Fi router directly to the 24Ai or 24Ao with a standard Ethernet cable and control powerful mixing and DSP effects from your smart phone or tablet, without a computer. Great for live sound mixing!

Comprehensive metering

View all I/O activity at a glance

The large backlit 324 x 24 LCD lets you view all signal activity at a glance with detailed metering for all analog and digital I/O. Access hardware settings from a simple and convenient menu.

Quick Setup presets

Completely transform your MOTU interface with one click

The 24Ai and 24Ao are so flexible, they can serve many roles — in the studio, on stage, and throughout an installation. The Quick Setup menu lets you instantly reconfigure the 24Ai and 24Ao for many common situations, from operation as a standard audio interface to serving as a network "snake" from one location to another. Once a preset is chosen, you can easily customize the routing grid and mixer settings to further suit your specific needs — and then save your own custom presets.

Technical Specifications

Sample rates44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz
24Ai analog
inputs
24 channels (balanced/unbalanced) 
3x DB-25 D-sub and 6x 12-pin Phoenix 
Max level: +24 dBu (digitally adjustable -96 to +22)
24Ao analog outputs24 channels (balanced, DC coupled) 
3x DB-25 D-sub and 6x 12-pin Phoenix 
Max level: +20 dBu (digitally adjustable -24 to 0 dB)
Digital I/O3 banks (24 ch) of ADAT optical at 1x sample rates
3 banks (12 ch) of SMUX optical at 2x sample rates
Total I/O24 analog + 48 digital (72 total) at 1x rates 
24 analog + 24 digital (48 total) at 2x rates 
24 analog + 0 digital (24 total) at 4x rates
Computer I/O
1 x USB 2.0 audio class compliant 
USB 3.0 and iOS compatible
Sync I/O1 x word clock in 
1 x word clock out
Front panel
5 x switches • menu navigation 
324 x 24 pixel LCD for level meters / menu nav 
1 x AC power switch
PowerInternational 100-240V autoswitching supply 
50-60 Hz • 0.5A max

Mac System Requirements

  • 1 GHz Intel-based Mac or faster
  • 2 GB RAM; 4 GB or more recommended
  • Mac OS X version 10.8 or later
  • Available high-speed USB 2.0 port
  • A large hard drive (at least 500 GB for recording)

Windows System Requirements*

  • * Windows support is coming soon…
  • 1 GHz Pentium-based PC compatible or faster
  • 2 GB RAM; 4 GB or more recommended
  • Windows 8 or later
  • Available high-speed USB 2.0 port
  • A large hard drive (at least 500 GB for recording)

Web App Support

  • Any web client platform: Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android
  • Any web browser: Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Explorer, etc.
  • Web client must be connected to the same network as the MOTU AVB interface by wire or Wi-Fi.

Included Software

  • MOTU AVB Discovery App for iOS (available from Apple App Store)
  • MOTU AVB Control web app (served from the hardware itself)
  • AudioDesk 4.0 (available as a separate download)

Operating Systems

  • For computer audio I/O: Mac OS X 10.8 or later; Windows 8 or later*
  • For web app control: Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android
 

Analog I/O Specifications

 
Connector type
Dynamic range
(A-weighted)
THD+N
(unweighted)
Max 
level
Trim range 
(in 1 dB steps)
24Ao analog outputDB-25 D-sub or 12-pin phoenix123 dB-110 dB+20 dBu24 dB (-24 to 0 dB)
24Ai analog inputDB-25 D-sub or 12-pin phoenix110 dB-102 dB+24 dBu118 dB (-96 to +22 dB)

Compatible Mac Software

The 24Ai and 24Ao ship with standard Core Audio drivers for Mac OS X for compatibility with virtually all Core Audio-compatible apps, including:

  • MOTU Digital Performer
  • Avid Pro Tools (version 9 or later)
  • Apple Logic Pro
  • Apple Logic Express
  • Apple Garage Band
  • Apple SoundTrack Pro
  • Ableton Live
  • Propellerhead Record & Reason
  • Steinberg Cubase
  • Cockos Reaper
  • Native Instruments Kontakt
  • Waves stand-alone apps (and plug-ins, via compatible host)

Compatible Windows Software (Windows support coming soon…)

The 24Ai and 24Ao ship with standard Wave and ASIO drivers for Windows 8 for compatibility with virtually all Wave-compatible audio apps, including:

  • MOTU Digital Performer
  • Avid Pro Tools (version 9 or later)
  • Ableton Live
  • Cakewalk Sonar
  • Steinberg Cubase
  • Propellerhead Record & Reason
  • Image Line FL Studio
  • Sony Vegas Pro
  • Sony Sound Forge
  • Sony Acid
  • Cockos Reaper
  • Native Instruments Kontakt
  • Waves stand-alone apps (and plug-ins, via compatible host)
 

24Ai and 24Ao Feature Summary

Superb audio quality

Employs the same industry-recongized analog design as MOTU's groundbreaking 1248, 8M and 16A audio interfaces.

72 simultaneous audio channels

24 high-quality, balanced analog inputs (24Ai) or outputs (24Ao) on three banks of multi-channel connectors (D-sub and Phoenix), plus three banks of 8-channel ADAT optical for 24 analog channels and 48 digital channels.

Universal connectivity

Connects to a computer with audio class compliant high-speed USB 2.0 (compatible with USB 3.0 and iOS). Discovery app and web app software works with any host audio software.

On-board DSP with mixing and effects

Flexible 48-input digital mixer modeled after large format mixing consoles, with 12 stereo busses and DSP effects, including reverb, 4-band EQ, gate, and compression.

32-bit floating point processing

DSP-driven mixing and effects engine delivers virtually unlimited headroom and the utmost in sound quality.

Modeled vintage effects processing

Classic reverb. Compression modeled after the legendary LA-2A compressor. EQ modeled after British analog console EQs.

System expansion

Add a 2nd MOTU AVB interface (24Ai, 24Ao, 1248, 8M or 16A) with a simple Cat-5e ethernet cable. Connect up to five MOTU interfaces using a MOTU AVB Switch (sold separately).

AVB audio networking

Build a network with multiple interfaces and computers using standard AVB switches and network cabling, with ultra-low network latency, even over long cable runs (100 meters point to point). Stream hundreds of audio channels among devices and computers on the network.

Matrix routing and splitting

Send any input to any output, or multiple outputs. Includes routing to and from the computer, plus any devices on the AVB network.

Web app control

Control on-board DSP, mixing, device settings, and network audio routing from web app software running in your favorite browser on a laptop, tablet or smart phone connected by wire or Wi-Fi to your local area network.

Stand-alone mixing with wireless control

Connect an Apple Airport™ or other Wi-Fi router directly to the 24Ai or 24Ao with a standard Ethernet cable and control powerful mixing and DSP effects from your smart phone or tablet, without a computer. Great for live sound mixing.

ADAT digital I/O

Use the 24Ai or 24Ao as a 24-channel optical expander for other gear. 24 channels at 44.1/48 kHz or 12 channels at 88.2/96 kHz.

Comprehensive metering

The large backlit 324 x 24 LCD lets you view all signal activity at a glance with detailed metering for all analog and digital I/O. Access hardware settings from a simple and convenient menu.

AudioDesk 4.0

Includes AudioDesk workstation software with 24-bit recording, sample-accurate editing and 32-bit mixing and mastering.

The 24Ai / 24Ao Mixer

Large console style mixing from your laptop, tablet or smartphone

If you know your way around a mixing console, you'll feel right at home.
If you’ve ever wished to mix on a large console,
the driver’s seat is now yours.

 

48 channel mixing

A flexible, dynamic, scalable mixing experience

With almost twice the DSP power of MOTU's award-winning line of "mk3" audio interfaces, the mixer in the 24Ai and 24Ao provides up to 48 assignable input channels. Seamlessly mix live audio signals from the interface's inputs with computer disk tracks and audio streams coming from other networked MOTU AVB interfaces. Make input and output assignments in the Routing grid easily with one click. Instantly show and hide sections of the mixer with convenient sidebar controls. Each input channel strip provides a high-pass filter, gate, 4-band parametric EQ, and compressor.

 

7 stereo aux busses and 4 groups

Control up to 12 independent stereo mixes

Create up to seven stereo aux mixes for monitor mixes and other sub-mixing tasks. Four independent mix groups let you control drum stems, background vocals, or other input groups on a single channel strip with 4-band EQ and the MasterWorks Leveler modeled after the LA-2A optical compressor. The fourth group includes a reverb processor. Through Wi-Fi, multiple engineers — or even musicians — can control their own monitor mixes simultaneously from their iPhone or iPad.

 

Aux bus mixing

Long-throw faders for aux sends

The Aux Mixing tab lets you zero in on a single aux bus and control send levels with long-throw faders, just like hardware consoles that let you temporarily "flip" aux sends to the channel faders…perfect for detailed mixing on any aux bus.

Monitor Mix/Solo Bus

Convenient dedicated monitoring

The Monitor Mix is specifically designed for monitoring. It can mirror any other bus, or act as a solo bus for isolating all currently soloed inputs, aux busses or groups. You can, of course, create additional monitor mixes with the seven available aux busses.

32-bit floating point processing

Virtually infinite headroom

The mixing and DSP effects engine in the 24Ai and 24Ao employs 32-bit floating point processing, which produces virtually infinite headroom for complex mixing and processing calculations, along with an infinitesimally low noise floor.

Modeled analog EQ

Precise and musical equalization

British analog mixing consoles are renowned for their musical EQ profiles. The 24Ai and 24Ao meticulously model these classic EQ curves to give you the very same, magical EQ settings found on these coveted desks. Four separate filters are available on every input, including optional low-shelf and high-shelf.

                        

Classic reverb

An all-around verb with tails up to 60 seconds

The Classic Reverb™ in the 24Ai and 24Ao provides three frequency bands with adjustable crossover points, predelay, spread, and reverb lengths up to 60 seconds. Perfect for monitor mixes when tracking in the studio.

Leveler

Finely crafted vintage compression

The Leveler™ is an accurate model of the legendary Teletronix™ LA-2A™ optical leveling amplifier, known for its unique and highly sought-after Automatic Gain Control (AGC) characteristics. The heart of the LA-2A is the T4 opto-coupler, a photoelectric device with almost magical (signal dependent) self-adjusting behavior that makes optical compressors the tool of choice for smoothing out just about any audio material, from vocals to bass guitar to full-program mixes, without destroying perceived dynamics. The Leveler's controls match the front panel of the original LA-2A: Gain Reduction and Makeup Gain knobs, along with Limiter/Compressor buttons.

Gate and HPF

Gating and high-pass filtering on every input

Each input is equipped with a standard high-pass filter and gate module for removing rumble, environmental noise, and other signal clean-up tasks.

AVB Ethernet

High-performance audio networking the industry standard way

Developed by the IEEE, the 802.1 Audio Video Bridging (AVB) extension to the Ethernet standard is now shipping as a standard feature in every MOTU AVB audio interface, ready to have an immediate, positive impact on your pro audio workflow. AVB audio networking fulfills the promise of a truly professional, scalable audio networking standard that can change the way you think about audio I/O and distribution for your own specific needs.

 

An open industry standard

AVB has been developed by the IEEE as an international standard specification for transporting high-bandwidth, low-latency audio and video over Ethernet. As a true industry standard, it is not proprietary and controlled by one company, allowing for open interoperability across devices and brands, with consistent, non-disruptive adoption of refinements to the specification, as it evolves.

It's Ethernet — for pro audio

AVB audio networking works very similarly to regular Ethernet. The only difference is that you use AVB switches instead of Ethernet routers, and you use a higher grade of ethernet cables (shielded CAT-5e or CAT-6), which are affordable and easily purchased wherever networking supplies are sold. However, AVB goes way beyond Ethernet. By design, bandwidth is high, latency is low, and audio streaming is guaranteed to be uninterrupted.

 

What does AVB mean for you?

In a nutshell, AVB audio networking gives you two important benefits: 1) flexible, convenient control of your entire audio system from any web host on the same network — even Wi-Fi devices like an iPad or iPhone, and 2) endless possibilities for expanding your system or constructing a customized installation. Here are just a few ideas.

Personal studio expansion

Start with a single MOTU AVB interface that fits your immediate I/O needs. Add a second MOTU AVB interface with a simple Ethernet cable.

Studio system

Place three to five MOTU AVB interfaces at strategic locations in your studio, mixed and matched as needed, all connected to a MOTU AVB Switch.

Multi-room installation

Install a MOTU AVB interface in every room of your studio facility, church, music department, or broadcast facility. Route audio from any source to any destination in your entire facility with sub-millisecond timing.

Scalable concert systems

Integrate FOH mixing, in-ear monitoring, and concert recording with long cable runs (100 meters) and network wide accessibility. Manage audio routing with convenient 8-channel stems and ultra-low latency. Scale your system for different sized performance venues. Build in system redundancy with ease.

Large-scale commercial installations

With long cable runs and industry standard networking infrastructure, MOTU AVB systems are well-suited for large-scale commercial installations such as arenas, stadiums, theme parks, clubs, casinos, houses of worship, broadcast facilities, schools, universities, and so on.

No licensing fees

Because AVB is an open industry standard specification, there are no expensive licensing fees that must be passed on to you. Instead, cost goes directly towards achieving the highest possible networking performance for your dollar.

 

Over 512 channels of network audio

AVB is designed to handle hundreds of audio channels over a network. A MOTU AVB network (with MOTU AVB interfaces and the MOTU AVB Switch™) can stream over 512 channels. In addition, each MOTU AVB device can broadcast sixteen 8-channel network streams and simultaneously listen to sixteen 8-channel network streams (128 channels in and out, simultaneously).

Low, fixed network latency

Standard AVB network latency is fixed at 2 ms. MOTU AVB network latency is an astonishing 0.625 ms (fixed), even over 7 "hops" (switches) and hundreds of meters of cable. That's only 30 samples when the system is operating at 48 kHz. When adding the ultra-low converter latency of MOTU AVB interfaces, that's an incredible 1.29 ms from analog in to analog out, over seven switches and potentially hundreds of meters of network cables. (At 96 kHz, the total latency is less than 1 ms.) By comparison, other proprietary networking systems have unpredictable, variable latency in the 2-5 ms range.

 

0.625 ms

Analog in to out at 48k

 Samples
24Ai A/D12
FPGA in4
FPGA out4
DSP in/out6
24Ao D/A6
I/O total32
Network30
I/O + Network               62 (1.29 ms)

Precision timing and network-wide sync

AVB provides its own network-wide time base for better-than-sample-accurate phase lock across all connected devices. Timing accuracy is down to the nanosecond. Better yet, a MOTU AVB network provides one-click synchronization: click the "Become Clock Master" button in the MOTU AVB web app for the MOTU device you choose as the clock master, and all other devices on the network immediately resolve to it.

 

Guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS)

AVB’s Stream Reservation Protocol provides Guaranteed Quality of Service for each and every audio stream. Once a point-to-point network connection is established, AVB guarantees that the audio stream will never be interrupted by any other network traffic of any kind.

 

True plug-and-play operation

A MOTU AVB system has been designed from the ground up to provide automatic device discovery, enumeration, and connection management. Just plug your MOTU AVB interfaces into a standard AVB switch and go. You don’t need an IT professional to configure the network. AVB is a self-managing network protocol.

 
 

Bridging to standard Ethernet

AVB can coexist with standard ethernet networks, for connecting standard ethernet devices like Airports or other Wi-Fi routers, Ethernet switches, and even entire Ethernet networks in your home, office or studio. This gives you control of your AVB devices from anywhere in your facility and access to the internet for instant firmware updates served from MOTU's cloud servers.

 

Long cable runs

A single AVB network connection can be up to 100 meters with a standard copper wire CAT-5e or CAT-6 cable. Fiber-optic cable runs can be much longer. With multiple switches — up to seven “hops” (switch-to-switch connections) — you can create a network that covers very large distances, if necessary.

Host access through
USB

MOTU is first to combine AVB networking with USB2 and Thunderbolt connectivity. (Thunderbolt is available in the 1248, 8M and 16A.) MOTU AVB networks do not require PCIe slots. Instead, you can conveniently connect your host computer(s) through USB or Thunderbolt.

 

Support for multiple computer hosts

A MOTU AVB network can host as many computers as can be physically connected, with complete access by all hosts to all connected devices and audio streams. All computers and all network devices run in sync with each other, resolved to the network's master clock.

Star configuration

MOTU AVB employs a star network configuration, which is much more flexible than daisy-chain scenarios by allowing for multiple branches that can be fed to multiple destinations.

Web interface and wireless control

MOTU's AVB system can be controlled from MOTU's AVB Control software, which runs within any web browser running on any networked laptop, tablet, or smart phone — even over Wi-Fi. Control your system from multiple devices at the same time, from any OS platform (Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, etc.)

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