We reviewed the original MOTU 8pre back in (http://sosm.ag/apr07-motu) with its Firewire 400 and ADAT optical interfacing. Now, in its latest incarnation, it swaps Firewire 400 for USB 2 while retaining the core feature set from the original.
The 8pre has eight mic/line combi inputs, an additional eight ADAT digital inputs which operate at sample rates up to 96kHz, MIDI I/O, a headphone output and two main outs. The 8pre is a flexible beast and can be used in two main configurations. In the first mode, it's as a 16-input USB interface, and in the second, it's a standalone A/D converter that can be used as an ADAT expander for an existing audio interface.
When coupled with another MOTU interface with CueMix DSP, such as the 828 (mkII or mk3), 896 (HD or mk3) or Traveler (original or mk3), the 8pre becomes a transparent extension to your system, with inputs appear in the host interface's CueMix mixer.
It should retail for the same amount as the original 8pre at £439$549.
Here's more from MOTU:
Press Release: Turn your computer into a powerful digital audio workstation with eight mic inputs. Or add eight high-quality mic/instrument inputs to your current system.
The 8pre audio interface delivers everything you need to turn your computer into a powerful 24-bit, 96kHz digital audio workstation. The 8pre provides eight microphone/instrument preamps with pristine 96kHz analog recording and playback, combined with 8 channels of ADAT optical digital I/O. Expand your system by connecting additional 8pres or other MOTU audio interfaces.
The 8pre as your primary audio interface
Use the included CueMix™ software to mix all 16 inputs from your computer. Eight channels of ADAT optical I/O make the 8pre an ideal companion for a digital mixer. Two ADAT lightpipe connections work together to support a full 8 channels of optical digital I/O at any sample rate up to 96kHz.
Connect all of your studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines and even effects processors. Then monitor all of these live inputs via the 8pre’s main outs or headphone jack — with virtually no monitoring latency and no processor drain on your computer. You can even create separate monitor mixes for the main outs and headphones. Control everything, including talk-back and listen-back, from the included CueMix Console™ software, just like a large studio console.
The 8pre includes a 16-channel MIDI interface. Simply connect the 8pre to your computer with any USB cable, and both MIDI and audio are ready to go. Connect any MIDI device, such as a controller keyboard, synth module, automated control surface or drum machine. Timing is sample-accurate with supporting software.
The 8pre provides cross-platform compatibility with Mac OS X (10.6 or higher), Windows (8/7/Vista) and all of your favorite audio software and host-based effects via WDM/ASIO/Core Audio drivers. Or you can use the included AudioDesk workstation software for Mac OS, with 24-bit recording/editing and 32-bit mixing/processing/mastering.
The 8pre as a microphone preamp expansion interface
The 8pre is really two products in one. When it is not connected to a computer via USB, the 8pre functions as an eight-channel analog to digital (optical) converter. Connect the 8pre to your MOTU 828, 896, Traveler or even another 8pre via the optical “lightpipe” connection to add eight high-quality microphone pre-amps to your system. Since the connection is digital, 100% pristine sound is maintained, down to the very last sample.
The 8pre is the perfect way to instantly add eight more mic inputs to any audio interface or digital mixer with optical I/O. If you have a MOTU interface with on-board CueMix DSP mixing, such as the 828 (mkII or mk3), 896 (HD or mk3) or Traveler (original or mk3), the 8pre inputs appear directly in the host interface's CueMix mixer to becomes a transparent extension of your system, operating together with your primary interface as a single, integrated unit — even when the host interface is not connected to a computer and is instead operating as a stand-alone mixer.
If you have an 828mk3, 896mk3, 2408mk3, digital mixer or other audio device that supports 96kHz optical and also has two optical inputs, the 8pre connects to it via both optical ports to provide a full eight channels of analog to optical conversion at the 88.2 or 96kHz sample rates.