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Linking optical without a firewire to a motu 828 mk3 hybrid

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Linking optical without a firewire to a motu 828 mk3 hybrid

Postby Dazlaar » Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:44 pm


I know this is a bit old now, and I'm sure there's been many threads about this, which I don't seemed to have found.

I have a recent motu 828 mk3 hybrid (for firewire), and I've channelled the outputs to the inputs on my Allen and Heath ZED 428 mixing desk and returning it to the motu. All good.

As for expansion, I currently have a platinum octopre which was actually working fine with a motu 828 mk1. (no cuemix).

I can't get it working with the mk3 hybid because the motu instructions are to connect the satellite to firewire and sync it with cuemix. I've got as far as syncing the octopre clock as master, and seeing a signal in the octopre, but getting nothing in the motu.

Additionally to this, i've bought a fostex VC-8 for the D/A conversions, to go back into the desk. I've used the optical out of octopre, into fostex, out of fostex, into motu. Again, the clock settles on the motu connecting it this way, but the main issue first is getting a signal to the motu. Surely this has been done countless times. But I'm just looking for help.

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Re: Linking optical without a firewire to a motu 828 mk3 hybrid

Postby CS70 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:10 am

Ah. It's a common problem - there's a lot of excellent firewire hardware out there that can be used standalone.. but needs a firewire connection first to be set up that way (and of course, every time the internal battery, if any, needs to be changed). Usually that's the reason for which otherwise excellent hardware is sold at scrap prices.

I've seen many Motus like that - sold for very little money because they are firewire. Some units have hardware switches, but sadly most do not. The Motu seems a case in point.

Insofar I see, there's really no other solution than to find a old and cheap Firewire-equipped computer, possibly a Mac or with an older version of Windows, (as recent Windows 10 updates seem to have broken FW compatibility with old hardware) and keeping it with the only purpose of servicing the interface when needed. Old windows laptops may also have FW cards on express ports.

Or - if you use a desktop pc - purchase a FW card and add it to the motherboard with the same purpose.

Both are relatively inexpensive propositions but of course cumbersome (I was put off myself).

A friend with an ancient computer sometimes come to the rescue, but it's a ticking bomb as if something happens to the settings, you have to find a FW connection again. Depending on where you live in the world, you may find a fellow sound engineer or a studio who's willing to lend you a hand - or a port - for the five minutes it takes to switch to standalone.

As of FW compatibility, you're not really going to pass real-time audio, so the issues that may happen with modern versions of Windows for real-time data streaming via FW may be not so critical... but not sure. So best to try before you buy or - for FW cards - read around (I think several people here are quite knowledgeable on compatibility etc).

It's really annoying to have to scrap a perfectly good piece of hardware because of digital incompatibility..
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Re: Linking optical without a firewire to a motu 828 mk3 hybrid

Postby Dazlaar » Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:47 am

Hi there mate,

Thanks for your reply. Let me go into a bit more detail about my set up.

I have a 2009 mac. I've recorded about 30 mins of music - drums, guitars, guide vox, about 9-10 channels, and overdubs using a motu 828 mk1, and a octopre platinum via firewire and optical using about 13 channels at a in at a time. So far really good.

I realised I need more outputs, so I can mix back using analogue outs back into sound card. I believed it would be as simple as buying a motu 828 x and connecting to octopre, and buying fostex vc-8 as outs for octopre to acheive 16 outs.

Then I realised my mac doesn't have firewire, so bought a new mk3 hybrid from an ebay company that supplies motu equipment, claming it was new.

I've managed to connect up the motu 828 hybrid and patch up in the daw so i can have outs and ins. So far so good as 8 analogue ins and outs, as well as the main outs and ins.

BUT, I've tried syncing the octopre to the motu hybrid, the motu mk1 to hybird, AND the motu 828 x as the master clock, via adat. 3 options.

Both the ocotpre and the motu 828 x both have recieved a signal, but is not going to the motu 828 hybrid. I must add here it appeared on the volume dispay that the motu x appeared to have a latency on the volume, where as the signal light on octopre appears to be spot on.

My ideal set up is the motu 828 hybrid and the octopre and fostex out.

Knowing my set up more, is there anyway you can help??


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