MOTU is now shipping the 4pre, which we previewed last month. It's a compact, half-rack 6x8 hybrid audio interface and mixer. The 4pre connects via FireWire or hi-speed USB2 to a Mac or PC computer and, says MOTU, delivers professional audio quality, straightforward front-panel mixing, and plenty of I/O, including four mic inputs with preamps, alternative guitar/line inputs, four channels of analog output, stereo S/PDIF and two stereo headphone outputs. Advanced features include digitally controlled analog trim, DDS (Direct Digital Synthesis) audio clocking for exceptionally low jitter performance, and an instrument tuner.
Jim Cooper, Director of Marketing at MOTU, told Sonic State, "The 4pre is the ideal compact audio interface for live recording and mixing situations that require four microphones, or a mix of mics, guitars, and other analog sources. No other interface offers four studio-grade mic preamps, with hybrid FireWire/USB connectivity and mixing, in such a compact size."
Here's all the detail on the 4pre directly from MOTU:
Four mic inputs with preamps
With MOTU's unique hybrid interface technology, the 4pre connects to any current Mac or PC via high-speed USB 2.0 or FireWire and provides six simultaneous inputs and eight outputs. Four XLR/TRS "combo" jacks equipped with clean, transparent preamps provide input for up to four microphones, with individual 48V phantom power and -20 dB pad. All settings can be adjusted directly on the front panel, or from the 4pre's CueMix software running on the computer.
Alternately, the four quarter-inch (TRS) analog inputs provide two hi-Z guitar inputs and two balanced line level inputs, allowing users to connect guitars, 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 to ensure the best-possible protection against RF interference, AC hum, and other noise-producing environmental factors.
The 4pre's two guitar jacks provide high-impedance load characteristics suitable for passive and active pickups alike, to deliver proper guitar tone to host software.
The rear panel includes S/PDIF digital I/O at sample rates up to 96 kHz.
Easy hands-on mixing for studio and stage
The 4pre front panel provides easy, hands-on mixing of all four analog inputs. Users can plug in a mic, guitar, keyboard, and immediately control the mix going to the main outs via four front-panel knobs. Users can also adjust input trim levels directly from the front panel. Since trim level is handled independently from mix volume, users never have to sacrifice audio quality (initial gain levels) when adjusting mix levels to achieve the optimum balanced mix.
In the studio, 4pre front-panel mixing can be used for monitor-mixing while tracking into host software on a computer (to eliminate software latency during recording), or for playing connected instruments even when the computer is turned off. On stage, the 4pre can be used for live mixing, either stand-alone or with a computer.
The 4pre delivers MOTU's award-winning audio interface technology, pristine audio quality, advanced engineering, and the rock-solid performance that MOTU interfaces are known for worldwide.
4pre feature highlights
- 6-input, 8-output audio interface for Mac and Windows -- all channels are available simultaneously and operate independently.
- Hybrid FireWire/USB 2.0 connectivity -- connect to a Mac or PC via either bus-powered Firewire or hi-speed USB2.
- 8-bus digital mixer -- routes and mixes all six inputs to any output pair.
- Four separate mixes -- each output pair (main outs, line outs, S/PDIF out, and phones) can have a completely different mix of all six inputs, with or without computer tracks.
- Four mic inputs with combo jacks -- flexible combo jacks provide four XLR mic inputs, two hi-Z 1/4" guitar inputs, and stereo line-level (+4/-10) input. Mic inputs provide individual preamps, phantom power, 20 dB pad, Precision Digital Trim‚Ñ¢, and plenty of gain.
- Stereo main outs -- on balanced TRS quarter-inch jacks. Connect directly to powered speakers (or other line-level analog destination).
- Digital I/O -- stereo 24-bit 96kHz S/PDIF in/out.
- Two headphone outputs -- independent volume control for each phone output. Output can be either the same or completely independent.
- HD audio -- supports standard sample rates up to 96 kHz.
- Precision Digital Trim -- digitally controlled analog trim on all inputs provides adjustments in approximately 1 dB increments. Fine-tune the inputs and then save/recall trim configurations.
- Front-panel mixing and control -- each analog input has its own dedicated volume knob. Control multiple mixes with clear feedback from front panel LEDs and metering.
- Front-panel output volume control -- independent volume control of the main outs and phone output, or mirror the main outs on both phone jacks.
- CueMix FX cross-platform mixing software -- attractive on-screen graphic mixing with a tuner and audio analysis tools including real-time FFT display, spectrogram "waterfall" display, oscilloscope, X-Y plot and linear or polar phase analysis.
- Stand-alone operation -- bring the 4pre to a gig, with or without a computer. Just plug in the included power adapter and you are ready to go. Need to tweak the mix? Just turn the front-panel knobs.
- Expandable -- add additional interfaces for more I/O as your needs grow.
- Time code support -- directly resolves to (or generates) time code via any quarter-inch input or output, without the need for an extra synchronizer.
- Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) -- a DSP-driven phase lock engine and internal clock source that produces imperceptibly low jitter characteristics (below the noise floor), even when the 4pre is resolved to an external clock source via SMPTE time code.
- DC-coupled TRS outputs -- can be used with Volta (sold separately) to manipulate and sequence voltage-controlled modular synthesizers from a host DAW.
- Plug-and-play operation with your Mac or PC -- compatible with all current and recent generation Macs and PCs.
- Includes native 32- and 64-bit drivers for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista, including ASIO, WDM, Wave, Core Audio, and Core MIDI. Supports all popular Mac and Windows audio software.
- Fully compatible with 3rd-party software -- 100% compatible with all host-based effects processing in today's popular audio programs.
- Includes audio workstation (DAW) software -- AudioDesk full-featured sample-accurate workstation software for the Mac OS X with recording, editing, mixing, real-time 32-bit effects processing & sample-accurate sync.
- Bus-powered FireWire operation -- no need for external power when operating as a FireWire interface connected to a computer. A power supply is included for stand-alone or USB2 operation.
- Half-rack form factor with removable rack brackets (included) for portable desktop operation or rack-mount installation.
Pricing and Availability:
The 4pre is now shipping. Price is $495 USD.