Mark of the Unicorn, Inc. (MOTU) has announced the 1224, a 24-bit analog audio interface that will be sold both as an expander for the 2408 hard disk recording system and as a complete stand-alone system for Mac OS and Windows 95/98. The single rack space 1224 employs state-of-the-art 24-bit A/D/A converters to simultaneously record and play back 8 channels of balanced (TRS), +4 dB audio. Additional connectors include an independent pair of 24-bit balanced +4 XLR main outputs, stereo AES/EBU digital I/O and standard word clock in/out. The 1224 core system provides software drivers for compatibility with all of today's popular audio software and includes AudioDesk, MOTUs sample-accurate audio workstation software for Mac OS.
"The 1224 represents a significant jump in price/performance for computer-based hard disk recording systems by offering the latest generation 24-bit converters in a compact, economical single-rack space design," says MOTU Marketing Director Jim Cooper. The eight inputs and main outputs of a 1224 production unit have an actual, measured dynamic range of 116 dB (A-weighted).
All of the analog and digital connectors on the 1224 interface provide 24-bit input and output. All analog connectors are balanced and operate at +4 dB. The 8 analog input and output connectors are balanced tip-ring-sleeve quarter-inch jacks. The main analog outputs are balanced XLR connectors. The 1224 can record 10 channels of 24-bit audio while simultaneously playing back 12 channels.
The 1224's front panel displays six-segment metering for all inputs and outputs. A headphone jack with volume knob is also provided.
The 1224 Core System and 1224 Expander
The 1224 core system includes a 1224 single-rack space I/O, a cross-platform PCI-324 audio card, ASIO software drivers for Mac and PC, a multi-channel Wave driver for Windows 95/98, a Sound Manager driver for Mac OS, and MOTU's AudioDesk(tm) workstation software for Mac OS, which includes sample-accurate editing, sample-accurate sync, 24-bit recording, 32-bit native effects processing, a wide range of 3rd party plug-in support, editing, mixing, processing and mastering.
The 1224 expander consists of a single rack-space 1224 unit, which can be added to a core 2408 or 1224 system.
A 1224 core system includes the same expansion-ready PCI-324 audio card introduced with MOTU's popular 2408 hard disk recording system. Users can connect up to three audio interfaces to the PCI-324, mixing and matching 2408 and 1224 rack I/Os to suite their needs. For example, three 1224 rack I/Os can be connected to a single PCI-324 card to provide a Macintosh or Windows user with 24 channels of 24-bit balanced +4 analog input, 30 channels of balanced +4 analog output and 3 stereo pairs of AES/EBU input/output. An expanded system of two 1224 rack I/Os and one 2408 rack I/O provides 16 channels of 24-bit balanced +4 analog input, 20 channels of 24-bit balanced +4 analog output, an additional 8 channels of 20-bit unbalanced analog input/output, 24 channels of ADAT optical 'light pipe' digital input/output, 24 channels of Tascam TDIF digital input/output, 2 stereo pairs of AES/EBU input/output, and stereo S/PDIF I/O. (The ADAT, TDIF and AES/EBU digital formats all operate at 24-bit resolution.) In expanded systems such as these, all 1224 inputs and outputs are available simultaneously. Each 2408 supplies an additional 24 channels of simultaneous I/O in any combination of its four different audio formats.
AudioDesk Audio Workstation Software for Mac OS
The 1224 core system includes AudioDesk, a full-featured audio workstation software package that includes 24-bit recording, multi-channel waveform editing, automated virtual mixing, graphic editing of ramp automation, real-time effects plug-ins with 32-bit floating point processing, crossfades, support for third-party audio plug-ins (in the MOTU Audio System and Adobe Premiere formats), background processing of file-based operations, sample-accurate editing and placement of audio, and more. The 1224 system can also be used with MOTU's award-winning Digital Performer audio sequencer software package.
In either case, the host computer determines the number of tracks that the software can record and play simultaneously, as well as the amount of real-time effects processing it can support. A faster computer with more RAM and faster hard drives will allow more simultaneous tracks and real-time effects than a slower computer with less RAM and slower hard drives. A 300+ MHz Power Macintosh will allow the software to play 24-32 simultaneous tracks of audio. Today's fastest Macintosh computers can typically play as many as 64 tracks or more. Standard third-party SCSI acceleration products can also help users achieve higher track counts.
Drivers for Third-Party Audio Software
The 2408 system ships with a standard multi-channel ASIO driver for Mac OS and Windows, allowing users to record, edit, play back and mix their 1224 projects using their favorite ASIO-compatible audio software. Similarly, a Wave (.WAV) driver is also provided for compatibility with any Windows audio software that supports standard, multi-channel Windows Wave drivers.
Also included is a standard Mac OS Sound Manager driver for stereo I/O with any audio application that supports Sound Manager.
Price and Availability
MOTU expects the 1224 to ship by early summer, 1999. Price is $995 for a 1224 expander and $1295 for a 1224 core system.
Mark of the Unicorn, 2408, 1224, PCI-324 and AudioDesk are trademarks of Mark of the Unicorn, Inc. Other products are trademarks of their respective manufacturers.