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MOTU 828 versus Focusrite Sapphire

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  • MOTU 828 versus Focusrite Sapphire

    Hey All,

    I am sadly on my third PC and third MOTU 828 series unit - sixth combination of such as well - and they have all done the same exact thing. The USB 2.0 and Firewire 400 and 800 links (have had them all - isolated and installed new cards, etc.) degrade and lose connection given anywhere from an hour or two, to simply one or two minutes. This is attempted over 2 differing DAW suites. Same thing. Sometimes they will get in a phase where they will refuse to connect 3 out of 4 startups, and I have to power down both units to have a decent shot at getting them to link together.

    This has been a consistent probelm with all 6 manifestations of PC-MOTU systems I have installed.

    The good news is that MOTU units re-sell for a hefty percentage of their acquisition price - and I have to upgrade PC's regularly anyway - so this is a decade long experience with MOTU and the PC.

    I am considering, moving to Focusrite because of the feedback on stability and reliability with the PC. This last week, I just could not get anything done, with songs crashing and the Firewire interface between the MOTU and the PC dropping or failing to link about half of my startups.

    My tracks and recordings (2 tracks or 9 tracks, it does not matter) are always crackly and latent at startup - and will often crash the whole setup within minutes of any work. This also happens with Spotify and iTunes when I play them from my computers (remember this is several of them) through the MOTU and into my optically linked sound system. The sound gets scratchy and begins to degrade after about an hour or even less.

    This is my first post here, and I suspect this may be common knowledge in the industry.

    Any feedback on the Focusrite Sapphire line with the PC?

    Last edited by TStranger; 01-04-2015, 12:08 PM.

  • #2

    Because of the issues I was having with my MOTU 828 mk III Hybrid, I went ahead and bought a Focusrite Sapphire Pro 40. I installed it several days ago in parallel with my MOTU 828 Hybrid.

    The MOTU uses the 9 pin firewire, so theoretically has a higher overall throughput versus the 6 wire Firewire 400 of the Focusrite, but that really did not make any difference.

    Once I set up the Focusrite - and this was intuitive after setting up three different 828 units, as the Sapphire Pro 40 was very similar - I initially had to reconfigure my DAW setting a bit to get the optimal performance on the Sapphire Unit as compared to the MOTU.

    But once done, the Sapphire unit was stable and clear. No dropouts or instances of Windows 8.1 or my PC or DAW losing connectivity with the unit spontaneously during work or while the computer was inactive. No crackling or popping with the Sapphire after the DAW settings were optimized... (I had to de-install and re-install two plug-ins).

    No degradation of connectivity loss issues, as both my DAW and Windows recognized the unit continuously with no loss. While the MOTU can record at 192 kHz - I find that there is no way to record at this density with a unit that cannot keep connectivity reliably. 96 kHz at buffer of 512 is all I could use with the MOTU anyway without the sound becoming unbearably crackling.

    I have no idea why the MOTU units cannot reliably connect with a PC. Perhaps it is the infamous 'TI Chipset' issue - but on this purchase of computer, I made certain that my firewire and PC chips were TI. This really made no difference. The connection never was reliable.

    All three MOTU's were prone to loose connection with three different PC's operating on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

    Finally I just could no longer stand this.

    The Focusrite Sapphire Pro 40 seems to be the right new pathway for me.

    Last edited by TStranger; 01-04-2015, 12:10 PM.


    • #3
      Whoo hooo

      48 straight hours of having the computer on, and even with the screen saver function kicking in each night and twice a day, the Focusrite Sapphire Pro 40 never lost its 96 kHz sync with the computer!! Spotify works, Windows sees the device, iTunes works, my DAW works with 12 tracks, recording 3 at a time at 96 kHz (MOTU would never pull this off) YouTube works!! A first time in 12 years of studio pains

      - MOTU 828 mk II to Dell Inspiron Quad Core Windows XP - Would lose connection once per day

      - MOTU 828 mk II to HP Desktop Windows 7 - Would begin to degrade in sound after about 1 hour and 30 minutes of connection

      - MOTU 828 mk III to Dell XPS Desktop Windows 7 - Would begin to degrade in sound after about 25 minutes and spontanesouly disconnect from windows

      - MOTU 828 mk III to Dell MPS 8700 Windows 8.1 - Would lose connection 12 times a day and only last 5 minutes to 30 minutes in duration then fail.

      - MOTU 828 mk III Hybrid to Dell MPS 8700 Windows 8.1 - Would not link at startup 65% of the time, and would lose connection after 2 minutes to 20 minutes, and lose connection to Windows all day long. Never connected to YouTube at all. Worked with iTunes and Spotify sporadically.

      Yay!! DONE with MOTU....... off to eBay to sell this pain in the rear unit.

      Paid them a ton of money over a decade for overpriced and underdeveloped hardware... will never use them again.

      Last edited by TStranger; 01-04-2015, 12:01 PM.


      • #4
        Yay!!! 96 straight hours of flawless connectivity and clarity with my Focusrite Sapphire Pro 40. I am so pleased, so pleased.

        If you are operating on a PC, I would advise strongly to NOT get a MOTU line of I/O hardware - from personal deep and tested experience.

        Here is the thing. It would have helped me to read posts like this, with frank experiences/comparatives and exposing companies who do not possess the ethics to make their platforms/packages work in today's computing environment, nor make it clear that their product won't function with very popular hardware and operating environments.

        Then I would not have wasted thousands being ripped off by Waves Effect Bundles and a decade of suffering through MOTU 828 incompatibility with PC's....

        People are so afraid of sounding like a commercial or offending someone - that we cannot get the skinny. (My post are not a promotion by the way - just a lone victim of Waves and MOTU alerting the other herd members).

        We need frank assessments of hardware and software.



        • #5
          Originally posted by anam600
          which one is the best?
          Well, I have to say that, for the home/smaller operation user, with less than 10 inputs and outputs, if I had a Mac, I would still get the MOTU - provided that the feedback I hear is correct, and I suppose it is. But for a PC, the Focusrite is definitely the right choice.


          • #6
            I went through THREE (count them, three) MOTU 828 mkII interfaces before I got sick of the same transformer on them burning the circuit board. I ultimately got a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 based on this recommendation and never looked back. I did enjoy the MOTU when it worked, but something about that production run was screwy. I feel like the Saffire has better preamplifiers too. The conversion seems to be about the same. The new Mark 3 of the MOTU is probably fine too. I think that issue was related to the Mark 2's only.