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MOTU 896 on a PC

I've been looking at a MOTU 896 interface that's at a local pawn shop. Doesn't have any software with it, but I checked with MOTU and can download the drivers for Windows XP from their site. The price is right, and I'm leaning toward getting it, but I've heard of stability issues with MOTU stuff on Windows PCs as opposed to Mac's. Anyone have any stories to tell (good or bad) regarding running this unit on a Windows PC? Thanks all! ANDY


schizojames Mon, 07/17/2006 - 13:02

As far as I know with MOTU stuff, it either works like a dream, or it's a never-ending headache. Unfortunately, we (nor MOTU tech support) cannot always predict what these things will or will not work with. For instance, when attempting to interface 2 2408MK3's with the Sony SIU-100 breakout/routing box, there was nothing we could do to make it work despite trying all possible configurations. On the other hand, the 896HD down at The Spot has worked like a charm since day one.

I recently purchsed an 896 to replace the source of my home-studio shame, an Audigy Platinum. The problem I am having is that the only firewire ports on my PC are supplied by this interface, and that is just asking for conflicts. Creative Labs has a stranglehold on my audio applications, and will not share with the MOTU, especially when there is no way to sync the SB to the MOTU. So for me it is just a pretty space-filler in my rack until that PCI firewire card arrives in the mail. As soon as this happens I will most likely be able to tell you whether or not to expect any problems, but I suspect it will work out. How much is it, by the way?

drumist69 Mon, 07/17/2006 - 14:52

Thanks for the info James! Keep me posted on how that works out with the new PCI card. I'll have to install one of those as well. If your setup works out, maybe you could let me know which model FW card you got, so I can pick up the same, known quantity. The unit I'm looking at is selling for $300 right now. They've had it for months, and I've been watching the price go down every few weeks. I don't think anyone around here knows what it is! So I guess if I can get it for $300 or slightly less, plus maybe $40 for a decent FW card, and another $20-$30 for a good cable, I'll total out at about $370 for the whole deal. Let me know how yours works out! ANDY

schizojames Tue, 07/18/2006 - 00:55

Damn, I thought I was getting a deal! But yeah, I think I ordered the cheapest FW card I could find, because somehow I just don't think the correlation between price and quality extends beyond pro audio gear (I may soon learn). It was about $13 (including shipping) for a VIA 3-port FW card at They haven't sent it yet, so I won't recommend going that route until it is in my hands and working....

...for a week straight.... full capacity.

Anyway, I'm paying $500 ( :oops: ) for my 896, but the guy is letting me give him $100 a month and already shipped it out after two payments. MMM, layaway. Reminds me of Service Merchandise back in the day.

Talk at you soon,

schizojames Tue, 08/08/2006 - 14:34

Well, as I suspected, it's pretty hit and miss with these things. The Audigy is out, the FW card and 896 are in, and after much trouble, it works most of the time. As far as Winamp is concerned, nearly every time (after boot or after quitting Cubase/Reason) I use it I have to point to "MOTU Analog" as the output, since Windows will not recognize it as the primary sound driver. As far as Cubase is concerned, I could not even open Cubase SX (1) with the latest MOTU drivers installed. It would get through loading all the plugins, MIDI, etc... and stop on something I had never seen on the splash screen before: "Initalizing: AMD optimized data type converters (if)"

I didn't really expect MOTU to know what this meant, and tech support didn't, but they did suggest to download the Win2K drivers, and to try turning on the unit at different times (before/after loading software, etc). Eventually, while up all night testing out an old mono mixer, I somehow got it working... It happened sometime after I took out my AGP video card and COM card, but not as a direct result of it. Even so I am still having severe MIDI sync issues which I had all but eliminated with my previous "prosumer" card. The other night I had so much trouble getting a synth line to record and play back as I had played it that I gave up writing music altogether. Not really- I'm exaggerating... but it gives you an idea of how frustrating that can be.

As far as whether you should get that one? I think it's great to have all of these i/o options now, options for future expandability, and better converters. I think it might be a better idea to sell the original 896 to help pay for an 896HD, which in my experience has been a lot more dependable. The jury is still out on this one, but I hope some of this info has helped inform your decision.

I hope even more that someone else didn't snatch it up first, because then where would you be?

BTW I think I lucked out with the firewire card I purchased. MOTU and their users have found that you almost HAVE to have a Lucent or a Texas Instruments chipset on that card. At least that is what I hear. If you have any problems once you get it (you might as well for the price), I have some forum topics archived that deal with some of the more common issues.

I talk too much...




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