Motu or RME?

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by therecordingart, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    I've been looking at new interfaces....I have a Tascam FW1884, but am looking around for a better sounding interface. Motu or RME???
  2. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    Well, if you are talking firewire then Both RME and Motu are good with solid reputations. The boxes basically do what the spec says they should do without any fuzz. Some PC-s have problem feeding them with the right signals, but if your machine is recent you should be OK. So simply read up on the features and select what is most appropriate for you. Shop around and get a good price, they tend to differ quite a bit. Perhaps you are lucky to save big on getting a used machine.

    None of them are the-very-expensive-worlds-best-class systems. But if you want to go that road, then everything else in the signal chain should be similar quality, and then you might as well expect the total cost to be at least 10 times the sound card, just counting monitors, mics and mic-pres then. Add an acoustically engineered room while you are at it, otherwise it will not make much of a difference.

  3. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    the Motu wont sound any better than the Tascam. the RME fireface will.
    you can keep the tascam and use the Adat on it to get better A/D and mic pres, just use the onboard mic pres for drums.
    infact the RME OCtamic-D would be a nice addition.
    of course you can always spend more as ghellquist posted. a whole lot more.

  4. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    Interesting. Maybe you could qualify this a bit. Is it from your own actual hands-on experience? I´m just beeing curious on how you reached that conclusion.

  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    A/B ing the 3, as with all things audio its subjective.
    my ears and yours hear differant.
    i put the tascam and motu on the same playing field RME hands down beats em both.

  6. moonz

    moonz Guest

    MOTU gear is great looking, but you'll come up short on finding published specs (total harmonic distortion...signal to noise ratio...frequency response...etc) for their products.

    Comparing published specs has always been the least subjective way to evaluate audio electronics, but, unfortunately, some soundcard companies, like MOTU, don't like to participate, and, the very fact that they don't should be cause for some suspicion.

    If you are producing a product that is electronically superior to all of your competiition wouldn't you want to advertize that fact?

    Without specs to compare between models and brands you are left with people's opinions, and this is a much more subjective and less reliable way of making a purchasing decision...people tend to embellish things they own or sell.

    RME does publish specs for their products, and in doing so they allow their products to be more reliably compared to other brands.

    They should be commended for this.

    What you'll find when comparing their products to other brands (other brands that also publish product specs) is that RME products are on par with several other brands..but not necessarily superior, electrionically...they use good components, but so does everyone else these days.

    RME is a good company, and they seem to use the best converter chips they can get their hands on to make their products, but, converter chips are so cheap that their cost is only a very small portion of the total cost of manufacturing.

    What this means is that RME is actually using the very same converter chips that some of the cheaper soundcard manufacturers are using.

    When you buy RME you are buying their reputation for using the best components they can get their hands on...but that does not mean what they are building with is is not...chips they use are manufactured by the same people that supply M-Audio, Edirol, Echo, E-Mu, and most other well-known soundcard companies.

    The difference in price between AKM's (the company the manufactures the most-used soundcard converter chips) best performing converter chips, when purchased in large lots, and their next best, is almost insignficant, as is the actual difference in the overall chip performance level itself.

    If you have a large budget, RME is a good bet...they have an excellent reputation, and they really try hard to be the very best...however...the performance of their products, at least on paper, while high quality, is really not superior to some of the cheaper alternatives.

    Even soundcards selling below one hundred dollars are now using converter chips that yield signal-to-noise ratios of more than 100db!
  7. sigir

    sigir Guest

    You can have a look on the RME/MOTU forums.

    I don't know MOTU, many people said that it is very good. RME too.

    What can I say ? The RME Multiface is one of the best soundcard of the world, you can trust RME to continue in this way with the Fireface.

    The fireface800 has 12 I/O without any hardware and 28 I/O with 2 ADAT device. But it is more expensive than the MOTU Travaller.
  8. sigir

    sigir Guest

    I was wrong. The fireface 800 has in and out:

    4 preamp/line
    6 line
    2 SPDIF (=1 stereo) or AES-EBU
    2 ADAT
  9. One thing you have to consider, though - is whether the testing methods used to attain those specs are also can test things so many ways and by changing some variables you can make anything look great on paper...your ears are truly the final judge...not a spec that a manufacturer...manufactured to put into a manual/piece of literature. I've heard nothing but the best comments about RME products...i've also heard that MOTU is consistently good - but never that it sounds as good as RME's options. My two cents...i'm buying a new system for myself in the near future - and it's going to be an RME Fireface800/Cubase SX3 rig.

  10. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    You may also take a bit of comfort from the fact that all of the midrange soundcards (as evidenced by the RME and MOTU modern cards) now have reached a level where the differences really are rather small or even tiny. This makes it extremely different to be sure about what you really are hearing when comparing. So for just about any usage, buy whatever gives you that warm feeling of beeing content.

    If you really want to test them out and hear what is better for you, be careful and try to make a blind A/B test. If you want to compare the AD converters you need to record a few different things in exactly the same way using the two different AD-s (and you tell me how to do that, because I have not been able to do it). Then cut it up in segments and listen to the two say about ten times. The important thing is that the listener should not know beforehand what order it is. Ask the listener (or you) listen to each change and write down if it is better / same or worse.

    Once you done the blind test, very often you find that things are not at all consistent. Changes from A to B may very well be heard as better one time and worse the next. And changes from A to A may often be better all the time. I´ve been there and done it.

    Anyway, go ahead and be happy with your choice.

  11. moonz

    moonz Guest

    Yes...of course you need to be aware that there are ways to skew the published specs...but you can pretty much determine by comparing the spec listings of several different manufacturers which guys are reporting the specs in a non-standard way....and at least they are telling you something...this would seem to be better than them publishing absolutely no specs at all.

    If you are comparing specifications listings of several soundcards and one particular company uses a different standard of measurement than the others then you should probably question this.

    Determining what you want based on listening before you buy is very desirable, but is usually not an option with soundcards, unless you are lucky enough to have a local supplier, and in the US you will probably have a very hard time finding a local store with RME or MOTU products of any sort.

    Some manufacturers may supply the specs if you request them in an email.

    When the soundcard I am currently using was first being advertised I was talking to another guy who was also interested in it, and I told him that I was hesitant to buy it without seeing a few specs...he emailed the company (Edirol), complaining about the lack of specifications, and they sent back an email with a detailed list of specs.

    I would not suggest buying a soundcard based on specs alone, I'd check related forums to see what current owners are saying, and use that as additional food for thought, but, I would not buy a soundcard who's manufacturer does not publish at least a few basic specifications, unless of course I was fortunate enough to find an indepth review, where the reviewer performed and published the same types of measurements that many manufacturers list for their products.

    There sure isn't any good reason I can think of that a soundcard manufacturer wouldn't want to crow to the public about building products with superior specs.
  12. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    Houston, TX
    I can't speak for MOTU (but I have heard that its Mixer application does not like PC's very much), but the RME drivers are SOLID. Very efficient, and stable IMO. I have used the 96/36 Hammerfall Lite with the ADI-8 Pro, and the Multiface HDSP (also with the ADI-8 Pro). Very stable, and seem to play VERY well with Nuendo. I don't know who owns RME, but their driver downloads are on a "Pinnacle" FTP server...

    The HDSP Mixer works AWSOME, and the lack of I/O meters is handled by the HDSP Meterbridge. This processes the actual level calculations on the PCI card, and only uses the PC's power for the video display.


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