The MOTU 828MK3 is a firewire or a USB connected interface. The manual was easy to read through and understand making the set up process very easy. It is rackable taking up one rack stace and it also has on board effects. The support with this product is not very good though I remember having some issues when working with it on my Mac a few times and contacting them about it got me nowhere.
The DSP effects are built in are a huge plus for any user, there are reverb and EQ plug ins to use with any DAW that you enjoy working in. The preamps are decent, not the best that I have heard from MOTU but not the worse either. This interface will work on a Windows and Mac system and it works great with ASIO drivers as well. It comes with software called AudioDesk which I only used one time and didn’t like it at all but I guess if you are a new user then it could work for you but you will outgrow it and want to do more. It came with software called CueMix FX too, which was great!
This interface does not seem to be built as well as other MOTU interfaces and it seems like it could have issues if it is used and abused. But it does come with a warranty for 2 years from them so if you have any issues you can always return it. Hopefully it is a hassle free return.
There is a small LED screen that is backlit, it doesn’t have the best quality but it is not bad. It is easy to read and see what you want to do on it but it is not very graphical. This interface is average at best to me but the plug ins that comes with it makes it worth having because they are worth the money.
I got this a while back because I wanted to upgrade my converter at home and simplify my setup a bit. This converter does those things very well and more, there are a lot of features in this thing that you might not realize. I use it as a preamp, converter, monitor mixer, and for FX on the monitor mix - all in one rack space. This thing is basically great. I'm running a PC setup with Nuendo, Dual Core processing, and 4GB of ram. This connects with firewire though and the processing is done in its own hardware, so your computer doesn't affect its performance really. I use it for microphones and also with DI instruments.
Installing this is a cinch. It's firewire, so you don't need to crack open your computer case or anything. You really only need to worry about three things: Install your drivers from the CD they give you (though you should check on their website for updates), plug in the power cord, and plug the firewire cable that is provided into your computer. If you have a second soundcard or internal sound in your computer, you will likely have to tell your host which one to use - but other than that setup is very easy. I have no compatibility issues. They have a great manual which is worth reading to get the most out of this box - it's pretty think but they have the same information in many languages.
The drivers are updated whenever bugs are discovered as far as I can tell, so no problems there on my system running Nuendo. One of the best things about it is that you can monitor with zero latency. The driver disc has CueMix software which lets you make your own monitor mixes out of the inputs that come directly from the unit itself for zero latency. On top of that, it has built in FX processors so if you wanted say some reverb on a vocal recording, you can do that with just this one box. Pretty awesome. For audio recording purposes, you can get 8 simultaneous inputs, but one of the drawbacks is that that is mostly 1/4" inputs - you only have 2 XLR spots so if you're recording a live band you'll want to have some XLR to 1/4" cables.
I've been using this for a couple years now. I love the versatility and the amount of processes this thing can handle by itself, it makes recording much easier and more streamlined for me. I've used a variety of converters, and while the pres and A/D don't sound like they cost $20,000 - for a home studio they are more than enough. You are getting a great deal for the cost - this would have been unheard of 10, 15 years ago. I'd get it again, I love this thing.