MOTU 1248 is different though, hitting the criteria required for many small studios on multiple levels.
To start with, the MOTU 1248 has a lot of I/O for such a small package in that there's 8 rear panel analog inputs and 12 analog outputs, along with 4 mic inputs complete with front panel trim, phantom power and pad controls, and two front panel instrument inputs. The 12 outputs are divided into 8 channel outs, 2 main and 2 monitor, plus there are 2 dedicated front panel headphone outputs with level controls.
There's also 2 ADAT inputs and outputs that allows for up to 16 more inputs if you have one of the many 8 channel mic preamps available with ADAT outs. Keeping on the digital side, you'll also find a SPIDF input and output. All this combines for up to a potential 32 inputs and 34 outputs, quite a lot from a single rack space box.
The 1248 can also interface with the computer in multiple ways in that there's both Thunderbolt 2 and USB connectors. Plus there's also an AVB Ethernet connection for connecting the unit to a network, which could include a number of additional 1248's for expanded capabilities.
The front panel also contains master volume controls for the Main and Monitor outputs, and a large display that can show the various functions or act as level indicators for all the inputs and outputs. That said, the unit also comes with a software mixer capable of up to 48 channels, each with its own EQ, filter set, gate and compressor, with up to 7 aux sends and 4 groups. This mixer can be loaded not only onto a desktop computer, but also on an iPad or iPhone for remote control of the unit, something which musicians and engineers are demanding more and more.
The 1248 is capable of operating at sample rates up to 192kHz, although that will limit the I/O capabilities. That said, the unit is deep in functionality, has some excellent audio specs, and in general is a huge bang for the buck at a street price of $1495. Check out the video below or go to the MOTU website for more details.