• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

MOTU M4 interest?

617

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
423
Likes
627
Location
Somerville, MA
#1
I wanted to simplify my desktop setup of a good head amp, a good dac, and an okay audio interface into one unit, so I got a new MOTU M4. This seems to be the best of the current cheap 4 in/4 out interfaces, similar to products from Behringer, Presonus, Steinberg, and Focusrite. Amir tested another MOTU interface in their mid tier price bracket and it did quite well (SINAD ~110db) so I thought I'd get their newer unit.

Features which set it apart:
Loopback recording
On/off switch
USB-C bus powered
Nice color LED screen with meters for each 4 inputs
Ability to direct monitor all 4 inputs
Individual switches for phantom power on mic inputs
Midi in/out
Apparently very low latency for a USB interface

I was enticed also by the advertised sound quality, described as having THD+N in the -110db range for the phone out and line out. -129dBu EIN for the mic inputs. This spec is 9db better than my Tascam battery powered portable interface which is pretty damn quiet.

ESS Sabre32 Ultra™ DAC technology for superb analog sound
☑ The same converter technology used in audio interfaces costing thousands
☑ Measured 120 dB dynamic range on outputs
☑ Measured -129 dBu EIN on mic inputs
☑ ESS-driven headphone output


Does anyone have any experience with this unit?
 

Severian

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 11, 2019
Messages
125
Likes
81
#3
I've had it for a couple of weeks and am very happy with it as an all-in-one solution. The headphone amp can power a pair of Sennheiser HD6XX at about 75% volume for typical rock music and sounds clean in the process. I like having the option to use the 3/4 outputs to run an external headphone amp. Anecdotally, I think my speakers sound a bit better from the unbalanced 1/2 monitor outputs than they did from my Atom/Modi 3 combo. I suspect this is probably because the volume control appears to be passive, whereas on the Atom the preamp outputs are connected to the headphone amp and could potentially have been clipping my DSP input. Just a theory.

Build quality is exceptional for the price. The knobs are excellent.

I haven't used any of the ADC functionality yet but I will soon.

The only feature I'm missing is is that I wish the headphone output could be assigned a different mix from the monitor output.
 

Minigun

New Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
3
Likes
7
#4
I wrote a somewhat extensive review about the M4 (link to review, my personal blog) from a Linux user perspective, in case someone else is interested. I listed some specs and info which I didn't find anywhere else and did some measurements (for example, THD+N -103 dB loopback) and checked realistic round-trip latency in Linux (6.5 ms @ 96000 Hz). I'm happy to report the device seems to work very nicely as a class-compliant device.

The build quality is very good, everything feels nice, especially the knobs. I've recorded some albums in the past, so I'll be also using the microphone inputs at some point. Based on quick testing and other reviews online, they are extremely good as well.

Headphone output was interesting how it behaved with different phones. I got huge bass with my earphones (KZ ZST) but not that much with my headphones (AKG K701). My previous mic/headphone amp wasn't that different with the two.
 

Fred Jacquot

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Messages
286
Likes
309
Location
Europe
#5
I wrote a somewhat extensive review about the M4 (link to review, my personal blog) from a Linux user perspective, in case someone else is interested. I listed some specs and info which I didn't find anywhere else and did some measurements (for example, THD+N -103 dB loopback) and checked realistic round-trip latency in Linux (6.5 ms @ 96000 Hz). I'm happy to report the device seems to work very nicely as a class-compliant device.

The build quality is very good, everything feels nice, especially the knobs. I've recorded some albums in the past, so I'll be also using the microphone inputs at some point. Based on quick testing and other reviews online, they are extremely good as well.

Headphone output was interesting how it behaved with different phones. I got huge bass with my earphones (KZ ZST) but not that much with my headphones (AKG K701). My previous mic/headphone amp wasn't that different with the two.
Interesting that you managed to get the M4 running under Linux. I was under the impression that a kernel change was needed. Seems internet was wrong...
If you want, you can post your measurements here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/motu-m4-loopback-measurements.10890/
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2019
Messages
22
Likes
1
#7
M4 , Visual Analyzer and a spanking New icore3 laptop are my bench standard. Very hispeed setup.
Using my older W10 laptop for everything else.
 
Top Bottom