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Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU) 1248

CCRMA uses several MOTU 1248 audio interfaces: Studio D, Studio E, and the Classroom.

One nice feature is that the front panel (by default) displays a meter for each I/O channel.

To connect one to your own laptop you may need to install drivers.

Operation / How-to

How to Return to Meter Display

Keep pressing “back” (the knob/button under the numeral “3”) to get out of all the settings menus so the MOTU display is all meters (i.e., blank except when there is sound) except all the way at the right where it displays the sample rate and clock source (“mode”), e.g., “44k” and “Int”.

How to Set the Sample Rate

  1. Return to Meter Display (explained above): keep pushing “back”.

  2. Push “select” (the knob/button under the numeral “4”) once, twist it until “Settings” appears, then press it again to go into the Settings. Twist it through the settings until “Sample Rate” is highlighted. Press it to enter the list of sampling rates. Twist in either direction until it displays your chosen sampling rate. Press it one last time to confirm the new selection.

  3. Push “back” three times to exit all the submenus.

How to Recall a Preset

You should never need to use MOTU presets at CCRMA.

  1. Return to Meter Display (explained above): keep pushing “back”.

  2. Push “select” (the knob/button under the numeral “4”) once, then twist it until “Presets” is selected. Press the button to go into the list of presets. Now twist to select the preset you want, then press the button to choose it. The display will briefly flash “Activated”.

  3. Push “back” twice to exit all the submenus.

Weird Behavior with Linux

Software such as Sound Preferences, Audacity, or JACK may fail to output to the MOTU on the first attempt (perhaps telling you Error opening sound device. Try changing the audio host, playback device and the project sample rate.); in most cases simply trying again a few seconds later often works on the second or third try.

In particular, if your software is trying to use a different sampling rate than the MOTU’s current setting (as shown on the right of the LCD), the Linux system may at first fail to set the MOTU’s rate, but often if you try again 5-10 seconds later, the second attempt will succeed. If that doesn’t work, then manually change the MOTU’s sampling rate from the front panel.

Also keep in mind that unless you use JACK, then by default the operating system will often perform an automatic 7.1 surround mix that you probably don’t want.

Weird Behavior with OSX

One time Matt’s Touch Bar MacBook Pro (OSX 10.14.6) had the Studio E MOTU 1248 selected as the Output Device in Sound Preferences and there was lots of latency and jitter between smoothly fading the volume on the touch bar and the jerky response of the audio through the mixer.

Configuring the MOTU 1248


But how?

You bring up the configuration and routing UI in a web browser. Probably it will be password-protected to force you to get help from Matt instead of mess up the studio for everybody.

Either you connect a computer to the MOTU over Ethernet or else if you have a Mac with USB connection you can run MOTU which will add yet another icon next to your clock that shows all the connected MOTU devices and lets you access them via URLs such as http://mattwright-2.local:1280/0001f2fffe004a7f/#routing that somehow tunnels HTTP over UDP.


Not all versions of the MOTU 1248 firmware work with Linux. We recommend 1.2.8+1178

Never upgrade without talking to Matt first.

Don’t use 1.3.4+1422 - we’ve had problems (e.g., output channels suddenly changing their numbering by 8 channels, so the old 1 becomes 9)


If your Mac or Windows laptop doesn’t recognize the MOTU after plugging it in via USB, you probably need to download and install the drivers:

This page of CCRMA documentation updated Wed May 20 09:14:19 PDT 2020 by matt.