The most recent MOTU AVB audio interface range, which includes the 1248, 8M & 16A, can now receive the new firmware update 1.2.5. With this new firmware update, these interfaces now offer full AVB/TSN Ethernet support which MOTU are describing as an “industry first”. One thing is for sure, AoIP is increasing momentum whilst making consumer decisions harder.
This firmware update by MOTU has significantly added value to their AVB audio interface range in quite an exciting way. The most notable new feature is complete connectivity and control of these interfaces via CAT-5e or CAT-6 cables using the open source AVB/TSN protocol. This enables remote control of the units pre-amps over an AVB network with cable runs of 100m, or more with added network switches. This is a first for a dedicated interface using the AVB/TSN protocol.
This also means the interfaces can now be used as part of a scalable AVB/TSN AoIP network. This is particularly interesting with their on-board DSP and digital mixing abilities, making them suitable for a wider range of applications than most interfaces. For example, you can now use these units like mini stage boxes and incorporate them with other manufactures hardware such as the Avid line of live mixing consoles.
Whilst this is really interesting, there are two catches. Firstly this feature is only available with Mac which I think is odd considering the USB connectivity. Secondly MOTU have decided to go with the AVB/TSN protocol, and not Ravenna or Dante for example. Although this is huge debate at the moment which is evolving every single day, I’m personally not sure if this was the best decision. Only time will tell, but in the mean time consumers are left with a difficult decision which protocol they’re going to invest in. What is interesting though, is the multi connectivity options at stake here which really do make the most of AoIP technology as it should be.
There are other new features included in the update too. For example, these interfaces can now resolve SMPTE time code from any analog or digital input, and convert this directly to MIDI Time Code with a Mac. Mac OSX 10.11 is fully supported, some of the UI graphics have been improved and each unit on your AVB/TSN network can be password protected. For full information, see the link below.
This is a really important update which pushes the boundaries of AoIP technology to where they should be. I welcome advancements like this with my arms wide open. Hopefully other manufactures will start to recognise the need to become more flexible and embrace the possibilities that AoIP can deliver us. This is an exciting time to be involved in pro audio.
For more information, see this Newsletter by MOTU.