Motu 1248: Four Year Review

By | 2024-05-04

To prevent excessive chopping and changing I set myself a target of keeping new toys for four years. The Motu 1248 has just reached this benchmark so, in theory, is open to be upgraded and it’s a good moment to have a retrospective.

The four year target is a bit of a blunt instrument, it’s a fairly long time for, say, a phone but for audio gear like speakers and microphones it’s no time at all. Audio interfaces also seem quite slow moving, the 1248 was first announced in 2016 and is still available for sale now.

Revisiting old gripes

From my previous review I had the following complaints:

  1. Stability
  2. Heavyweight Web interface
  3. Build quality / screen
  4. Bad meters on aux mixes

The stability was much improved with a firmware upgrade a couple of years ago. Since then I haven’t had any issues which have required a soft/hard reset.

The firmware also fixed a bug when the Web UI would report that my browser didn’t support JavaScript. First I lost Chrome and had to switch to Firefox. Then I lost the use of Firefox and was clinging onto Edge like a liferaft. The bug turned out to be an issue where document zoom is not 100%.

This is the only firmware upgrade the device has had in the four years I’ve owned it, although it was significant.

My complaint about the Web inteface being more demanding on clients than a specialised app has largely gone away just because four years of general technology progress means anything can support it now.

The build quality and crummy screen is obviously unchanged. But it hasn’t mattered much in practice. The 1248 has lived in a nomially portable rack which I haven’t actually moved much and it’s been fine. The screen I’ve just ignored completey.

Lastly, the aux mix metering bug. This is where the meters on the aux mix show the effect of the fader as if the master fader is at 100%. But if the master fader isn’t 100%, or even muted, it means the meter does not reflect the actual signal and you can be left wondering why you’re not hearing anything desptire the meter moving up and down. This remains unfixed.


The Thunderbolt 2 interface, connected via an Apple TB3 to TB2 adapter, has worked well. But as discussed before it’s not a big deal. Longer term it is a bit of a dead end as I discovered when trying it with a TB4 laptop. Although TB4 is backwards compatible with TB3, and I have a TB3 to TB2 adapter it doesn’t work. It turns out that the host chipset is still required to support TB2 signalling and Intel removed this from their TB4 implementation. I believe this still works on the TB4 Macs.

At some point I’ll upgrade my current motherboard and that will be the end of Thunderbolt.


The conclusion of my first review was slightly negative, I’d upgrade that now to broadly positivie. The stability, post firmware, has been very good and ultimately it has done everything I’ve asked of it. The weaknesses it still has I can live with.

There’s basically no chance of me replacing the 1248 for performance reasons. There’s an argument for selling and moving to the new 828 just to get something physically newer but it would be a step back in capabilities in some respects.

In my case I haven’t used it the way that I thought I would. I never got into the habit of big complicated sessions, and truthfullly the effort involved in that got old very quickly. These days I’m doing a lot fewer recordings for various reasons, and the ones I do tend to be with a more portable setup, i.e. a field recorder. So I’ve ended up with an interface, and amps, that are overkill for my use case. But none of that is the 1248s fault.

So, yeah, it’s alright.