Gear Review: MOTU MicroBook Audio Interface

(Editor’s note: Patch Foundry will be reviewing new gear for MainStage over the next few months. If you have a MainStage related piece of gear you’d like us to review, please leave a comment below. Thanks!) 

 

 

MOTU’s MicroBook looks to be the perfect audio interface- it’s small, ruggedly built, with lots of amazing in and outs. Here’s how it stacks up: 

 

What we liked: All the inputs are stable, and the sound quality was excellent. The headphone output was loud, and I was able to have independent level control for the main outs, line outs, and my headphones. It paired natively with MainStage, and the sound quality, while not at the level of interfaces in the $1,000 range, sound great. 

 The MOTU MicroBook comes housed in a rugged metal box, and features a host of useful controls on the top of the unit including pads, phantom power, level control, LED level meters, and much more. 

The MOTU MicroBook comes housed in a rugged metal box, and features a host of useful controls on the top of the unit including pads, phantom power, level control, LED level meters, and much more. 

 

What we loved: I loved that I could plug in my Nord Stage and merge the signals using the CueMix software. It even allowed me to send a custom mix to my FOH engineer that was different than my in-ear mix. Cool. 

 A unique feature to the MicroBook is both its digital output, and it's iOS compatibility (not covered since we're reviewing with MainStage in mind only).

A unique feature to the MicroBook is both its digital output, and it's iOS compatibility (not covered since we're reviewing with MainStage in mind only).

 

What we didn’t like: the lettering on the top of the unit easily scratches off when putting it in and out of a gig bag. Also, I had the audio driver come unpaired from MainStage one time during testing- it only happened once, and other than that drop (which might have not been the MicroBook’s fault)

 

Pros

 

• Bus powered

• Lots of in and outs

• two multi-use jog wheels for adjusting levels 

• rugged metal construction

• Tiny footprint

• Two LED level meters on top of unit

• Powerful CueMix software included 

 

Cons

 

• Lettering on top of unit easily comes off with lots of touring use 

• Drivers dropped with my version of MainStage

 

 

PATCH FOUNDRY RATING

MainStage Compatibility: 9

Stability: 7

Sound Quality:  8

Number of Features:  8

Portability: 10

 

Final Score: 8.4

 

Buying advice: If you’re looking for a solid audio interface, I can’t think of one that’s better than this unit in this price range ($250).