In this article, I’ll be reviewing the Motu M2 audio interface. It’s one of the better options in terms of entry-level units, so let’s take a closer look.
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Final verdict on the Motu M2
While it may not have as many features as other interfaces, such as the Volt 2 or Scarlett 2i2, the Motu’s performance far surpasses them in a variety of ways. For $200, the M2 offers high-quality recordings with low-latency, incredible preamps, and excellent DAC.
What I like
- Individual phantom power and monitoring.
- Excellent DAC.
- Solid preamps.
What I don’t like
- No USB-C cable in the box.
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I/O and controls
The Motu M2 is a 2-in/2-out audio interface with 24-bit depth and a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz.
The inputs are both TRS/XLR combo, and are each equipped with separate 48 V phantom power and direct monitoring switches. To my knowledge, there aren’t any other units that have these two features set independently on each channel.
The front panel also features a monitor knob, one 1/4-inch headphone socket with volume control, and displays. The displays are full-color LEDs, allowing you to gauge levels with a fair amount of accuracy.
It doesn’t have level numbers on the side, but it’s still better than what most other interfaces have to offer at this price.
On the rear panel, there are two balanced TRS outputs, unbalanced RCA phono sockets, MIDI I/O, a USB-C port, and an On/Off switch.
For this price point, the Motu M2 offers one of the best performances in terms of recording quality. The DAC is quite good, and the unit handles latency incredibly well. The audio resolution goes up to 192 kHz, and the unit is quoted as having a 120 dB dynamic range.
The converter technology is the same found in Motu’s higher-end interfaces, which is amazing considering the price.
The preamps are high-quality, and emit little to no noise. They also have a gain range of 60 dB, which is well beyond what’s standard for units in this price bracket.
If you want a better performance, your best bet is to do some research and invest in a quality external preamp.
The Motu M2 takes up very little space, and can squeeze into the little corners of your desk. Two inputs and MIDI I/O grants more than enough flexibility for the novice audio engineer.
Due to its small size and light weight, engineers and producers on the go will find the Motu M2 interface incredibly useful.
From what I can tell, the Motu can handle a bit of a beating. It’s wrapped in hard metal, and feels rather weighty. The layout of the front panel is quite pleasing as well, and the displays are by far the best we’ve seen on an entry-level interface.
While other interfaces may come with a heftier software bundle, the M2 doesn’t have to compensate for a less than stellar performance.
Upon your purchase of the unit, you’ll gain access to Motu Performer Lite, Ableton Live 10 Lite, and up to 6 GB of loops and sounds. This is more than enough to help you get recording right away.
Compared to other audio interfaces
Motu M2 vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen
The M2 has slightly better DAC and better preamps. However, the differences will be incredibly subtle to the beginner, and doesn’t amount to all that much – especially since the output quality is more or less equal between the two.
Motu M2 vs Universal Audio Volt 2
The Volt 2 is a fairly solid interface to consider, especially for those interested in having more flexibility with the performance of your preamps.
Motu M2 vs Audient iD4 Mk2
These interfaces are more or less equal in nearly all aspects. Go for the one you can get for cheaper, or whichever one you think looks the nicest. You won’t notice all that much of a difference.
Motu M2 vs PreSonus Studio 24c
The Motu M2 is the superior interface. Its preamps have a wider gain range, and it has better DAC.
Who is the Motu M2 best suited for?
Being an entry-level unit, the Motu M2 is best suited for novice engineers looking for a clean, well-performing interface. Professionals may also benefit from having one lying around for recording in a pinch.