Back to All Articles

Major firmware update adds new features and groundbreaking connectivity

Firmware update 1.2.5 is now available for the 1248, 8M, 16A and other latest-generation MOTU audio interfaces, including the UltraLite AVB. A free download that's easy to install, this major firmware upgrade offers significant new features, including another industry first for MOTU and a milestone for pro audio: a whole new way to connect an audio interface to a Mac.

A milestone for Mac audio connectivity

Below is a brief summary of new features introduced in Firmware 1.2.5, including support for direct AVB/TSN connection to a Mac running macOS® El Capitan (10.11). Over the years, how you connect an audio interface to the Mac has evolved, from early connectivity standards such as SCSI and PCI, to more recent formats like FireWire, USB and Thunderbolt.

Now, you can connect your MOTU interface to the Mac using a standard CAT-5e or CAT-6 Ethernet cable up to 100 meters long and stream up to 64 audio channels to and from audio applications running on the Mac at sample rates up to 192 kHz with low latency. Any recent-generation Mac with a built-in Ethernet port running macOS 10.11 is supported.

PLEASE NOTE: this procedure requires macOS 10.11. Under macOS 10.10, 10.12 or 10.13, performance is unreliable (as explained in this technote), and we do not recommend direct AVB connection. Apple has been made aware of these issues in their AVB audio driver (it is part of macOS) and we hope to see improved performance in a future macOS update.

With affordable cable runs that can be substantially longer than USB or Thunderbolt, Ethernet allows you to position your MOTU interface much farther away from your Mac, across the room in a machine closet with other gear, for example, or in an isolation booth down the hall, near microphones and musicians. Using Ethernet frees up the USB and Thunderbolt port(s) on the Mac for displays and other devices. Ethernet also opens up your Mac to the world of audio networking.

"MOTU has a notable track record of industry firsts,
and we are proud to be the first pro audio company
to fully adopt and support this new audio connectivity standard for Mac."
— Jim Cooper, Director of Marketing


You can connect two or more MOTU audio interfaces to your Mac using the affordable, five-port MOTU AVB Switch™ (or any other standard AVB/TSN-compatible Ethernet switch) to build an expanded audio network. All devices on the network can transmit and receive full-bandwidth multi-channel PCM audio throughout the network with extremely low, fixed network latency, even across multiple switches (known as "hops"). In this scenario, you can connect multiple Macs, which share full access to the entire network.

MOTU interfaces connected to a Mac using Ethernet

MOTU audio interfaces bring the power and promise of AVB/TSN Ethernet audio networking to the Mac platform. You can build advanced, high-performance audio routing configurations to suit virtually any use-case scenario, from small project studios to large-scale industrial installations in facilities with multiple rooms, floors and buildings. With copper cable lengths of 100 meters between any two points, or fiber-optic network cables many hundreds of meters in length, audio can be distributed across very long distances in facilities as large as football stadiums or film studio lots.


Firmware 1.2.5 new feature summary

  • Added the ability to remotely control preamp settings for any interface on a network.
  • Interfaces can now resolve to SMPTE time code (LTC) from any available analog or digital input channel.
  • Interfaces can convert SMPTE time code (LTC) to MIDI Time Code (MTC) under macOS.
  • Added support for macOS 10.11 entity mode, so you can connect multiple AVB devices to an AVB-equipped Mac.
  • Added graphic control for the multi-band EQ and compressor in the web app on-screen mixer.
  • Interfaces can now be password-protected.
  • Device presets now save and recall AVB stream connections.
  • Added a lock button to the web app Routing tab to prevent accidental changes to audio routing.
  • Input meters in the web app Mixing tab can now be set to display pre- or post-fader levels.
  • Added support for 3rd-party devices that support multiple AVB configurations.
  • AVB networking connections no longer reset when the sample rate setting is changed.
  • Added support for enterprise-grade switches from Arista and other switch manufacturers.
  • Improved performance and many bug fixes.

Further resources

Read the Firmware 1.2.5 Update Notes.

Get Firmware 1.2.5.

Be sure to also download and install the latest Mac and Windows drivers for your MOTU interface.

Read the instructions for direct AVB Ethernet connection.


AVB (Audio Video Bridging) is a set of technical standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.1 standards committee to extend the capabilities of Ethernet so that it can support time-synchronized, low latency streaming services throughout an Ethernet network. The IEEE is in the process of renaming AVB to TSN (Time Sensitive Networking) to address the expanded scope of the protocol into other industries (beyond audio and video) as it continues to evolve.

Managed by an AVB/TSN-compatible Ethernet switch, AVB/TSN network traffic can co-exist with other data streams on the network but enjoys reserved bandwidth to ensure timely, guaranteed delivery without interruption. AVB/TSN offers extremely low, fixed network latency across multiple hops (up to six switches), coupled with high bandwidth capacity capable of supporting over 500 audio channels simultaneously across the network.