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Traveler Overview

The Traveler is everything you need to turn your computer into a mobile 24-bit, 192kHz digital audio workstation. Powered by your computer's FireWire bus, the Traveler gives you a complete, battery-operated studio wherever your recording projects take you.

Traveler - High-definition bus-powered FireWire audio interface

Traveler Overview

The Traveler is everything you need to turn your computer into a mobile 24-bit, 192kHz digital audio workstation. Powered by your computer's FireWire bus, the Traveler gives you a complete, battery-operated studio wherever your recording projects take you.

The Traveler provides eight channels of pristine 192kHz analog recording and playback, combined with all of the digital I/O you need: ADAT optical, AES/EBU and S/PDIF (both TOSLink and RCA). Expand your system by connecting additional Traveler, 828 or 896 FireWire audio interfaces.

Precision Trim™ and on-board mixing

The Traveler's four microphone/instrument pre-amps are equipped with individual 48V phantom power switches and digital Precision Trim™ controls, conveniently adjusted from the front panel or the included CueMix Console™ software. No mixer is required, thanks to CueMix DSP™, the Traveler's latency-free, 8-bus digital mixer. Connect all of your studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines and even effects processors. Then monitor all of these live inputs via the Traveler's main outs, headphone jack and/or any other output — with no latency and no processor drain on your computer. You can even create separate monitor mixes for the main outs, headphones and other outputs. Control everything from the CueMix Console™ software or directly from the Traveler's front-panel.

Bus power and extended battery operation

Time to hit the road? The Traveler slides easily into your backpack or briefcase and fits neatly beneath your laptop. Record in the most remote locations with the complete freedom of battery power. You can even use the Traveler as a stand-alone mixer. Tweak your mix on the spot with the Traveler's backlit LCD and front-panel controls.

Ideal for studio and stage

Back in the studio, mount the Traveler in your rack with the included rack ears. Eight channels of ADAT optical I/O make the Traveler an ideal companion for a digital console. The ADAT lightpipe connection supports sample rates up to 96kHz.

Additional features

The Traveler includes a 16-channel MIDI interface. Simply plug in your FireWire cable, and both MIDI and audio are ready to go. Connect any MIDI device, such as a controller keyboard, synth module, automated control surface or drum machine. Timing is sample-accurate with supporting software.

The Traveler provides cross-platform compatibility with Mac OS X (10.2.3 or higher), Windows Me/2000/XP and all of your favorite audio software and host-based effects via WDM/ASIO/Core Audio drivers. Or you can use the included AudioDesk workstation software for Macintosh, with 24-bit recording/editing and 32-bit mixing/processing/mastering.

Traveler Front, Rear, and Side Panels

1. Volume and headphone output control
Dual function knob provides separate volume control over main outputs and headphones. Headphone output can supply a separate mix.

2. Mic and instrument input controls
Four microphone preamplifiers provide plenty of gain with individually switchable phantom power. Fine tune input gain in 1 dB increments with the Traveler's unique digital Precision Trim™. View input gain values in the LCD display as you make adjustments. Save input trim settings for instant total recall.

3. Optical I/O and ADAT sync
Eight channels of ADAT optical (lightpipe) input and output. Connect a digital mixer or an additional A/D/A converter. Also supports four channels of 96kHz digital audio. ADAT sync port provides sample-accurate sync for compatible devices. Transfer multiple passes of ADAT via lightpipe with single-sample accuracy every time.

4. Word clock
Word clock input and output for synchronization with a wide variety of digital devices—or a centralized word clock source.

5. Standard 1394 'FireWire' ports
Connect your FireWire-equipped computer here. No PCI or PC cards to install—just plug in and go. MOTU FireWire interfaces are expandable; the second FireWire port allows you to daisy-chain more devices without a FireWire hub.

24-bit, 96kHz AES/EBU digital I/O. Connect a DAT machine or effects processor.

7. CueMix DSP™ mixer controls
Create up to four stereo monitor mixes with 20 inputs each using these front-panel controls. Mix to any four output pairs you wish. Because the mixing takes place in the Traveler itself, your computer's processor is free for other tasks.

8. Multi-function backlit LCD display
The Traveler can be used as a stand-alone mixer. The front-panel display allows you to configure your mix and system settings, using an intuitive interface. Dedicated LEDs display audio levels, tach and lock status, and clock rate.

24-bit, 96kHz S/PDIF digital I/O. The S/PDIF and AES/EBU I/O are discrete inputs and outputs, and can be used simultaneously.

10. Eight balanced analog ins/outs
24-bit, 192kHz analog inputs and outputs on balanced/unbalanced connectors. Input level can be switched between +4/-10 for each input. Resolve the Traveler directly to SMPTE time code from an analog video tape deck or video source. No extra synchronizer needed.

11. Mic and instrument inputs
Four inputs accept either high impedance quarter-inch inputs or low impedance XLR microphone inputs.

12. Removable rack ears
The Traveler fits comfortably under a laptop computer, or you can attach the included ears for rack mount operation.

13. MIDI input and output
No need to carry an additional MIDI interface. Connect a MIDI controller, keyboard, sound module, control surface or any other MIDI device.

14. Additional power options
The Traveler can be powered via the FireWire cable connected to your computer, but additional power sources are supported, such as an external battery (sold separately) for extended recording sessions and for stand-alone mixer operation without a computer. Also, a DC power adapter (included) can be connected.

Traveler Inputs and Outputs

All inputs and outputs are discrete and simultaneously active. For example, a mic-preamp input does not "steal" an input from the TRS analog I/O bank. In addition, the headphones and main outputs are available as separate mix destinations. They are not forced to "mirror" another output pair, although you can configure the headphones to mirror any output pair you wish.

Input Output
analog 24-bit 192-kHz on bal/unbal TRS (+4/-10 in, +4 out) 4 8
mic/instrument preamps 24-bit 192-kHz on XLR/TRS combo 4
headphone output stereo
ADAT optical (digital) 8* 8*
S/PDIF 24-bit 96-kHz (digital) stereo stereo
AES/EBU 24-bit 96-kHz (digital) stereo stereo
Total 20 22

* 4 channels at 88.2 / 96kHz - can also be configured as stereo TOSLink S/PDIF


The Traveler includes a 16-channel MIDI interface that provides sample-accurate timing with supporting software. Connect a MIDI keyboard, sound module or control surface, and you are ready to go. The FireWire cable carries both MIDI and audio so you don't need to connect an additional USB cable for MIDI.

Traveler CueMix DSP™

The Traveler provides DSP-driven digital mixing and monitoring for all 20 inputs. You can connect mics, guitars, synths and effects processors, and monitor everything from the Traveler's main outs or headphone jack with no separate mixer needed and no latency.

The Traveler supports up to four separate stereo monitor mixes assigned to any four digital or analog output pairs. For example, you could set up separate monitor mixes for the main outs and headphone outs, while two additional stereo buses could be used for send/return loops to reverb units or other outboard gear. Each mix can support all 20 inputs: 8 TRS analog (including 4 TRS/mic combo inputs), 8 ADAT optical digital, 2 S/PDIF digital, and 2 AES/EBU).

Bounce Back

A new "CueMix Bounce Back" feature lets you route one of the four CueMix DSP mixes back to the computer. This allows you to record, for example, your entire mix - including monitored inputs - back into the computer.


CueMix Console provides Talkback and Listenback buttons. Talkback allows an engineer in the control room to temporarily dim all audio and talk to musicians in the live room. Conversely, Listenback allows musicians to talk to the control room. For Talkback, you can set up a dedicated mic in your control room and connect it to a mic input on your Traveler. For Listenback, you can set up a dedicated listenback mic in the live room for the musicians and connect it to another mic input.


Stand-alone mixing

The Traveler can function as a stand-alone digital mixer. Create up to four independent stereo mixes and adjust them on the fly with the front panel display.

Traveler SMPTE

The Traveler provides on-board SMPTE time code synchronization features that allow you to slave your Traveler system to SMPTE time code without a synchronizer.

The Traveler provides a DSP-driven phase-lock engine with sophisticated filtering that provides fast lockup times and sub-frame accuracy.

The included MOTU SMPTE Console™ software provides a complete set of tools to generate SMPTE for striping, regenerating or slaving other devices to the computer. Like CueMix DSP, the synchronization features are cross-platform and compatible with all audio sequencer software that supports the ASIO2 sample-accurate sync protocol.

Feature Summary

  • Sturdy lightweight construction—ready to travel with you anywhere.
  • Compact size (14.75 x 9 inches)—fits easily into a napsack, briefcase or computer bag and sits perfectly under any laptop.
  • Powered by computer* or battery—no additional power supply necessary for complete recording freedom.
  • 20 channels with 4 mic inputs—all the I/O you need.
  • Individual 48V phantom power—mix and match microphones.
  • Digital Precision Trim™—adjust preamp gain in 1dB increments; save and recall multiple trim setups.
  • Record at sample rates up to 192kHz.
  • CueMix DSP™—provides latency-free monitoring system.
  • Front-panel control—access your entire mix, or any Traveler setting, directly from the front panel.
  • Stand-alone operation—program your mixes at the studio and then bring the Traveler to your gig—no computer needed. Just plug in any DC power adapter (10-24 volts, tip positive or negative). Need to tweak the mix? Do it on site using the back-lit LCD and front-panel controls.
  • Multiple CueMix DSP mixes—create different monitor mixes for the main outs and headphones. Add send/return loops for outboard gear—with no latency.
  • Four mic pre-amps with switchable 48-volt phantom power, front-panel Digital Precision Trim™ controls and pre-amplified sends.
  • 20 inputs / 22 outputs—there's no channel sharing in the Traveler; the mic inputs, S/PDIF I/O, AES/EBU I/O, and headphone out are all handled as simultaneously active, independent channels.
  • 8 channels of 24-bit ADAT optical input/output. Eight channels at 44.1/48kHz. Four channels at 88.2/96kHz.
  • Sample-accurate digital transfers between ADAT digital tape decks and the computer via the ADAT sync port.
  • Sample-accurate MIDI—connect a MIDI controller and/or sound module with no separate interface needed. MIDI I/O is sample-accurate with supporting software.
  • Expandable—add additional 828, 828mkII, 896 or Traveler FireWire interfaces for additional I/O.
  • Eight 24-bit 192kHz outputs on balanced/unbalanced 1/4" TRS jacks
  • Four 24-bit 192kHz inputs on balanced/unbalanced 1/4" TRS jacks
  • Separate headphone jack, with independent volume control.
  • Stereo 24-bit 96kHz S/PDIF in/out
  • Word clock in and out
  • Sample-accurate ADAT sync
  • Built-in SMPTE time code sync
  • Includes drivers for Mac & PC, including ASIO, WDM, Wave, GSIF, Core Audio, and Core MIDI. Supports all popular Macintosh and Windows audio software.
  • 100% compatible with all host-based effects processing in today's popular audio programs.
  • Includes AudioDesk full-featured sample-accurate workstation software for the Macintosh with recording, editing, mixing, real-time 32-bit effects processing & sample-accurate sync.
  • Two FireWire ports for daisy-chaining without a hub
  • Front panel meters for all analog, digital and MIDI I/O, plus SMPTE sync tach and lock LEDs.
  • Dedicated front panel clock status LEDs.

*Bus power requires a non-adapted 6-pin FireWire port


The Traveler has garnered universal praise for its design, audio quality, performance and value.

Read what the critics have said about the Traveler, the bus-powered Firewire audio interface that has set a new standard for truly professional and portable Firewire audio I/O.

Mix Magazine

"The Traveler packs an incredible amount of audio muscle."

"The Traveler's sync capabilities are dizzying. I tried just about every sync/timecode combination imaginable, and they all worked without a glitch."

"Traveler can handle any mobile gig you can imagine, and, most importantly, it sounds fantastic."

"High-res recordings of a Taylor acoustic guitar yielded great results with an excellent sense of depth that trumped recordings done at a lower resolution. MOTU packs a lot of versatility into Traveler while providing great audio."

"Traveler may be portable, but it is by no means a stripped-down interface for mobile work. It's an incredibly powerful device that fulfills the oft-promised 'studio in a box.' Traveler can handle any mobile gig you can imagine, and, most importantly, it sounds fantastic. If you need a FireWire interface — portable or otherwise — then you owe it to yourself to hear the Traveler."

Keyboard Magazine

"I was really impressed by how easy it was for me to set up multiple mixes using the Traveler’s little LCD. And this is without having a computer attached to the Traveler. Cool."

"Great sound. Excellent I/O options. No-latency monitoring. Rock-solid dependable." --Keyboard

"I had the Traveler’s inputs loaded with mics, synths, and digital signals. As a standalone mixer, its performance knocked me out."

"The Traveler sounded great, in all situations and in all configurations."

"Great sound. Excellent I/O options. No-latency monitoring. Rock-solid dependable."

Electronic Musician Magazine

"The Traveler is well designed and well executed."
--Electronic Musician

"I would expect an audio interface that has a feature set as extensive as the Traveler's to cost much more. I was very impressed with its performance and versatility, especially in light of its affordability. The Traveler is well designed and well executed, and anyone who is looking for a full-featured recording interface should definitely consider buying it."

Pro Audio Review Magazine

"I found the included software applications - especially the CueMix console - easy to use and absolutely intuitive."

"Something else I really liked about the Traveler was its ability to instantly recall CueMix levels (including mic input levels!), which came in really handy when switching from one session client to another and back again the next day."

"The sound quality of the unit's 192kHz/24-bit A-to-D (64x oversampling) and D-to-A converters was excellent, and compared favorably to other similary equipped converters on hand, including RME and Universal Audio and even approached Lavry quality. Very impressive."

"The Traveler qualifies as one of those few products of which I can comfortably say you can't go wrong having on hand. Highly recommended!"
--Pro Audio Review

"The four mic preamps were definitely of high quality and proved to be quite pleasing and capable on several critical recordings, including classical guitar and solo violin."

"The Traveler preamps were highly impressive given the cost of the unit, and easily beat out other similarly priced FireWire interfaces/control surfaces on hand."

"Try as I might, I just could not find anything to dislike about MOTU's Traveler. Between its impressive performance as a high-quality multichannel FireWire interface and standalone mixer, plus its application as a portable recording rig perfect for video location jobs (thanks to its built-in SMPTE reader/generator and standard 4-pin battery pack operation), the Traveler qualifies as one of those few products of which I can comfortably say you can't go wrong having on hand. Highly recommended!"

Sound On Sound Magazine

"Used this way [under bus power] with an Apple 1GHz G4 Powerbook, the Traveler gave me a very respectable two and a quarter hours of use before my Powerbook battery ran down, and this was with none of the laptop's energy-saving options enabled."

"At 1.8kg it's surprisingly light, and its case, with friendly rounded corners and edges, is manufactured not from plastic but a more confidence-inspiring aluminium alloy. The front panel is made from the same alloy, and the controls have a good, solid feel to them."

"For what is a compact unit, the Traveler packs in a lot of connectivity."

"By any standards, the Traveler is a hugely capable, great-sounding and brilliantly conceived product which will not disappoint."
--Sound On Sound

"For classical and live sound recordists the Traveler can simultaneously fulfill conventional audio interface duties for an attached laptop as well as supplying a 'safety' mix to a two-track recorder, which would remain unaffected in the case of a computer crash."

"The Traveler inspires confidence from the moment you take it out of the box. The construction quality is excellent, and all sockets and controls have a nice solid feel. Setting up and software installation is very straightforward and it's quite a liberating moment when you power up a laptop-based system for the first time and realise there's not a mains lead in sight."

"The Traveler mic pres are excellent. I'd have no hesitation whatsoever in using the Traveler mic preamps for almost any application — they return a colourful, involving sound with bags of detail and a convincing musicality."

"As someone who works with classical musicians a lot, using small diaphragm mics in fairly distant locations, I was delighted to discover that even with maximum gain dialled in, the sound remained transparent and fluid, and with an impressively low noise floor."

"The Traveler mic pres are excellent." --Sound On Sound

"The bad news? I can honestly say that while there's lots to like, I could find almost nothing to criticise!"

"MOTU have equipped the Traveler with such an extensive and well-balanced feature set, implemented for the most part with great elegance, that it is a genuine pleasure to work with and to have around in the studio. The Cuemix Plus monitoring makes mixerless setups a reality, not just a possibility, and has benefits in the studio and on the road for users working in a variety of different areas."

"MOTU appear to have been careful, though, to give the Traveler some distinctive features that not all the others can match — genuine stand-alone operation, the excellent mic preamps and digital gain controls, flexible powering options, the extensive Cuemix Plus monitoring facilities, and of course genuine portability."

"By any standards, the Traveler is a hugely capable, great-sounding and brilliantly conceived product which will not disappoint."

Recording Magazine

"So what makes the Traveler so exciting? Let's just say that MOTU left no connector unimplemented. A quick look at the back panel will cause your jaw to drop...this is one tricked-out interface."

"I couldn't recommend the Traveler more highly." --Recording

"AudioDesk is far from a 'Lite' pacakge, and is of a different class that most bundled software. Comparing AudioDesk to some of the 'Lite' program versions thrown in with digital audio recording devices is a clear mismatch - for audio recording, it is like comparing a rocket to a sparkler."

"This is the right interface for anyone who wants flexibility and quality while on the road, and I couldn't recommend it more highly."