Scarlett 4i4 Vs Motu M4: Which is Best for Studio Use?

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An audio interface is an essential part of any recording space, whether it’s a bedroom studio or a dedicated multimillion-dollar recording studio.

Also popularly known as an external soundcard, the audio interface helps you to connect your analog recording devices to your computer.

It also brings the audio from your computer to your speakers, studio monitors, and headphones.

Scarlett 4i4 and Motu M4 are two of the most popular audio interfaces. In this article I will compare them and answer some of your burning questions like;

Which one gives better audio quality; Scarlett 4i4 or Motu M4?

Which audio interface is best for bedroom studios; Motu M4 or Scarlett 4i4?

First, let’s examine the build and design of both external soundcards.

Scarlett 4i4 Vs Motu M4: Features compared

Build and design

Scarlett 4i4 from the Focusrite family is a professional computer audio interface. The interface makes provision for connecting your microphones, musical instruments, and other line audio to the computer.

The Scarlett 4i4 comes with 4 audio output channels and can easily be routed to your headphone, powered monitors, amplifier, speakers, and mixing board.

You can route the signals from the 4 physical inputs to your computer, either Windows or the Mac OS.

An added advantage if you are using a MAC OS is, the 3rd generation Scarlett interfaces are class-compliant with the Mac OS.

This means that you don’t need to install any driver on the system before using it, it’s just plugged and played.

MOTU M4 4x4 USB-C Audio Interface Build
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface Build

The Scarlett 4i4 audio signals can be routed to any audio recording software such as the Cubase or LogicPro at up to 24 bit and 192 kHz resolution.

The front panel of the Scarlett 4i4 consists of the input connectors for the mics, instrument signals such as the electric guitar, input gain, and monitoring controls.

Motu M4 is a 4 in and 4 out audio interface. It is designed to deliver an outstanding 120 dB dynamic range on its main output, while also producing an astonishing sound quality for the headphone output, thanks to its ESS converter.

The Motu M4 provides an easy loopback channel to connect your host computer output back to your computer, affording the chance to mix your live guitars, mics, and other input.

This is a great feature that comes in handy when you are hosting a live stream or a podcast session.

MOTU M4 4x4 USB-C Audio Interface Audio
MOTU M4 4x4 USB-C Audio Interface Compatibility

Motu M4 can easily be connected to your MAC or Windows, with the Motu performer lite software that provides ease for your recording, editing, processing, and mastering of your audio tracks.

Audio quality has never been better on the Motu M4. The ultra-clean preamps circuits available on the audio interface allow you to capture clean and clear audio.

Thanks to the Motu M4 USB drivers which deliver ultra-low 2.5ms Round trip latency (at 96 kHz with a 32-sample buffer), it provides the speed required in monitoring your live inputs.

Compatibility

The Scarlett 4i4 is compatible with both the Mac OS and Windows. However, your Windows-based DAW must support the ASIO or WDM and Core audio on the MAC OS.

It is fully supported and is compatible with the following Windows and Mac computers.

The Motu M4 is both Mac OS and Windows compliant. The audio interface can be connected to the MAC OS via a USB cable. Go to the Apple Menu and click System preference, click on Sound and choose the audio interface as your input and output device

For Windows, you must first install the drivers on the system before you can access the audio interface.

After installing the drivers on the system, connect the audio interface using the USB cable. Search for the Windows Sound Control panel and choose the Motu audio interface as the default input and output device.

Audio Quality

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface Audio Quality

The Scarlett 4i4 comes with a top-notch preamp that delivers a pro-performance. It comes with an air mode that is switchable that helps add clarity and brightness to your vocals when recording.

Do you desire to achieve professional sound for your music and podcast? Then the Scarlett 4i4 can help you achieve that. The high-performance converters which enable you to record at 24 bit/192khz help you retain all the qualities that are in your vocal.

The Motu M4 is powered by ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC technology that gives you superb analog sound. It is also equipped with a wider dynamic range measuring up to 120db.

The mic inputs are measured at 129 dBu EIN to deliver a crisp and clear recording. It also comes with a full LCD featuring a detailed level for all your inputs and outputs, helping you to have a level volume control and feedback for a better sound.

Power options

The Scarlett 4i4 requires a power of 900Ma for a complete operation while the Motu M4 is also USB powered.

The Scarlett 4i4 has 2 upgraded mic preamps that feature a 48v phantom power that is switchable, making it easy to use with your condenser mic. It has 2 dedicated inputs for your headroom instruments such as the bass, lead guitar, and synthesizers.

It also provides a midi interface making it easy to connect to your DAW.

All the inputs come with individual preamps gain and 48v phantom power and have a midi interface.

Similarities and differences of Scarlett 4i4 Vs Motu M4

Similarities

  • Both the Scarlett 4i4 and MOTU M4 are compatible with Windows and MAC computers.
  • Both have 48v phantom power to drive your mics.
  • The M4 and 4i4 both provide a MIDI connection to your computer.

Difference

  • The Motu M4 has an LCD screen which is not available on the Scarlett 4i4
  • Motu M4 has RCA outputs in addition to the ¼-inch outputs; Scarlett 4i4 does not have RCA outputs.

Wrap Up

Both the Motu m4 and the Scarlett 4i4 are great audio interfaces and depending on choices and preferences, both will surely deliver very clear and clean recordings.

However, if RCA outputs are essential for connecting to your speakers, then the MOTU will be a better choice.

Jennifer Max

Jws

Hi, I’m Jennifer I’m a passionate singer and an audiophile from Detroit, MI. 

I’m on a mission to help music creators to create fine music that help them position uniquely in the saturated music space.

Follow my blog for regular content :-)

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