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For those of you who don't define recording as taping a ghetto-fabulous podcast in your bedroom, this box could be for you. The new 8PRE, from well-liked audio interface maker MOTU, cheaply bridges the gap between your computer and a mess of mics. There are plenty of inexpensive FireWire audio interfaces on the market, but the less-expensive models usually have only two or (at most) four mic preamps, so you'll need extra hardware for multitrack recording with mics. The 8PRE comes with eight mic preamps right out of the box, for just US$550 street. The whole thing fits into one rack space and comes with lots of extras like SMPTE sync, which could make it a good fit for indie film productions. Carry it to your next band gig, but warn your drummer that he'd better practice since you'll finally be able to individually mic the hats.

MOTU
Roundup: 8PRE 16x12 Audio Interface with 8 mics, Universal Binaries [Create Digital Music]