MOTU Traveler-mk3 (Mac/Win, $849)
EM's Geary Yelton and Jim Cooper of MOTU
MOTU has long been a major player in the audio interface world, and the Traveler-mk3 reflects the company's experience. The FireWire interface (compatible with both FireWire 400 and 800) offers eight channels of analog I/O (supporting up to 192kHz sampling rates), including four mic/instrument combo jacks with clip-protection limiters. You also get three digital I/O formats: 16 channels of ADAT and two channels each of AES/EBU and S/PDIF. The unit's built-in DSP not only lets you monitor with effects such as reverb, EQ and the Leveler (an LA-2A emulation), but you can print with them, as well. There's even an optional battery pack available. The Traveler-mk3 is a flexible and solid interface for many different situations.