MOTU Traveler-mk3

28-in/38-out FireWire Audio Interface and Standalone Mixer, Operates Up to 24-bit/192kHz, with DSP Effects, CueMix Software, 4 Microphone Preamplifiers, Direct Digital Synthesis Clocking, and SMPTE Support - Mac/PC
4/5 2 Write review Item ID: TravelerMk3
MOTU Traveler-mk3 image 1
MOTU Traveler-mk3 image 1
Sweetwater Savings: $46.00 MSRP: $895.00
Special Financing - 9 Days Left

Or just $24/month§ for 36 months

0% interest for 36 months**. 36 equal monthly payments required. Valid through 7/6/2017. Learn more

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Special-ordered from MOTU and usually arrives to you within 1-2 weeks. Please note: special orders cannot be canceled or returned.
Note: While most of the items we sell ship for free, this item does not qualify for free shipping due to special circumstances.

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MOTU Traveler-mk3
Special Order

A High-end Interface That's Designed to Travel!

MOTU's updated Traveler-mk3 just may be the most powerful, yet affordable, high-end mobile recording interface on the planet. Via a rich assortment of I/O, the Traveler-mk3 is 28-in/30-out capable, and that includes four first-rate microphone/XLR combo inputs. What's more, this portable FireWire powerhouse can be powered via bus or optional battery power, for even more on-location flexibility. You can even use it as a potent standalone mixer - complete with DSP-driven effects and the CueMix digital mixer. This Traveler-mk3 is ready for the road!

MOTU Traveler-mk3 FireWire Interface at a Glance:
  • Four mic/guitar inputs with digital trim and V-Limit hardware limiter
  • All the right I/O - and lots of it
  • Packed with a 28-input/16-bus DSP-driven digital mixer with effects
  • Control CueMix with your iPad
  • Battery-powerable, perfect for remote recording
  • Direct Digital Synthesis internal clocking, plus SMPTE
Four mic/guitar inputs with digital trim and V-Limit hardware limiter

The MOTU Traveler-mk3 sports four high-quality mic/line combo inputs, each with selectable phantom power for your condenser microphones. The preamplifiers themselves offer up 53dB of gain, which you can adjust in 1dB increments using the Traveler-mk3's detented digital rotary encoders, located on the front panel. The device's LCD display gives you both graphic and numeric feedback, so you can see exactly how much gain you're applying. Then, you can save your precise trim settings and instantly recall them (this also works with the devices' four TRS inputs). Push the encoder to engage or disengage a 20dB pad. All four mic/line inputs are also equipped with V-Limit, an integrated hardware limiter that helps prevent digital clipping from overloads. Your signals can go above zerodB to as high as +12dB above zero, with no distortion from digital clipping. What's more, you can also enable the Traveler-mk3's Soft Clip feature, which will engage just before clipping occurs and will help reduce perceptible distortion.

All the right I/O - and lots of it

On the back panel of the Traveler-mk3, there are the four mic/line combo inputs, mentioned above, as well as four TRS analog inputs. Analog outputs include eight TRS 24-bit connectors. There are two optical banks, providing either 16 channels of AADAT at 48kHz, eight channels of S/MUX at 96kHz, or two banks of stereo TOSlink at up to 96kHz. The banks operate independently, so you can mix and match optical formats. What's more, RCA S/PDIF and XLR AES/EBU connectors are onboard, providing independent stereo digital I/O. There's also a 16-channel MIDI interface onboard.

Packed with a 28-input/16-bus DSP-driven digital mixer with effects

Whether you use the MOTU Traveler-mk3's powerful DSP mixer as a recording/headphone-mix tool or as a portable digital mixer is up to you. Either way, you can take advantage of its mixing and effects processing, which offers up reverb, EQ, and compression for all 28 inputs. All I/O is routed to the onboard 16-bus (8 stereo) DSP-driven digital mixer with 32-bit floating point precision. You can apply no-latency effects processing to inputs, outputs, or busses, independently of the computer. And, you can record the signals wet, dry, or dry with a wet monitor mix to create an inspiring headphone mix. All of the mixer's settings can easily be accessed via the front panel, or you can launch the included CueMix FX control software in Mac OS X, Windows XP, or Windows Vista to take complete charge of the routing and effects via your computer.

Control CueMix with your iPad

MOTU's CueMix FX software, the mixing software that drives the powerful routing of the Traveler-mk3, can be controlled from your iPad. MOTU created CueMix templates for the TouchOSC controller app, giving you complete control over your Traveler-mk3's mixing and effects processing over a Wi-Fi network. This means that when you're recording in your studio, you don't need to keep going back to your computer to adjust gain levels, change monitoring effects, or virtually anything else you rely on CueMix for.

Battery-powerable, perfect for remote recording

Slide the Traveler-mk3 into your briefcase or bag, alongside your laptop, and you've got a complete audio recording system - to go. The Traveler draws power directly from your computer via FireWire, with no AC or DC power required. But if you need to take it out to the most remote locations and don't want to drain your laptop battery, it can alternately be powered by a standard field battery pack. The Traveler-mk3 also includes a handy DC power supply.

Direct Digital Synthesis internal clocking, plus SMPTE

The Traveler-mk3 features MOTU's Direct Digital Synthesis clock, a high-quality, DSP-driven phase lock engine that produces imperceptibly low jitter characteristics, well below the overall noise floor. It also helps the Traveler-mk3 maintain a stable clock even while resolved to incoming clock sources that have substantially more jitter than the unit itself. Plus, the Traveler-mk3 can slave to SMPTE time code, without a dedicated synchronizer, via any analog input. Thanks to its DSP-driven phase-lock engine, it is capable of fast lockup times and sub-frame accuracy. Included SMPTE Console software provides a comprehensive set of tools to generate SMPTE for striping, regenerating, or slaving other devices to the computer.

MOTU Traveler-mk3 FireWire Audio Interface Features:
  • Compact size (14.75 x 9 inches)
  • Powered via FireWire
  • Optional battery power via standard field battery pack (sold separately)
  • 28 inputs / 30 outputs (at 44.1/48kHz)
  • Four combo jacks provide hi-Z 1/4" guitar input or lo-Z XLR mic input with phantom power and pad
  • Clip protection - Up to +12dB over zero
  • Individual 48V phantom power on each mic input
  • Four 24-bit 192kHz analog inputs and eight analog outputs on balanced/unbalanced 1/4" TRS jacks
  • Digital Precision Trim - adjust input gain in 1dB increments on all analog inputs (mic/guitar inputs + quarter-inch TRS inputs). Can save and recall multiple trim setups
  • High-resolution recording - Up to 192kHz
  • Flexible optical I/O - 16 channels of ADAT lightpipe, 8 channels of SMUX (96kHz) or two pairs of stereo TOSlink. Mix and match formats between the two banks.
  • CueMix FX - flexible 28-input/16-bus mixer with onboard DSP effects, including classic reverb with sends/returns, plus modeled EQ and vintage compression on every input and output.
  • Advanced audio signal analysis - CueMix FX software provides real-time FFT and spectrogram "waterfall" displays for visual analysis of individual signals and entire mixes.
  • Front-panel control - access your entire mix, or any Traveler-mk3 setting, directly from the front panel.
  • Functions as a standalone mixer
  • Included DC power adapter
  • Back-lit LCD.
  • Sample-accurate MIDI
  • Expandable - add additional interfaces for more I/O as your needs grow.
  • Eight 24-bit 192kHz outputs on balanced/unbalanced 1/4" TRS jacks.
  • Phone jack with front panel volume control
  • Stereo 24-bit 96kHz AES/EBU in/out
  • Stereo 24-bit 96kHz S/PDIF in/out
  • Word clock in and out
  • Built-in SMPTE time code sync - resolves to and generates time code
  • Plug-and-play operation with your Mac or PC via FireWire
  • Includes drivers for Mac OS X and Windows XP/Vista, including ASIO, WDM, Core Audio, and Core MIDI
  • Supports all popular Mac and Windows audio software
  • Includes AudioDesk 3 full-featured sample-accurate workstation software for the Mac OS X with recording, editing, mixing, real-time 32-bit effects processing & sample-accurate sync
  • Two FireWire 400 ports allow for daisy-chaining without a hub. Works with a FireWire 800 connection via a simple adapter or FW400-to-800 cable.
  • Front-panel volume control for monitoring. Stereo, Quad, 5.1, 7.1 and user-defined surround monitoring setups available.
  • Front-panel meters or activity LEDs for all analog, digital and MIDI I/O, plus SMPTE sync, tach and lock LEDs.
  • Comprehensive level-metering - Front panel LCD provides vertical meters for entire banks (8 channels at once) or horizontal long-throw metering for individual channels. Meter banks are quickly accessible via the dedicated METERS rotary encoder on the front panel.
  • Dedicated front-panel clock status LEDs
MOTU's Traveler-mk3 provides plenty of I/O plus high-end mixing and effects - in a compact, road-ready form factor!

What Does "Special Order" Mean?

A special-order product is one that we don't normally keep in stock. We order it from the manufacturer as soon as you order from us. We have great relationships with all the manufacturers we carry, so we can get your special order to you as fast as or faster than anyone else. Remember that special orders are non-returnable and non-cancelable, so make sure the item is right for you. A Sweetwater Sales Engineer can help you decide — call (800) 222-4700rrrabuyvsvsveytfazersurdwarubawvev for assistance!

Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Computer Connectivity FireWire
Form Factor Rackmount
Simultaneous I/O 28 x 38
A/D Resolution 24-bit/192kHz
Built In DSP/FX Yes
Analog Inputs 4 x Combo (Mic/Line), 4 x TRS
Analog Outputs 8 x TRS, 1 x TRS (Headphones)
Digital Inputs 2 x ADAT (Optical, 8 Ch), 1 x AES/EBU (XLR), 1 x S/PDIF (Coax)
Digital Outputs 2 x ADAT (Optical, 8 Ch), 1 x AES/EBU (XLR), 1 x S/PDIF (Coax)
Number of Preamps 4
Phantom Power Yes
Clock I/O 1 x Word Clock (In/Out via BNC)
Bus Powered Yes
Rack Spaces 1U
Depth 9"
Width 14.75"
Height 1.75"
Weight 3.8 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number 8260

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Write your review

An I/O Swiss Army Knife!

I really wanted this to sound great, because on paper it had most everything I wanted - a huge selection of I/O options coupled with 4 decent pres and all this in a portable unit capable of running on bus power (with some computers) or external battery - AND 192 kHz sampling. Well, it does sound great, and I'm keeping it! Will the pres replace my external high-ticket pres? Nope, but they are good enough for most anything I choose to record with them, and I'll use them happily in a remote situation. Once I started using Cuemix I was hooked - a really stupendous piece of programming. One warning there - the reverb is currently only usable when sampling at 44.1, even if only using it for monitoring (and that's why I'm only giving it 4.5 stars). Sweetwater replaced the first unit I received because of an uncorrectable issue (SPDIF input was showing a small signal at all times, with nothing connected to that input and all trims down) and so far the replacement unit is working flawlessly. I'm running it with an HP i5 750 running Win 7 64-bit (I did add a PCIe Firewire card with the obligatory TI chip even though others have used the onboard VIA chip without issue - I just needed one less thing to pay attention to when evaluating the unit). Like a lot of other MOTU Win7 users, I too had to roll back the Firewire driver for Win7 to the legacy (could not update the firmware) but since then no issues. One little oddity: some of my mic cables with Neutrix connectors will not click-lock into the mic inputs, but they fit snuggly enough that it's just not an issue for me (Switchcraft and others lock normally).
Music background: Musician/Engineer


I use the Traveler-mk3 for just about everything. I play e-guitar through it so that I can use s/pdif to interface with an MX200 and then listen on the headphones. I run 3.1 channels of TV through it (optical in only decodes 2 channels though - had to use line-ins) too Yamaha HS monitors. I run computer audio (iTunes, YouTube, ...) through it. But there are problems (at least with my unit). There is a high pitch (~7Khz) resonance with certain types of music. Classical music with lots of strings or brass provokes a faint sound like a wine glass is shimmering in front of each speaker. But it's not super obvious. It's some kind of digital artifact. The FireWire cable I'm using is a little long. Another computer might not have any such problem. But if I listed to the same exact music file on my iPhone, the sound quality is fine. The 48v supplies cause a little 6db whistle at around 10kHz. Sounds like a faint wind blowing in the distance. I have seen posts in forums about this exact problem. And also the headphones out is not super powerful. Otherwise Traveler in is a very useful piece of equipment. And I put it to work hard everyday as explained above. The CueMIX software is very good. I thought I would care about controling everything from the front panel but I just use CuMIX for everything. Never used the digital effect although sometimes I'll mess with the parametric filters with e-guitar to get different tones.
Music background: Hobbyist (for 30 years)
See also: FireWire Interfaces, MOTU, MOTU FireWire Audio Interfaces