MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid

10-in/14-out USB 2.0 and FireWire Hybrid Audio Interface with 2 Microphone Preamplifiers, DSP Mixer and Built-in Reverb, EQ, and Compression Effects - Mac/PC
4/5 41 Write review Item ID: UltraLite3Hy
MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid image 1
MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid image 1
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MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid
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Handy Interface Connects Via USB or FireWire!

When you pick the Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid, you won't have to be worried about limiting yourself to just one connection type. This audio interface is the first ever to feature two types of connectors: USB 2.0 and FireWire. These two connection types are available on nearly every new Mac or PC laptop or desktop computer, so you'll be set wherever you decide to record! When you use FireWire, your Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid will get all the power it needs right from your computer - including the phantom power needed for your condenser microphones. When connected via USB, you can use the included power adapter to get full functionality.

As far as connectivity goes, the MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid features 24-bit/192kHz operation with a generous complement of inputs and outputs. It has two microphone preamplifiers plus six balanced line-level 1/4" (TRS) inputs (a total of eight analog ins) and 10 analog TRS outputs. Also included are stereo S/PDIF digital I/O, a dedicated stereo headphone output, and MIDI I/O for a controller keyboard and other gear. That makes way for serious versatility in your studio. It gets better, though.

MOTU Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid FireWire and USB 2.0 Audio Interface at a Glance:
  • Powerful built-in effects and routing
  • Control CueMix with your iPad
  • It's a great standalone mixer too
Powerful built-in effects and routing

With built-in effects and DSP routing, the MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid lets you dial in great headphone mixes, without taxing your computer. The effects include reverb, parametric EQ and compression/limiting. Of special note, you'll appreciate the built-in accurate model of the legendary LA-2A optical compressor which provides vintage, musical automatic gain control. These aren't just ho-hum effects - these are great-sounding tools you can use to create wet headphone mixes while you keep a dry monitor mix. But if you want, you can record your signals wet, so you don't have to waste CPU on effects later down the line.

Control CueMix with your iPad

MOTU's CueMix FX software, the mixing software that drives the powerful routing of the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid, can be controlled from your iPad. MOTU created CueMix templates for the TouchOSC controller app, giving you complete control over your UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid'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.

It's a great standalone mixer too

You can take charge of the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid's DSP mixer and effects 100% free of a computer, so you can use it as a standalone mixer when you're just jamming around and don't have time to go find your laptop. It also makes a great stage companion. You can make all the adjustments you need to make straight from the front panel menu, so you can bring it to the gig and use it as a regular mixer - complete with effects.

MOTU Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid FireWire and USB 2.0 Audio Interface Features:
  • Hybrid FireWire and USB 2.0 audio interface
  • 10-input, 14-output audio interface with FireWire bus power
  • Included power adapter for when connected via USB 2.0
  • Two microphone preamplifiers with 48V phantom power
  • Six balanced line-level TRS inputs
  • Ten analog TRS outputs
  • Stereo 96kHz S/PDIF I/O
  • Latency-free monitoring with four monitor mixes
  • Onboard 14-bus digital mixer with effects
  • Can operate as a standalone mixer with effects
  • Program with CueMix Console software or computer-free via front panel
  • Slaves to SMPTE time code
  • Compatible with Mac and PC computers
MOTU makes mobile recording even easier with the Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid USB 2.0 and FireWire audio interface!

Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide
UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid User Manual for Mac
UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid User Manual for Windows
Matt Gilder Interviewed by Sweetwater
Connecting your Computer and iPad to your Soundboard
5 Pieces of Gear you Need to Run MultiTracks

Tech Specs

Customer Reviews

Based on 41 reviews
Write your review

Recording gear

Had know idea what I was buying for my husband as a present and they went above and beyond making sure I was ordering the right thing and that it made it on time. Not only did they get my product on time but they personally called to confirm! Amazing service!


This little box does everything I need it to do, easily and musically. It's really a steal at it's price point.
Music background: About 40 years of gigging, 15+ running a recording studio, live sound.

Amazing sound!

I was looking for a new upgrade to my sound quality in my studio, call Simon Picazo and he recommended this because of the flexibility of using it as a USB or Firewire. I decided to give it a try and man was I blown away by the sound quality that I have been getting from this interface. I was using an old Alesis multimix Usb 8 which had a decent sound for beginners however I had gone way past beginner stages and was in need of a high quality Interface that could be used both as USB and Firewire. What I like about it most besides the sound quality is that you have the choice of using the mixer on the front or the one on dvd which is use to load it in the computer. The effects are very good and just using a audio technica at2020 mic makes this mic sound much better than it did with the original mixer I used with it before. I have other mics by Blue and Neumann which sound killer but just to hear how it made the less expensive at2020 sound was like wow. The preamps are reall good and one can make a very good demo for local sale or record company A&R's using this interface. It is small and compact and built very well not with plastic like some companies use. If you have the extra $550 to spend and want to get a pro sounding interface I recomend this one because it will take you to another level of recording and engineering. Everything is so clear and you hear everything you are doing with it.
Music background: Producer, Recording Engineer, Ministrel of Music, Pro Musician


I've always loved MOTU for sound quality and affordability. I own an 8pre and is unit's predecessor, the UltraLite. I've never been let down by my UltraLite, and I use it plenty. I love the fact that these things are firewire bus-powered because I record a lot of stuff out in the field where there is no power except what I have in the form of batteries. Since I also have a Presonus Digimax FS (which can run on 12 VDC - a car battery lasts FOREVER) I've go 8 channels of on-the-go recording - 5.1 baby! I need another interface for more channels and saw this. I'm getting it! I can't wait to hear the effects, which the older one doesn't have.
Music background: Recording Engineer

Very Nice!!

Thoroughly dependable unit. I've had my Ultralite-mk3 (firewire-only model) for a little over a year. Unit has seen heavy usage on both my Windows machines AND my Mac machines. The Cuemix/DSP is pretty impressive and the flexibility of this little box is very nice. Sound quality is superb, but opinions on sound quality are pretty subjective. To put it another way, I've been involved in audio for 25 years and have owned everything from 2" Analog machines and have used/owned multiple digital recording setups. Based on that experience, I find the Ultralite to be extremely impressive and probably the best buy out there at this time. Mic preamps on this thing are pretty decent but probably not the best for low output mics (ribbons,SM-7,etc). I usually wouldn't consider writing a review, but out of all the gear I've owned, the gear I remember/keep is the stuff that works. The Ultralite-mk3 is a keeper.
Music background: Musician
See also: FireWire Interfaces, MOTU, MOTU FireWire Audio Interfaces, MOTU USB Audio Interfaces