Ultra lite mk3 hybrid
I feel at this time rating the Ultra might not be fair. The technology involved in setting up is time consuming to say the least. I have worked with similar components with less difficulty.
I feel at this time rating the Ultra might not be fair. The technology involved in setting up is time consuming to say the least. I have worked with similar components with less difficulty.
Sure the pre-amps are great, but the interface is very sloppy and the settings on the unit are very difficult to control. I'm decently techy, so this isn't a question of me not understanding the machine, the user experience is truly disastrous, and ruined the flow of many of my sessions.
The line outputs straight up don't work.
The virtual control on the CueMixFX program straight up doesn't work. As soon as you open the program, it immediately disables the Main Outs which don't fire up again until you turn off the unit and re-power it, and it is unpredictable whether or not the computer will read it in seconds or minutes later.
First, the good points:
sound quality is very good.
Drivers have been stable, no install or operating issues (Windows 7- old laptop, Win XP desktop).
Works well with either Firewire or USB-2.
Small and lightweight. but this means you either need to use Firewire or the included wall-wart for power.
Mixer ("cuemix") retains settings when powered off, and can (theoretically) be controlled from front panel without using a computer.
I haven't had a lot of time with the mic preamps, but so far they seem better than expected. Which helps reduce my rig size.
Now, Things that should be better, particularly for this price:
Built-in mixer features are very difficult to use from front panel. This is partly a fact of life for a really small box with a tiny screen. The provided Cuemix host software is a good idea, very poorly executed. It consumes a tremendous amount of CPU power to do not much. Also, some functions (mostly metering) come and go at random. And I can't run the Cuemix application and a DAW simultaneously - they both seem to want exclusive access to the driver.
The Ultralite-mk3 doesn't rack well in a 19"rack. Motu was very thoughtful to provide well-made rack ears, but unless you have two pieces of half-rack Motu gear, there really isn't a practical way to mount it in a 19" rack. It's too tall (thick?) to mount on a 1 ru rack shelf. I ended up building a 'dummy' half to stabilize the Ultralite, and that works well, but was more effort than it should be. If you need to put this in a 19" rack, seriously consider one of the full-width units instead.
I have been working with this box for 2 years, so far I can tell you, the usb feature is unbearable, you WILL NOT be able to work with it, since day one I knew the data transmission/conversion was lame, slow, full of popping, noise, clipping, and a weird chorus like effect, so I managed to get a Firewire port in my computer then I was able to work with it, overall.... nothing fancy, sound conversion is normal at best with your regular peripheral problems, my advice, dont buy it if you are planning to use this with a PC on USB 2 or 3 wont matter, you will never feel confident of USB capacity to transmit/convert the sound to something decent or professional.
Absolutely horrible. Small knobs will drive you crazy... Buy a Presonus Studio 192, made all the difference. Could have had a better recommendation from Sweetwater.
A decent product- it's studio-grade gear in a portable package.
I am a student and I would highly recommend this for someone like me who is making music or sound art but doesn't have the space or budget for top-of-the-line studio racks. Lots of bang for reasonable buck, especially when it comes to inputs and outputs.
My main issues with it so far are on the software side; the cuemix program crashes on me about once a week, and feels a bit clunky to me compared to similar RME mix programs. You can't view your inputs and outputs simultaneously, which is a bit of a drag.
It's worth noting that this box has a tiny volume knob. This is a problem in sound art applications where a wrong number can result in a lot of noise, and it would be nice to have a way to turn the volume down quickly with one motion as opposed to pushing and twisting the tiny encoders.
Ita a great product! It sounds really good. Tue only bad lucky is the front green light broke with a few momth os use.. Ot seems to be ship china parts.. I have no big deal about it because I can control from its software that comes with.
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!
This is a really attractive unit, well-built, and has unheard-of features at this price point. The integrated preamps are clean and clear, the analog I/O is nice and plentiful. Even the CueMix software works well and allows very flexible routing.
The problem is that this device never functioned properly on my Windows 7 x64 machine. Via FireWire, it actually blue-screened my computer several times (when is the last time you actually saw a BSOD?). Via USB it would function for a few hours but eventually it would seize up and emit a hi-pitched sine wave at unity gain. Ouch!
I spent a full week of troubleshooting this device, buying extra hardware (PCIe FW card with a TI chipset), updating firmware and drivers, combing through support forums, trying everything I could muster. This thing was a train wreck on my system. Finally I had enough and returned the unit. Replaced it with an RME FireFace UCX that installed correctly the first time and has worked flawlessly ever since.
Just a word of warning: if you're a Windows user, I'd look elsewhere for a unit that plays nicely with your OS.
This little box does everything I need it to do, easily and musically. It's really a steal at it's price point.
We upgraded from Scarlett 2i2 and the audio quality difference is night and day!! The sound coming out of this little box is massive and we are very pleased with this addition to our home studio.
It was time to replace my MOTU 2408mk3 I/O system. I use Digital Performer, so an audio interface is simply a matter of ins and outs to me. I have a surround monitoring system, so I needed at least 6 analog outs and a few analog ins. The dual mic pre's allowed me to retire my old analog mixer. The UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid is the perfect solution for me with the perfect amount of options and I/O. It was fast and easy to install and built just as tough as every other MOTU product I've ever owned. My only complaint is that there is no half rack blank panel included. Well worth the money.
It can deliver clear sound if you set it up right - though this may take a while to figure out, and you may need a DI-box. Doesn't seem stabile though - often has to be restarted. If you want to change sample rate, you wil have to shut down the sound software to do so. Sample rate does not change automatically according to the sample rate of the file you are using or the setting in the software you use. Windows 8 is a nightmare with this soundcard as the operating system does not let you control the sample rate freely. Windows XP is preferable.
I use this regularly with all my clients that need 8-12 tracks of playback in live setting. It's extremely reliable and easy to set up.
Overall this is a solid product. Lots of features for such a small unit. I was bummed when I started using it to realize the reverb isn't available over 48 KHz sampling considering the onboard effects were the deciding factor that I went with this unit. Too bad, but I'll get over it. The one thing I think they could do better on the mixing end is handling the computer audio output. You can manipulate all the ins and outs, but the audio from your computer is like a phantom signal. You have to open a separate setup program to route that feed. For what I use this for, it's annoying and would be better if you could treat it as an input to the mixer. For me, as a work around, I'm going to set my default out to SPDIF, then jumper it back in to the SPDIF port and thus get a signal I can actually route in the mixer. Onboard EQ and compressors seem very nice. Aside from my minor gripes, overall, this is a very nice unit. Flexible enough it can almost work around all it's own shortcomings.
Everything about this piece of hardware seems like it was built to last. Unfortunately, my experience with the drivers has not been 5-star, but since that can be easily fixed without needing a new unit, the UltraLite -mk3 Hybrid gets 5 stars.
For the price you can not find any other Interface.. I'm always very impressed with the clarity and quality of the sound. Very clean sound, the EQ and dynamics is very useful! You can not go wrong with this interface. The preamps are excellent, and very usable for most applications. My first time I had some difficulties to control the interface with its buttons. But the mixer software control is very easy to use. That's the reason that I gave 4.5
I have had a home recording studio for 13 years and started from the very bottom with using the computer sound card to using a Tascam US 122. I have been in professional studios with millions of dollars of equipment and the sound quality of the Motu Ultralite MK3 Hybrid is right up there with the most expensive equipment. The first week of having the interface I noticed a significant difference in sound quality. I am running a Rode K2 mic into my studio channel and into the Motu. I get incredibly crisp and full vocals. The money spent on this unit was well worth it. I compared this interface with RME high end equipment and this interface definitely holds it own. I have had it for several months now and have worked with Rap, Alternative, and Rock vocals as well as acoustic guitars....all sounding great through this interface. I would definitely invest in this interface if your considering upgrading your home studio beginner or studio professional!!!
This little sucker will likely fulfill your every need for project studio production. The software based routing makes setup a charm even if you have a nonstandard monitor arrangement. Though the DSPs are unimpressive when compared with any standard DAW setup, they might prove useful if you do plan to use this on the road for a live jam session. I would caution against being too aggressive with the DSPs as they can sound a bit digital when the signal is too wet, but they'll work in a pinch if you need to add a touch of reverb.
The unit definitely works as advertised. I have tried it with 4 simultaneous record channels through USB for 60 minutes converting old 4 track TASCAM reels with no problems. I have also tried it with 8 channels on firewire converting TSR 8 reels with no issues as well.
The knobs are tiny, and the cue mix interface has me slightly confounded, but this unit has the most inputs and outputs for the money, and works great with Mountain Lion and Logic Pro. Very low latency. If the Cuemix didn't crash when the unit is powered off I would give it a 5.
My SweetWater Salesman turned me on to something I didn't think existed. The MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid FireWire (or USB) Audio Interface (Thanks AGAIN Aaron Regenald)!
I'm (slowly) trying to get back to work with assisting the composers, that make the big money, by filling in music around their 'more important' cues. But I also wanted to be able to use the Audio Interface like a mixer, w/o having to turn the DAW each time. So 'Thanks Aaron!' for coming up with the MOTU UltraLite. After all the research, finding out I didn't have room for some of the bigger gear, Aaron found a 1/2 Rack Interface, that work GREAT!!!!!!
5 Starts for the performance of the Hybrid and 5 Stars for the extra time you put in. Cheers n Spasiba (Thnx!) -cMorr
This worked for me straight out of the box! the knobs are manageable and set up was a breeze. I gave it 4 stars due to the steep learning curve of the cuemix software but that aside, it sounds great!!!!
Five stars relative to it's competitors. This is THE audio interface to buy unless money IS NOT an object. The preamps, the converters, the whole feature set is the summum bonum of any audio interface built to a cost. Having logged enough hours in commercial studios and project studios alike to appreciate the nuances and quality of fine A/D converters, I can safely say that the difference between the converters in this box, and ones in the lofty reaches of the Apogee or Digidesign/Avid lines, is so minuscule as to be irrelevant except in the following scenarios:
1. You are running a commercial studio as your livelihood and need to look serious to your clients, and/or...
2. You are recording material that is heavy on microphone technique and light on processing (i.e. classical, jazz, folk, foley).
The preamps are excellent, and very usable for most applications (though I wouldn't recommend low-output microphones without a cloudlifter or something of that ilk), though thankfully I have enough inputs with this to accommodate a few external preamps that can provide more gain and/or coloration. The DSP mixing is great and more than adequate for zero-latency tracking. The LA-2A leveller that is available on each channel is convincing enough to be written to disk.
Seriously, there is no reason to go beyond this price point unless you are in any of the scenarios listed above or need more than 8 analog channels for some reason.
Never forget, it's all about the music... the best gear just stays out of the way, and the UltraLite does just that.
I will start off by saying this unit is really solid. Plenty of head room and gain. The EQ is very nice, doesn't seem to have any coloring to it. The compressors on the other hand are not very impressive. To me they make it sound very digital and the gain in the comps seem to jump quickly in volume. Limiters are not much better. This unit is worth maybe 350.00 not $500.
I purchased this unit a few days prior to a trip to Honduras where I was scheduled to record an amazing guitarist/singer in a remote village. I choose the UltraLite mk3 Hybrid based on previous experience with the original 2408 PCI, the I/O capabilities, size as well as the recommendation of Alex Morales. With only two days to familiarize myself with the unit's operation procedures, I was amazed how quickly I was able to get a good sound into my MacBook Pro. The first session went for over 8 hours with zero problems with the UltraLite. The reason for a 4.5 rating is the steep (for me) learning curve of the front panel and only one headphone output (easy work-around with separate headphone amp although space & baggage restrictions prevented me from taking one). I recorded all tracks @ 96kHz with a 128 buffer and 1 phantom powered condenser mic with no hiccups or dropouts - all on FW bus power. Overall, I am well pleased with the unit & am considering the addition of the 4pre as a companion unit. As usual, the Sweetwater staff and service are first class.
Pulled it straight out of the box, installed software and plugged it straight into the macbook where ableton had no problems recognizing the device. Now I can FINALLY get all the sounds I want out of my iPad by running it through this baby. Well, I had to call Motu's customer support to set everything up in ableton but they had me up and running in minutes. NO complaints.
The drivers are great, the output is nice and loud and this thing is super dependable. None of the UltraLite family products have ever let me or any of my friends down in front of a crowd, which is what really counts. Thanks MOTU!
This thing is incredible... Drivers install perfectly, it's plug and play. The I/O possibilities are great.
I'm able to route audio in and out to my compressors and outboard gear, enjoying the best of both digital and analog worlds.
I know there are incredible converters out there, but I'm still waiting for a product that integrates audio from your computer, your daw, internet like Motu does...
Very solid body and few buttons ideal to carry and play out. Easy to setup no problems encountered and the mixing software is friendly. I just bought the product recently , still getting familiarized with it specially on the standalone part of it, but I really like the features on this piece of equipment. I want to use the firewire in my PC laptop but unfortunately the firewire cable in the box is for desktop and did not work with the normal firewire cable I have for laptop. Other than that no complains and I recommend this product to anyone.
It appears to work fine but it is not easy to control the output and input volumes without the Desk Top Software
From the moment I first connected it to my 2011 MacBook Pro, I was amazed. Extremely simple to configure. And an extremely pure and clean sound. No hiss at all. I love the fact that it is an audio interface AND a mixer. Makes whatever setup and routing you wish, possible. The MIC pres are perfect.
bought a Ultralite mk2 a few years ago and loved it. When the live setup at school went to upgrade, I put in for a brand new mk3 hybrid
using it on multiple concerts, i have never gotten it to work via firewire. Also, the internal bussing is a lot less intuitive than the mk2's. The reverb does not sound good and I don't recommend using it. The same with the compressor- in small doses it sounds alright, but not something I would use regularly
Overall, I'm disappointed considering how much I loved the mk2. It's a versatile performance interface with a large amount of ins and outs, but I just cannot recommend it. If you really need a performance interface with 8ins and 12 outs (I don't include the SPDIF) then the Ultralite can get it done, but it's finicky at best
why would you include a firewire cable that won't fit into the firewire jack on the Mac Book Pro? not a deal breaker, but now I have to buy a different cable or adapter. a bit of a pain...
OK features but the USB drivers are defective. I've been communicating with (and ignored by) MOTU for over a year about bugs in the driver that result in choppy, distorted sound and eventually total silence. The only fix is a reboot and a prayer that it will work for at least a day.
I've tried everything that MOTU suggested and more: confirming DPC latency, using the latest driver, running off different USB cards and interfaces, trying both USB 2 and 3, using powered hubs (several different brands), reconfiguring every single USB port, turning off the power save features, running USB monitors to look for protocol violations ... the list goes on and on.
Firewire operation may rate higher but the combination of defective USB support and abysmal tech support gives this a single star. Look elsewhere if you need USB audio.
Got this unit to make some music while on the road as well as live gigs.
Just happy with it. The navigation from the front panel is a bit confusing at first, but later becomes easier. Clean preamps, surgical EQs, and great compressors (all 16 of them). Hook-up was flawless even without rebooting computer. You can unplug interface cable while performing, and the thing work just fine. You can even use it instead of yellow pages on the piano bench :-) built very solid. Great value for the money!
I got this unit to use as a live interface for shows. Install the drivers and you're off! Sound is pristine, everything is accessible from the front and it's solid like a rock. The real bonus is the DSP mixer which works perfectly and allows me to tailor my sound to any PA.
Bought it to use for gigging. Yes, you can use it standalone (ie, without a computer), which is why I got it. But honestly, it's much easier to use the computer to control it. Otherwise, you have to do a lot of button pushing on the front panel. If you intend to use it standalone, plan on setting it up once and then leave it as so. But the most important adjustments, such as main/phones vol, and reverb on/off, are easy to do standalone.
Preamps and effects sound good -- better than on the Behringer and Mackie mixers I formally used. I like having the built-in compressor for vocals. Using the digital audio IN for my Fantom XR sounds so much cleaner than the analog mixers I formerly used. And you can add the MOTU reverb to the digital audio in. One caveat: Reverb is not designed to work at the higher sampling rates.
So far it's holding up for gigging. Rain got in the front XLR jack once. It made some weird noises when I powered up, but after everything dried up, it worked.
One warning: Don't use the MIDI IN on it. It tends to lose midi data now and then.
Works with Win7 64-bit. But you have to boot up the computer first before you turn on the MOTU. Probably a driver issue with the first 64-bit drivers. It happens. Fortunately, MOTU uses one driver for all models, so there are periodic updates. (A previous update fixed a USB issue, for example).
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.
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.
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.
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