Anyone have Motu Ultralite experience?

  • I know, this is one of those pathetic "which interface would you choose" threads...kind of.

    So I'm looking to get a new interface, and the Ultralite is at the top of my list. I've discovered from reading reviews and threads on the Motu board that the difference between the MK2 and the MK3 is basically DSP. But I can't seem to find anything talking about the difference between the MK2 and the plain ol' Ultralite MKnothing (which goes for much less used). Anyone know?

    Many thanks!

  • Yes, I had the old one original (FireWire) and now I have the MK3 and I'll admit that I haven't even used the DSP yet on the MK3. I upgraded to stay current because I love this interface.

    I think the difference between the original and the MK2 is changing from Firewire to USB2. I'm not positive.

    The other difference between original and MK3 is that the mixing/routing software is different. The MK3 version controls effects of course. Funny thing is I think the old software version is much more intuitive. CueMix is the old one and CueMix FX is the new one.

    So given the price difference you pretty much can't go wrong with all versions IMO.

  • I have the Ultralite MK2. In my limited experience, MOTU support leaves much to be desired. I had an issue that I never figured out but it seemed to be driver issues after an OSX update. After trying everything else I could think of, ultimately I had to wipe my hard drive and reinstall everything to get rid of the random dropouts and pops. MOTU was zero help. Check their forum/search on motu ultralite dropouts before you buy. Otherwise, when it's working right, which has been most of the time, it suits my needs fine, although the user interface/menu system is a little clunky.

  • goiks: i had that dropout problem with my ultralite after an osx update. but it was apple's fault. if you turned off your wifi, it went away! soon after it occurred, they issued another update that fixed it.

    hypno|sapien: i can't recommend motu enough. i've owned three of their interfaces (own the ultralite mki right now) and their drivers have been rock solid for me. hot plugging has been a non-issue. they also sound terrific for the money. there's better interfaces, but for the money and the number of i/o options you get, they can't be beat.

  • Right on. Thanks for everyone's input! I don't really need the DSP effects, so I think I'll track down the MK2 or the MK1.

    As long as the sound quality is pretty good (better than my Edirol FA-66) I'll be happy. I need to run three stereo pairs in, and a single stereo out (for now). The only material I'll actually be "recording" with it will be loops into molar during live performance.

    Thanks again!

  • No problem. I think the sound quality is fine, but the only thing I have to compare it to is my old Novation X-Station. You won't regret the purchase, especially now that you can get a used MK2. And jmelnyk - I wish my problem would have gone away without wifi, but I never even used wifi at that time. FWIW, Apple was about as much help as MOTU. Each pointed the finger at the other. I'm just glad it works now - I couldn't record for three weeks!

  • mine sounds amazing. i have one of the old pre-MK versions, and it's great. you may not have much need for cuemix (or cuemix fx) if you've got a DAW, but it can come in handy if you want a clean stream coming through when you're processing an input. also makes it easy to control the trim and other such features (which believe me, you'll need). it's by far the best portable interface in its price range.
    and i think the old ultralight may be better than the MK2. isn't firewire better than usb?

  • All of the ones I've seen are firewire...original, mk2, and mk3.

    I think I've decided to get either an original or the mk2, whichever I can find for a good price in great condition. I'll save the dough I would have put toward the mk3 for other gear purchases!

    Merry Christmas to me...

    Thanks, all!

  • I also have a question about the ultralite mk3 since mine is coming in soon. Why would i need 14 outputs?

  • monitor mixes

  • For the record, the folks at Motu tell me there is no mk2 version of the ultralite. Jumped straight to mk3. Goiks, does yours actually say mk2 on it?

    Anyway, thanks again for the help. I've found a mk1 for $300 and it will be here next week. :)

  • mine was the one immediately preceding the current version, so i assumed in the context of this thread it was an mk2. all i actually know it to be is the one preceding the current one...

  • goiks: you didn't have to be using wifi. just having your mac's airport on was enough. it might have been a completely different issue for you, tho; but that was definitely a bug i saw a lot last summer.

    and yea, i think it jumped from mki directly to mkiii. they just did the same thing with the traveler. all of 'em (travelers and ultralites) were firewire too, if i'm not mistaken.

  • ah, the mysterious mkII.

    I added a MOTU Micro Express to my Ultralite and they connect together to form one solid full 1U rack unit. Audio + Midi. Great upgrade if you have outboard midi gear. Both are buss powered which is the way to go.

    Speaking of that, why can't the monome be buss powered? Does it use more power than an Ultralite?

  • barnone: the 64 and the 40h (and kits) are buss powered. 128 or more led's are too much for the usb buss tho if you, for example, try to light them all at once. it's a shame, but that's how it goes. no idea if the power requirements are more than an ultralite, but the ultralite is firewire powered anyway; and i'm assuming the amount of power that firewire can provide is different.

  • I´m using the Ultralite on Mac since it went on sale, must be 3 years now. it always worked for me, sadly one of the two preamps quit working a few month ago, aside that it never let me down.

    I have to admit that i never figured out how the CueMix works. all the routing options are way above my head so i´m routing audio within live :)

  • Well CueMix is critical if you need to create separate monitor mixes for different performers, cause routing through Live has too much latency. Even for just a single person, it is nice to be able to perform vocals wet and track dry. If you are using any outboard gear it is also critical for low latency routing. I couldn't live without.

  • > If you are using any outboard gear it is also critical for low latency routing.

    Can you offer an example? I'm always looking for ways to nudge my latency down a bit. :)

    As is, I'm able to get down to about 7ms when I route live-triggered audio (triggered by a zendrum) from an e-mu px-7 through an fa-66, into live, through effects, and back out the fa-66. It's low enough that playing live actually *feels* like playing live.

  • I like my Ultralite too. It gives me a nice feeling, when i need to hold the power off button for 3 seconds bevor it turns down... no jockin, it's a solid thing just as others mentioned the drivers software mixer and the routing is something i often mess around.

    What i don't like is that the backpart FW-ports are holding the plug not quiet fixed, they seem to be cheap or not well fixed. That made me some headaches, so i bought a soft and flexible FW cable, because touching it, powered the Ultralite off too many times.

  • @hypno|sapien
    > Can you offer an example? I'm always looking for ways to nudge my latency down a bit. :)

    Sure, let's say you are tracking 2 stereo instruments on 3/4 and 5/6 on the ultralite. The audio runs dry to Live on 3/4 and 5/6. Let's say I want to track vocals on Mic 1. I again track dry on channel 1. But this time I create some routings in CueMix and route Mic 1 to out 7 which I patch to a compressor, then to a reverb unit. The return of 7 + components of the other instruments is my wet mix for the vocalist when performing. Maybe I also print a wet vocals solo as a reference for later.

    In CueMix I can mix all channels the way I want for the vocalist without affecting any of the dry audio tracking to Live. I can create another CueMix buss for the stereo components outputting on 9/10, through a delay line and input back on 9/10. A component of that goes to the vocal mix but the vocals stay loud so they can hear their performance. Sometimes you want to track both dry and wet components, for example when tracking a guitar dry and also with effects, for later reamping. Or track a synth dry while listening to it with a delay line.

    One thing I like about CueMix is you can save the routings and call them up at will. In most cases, you have maybe half a dozen setups you reuse over and over, like just recall a vocal setup or recall a synth setup.

    The nice thing in theory about the mk3 is that you can use DSP effects for compression and reverb on your monitor mixes or other mixes without additional routing or CPU usage.

  • @barnone

    Ah, I see. I guess I don't find myself in "real" recording situations much (other than recording live loops during a performance), but these tips are all helpful in understanding the possibilities afforded by the ultralite and cuemix.

    Many thanks!

  • It's a great little interface, but if I'd the money, I'd have grabbed an RME fireface. But for the $300~ pricerange (I got mine used for $320), it's amazing.
    I've only three hardware synths and a piano so it has all the I/O I need, including spdif in/out for running stuff live through my vsynth for filtering and the like. Great fun...

  • One note about the Ultralite Mk1 and ChucK (on my OSX setup, at least) - if you want to use this configuration to sample input or use selected audio outputs (other than the main output), you may need to mess around with chuck options in a non-intuitive way, and you can't get the output from the ChucK program on the main mix (which you can only route stuff to in CueMix) if you do.

    I've messed around a bit ChucK apps that sample audio input and loop it and stuff, controlled by the monome. What I had to do to get this work was to specify --out8 (nothing else than 8 will do here, lest you want a broken, bit-mangled sound on the output) and any number of inputs using --in, like this:

    chuck --adc4 --in4 --out8

    oh yeah, I also needed to specify --adc4, otherwise ChucK took audio input from the built-in mic in my MacBook Pro.

    I've posted about my woes in this thread on, if anyone's interested :)


  • i've got an ultralite in very good condition for sale, $350 including paypal and insured shipping to the lower 48. unfortunately i put a scratch in the top removing it from my rack to sell it, but i have taken good care of it and only used it in the field a couple of times. photos on request. com (at) goike (dot) com. selling because i got a traveler.

  • hey goiks, any chance you're interested in trading for a motormix?

  • thanks, but i could really use the cash since i already spent it on other stuff!


    anyone got this problem?
    thinking of picking one of these up but if they still have that I'll reconsider.

    I've got an Alesis iO26 at the moment and I wouldn't really recommend to anyone. so many little things are crap about it. why would you put an endless knob on the main volume out? that defaults to 0db when plugged in.... easy way to waste your monitors... that and all the switches clip out when switched - also straight to your monitors...

    get what you pay for I guess...

  • I have an Mk3 and yes I watched it but who cares...why would I be trimming the trim knob on the mic if none was connected?

    All I can say is the ultralite mk3 is all that. Great interface. Super solid.

    I have a Ultralite mk3
    and 828 mk3
    Konnekt 24D

    The ultralite is a great interface and bus powered which is so nice.

  • yeah.. I think it did the same when the mic's connected but really I guess that is not a big deal I guess..

    guess I'm being overly cautious from my io26 experience.

    can't find any other reasons not to to get one...

  • ultralite firewire... i could have sworn it was an mkII but i'm going to have to check now. Great interface. I use it in my studio at home as well as a live recording devise. ROCK SOLID. CueMix is a bit confusing at first but works great when you get it down. Even though i'm a logic user, Audio Desk was a nice addition as well.

  • There is no mkII

  • indeed. mk3 it is.