Overview of the Motu Ultralite mk3 Hybrid audio interface.
An Introduction to the Motu Ultralite mk3 Hybrid audio interface.
Motu products have been around for a while and are known for their excellent sound quality and build. In this overview we will cover the features of the Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid audio interface so you can decide if this is the unit that will meet your recording requirements.
Inputs and outputs of the Motu Ultralite explained.
This audio interface will plug in to just about any computer (mac or windows) as it is equipped with both a FireWire A (400 Mbit/sec) connector and a high speed USB2 (480 Mbit/sec) connector, and you can use either port to connect the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid to your computer. (Hence the hybrid title). Another useful feature is that it is actually powered directly via the firewire connector when plugged in to a computer making it possible to record away from a mains power source. For users not equipped with the ability to plug in a firewire cable, there is a DC power plug pack that is used when connecting via usb.
This unit has 2 microphone inputs (which means you can record two vocals at once or even an acoustic performance in stereo). These inputs record at a 24-bit 192kHz sample rate which is excellent quality and will take just about any other instrument such as an electric guitar so you could easily record both a vocal and guitar at once. Each input is equipped with its own digitally controlled 48V phantom power switch and 20 dB pad switch to boost up the signal so it will handle both condenser and dynamic type microphones as well as low level inputs since they both have high quality preamplifiers meaning a clean clear signal with minimal noise.
You also have the ability to adjust these from the front panel to get the exact input level you need.
Six (6) analog line level inputs (such as from a keyboard, CD player etc) allow you to connect up several sound sources at once. As an interface or standalone mixer, the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid provides 10 separate inputs and 14 separate outputs including a headphone output for monitoring the overall system .
Powered monitor speakers can be plugged directly into the outputs of the UltraLite-mk3 (or you can choose to feed into an amplifier) and you can use the provided monitoring software to control the outputs as you see fit since you are not limited to a stereo mix.
The UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid is not limited to audio but also includes a 16-channel MIDI interface which means you don’t need to purchase a separate MIDI unit.All you need is a MIDI keyboard, sound module or control surface and cables to hook it up and you are ready to start making music. The FireWire or USB2 connection transports both MIDI and audio to your computer so you don’t need to connect an additional USB cable for MIDI.
Expansion is possible since the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid can be expanded to more inputs by connecting additional MOTU FireWire or USB2 audio interfaces via a standard FireWire or USB2 hub.
The videos below give a good overview of the Motu Ultralite in action. Note that this guy actually stands on top of this hardware (not recommended) but it is a good indicator of the rugged construction.
What monitoring and mixing software is provided with the Motu Ultralite?
The ultralite does have included software which is quite comprehensive.
Firstly the unit has it’s own software mixer (CueMix FX mixing software) which means you can rout each input exactly where you want and adjust it accordingly with effects such as compression and reverb so it is all ready for recording to your hard drive via your recording software.
The motu ultralite does include a copy of AudioDesk workstation software (Mac platform) for recording and editing your songs or you can opt to use your own software as the motu will work quite happily with most recording programs.
In summary the Motu Ultralite is a good choice for someone who needs a lot of flexibility, portability with high quality sound and plans on recording more than one channel at a time. If you had a small band for example, this unit would, teamed up with a decent laptop make a great base for an on the road recording studio. There is also no reason why this unit would not be quite at home in your own personal studio too. Just hook it up with a decent pair of monitor speakers and you will have a great basis for your own personal recording system.
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