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MOTU Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid Audio Interface

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The MOTU Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid is MOTU's most compact and versatile audio interface, featuring hybrid FireWire/USB2 connectivity to your Mac or Windows computer, on-board mixing and effects, superb sound and reliable performance.

As the first-ever "hybrid" audio interface of its kind, the MOTU Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid provides flexible and mobile operation via FireWire or hi-speed USB2 connectivity to a Mac or PC computer, with professional audio quality at samples rates up to 192 kHz and plenty of I/O, including two mic/instrument inputs, six line-level analog inputs, ten channels of analog output, stereo S/PDIF and a stereo headphone output.

Housed in a super durable, compact half-rack enclosure you can take anywhere, the MOTU Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid is equally well-suited for studio and stage, with or without a computer. As an interface or standalone mixer, the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid provides 10 separate inputs and 14 separate outputs.

Connect all of your studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines, effects processors and even MIDI devices. Record, monitor, route and process all of these live inputs using the professional on-board CueMix FX digital mixer - with no latency and no processor strain on your computer. Apply hardware DSP-driven effects processing to inputs, outputs, and busses independent of your host computer. Add Classic Reverb with lengths up to 60 seconds. Further sculpt your sound with 7-band parametric EQ featuring filter types carefully modeled after British analog console EQs. Choose between two forms of compression: a conventional compressor and the Leveler , an accurate model of the legendary LA-2A optical compressor that provides vintage, musical automatic gain control.

The included CueMix FX cross-platform mixing software provides attractive graphic mixing, graphic editing of parametric EQ, and a convenient tabbed interface for quick access to all features in one window. Advanced signal analysis tools include a full-screen real-time FFT display, spectrogram "waterfall" display, oscilloscope, X-Y plot and linear or polar phase analysis.

After programming the on-board mixing in the studio, unplug the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid from the computer and take it on the road for operation as a stand-alone mixer with effects. All mixing and effects parameters are adjustable using the front panel backlit LCD.

The MOTU Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid provides cross-platform compatibility with Mac and Windows and all of your favorite audio software and host-based effects via WDM/ASIO/Core Audio drivers. Or you can use the included AudioDesk workstation software for Mac, with 24-bit recording/editing and 32-bit mixing/processing/mastering.

Feature summary
  • Hybrid FireWire/USB2 connectivity - connect to your computer via either bus-powered FireWire or hi-speed USB2.
  • CueMix FX - flexible 10 input/14 bus mixer with on-board DSP effects, including reverb with sends/returns, plus EQ and compression on every input and output.
  • 10 inputs / 14 outputs - there's no channel sharing in the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid; the microphone inputs, S/PDIF I/O, headphone out and main outs are all handled as separate channels.
  • Classic Reverb - provides five different room types, three frequency shelves with adjustable crossover points, shelf filtering and reverb lengths up to 60 seconds.
  • Two forms of compression - a standard compressor with conventional threshold/ratio/attack/release/gain controls and the Leveler , an accurate model of the legendary LA-2A optical compressor, which provides vintage, musical automatic gain control.
  • Modeled EQ - provides 7-band parametric EQ modeled after British analog console EQs, featuring 4 filter styles (gain/Q profiles) to effectively cover a wide range of audio material. LP and HP filters are also supplied with slopes that range from 6 to 36 dB.
  • CueMix FX cross-platform mixing software - attractive graphic mixing, graphic editing of parametric EQ and a convenient tabbed interface for quick access to all features in one window. Also provides full-screen real-time FFT display, spectrogram "waterfall" display, oscilloscope, X-Y plot and linear or polar phase analysis.
  • Front-panel control - access any setting in your entire UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid mix directly from the front panel.
  • "Reverb return" stream - allows you to record or mix UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid reverb output separately in your DAW. Effects can also be applied when the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid is operating stand-alone (without a computer) as a complete stand-alone mixer.
  • Stand-alone operation - program your mixes at the studio and then bring the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid to your music gig - no computer needed. Just plug in the included power adapter and you are ready to go. Need to tweak the mix? Do it on site using the back-lit LCD and front-panel controls.
  • Multiple CueMix FX mixes - for example, create different monitor mixes for the main outs and headphones. Or add send/return loops for outboard gear - with no latency.
  • Two combo jacks provide hi-Z 1/4" guitar input or low-Z XLR microphone input with phantom power, pad and plenty of gain.
  • Eight 24-bit 192kHz analog inputs and outputs on balanced/unbalanced 1/4" TRS jacks
  • Precision Digital Trim - Digitally controlled analog trim on all analog inputs (mic/guitar inputs + quarter-inch TRS inputs) provides accurate adjustements in 1 dB increments. Fine-tune the balance of your analog inputs and then save/recall trim configurations.
  • Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) - a DSP-driven phase lock engine and internal clock source that produces imperceptibly low jitter characteristics (below the noise floor), even when the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid is resolved to an external clock source via SMPTE time code.
  • Time code support - directly resolves to (or generates) time code via any quarter-inch input or output, without the need for an extra synchronizer.
  • Sample-accurate MIDI - connect a MIDI controller and/or sound module with no separate interface needed. MIDI I/O is sample-accurate with supporting software.
  • Expandable - add additional interfaces for more I/O as your needs grow.
  • Separate TRS main outs with front panel volume control.
  • Stereo 24-bit 96kHz S/PDIF in/out.
  • DC-coupled TRS outputs - can be used with Volta (sold separately) to manipulate and sequence voltage-controlled modular synthesizers from a host DAW.
  • Includes native 32- and 64-bit drivers for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista/XP, including ASIO, WDM, Wave, Core Audio, and Core MIDI. Supports all popular Mac and Windows audio software.
  • 100% compatible with all host-based effects processing in today's popular audio programs.
  • Includes AudioDesk full-featured sample-accurate workstation software for the Mac with recording, editing, mixing, real-time 32-bit effects processing & sample-accurate sync.
  • Plug-and-play operation with your Mac or PC via FireWire or USB2.
  • Front panel volume control for monitoring. Stereo, Quad, 6.1, 7.1 and user-defined surround monitoring setups available.
  • Front panel headphone jack with volume control.
  • Bus-powered FireWire operation. No need for external power when operating as a FireWire interface connected to a computer. A power supply is included for stand-alone operation.
  • Chassis dimensions, excluding rack ears and front and back panel knobs and connectors: 9.5 × 7 × 1.75 inches (24.13 × 17.78 × 4.45 cm). Knobs and connectors extend up to 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) from front and back panels, adding 1 inch (2.54 cm) to depth. With rack ears attached, fits one half of a standard 19 inch (48.26 cm) rack at 1U high.
System requirements for the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid

The UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid has the following system requirements:

For Mac OS X:
  • PowerPC G4 CPU 500 MHz or faster (including PowerPC G5 CPUs and all Intel processor Macs)
  • Mac OS X version 10.4, 10.5, or 10.6; v10.4.9 or later required
For Windows:
  • Pentium CPU (or equivalent) 1 GHz or faster; Pentium 3 or faster recommended
  • Windows 7, Vista, or XP, 32- or 64-bit; XP SP3 or later required
For all systems:
  • 256 MB RAM; 512 MB or more recommended
  • Available FireWire or USB2 port
  • Large hard disk drive (preferably at least 100 GB)
Hybrid FireWire/USB2

The UltraLite-mk3 is the very first "hybrid" audio interface to offer both FireWire and hi-speed USB2 connectivity.

FireWire has long been recognized as a reliable, high-performance connectivity standard for professional audio interfaces like the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid. Meanwhile, hi-speed USB2 has also developed into a widely adopted standard for connecting peripheral devices to personal computers

MOTU FireWire audio interfaces are fully compatible with FireWire 800-equipped Macs. All you need is a standard FireWire 400-to-800 cable. Just plug in and go. The FireWire bus operates at 400 Mb/sec, providing the same high speed, low latency and rock solid reliability that MOTU FireWire interfaces are known for.

To fully support both formats, your UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid audio interface is equipped with both a FireWire A (400 Mbit/sec) connector and a hi-speed USB2 (480 Mbit/sec) connector, and you can use either port to connect the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid to your computer. This gives you maximum flexibility and compatibility with today's ever-expanding universe of Mac and Windows computers.

If your computer does not have a FireWire port, then obviously you will need to connect the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid to one of its hi-speed USB2 ports.

If your computer has both FireWire and USB2, then it is your choice, and your decision may depend mostly on other peripherals you may also have, or bus power. FireWire provides enough power on the FireWire bus that the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid can be powered solely by its FireWire connection to the computer. If you use USB2, you you'll need to use the DC power supply included with the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid, as USB2 does not supply enough power by itself.

Mic/guitar inputs

Two mic/guitar inputs are equipped with high quality preamps and all the features you need to record any microphone or guitar with excellent audio fidelity.

Each input is equipped with its own digitally controlled 48V phantom power switch and 20 dB pad switch.

Digitally controlled precision analog trim

The preamps provide 60 dB of gain adjustment in precise 1 dB increments using the detented digital rotary encoder. As you turn the encoder, you see graphic and numeric feedback in the front panel LCD, so you know exactly how much gain you are applying. The gain adjustment itself is smooth because it is analog, but the digital control gives you both precision and the ability to save and recall trim settings. You get the best of both worlds: analog trim with digital precision and control.

Digitally controlled precision analog trim is also available on all of the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid's balanced quarter-inch (TRS) analog inputs on the back of the unit. Level matching analog inputs has never been easier or more convenient. You can carefully tune the balance among your analog inputs using the CueMix FX software and then save the entire configuration on disk for instant recall. You can create and save as many trim configurations as you need.

Comprehensive I/O

The Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid allows you to connect a huge variety of studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines, effects processors and more.

Front panel I/O

The Ultralite-mk3 Hybrid's front-panel volume knob controls the headphone or main outputs with the press of a button. Additionally, the knob can be programmed to control any combination of outputs (analog and/or digital). For example, it can control monitor output for an entire 5.1 or 7.1 surround mix.

Digitally controlled analog input trim

All of the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid's analog inputs are equipped with digitally controlled analog trim controls that allow adjustments in precise 1 dB increments. The mic/guitar input trims can be adjusted using front-panel digital rotary encoders that provide feedback in the front panel LCD. All analog inputs, including eight TRS analog inputs, can be trimmed using the CueMix FX control software for Mac and Windows.

This allows you to fine-tune your trim settings for synths, effects modules and a huge variety of analog inputs for optimum levels. Different trim configurations can then be saved as files on disk for instant recall.

Rear panel I/O

Six balanced (TRS) 24-bit analog inputs and ten outputs can operate at sample rates up to 192 kHz (a total of eight analog inputs and ten analog outputs). RCA S/PDIF connectors also supply independent stereo digital I/O.

Input Output
Analog 24-bit 192 kHz on +4/-10 bal/unbal TRS 6 8
Mic/instrument preamps 24-bit 192 kHz on XLR/TRS combo 2 -
Main outputs 24-bit 192 kHz on bal TRS - stereo
Headphone output - stereo
S/PDIF 24-bit 96 kHz (digital) stereo stereo
Total 10 14

Control room monitoring

Powered monitors can be plugged directly into the outputs of the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid and you can attenuate the output from the software or the front-panel VOL control. Main out volume is not limited to stereo operation: quad, 5.1, 7.1 and even user-defined configurations are available. You can even program the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid to control all 14 outputs with the VOL knob.

Mixing and Effects

The UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid is an audio interface, but it's also a 14-bus digital mixer, complete with EQ, compression and reverb.

The UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid is really two devices in one: an audio interface plus a 10 x 14 digital mixer. In fact, you could even think of the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid as a digital mixer in a half rack-space form factor.

Operating as either a computer interface or stand-alone, the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid provides DSP-driven digital mixing with effects processing (reverb, EQ and compression) for all 10 inputs and 14 outputs. You can connect all your gear and then mix, process and monitor everything from the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid's main outs or headphone jacks.

A 10 input by 14 bus digital mixer with effects

All I/O is routed to the on-board 14-bus (7 stereo) digital mixer driven by hardware-based DSP with 32-bit floating point precision. The mixer allows you to apply no-latency effects processing to inputs, outputs or busses directly in the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid hardware, independent of the computer. Effects can be applied when the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid is operating stand-alone (without a computer) as a complete rack-mounted mixer. Input signals to the computer can be recorded wet, dry, or dry with a wet monitor mix (for musicians during recording, for example).

Complete mixing at your fingertips

All of the mixer settings in the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid are accessible from the programmable front-panel backlit LCD. You can also launch the CueMix FX control software for Mac OS X and Windows 7/Vista/XP. CueMix FX provides complete on-screen access to the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid's on-board, hardware-based mixing environment.

Tuner & analysis tools

CueMix FX provides powerful audio analysis visual diagnostic tools for stereo audio signals, from an accurate guitar/instrument tuner to phase and polarity measurement tools, to a full-fledged oscilloscope. Find out how you can improve your sound with these advanced, yet easy-to-use tools.

Instrument tuner

Just open the Tuner window, play a note, and use the large graphic display to get in tune with an accuracy of one 10th of a cent (one 1,000th of a semi-tone). Being in tune has never been easier.

The Tuner displays the detected note by frequency (in Hertz), note name and octave, with an adjustable reference frequency for A4 between 400 and 480 Hz.

The large meter gives you a clear indication of how high or low you are from the detected pitch.

Large red arrows direct you up or down as needed to zero in on the correct pitch.

You can even tune phase-coherent stereo signals.

The CueMix FX Tuner is as advanced and accurate as any dedicated hardware tuner out there.

FFT display

CueMix FX provides an optional real-time FFT display super-imposed on top of the graphic EQ curve so you can see as well as hear the effect of your equalization adjustments.

Spectrogram "waterfall"

CueMix FX also provides real-time spectrogram "waterfall" display that provides rich, detailed visual information about the frequency content of any signal or mix. You can expand the spectrogram to fill the entire resizable CueMix FX on-screen window. You can also combine the spectrogram with the FFT display and EQ curve in the same display, or separate them to view them individually but simultaneously.

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MOTU warrants its products to be free from defects for 1 year from the date of purchase.

MOTU: 617-576-2760