Motu Ultralite mk3

Motu ultralite mk3

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Motu ultralite mk3 – review. Once we received a call from our good friend Roma (Romano Saxman) and were asked to help him with choosing a right soundcard for his professional needs.

This is not a first time when professional musicians ask us for advice, so we decided to research a right sound interface for hiss needs.

Roma Deschenko is a musician and plays saxophone in several bands, however he is also a good producer and would like to have a compact and mobile setup to write his music and backing tracks. Recently he got a job as a musician on a cruise boat and he gave us few criteria and features that he would like to have on his new mobile recording system. Few of them are:

  • it has to be compact
  • it has to be able to work as a standalone unit
  • unit has to have a sufficient number of inputs an outputs so he can connect different sound sources and provide different mixes to sound engineers
  • Although his current notebook has a firewire interface, he would like to have a option for USB as well

We didn’t have to look too far, since there aren’t many professional units that supports hybrid firewire and USB interfaces in the same box.
Motu ultralite mk3 was our choice number one.


We went to BnH’s website and ordered one and were pleased with they excellent services. few days later we got the unit. After playing with it for a while, we realized that this is exactly what our friend Roman needs and for the rest of the people out there we decided to shoot a video review.

All together we end up with five videos. Each video explains and shows different features of the product. Feel free to check them out and if you have any additions, suggestions, questions or even complains, please feel free to post a comment.

Part 1/4 – Unpacking, Overview

YouTube direct link

Part 2/4 – Cue Mix part 1.

YouTube direct link

Part 2/4 – Cue Mix Part 2.

YouTube direct link

Part 3/4 – Front Controls

YouTube direct link

part 4/4 – Sound Tests, Conclusions

YouTube direct link


  1. [..YouTube..] There is no traditional side channel option on the compressors here. There is probably a way to do it through complex routing like it’s done on older DAW, but I haven’t tried it. It would be too complex here and will kill two extra channels. I don’t think it would be practical.

  2. [..YouTube..] Hi, i have a question. Since the ultralite has a built in DSP (0 latency) can i control the CUEMIX with my Netbook as a controller WITH 0 LATENCY???

  3. [..YouTube..] Yes you can. By the way, there is no such thing in digital sound processing as real “zero latency” it is figurative speech. You will have here about 3ms, but you will not be able to hear it.

  4. [..YouTube..] wow thanks, so do you recommend me using this with a Netbook with a midi controller like bcf2000 for live mixing and have no latency or sluggishness issues found, since we are talking about netbooks? I know we need a decent computer for other interfaces out there (without the internal DSP’s), you get my point??

  5. [..YouTube..] If you are going to use CueMix (provided by MOTU with device driver) as a mixer and not your DAW mixer, it will be just fine. I am not sure if you can link BCF2000 to a CueMix though. I haven’t explore this option. Officially it designed to be controlled with Mackie Control Universal Pro automated worksurface.

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  7. [..YouTube..] can you use direct monitoring and audio from software on the same Mix/Output. I want to be able to use Reason for click track and loop, my mic input from guitar, and a monitor feed all into 1 stereo mix for In-Ears.

  8. [..YouTube..] Can you tell me if the headphones/monitor volume on this unit is loud enough to be useful. I’ve got a Focusrite Saffire 6 that is just TOO weak….by the time you trim the gain down to clean….you have no “head fill”…just weak…and uninspiring.

  9. [..YouTube..] Hi. Can u tell me how can i use mixes(bussies) with cubase, for example i want to use 1 stereo out for vocal and another one for drums, another one for harmony separately and turn some effects, motu’s compressor for drums, reverb on vocals and limiter on master bus than record the mix on one track, is it possible?

  10. [..YouTube..] @climberxon It is possible, it is just too much to describe in one answer. The clue is though, that you have to assign multiple outputs from Cubase to various outputs of the interface. You can set subgroups in Cubase mixer and send them to outputs and mix them ether in the interface or Cubase mixer. Same goes with effects. It is a little tricky though, too much virtual patching where it is easy to get lost.

  11. [..YouTube..] For example i created new project in cubase & created 1 stereo out bus, it goes to “analog 1-2 out” and also i have a “main out”, as a result i have 2 outs. I created 2 tracks, to first track i puted sample vocal and to input “no input”, to out “Analog 1-2 out” and to second track input “Analog1-2 out”, to out “main out”. Signal from track 1 goes to “Analog 1-2 out” and ins to track 2 to record a signal, in “CueMix Fx” i turned on compressor to “Analog 1-2 out” and it doesn’t work

  12. [..YouTube..] recorded sample is same as original, though the compressor has been turned on for “Analog 1-2 out” in “CueMix FX”, it hasn’t affected to signal,

  13. [..YouTube..] @climberxon You should have separate inputs and outputs for MOTU reverb in Cubase along with channel ins and outs. U should use them as send and return. As for compressors, I don’t remember how I recorded it, but I had to jump through the hoops a little. I don’t have the unit anymore, so can not plug it in and look at the routing. If I can remeber it correctly, the presence of the compression in your recorded track must be dependent on settings of “split points”. Try to play with this option

  14. [..YouTube..] Hey! Thanks for the video. It was very useful.

    I was wondering… if I wanted to do live recordings with my band with this, connected via USB or FIREWIRE to my laptop, will I have all the separated tracks in my DAW or just the final MIX?

    Sorry if my question is stupid, I’m a beginner on this 🙂

  15. [..YouTube..] @WarBeer Bravo et merci merci merci.Ca c est du travail.Congratulations.Jamais vu un video comme encore merci.Je fait enfin marcher ma MOTU.

  16. [..YouTube..] do you see is this as the best option for home-recording and portability/quality in its price range? im thinking of impact twin, only problem its firewire only..

  17. [..YouTube..] @MyRitmo It is hard to say what is the best option due to a huge veriety of options on the market. It’s all depends on your work flow and requirements. TC Electronics didn’t mentioned if their EQ and compressors use on-board processing or your computer resources. It can make a difference for some users. Another thing is the number of analog on-board inputs and outputs. The third is compatibility issues. What if your have a firewire issues (often happens), you can switch to USB in MOTU.

  18. [..YouTube..] @CreativeMusicians yes, being able to switch between usb and firewire is really crucial if you dont have other very specific requirements other than the standard ones.
    you have a true talent for doing reviews keep it up!
    thanks for your reply!

  19. [..YouTube..] i have the 828 mk3. and im fucked if i know what doing with io’s. can anyone help? any one here savvy ? get at me please, ill be much appreciative.

  20. [..YouTube..] @OzBoomBap86 This mixer is a little tricky since it allows you to custom route pretty much everything. To get started with, give me some problem description. Be specific in what you want to achieve and what are you getting. One problem at a time please.

  21. [..YouTube..] @CreativeMusicians thanks heaps for the reply mate, i appreciate it alot. i have an issue getting sounds from and external source (turntable) to my sequencer (logic pro) mind you ive had it working before, but since ive changed setting around ive lost it again.

  22. [..YouTube..] @OzBoomBap86 Are you getting any reading on any of the meters in the CueMix when you using the turntable? If yes, you should look into Logic input configuration. The driver allows direct feed from the interface input to the DAW software regardless of what you do in the CueMix. If nothing comes in, you should look at gain (trim) adjustments of the inputs where you feeding your signal.

  23. [..YouTube..] I have a Macbook Pro and a MOTU Ultralite. I tried to record to Audacity software with an external microphone plugged into the front XLR jack and a FireWire cable connected from the MOTU Ultralite to the Macbook Pro. The MOTU recognized that there was sound coming from the microphone, but the software did not. The software just recorded using the computer’s built in microphone. What did I do wrong? How do I get the signal from the Ultralite to the MacBook Pro?

  24. [..YouTube..] @CreativeMusicians By “settings” I assume you mean Preferences. In Audacity’s Preferences section I changed the Recording Device from “Built-in Microphone” to “Built-in Input” because the Ultralite is connected to the computer via FireWire. Audacity is still not hearing the microphone. Audacity is set to record on channel 1.

  25. [..YouTube..] @pete5668 “Built-in Input” is the input of your computer not the outboard unit (MOTU). You have to select the option that has “MOTU” in its name or something related to it. If it is not shown in the drop-down menu, try to re-install latest drivers from the MOTU web site. Also try changing the “host” and see if “MOTU” drivers will show-up in the record and playback sections. I don’t have a unit at hand now so can only guess.

  26. [..YouTube..] @CreativeMusicians There is no motu option in audacity. Maybe that’s it, I thought I had drivers installed. Thank you for your help!

  27. [..YouTube..] @pete5668 Try to use other software and see if you will have an option to select different audio device other than internal sound card. When I installed MOTU the first time, I had pop-up windows showing one after another for several minutes. Each window was a notification that each separate in and out was recognized by the system. more than 20 of them total, These included seperate feeds to channels, effect processor, compressors etc.

  28. [..YouTube..] @CreativeMusicians So when you have everything installed properly you should be able to route your DAW in any possible way you can immagine. This said, if Audacity will recognize the interface, you should have at least 12 selectable options for playback and 12 for recording, if not more. Good luck!

  29. [..YouTube..] @CreativeMusicians Thank you for your help! I did get everything to work. I had to call MOTU to get my username and password straightened out on the MOTU site, downloaded the latest drivers, then MOTU showed up in Audacity’s Preferences. I am able to record from the external mic now. Thanks again for your help!

  30. [..YouTube..] For my bad luck I had the drop down test done!!!!!!!!! It still works….
    30+- cm to marble floor…. Survived without breaks and 2 days going on working….

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