MOTU UltraLite-MK3 FireWire/USB2 Audio Interface Review

March 02, 2017 |  by Hollagully  |  in MUSIC, TECHNOLOGY


The MOTU Ultralite MK3 Hybrid is one of the most comprehensive audio interfaces in its class, offering a wide range of features in a compact design and with the option of connecting USB2 or Firewire. Whether in the studio or on stage, the UltraLite-mk3 functions as a standalone mixer complete with essential effects to let you create a full studio performance without the need of a computer or DAW.

Perfectly functional with both Mac and Windows, the MK3 will get it’s power from your computer including phantom power for condenser microphones, when connected via FireWire. When connected via USB, you have the option of connecting the included power adapter for full functionality, freeing up your computers CPU usage.

The MOTU Ultralite MK3 Hybrid lets you connect any and all of your studio gear. Record any kind of microphone synth, drum machine, effects processor, guitar or MIDI device and route and process all these live inputs using MOTU’s included on-board CueMix FX digital mixer. In total, you get two mic/instrument inputs, six line-level analog inputs, ten channels of analog output, stereo S/PDIF and a stereo headphone output.

motu ultralite

CueMix FX is a cross-platform no latency mixing software that provides attractive graphic mixing, graphic editing of parametric EQ, and a convenient tabbed interface for quick access to all features in one window.  It can also be connected to an iPad to control routing from another room.

Two combo mic/guitar inputs are equipped with high quality preamps, hi-Z 1/4” guitar input or low-Z XLR mic input, and all the features you need to record any mic or guitar with excellent sound quality. Both of these inputs have a 48V phantom power switch and a 20dB pad.

Get up to 60dB on each of the preamps and precisely adjust the gain by 1dB increments with the Ultralite MK3 digital encoder. This will provide a visual on the front panel LCD screen of how much gain you’re applying as to get the perfect level for your signal source. This precise analog trim is also available on all of the balanced TRS inputs on the rear panel.

With a whopping 10 inputs and 14 outputs, you can multitrack in 24-bit/192kHz well within the demands of a home or project studio and mix on a variety of speaker configurations from Stereo, Quad, 6.1, 7.1 and any other user-defined surround monitoring setups.

Easily expand with another outboard mixer to add additional channels with Stereo S/PDIF digital I/O.

Dial in a great headphone mix without taxing your computer with the UltraLite-mk3’s built in effects and DSP routing. Reverb, EQ, and compression/limiting allows you to create over-the-top wet headphone mixes to your hearts content while keeping your monitor mix totally dry. Add the effects to the recording signal if desired to save you from having to repeat the work later.


  • Hybrid FireWire and USB 2.0 audio interface
  • 10-input, 14-output audio interface with FireWire bus power
  • Included power adapter for when connected via USB 2.0
  • Two microphone preamplifiers with 48V phantom power
  • Six balanced line-level TRS inputs
  • Ten analog TRS outputs
  • Stereo 96kHz S/PDIF I/O
  • Latency-free monitoring with four monitor mixes
  • Onboard 14-bus digital mixer with effects
  • Can operate as a standalone mixer with effects
  • Program with CueMix Console software or computer-free via front panel
  • Slaves to SMPTE time code
  • Compatible with Mac and PC computers

motu ultralite

The MOTU Ultralite MK3 Hybrid is a fantastic multitool for a gigging, working musician who wants to be able to take his studio on to the stage. Though there are a lot of excellent features it is pretty straight forward and simple to use, providing you already understand certain parameters of each feature, ie: compressors, reverb, EQ. But should you be looking to use it as a standalone mixer or audio interface, this unit is a simple plug and play choice fit for any Mac or PC and any DAW.

Its FireWire connection works extraordinarily well in very demanding circumstances with no sign of latency or sluggishness. The CueMix FX digital mixer is intuitive for any beginner and will certainly come in handy for mix engineers working with diverse playback set ups. With the amount of features, its standalone abilities, compact design and competitive price, the MOTU Ultralite MK3 Hybrid is a steal for any home or project studio.

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