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MOTU 828Mk3 Hybrid Tragedy
Old 6th January 2011
  #1
Registered User
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Angry MOTU 828Mk3 Hybrid Tragedy

Hi, first post and it's a rant / request for advice (sorry).

Hope this is in the most suitable section...

So, I've just come across the new MOTU 828 Mk3 Hybrid today and thought I'd share my observations and request some assistance.

From what I see, they've added a USB2 interface, replaced the type A firewire ports to type B running at the same 400Mb speed (why?!?) and slapped an extra ยฃ60 to the price !! I fail to see why they've crippled it with a slower interface and pointless firewire ports, to what was probably one of the best products in this price bracket (for the previous price) that I was aware of. I currently have an Ultralite Mk3 Hybrid and the USB2 implementation is just awful (like their tech support from what I've experienced). I would have thought that to justify that much of a price increase (and keeping up with technology) they would have at least implemented USB3 and (if so inclinded to move from the A ports) increased the speed of the new B ports too.

To try and justify the extra 10% price increase, I would be interested to know what (if any) other features have been added in case there's something that I've missed. Things like tuner, etc, are in the latest drivers for the Ultralite series I believe (haven't gotten around to upgrading my drivers for this feature yet) so that's no big deal as far as I see it.

From owning my Ultralite for 9 months now, other than the tech support issues for the USB2, I'm completely happy with it over firewire. I was actually going to fire off an order for the 828 Mk3 today, but discovering this tragedy, I now feel inclined to either look for something else or seek a second hand non-Hybrid model. No way can I justify digging out the extra cash for a useless upgrade that cannot be supported properly in addition to the hassle of replacing a good 5m firewire lead / mess about with adaptors.

So... I was wondering if there are any similar alternatives out there that someone could possibly recommend? Basically, I use pretty much everything on the Ultralite (8 analog Ins & Outs with 1 x HiZ, SPDIF, MIDI, 8 busses) and was only looking to go to the 828 for the lightpipe (and use the remaining 8 busses). The extra 2 inputs would have been nice too. My budget is fairly tight so something cheaper than the current 828 price is where I would be aiming for.
Old 6th January 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Hardtoe's Avatar
 
๐ŸŽง 15 years
You're really willing to go the distance to save a small amount of cash and hassle.

Are you sure learning a whole new setup is worth the money?

Time is $ after all, and you'll probably have new issues to deal with after the change.

If you cant stomach the new 828, I'd go used.
Old 6th January 2011
  #3
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
๐ŸŽง 15 years
I've owned a MOTU 828mkII since 2004 and I'm afraid I don't share your enthusiasm for the product family.

Mind you, it's been okay -- and it's got some useful features, the DSP cue mixer has actually proved useful for routing casual signals around my current set up (where my production rig overlaps with my de facto, computer based 'entertainment center').

But the (2) mic pres in my unit always sucked (really dark, muddy, muffled) and, after a year or two developed a random 'ticking noise' that makes them completely unusable. (Granted, I didn't figure I'd be using them a lot but I thought they'd come in handy for location work, etc.)

Additionally, while I've never had to deal with MOTU directly (doing a hard-reset of the unit every once in a while gets rid of the loud blasts of white noise issue that pops up from time to time -- it's annoying [and could be dangerous if I didn't run my DA full open -- since the noise blasts go straight up to 0 dB FS] but so far the resets have worked), almost everything I've read and every story I've heard makes them sound like a total PITA to deal with.

When I got the unit, there wasn't much to choose from in the multi-channel FW field in the price range. But things have changed substantially since then. If I was doing it over again, I'd be giving a serious lookover of the offerings from RME. (Keep in mind, I've never had any direct personal experience with their gear but I'm impressed by the word of mouth and write-ups I've seen.)
Old 6th January 2011 | Show parent
  #4
Registered User
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardtoe โžก๏ธ
You're really willing to go the distance to save a small amount of cash and hassle.

Are you sure learning a whole new setup is worth the money?

Time is $ after all, and you'll probably have new issues to deal with after the change.

If you cant stomach the new 828, I'd go used.
As much as I can appreciate how you may view it, I'm pretty tight on a budget that I need to try and stick to. Obviously selling the Ultralite is going to help, but I cannot justify a 10% increase for what I view as a backward progression in respect of the firewire setup and a side-step for a slower / problematic USB2 interface that I'll not use. It may be that I'll end up going down the used route...who knows?

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 โžก๏ธ
I've owned a MOTU 828mkII since 2004 and I'm afraid I don't share your enthusiasm for the product family.

Mind you, it's been okay -- and it's got some useful features, the DSP cue mixer has actually proved useful for routing casual signals around my current set up (where my production rig overlaps with my de facto, computer based 'entertainment center').

But the (2) mic pres in my unit always sucked (really dark, muddy, muffled) and, after a year or two developed a random 'ticking noise' that makes them completely unusable. (Granted, I didn't figure I'd be using them a lot but I thought they'd come in handy for location work, etc.)

Additionally, while I've never had to deal with MOTU directly (doing a hard-reset of the unit every once in a while gets rid of the loud blasts of white noise issue that pops up from time to time -- it's annoying [and could be dangerous if I didn't run my DA full open -- since the noise blasts go straight up to 0 dB FS] but so far the resets have worked), almost everything I've read and every story I've heard makes them sound like a total PITA to deal with.

When I got the unit, there wasn't much to choose from in the multi-channel FW field in the price range. But things have changed substantially since then. If I was doing it over again, I'd be giving a serious lookover of the offerings from RME. (Keep in mind, I've never had any direct personal experience with their gear but I'm impressed by the word of mouth and write-ups I've seen.)
The routing capabilities are primarily what drew me to the Ultralite in the first place. The ability to store routing profiles is great for me too for the same reasons...whether it's a single vocal, guitar rack, or computer-based scenarios. That's quite worrying about the preamps. I've not really used the mic preamps yet (but I will at some point) as I've managed with an unbalanced pzm for now. Apart from the pzm, I use the front combo of the Ultralite for guitar so that I can record guitar dry in addition to a rough reference patch which allows me to redo the tone later if I need to without having to replay parts. Was your preamp problem common with the mk2 and does the mk3 suffer from this?

Thanks for the feedback so far. I've looked at the RMEs (seem too expensive) and the Focusrites (seem too unversatile for routing) so I'm still open to suggestions.

Also, I once found a website a while back that made recommendations depending on your needs (number of; I/O, SPDIF, lightpipe, MIDI, etc) but I cannot find it now. Any idea where I can find this?
Old 6th January 2011 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
๐ŸŽง 15 years
Firewire bus power =
Old 7th January 2011 | Show parent
  #6
Registered User
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
the mk3 hybrid requires use of a external power adapter when using USB 2.0

You guys are scaring me, I hope I will like the pres on mine and that it will work ok.

They even advertise the relationship between Pro Tools 9 and using a Mk3 on some websites

How do you naysayers feel about the sound quality of the Motu Line Ins?

How about the digital onboard effects? Apparently theres LA2A style compression available
Old 7th January 2011 | Show parent
  #7
Registered User
 
๐ŸŽง 10 years
The mk3 hybrid will indeed require external power when using USB2. I'll only use bus power if I have an idea that I want to quickly record, then I'll power it without switching on the rest of my rack. It's still connected power-wise though.

I don't know about protools but works well for me in CuBase.

The (Ultralite) lines seem clean enough (for me at least) although it does click when adjusting the gain. The onboard is pretty neat, if you'll use it all. Another thing that drew me to this interface was the compressor / limiter, which I use sparingly to maximise headroom and to avoid clipping for the direct guitar input. It works quite well for that role but if I need to compress later then I'm probably inclined to use outboard or plug-ins. I've not really used the reverb at all, but it's there as another flavour I guess.
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