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MOTU releases UltraLite-mk5 USB Audio Interface
Old 8th April 2021 | Show parent
  #31
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ99 ➡️
I guess not, the Ultralite mk5 has a better DAC chip and better specs according to motu. It will most probably be better than the 828es if they did not screw up.

Now I'd like to know what they used in the ADC.
I hope to pick up one but the analog circuitry design is quite different in the higher end full size 19 inch rack AVB units. I tested the Ultralite AVB unit back in November and I wasn't too impressed with the sound quality when I compared it to my more expensive 828ES unit. The Ultralite mk4 Ultralite AVB unit are near identical with slight differences in features. It seems the full size 19 inch racks just have a better power supply, analog design. The Ultralite sounded identical to my cheaper M4 unit. It just doesn't have the same punchy bottom end and depth and clarity in the mids as my 828ES. There is noticeable a wider stereo image than the M4 and Ultralite. The analog design around the chip can make a large difference between models that justifies its price tag as you go up the ranks.
Old 8th April 2021 | Show parent
  #32
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 360studios15 ➡️
That would drive up the cost of the unit, plus there is no benefit of using anything higher than USB 2.0
I suspect that the "drive up the cost" concern is minimal.

And there is one definite benefit of using USB4.... the option to bus power if you want. And one less cable to deal with if you have a laptop system all connected to a USB4 hub for shared power & data.

Silly to not have made it USB4 for these reasons.
Old 8th April 2021 | Show parent
  #33
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightjar ➡️
I suspect that the "drive up the cost" concern is minimal.

And there is one definite benefit of using USB4.... the option to bus power if you want. And one less cable to deal with if you have a laptop system all connected to a USB4 hub for shared power & data.

Silly to not have made it USB4 for these reasons.
Not enough power for higher output levels. USB powered is fine for lower cost interfaces like your basic M series. You just don't see Pro interfaces with bus power. So if you want bus power then pick up an M series. The Ultralite is used in different applications such as live sound, on stage, studio, tour, on the road. You are still going to have plug stuff in when on stage as you aren't going to run the whole rig for several hours on battery would you?
Old 9th April 2021
  #34
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🎧 5 years
I own the MK4 and the only thing I don't like and didn't expect is: You can't use the app on an iPAD, even if the unit is directly connected to the iPad via USB! I regret not buying the AVB version. You need a "real" computer and connect it via this computer to your local network. Then you can use the necessary app even on an iPad.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #35
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Fleer's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc No ➡️
No **** Sherlock! There is not enough power on USB to supply enough energy for an interface of this size. This is not a midi controller.
No **** Watson! USB4.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #36
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Calagan's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 360studios15 ➡️
I hope to pick up one but the analog circuitry design is quite different in the higher end full size 19 inch rack AVB units. I tested the Ultralite AVB unit back in November and I wasn't too impressed with the sound quality when I compared it to my more expensive 828ES unit. The Ultralite mk4 Ultralite AVB unit are near identical with slight differences in features. It seems the full size 19 inch racks just have a better power supply, analog design. The Ultralite sounded identical to my cheaper M4 unit. It just doesn't have the same punchy bottom end and depth and clarity in the mids as my 828ES. There is noticeable a wider stereo image than the M4 and Ultralite. The analog design around the chip can make a large difference between models that justifies its price tag as you go up the ranks.
I think it could be interesting to test both audio devices (828es and Ul mk5).
At least on paper, the ultralite mk5 has better specs than the the 828es, but yes it seems to be quite identical to the Ultralite AVB you are speaking about (even if the specs on paper are a bit different).

I'm agree with you : the analog circuitry is very important, and my experience with audio devices is that the power supply makes a big difference too.
So "real life" audio testing is definitely necessary, and specs on paper tell us just a small part of the big picture.

While comparing specs of both audio devices, I noticed that the 828es has better latency (RTL 1.9ms vs 2.4 for the Ultralite. It goes down even to 1.6ms in thunderbolt) and has better dynamic range for the mic inputs. For all the rest, the Ultralite is better (on paper).

I need to upgrade my old Saffire pro 40, and my main use will be on stage (when concerts will start again - if ever...). So I need 10 outputs, stable drivers and low latency.
Is the higher price of the 828es worthy enough ? Specially that whatever I buy, I'll come from very far and it will be a big jump in quality...

The Ultralite is interesting, but I need too a serious interface for mixing, so I would be curious about the sound quality in real life compared to the 828es.
Of course, the 2 headphones outputs, the 2 ADAT I/O, the USB/TB/AVB connections are interesting features of the 828es, for live use as for mixing.
The form factor of the Ultralite is, a contrario, an interesting aspect for me : when you take the plane with a 19u device, it takes you almost an entire hand luggage, so the small size of the ultralite is a clear +

Of course, this is in the hypothesis I ever take plane again for music (or earn any money with it)...
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #37
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 360studios15 ➡️
I hope to pick up one but the analog circuitry design is quite different in the higher end full size 19 inch rack AVB units. I tested the Ultralite AVB unit back in November and I wasn't too impressed with the sound quality when I compared it to my more expensive 828ES unit. The Ultralite mk4 Ultralite AVB unit are near identical with slight differences in features. It seems the full size 19 inch racks just have a better power supply, analog design. The Ultralite sounded identical to my cheaper M4 unit. It just doesn't have the same punchy bottom end and depth and clarity in the mids as my 828ES. There is noticeable a wider stereo image than the M4 and Ultralite. The analog design around the chip can make a large difference between models that justifies its price tag as you go up the ranks.
Subjective opinions of modern converters aren't helpful. Distortion & noise are extremely low and the frequency response has been ruler flat for years now. You may just be hearing things, expecting the most expensive product to sound better. Besides, you don't say if you're talking about AD or DA

The DA in the Motu M2/M4 measured practically the same as the DA on the much more expensive 624 so MOTU clearly doesn't gimp their low end products just to differentiate the line.

The biggest differences will be in preamps, AD and the headphone amp.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #38
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temps ➡️
Subjective opinions of modern converters aren't helpful. Distortion & noise are extremely low and the frequency response has been ruler flat for years now. You may just be hearing things, expecting the most expensive product to sound better. Besides, you don't say if you're talking about AD or DA

The DA in the Motu M2/M4 measured practically the same as the DA on the much more expensive 624 so MOTU clearly doesn't gimp their low end products just to differentiate the line.

The biggest differences will be in preamps, AD and the headphone amp.
I have a properly acoustically treated room. I don't expect a sub $200 M4 interface to sonically sound identical to my more expensive 828ES. Just because they use the same DAC doesn't mean they will all identically sound the same. The analog design path around the chip makes a difference. There are differences in the analog design between models as you work your way up to the more expensive MOTU interfaces. The power supply design between the Ultralite and the full size rack mount interfaces are very different. The full size racks have internal power supply's while the half rack interfaces uses a wall wart external power supply.
Old 9th April 2021
  #39
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🎧 15 years
Converter and preamp sound of audio interfaces is such a 2010 discussion.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #40
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 360studios15 ➡️
I have a properly acoustically treated room. I don't expect a sub $200 M4 interface to sonically sound identical to my more expensive 828ES. Just because they use the same DAC doesn't mean they will all identically sound the same. The analog design path around the chip makes a difference. There are differences in the analog design between models as you work your way up to the more expensive MOTU interfaces. The power supply design between the Ultralite and the full size rack mount interfaces are very different. The full size racks have internal power supply's while the half rack interfaces uses a wall wart external power supply.
You just repeated yourself. You are claiming you can hear things a $30,000 Audio Precision can't measure. Sure thing. Measured at 4 volt output, dynamic range was exactly the same on the M2 and 624. Both are ruler flat; both have inaudible levels of distortion. Jitter suppression is actually better on the M2. It's odd you talked about the bottom end and midrange, when they perform the same through that range... if you were to hear any difference, it should have been in the treble as M series distortion rises in higher frequencies and it would have been very, very slight.

The way you are phrasing it here, it sounds clear to me that you expect the more expensive interface to sound better, therefore it does.

I don't think you've been keeping up on the DAC market much. Even low end devices are properly implemented... state of the art performance can be had for ~$50 a channel these days, in a tiny dongle that attaches to your phone's USB port.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...e-review.9824/

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...e.19911/page-8

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...-review.15757/
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #41
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc No ➡️
No **** Sherlock! There is not enough power on USB to supply enough energy for an interface of this size. This is not a midi controller.
The Ultralite Mk3 Hybrid is bus powered from FireWire. Modern USB has more power than that.

I for one will be really disappointed if this can't be bus powered.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #42
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temps ➡️
You just repeated yourself. You are claiming you can hear things a $30,000 Audio Precision can't measure. Sure thing. Measured at 4 volt output, dynamic range was exactly the same on the M2 and 624. Both are ruler flat; both have inaudible levels of distortion. Jitter suppression is actually better on the M2. It's odd you talked about the bottom end and midrange, when they perform the same through that range... if you were to hear any difference, it should have been in the treble as M series distortion rises in higher frequencies and it would have been very, very slight.

The way you are phrasing it here, it sounds clear to me that you expect the more expensive interface to sound better, therefore it does.

I don't think you've been keeping up on the DAC market much. Even low end devices are properly implemented... state of the art performance can be had for ~$50 a channel these days, in a tiny dongle that attaches to your phone's USB port.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...e-review.9824/

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...e.19911/page-8

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...-review.15757/
Specs on paper doesn't tell you the story. I used all three MOTU unit's side by side, my 828ES, Ultralite AVB and M4 and heard some differences between them. I also had an Apogee Quartet out as well. My 828ES was more sonically closer to the Apogee than the other two. Analog design, clocking and power supply design makes a difference that justifies the price jump. That's why some interfaces cost more than some others due to the quality components used and how well the chip was implemented in the analog design.

There are even sonic differences between Apogee models as well as the Symphony has a different sound from the Ensemble and Quartet. It's all in the analog design. The Symphony has a softer top end. The 16A has been compared to the 1st gen Symphony many times.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #43
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 360studios15 ➡️
Specs on paper doesn't tell you the story. I used all three MOTU unit's side by side the my 828ES, Ultralite AVB and M4 and heard some differences them. I also had an Apogee Quartet out as well. My 828ES was more sonically closer to the Apogee than the other two. Analog design, clocking and power supply design makes a difference that justifies the price jump.

There are even differences between Apogee models as well as the Symphony has a different sounded from the Ensemble and Quartet. It's all in the analog design. The Symphony has a softer top end.
Did you use the mic preamps when testing or the line ins/outs? And did you test them separately?

Now I am curious if they are gonna implement these new chips in their AVB line in the near future. I would definitely try out a 16A MK2.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #44
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Calagan's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temps ➡️
You just repeated yourself. You are claiming you can hear things a $30,000 Audio Precision can't measure. Sure thing. Measured at 4 volt output, dynamic range was exactly the same on the M2 and 624. Both are ruler flat; both have inaudible levels of distortion. Jitter suppression is actually better on the M2. It's odd you talked about the bottom end and midrange, when they perform the same through that range... if you were to hear any difference, it should have been in the treble as M series distortion rises in higher frequencies and it would have been very, very slight.

The way you are phrasing it here, it sounds clear to me that you expect the more expensive interface to sound better, therefore it does.

I don't think you've been keeping up on the DAC market much. Even low end devices are properly implemented... state of the art performance can be had for ~$50 a channel these days, in a tiny dongle that attaches to your phone's USB port.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...e-review.9824/

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...e.19911/page-8

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...-review.15757/
I can't speak about the sound difference within the Motu range, but I was very surprised to HEAR distinctly an audio difference between my Motu M2 and my Focusrite Clarett 2pre.
I bought the Motu recently because I needed a 2nd interface that was supposed to replace the Clarett if not available. Because of the USB and no external power supply, I started to use more the Motu, being happy with its sound without thinking too much about it. But I was very surprised to discover the Motu was indeed sounding better (in a subtle but noticeable way) while switching from the Motu to the Clarett during a mix on which I spent days.
I was knowing the song perfectly, knowing the problems and the places where I was struggling. The Motu was simply more clear, more punchy, more detailed, less scooped in the mids.
I was mixing the song with the singer and composer, and she noticed that too after some minutes, telling me to come back to the M2 because it was simply easier to mix with it.

It was not night & day of course, but it was noticeable when knowing each aspect of the song (and struggling to make it sing)...
I'm not sure I could hear the difference with a song I don't know well, so it's subtle, but it's here and I can hear it, whatever the numbers say : to me it's easier to mix on the M2 (200€) than on the Clarett 2pre (350€) that is supposed to sound better (at least, has better specs on paper).
And I'm even not speaking about the drivers and stability (much better on the Motu, at least for me on my mac).
I was very happy of my Clarett, but now of course I'm thinking about switching to the new Motu range (I need to upgrade an old Saffire pro 40 and was thinking about a Clarett 8pre but the Ultralite could be a much better choice)...

Clarett and M2 are both quite recent audio interfaces, so it's not like comparing a 2010's Saffire Pro and a brand new 2020's device.
So yes, I think interfaces have a sound and are not all made the same, whatever the specs says.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #45
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calagan ➡️
I can't speak about the sound difference within the Motu range, but I was very surprised to HEAR distinctly an audio difference between my Motu M2 and my Focusrite Clarett 2pre.
I bought the Motu recently because I needed a 2nd interface that was supposed to replace the Clarett if not available. Because of the USB and no external power supply, I started to use more the Motu, being happy with its sound without thinking too much about it. But I was very surprised to discover the Motu was indeed sounding better (in a subtle but noticeable way) while switching from the Motu to the Clarett during a mix on which I spent days.
I was knowing the song perfectly, knowing the problems and the places where I was struggling. The Motu was simply more clear, more punchy, more detailed, less scooped in the mids.
I was mixing the song with the singer and composer, and she noticed that too after some minutes, telling me to come back to the M2 because it was simply easier to mix with it.

It was not night & day of course, but it was noticeable when knowing each aspect of the song (and struggling to make it sing)...
I'm not sure I could hear the difference with a song I don't know well, so it's subtle, but it's here and I can hear it, whatever the numbers say : to me it's easier to mix on the M2 (200€) than on the Clarett 2pre (350€) that is supposed to sound better (at least, has better specs on paper).
And I'm even not speaking about the drivers and stability (much better on the Motu, at least for me on my mac).
I was very happy of my Clarett, but now of course I'm thinking about switching to the new Motu range (I need to upgrade an old Saffire pro 40 and was thinking about a Clarett 8pre but the Ultralite could be a much better choice)...

Clarett and M2 are both quite recent audio interfaces, so it's not like comparing a 2010's Saffire Pro and a brand new 2020's device.
So yes, I think interfaces have a sound and are not all made the same, whatever the specs says.
The crux of my argument is simply: subjective opinions are worthless - to be blunt, I don't care what you or anyone thinks they're hearing. For all I know, you guys have been mixing at 100dB your entire career and are basically deaf.

In the end this is all simply voltage. It's perfectly measurable. Measurements - good. Opinions - bad.

https://prosound.ixbt.com/interfaces...ett/2444.shtml

https://prosound.ixbt.com/interfaces.../2444out.shtml

Your opinions agree with the measurements in this case. The Clarett has higher levels of distortion all around, especially on inter-modulated signals (ie. music). A subtle difference to be sure but probably audible.

I did not mean to say that all devices are properly implemented. This is absolutely not the case. For instance, that new Black Lion interface is quite bad. But we have many companies putting out excellent DACs at extremely low prices. We have many other companies putting out terrible DACs at extremely high prices - like practically every home theater receiver on sale today. Price = performance is dead and buried.

MOTU has shown they implement their DACs properly throughout the range so it is ridiculous to suggest that this device is going to hamstrung or intentionally designed wrong to try and funnel people into their more expensive products.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #46
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by infindebula ➡️
The Ultralite MK3 Hybrid is bus powered from FireWire. Modern USB has more power than that.

I for one will be really disappointed if this can't be bus powered.
The MK3 Hybrid only has bus power over FireWire, which delivers more power than USB2 + USB3. When using USB2, you had to use the power supply.

Unfortunately, the MK5 doesn't support bus power. USB3 only provides 4.5 watts of power delivery, which is only 10% of what FireWire is capable of. USB4 provides up to 100w. Which is plenty...we'll have to wait I guess.

**Edit**
Actually. I've just read that USB3.x over USB Type C can provide up to 15w of power, but that's still only 1/3 of what FireWire is capable of and probably still not enough to power the MK5.

Last edited by Milieu; 9th April 2021 at 09:25 PM.. Reason: Editing info (correction)
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #47
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Calagan's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temps ➡️
The crux of my argument is simply: subjective opinions are worthless - to be blunt, I don't care what you or anyone thinks they're hearing. For all I know, you guys have been mixing at 100dB your entire career and are basically deaf.

In the end this is all simply voltage. It's perfectly measurable. Measurements - good. Opinions - bad.

https://prosound.ixbt.com/interfaces...ett/2444.shtml

https://prosound.ixbt.com/interfaces.../2444out.shtml

Your opinions agree with the measurements in this case. The Clarett has higher levels of distortion all around, especially on inter-modulated signals (ie. music). A subtle difference to be sure but probably audible.

I did not mean to say that all devices are properly implemented. This is absolutely not the case. For instance, that new Black Lion interface is quite bad. But we have many companies putting out excellent DACs at extremely low prices. We have many other companies putting out terrible DACs at extremely high prices - like practically every home theater receiver on sale today. Price = performance is dead and buried.

MOTU has shown they implement their DACs properly throughout the range so it is ridiculous to suggest that this device is going to hamstrung or intentionally designed wrong to try and funnel people into their more expensive products.
mmm. I don't think I can hear a difference between a THD of 0.00037% and a THD of 0.00064% (what the numbers you offer implie). So I don't think the difference I heard between the two interfaces can be found in these numbers...

I don't think everything lies in the numbers (and I didn't say "numbers mean nothing") : this forum is full of people thinking they can prove something with a Plugin Doctor plot and they can be as wrong as a guy with an intuitive knowledge.
I learnt much more listening to people telling about their experience (even if half of them are wrong) than watching graphs or numbers.
A vinyl has a dynamic range of 60db, but many people prefer it to the CD. However, nobody prefers the mp3 (but most don't care)...

Anyway, I'll investigate this prosound.ixbt.com. Looks interesting...
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #48
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calagan ➡️
mmm. I don't think I can hear a difference between a THD of 0.00037% and a THD of 0.00064% (what the numbers you offer implie). So I don't think the difference I heard between the two interfaces can be found in these numbers...

I don't think everything lies in the numbers (and I didn't say "numbers mean nothing") : this forum is full of people thinking they can prove something with a Plugin Doctor plot and they can be as wrong as a guy with an intuitive knowledge.
I learnt much more listening to people telling about their experience (even if half of them are wrong) than watching graphs or numbers.
A vinyl has a dynamic range of 60db, but many people prefer it to the CD. However, nobody prefers the mp3 (but most don't care)...

Anyway, I'll investigate this prosound.ixbt.com. Looks interesting...
Their tests are interesting for sure - better than nothing - but I prefer Audiosciencereview over theirs. A lot of the prosound reviews are loopbacks which aren't as accurate as the ASR tests which are done using $30k analyzer.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #49
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temps ➡️
The crux of my argument is simply: subjective opinions are worthless - to be blunt, I don't care what you or anyone thinks they're hearing. For all I know, you guys have been mixing at 100dB your entire career and are basically deaf.

In the end this is all simply voltage. It's perfectly measurable. Measurements - good. Opinions - bad.

https://prosound.ixbt.com/interfaces...ett/2444.shtml

https://prosound.ixbt.com/interfaces.../2444out.shtml

Your opinions agree with the measurements in this case. The Clarett has higher levels of distortion all around, especially on inter-modulated signals (ie. music). A subtle difference to be sure but probably audible.

I did not mean to say that all devices are properly implemented. This is absolutely not the case. For instance, that new Black Lion interface is quite bad. But we have many companies putting out excellent DACs at extremely low prices. We have many other companies putting out terrible DACs at extremely high prices - like practically every home theater receiver on sale today. Price = performance is dead and buried.

MOTU has shown they implement their DACs properly throughout the range so it is ridiculous to suggest that this device is going to hamstrung or intentionally designed wrong to try and funnel people into their more expensive products.
I think you are missing the point. Going just by numbers doesn't tell you anything about the sound quality of a converter. The original Lynx Aurora 16 has a slightly worse specs that's used in Mastering. Why do you think Black Lion Audio makes mods to improve sound quality that swaps out the Caps etc?
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #50
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 360studios15 ➡️
I think you are missing the point. Going just by numbers doesn't tell you anything about the sound quality of a converter. The original Lynx Aurora 16 has a slightly worse specs that's used in Mastering. Why do you think Black Lion Audio makes mods to improve sound quality that swaps out the Caps etc?
In the end this is all simply voltage. It's perfectly measurable.

Go away.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #51
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temps ➡️
In the end this is all simply voltage. It's perfectly measurable.

Go away.
Just so you know this is a public forum. I have every right to post in this thread just as you and everyone else. You aren't the authority over anyone. Everyone has their own shared of opinions. Don't get offended because some one doesn't agree with you. Just agree or disagree and move on.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #52
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ99 ➡️
Did you use the mic preamps when testing or the line ins/outs? And did you test them separately?

Now I am curious if they are gonna implement these new chips in their AVB line in the near future. I would definitely try out a 16A MK2.
Yes. I used every aspect of each interface before I sent the Ultralite AVB back and sold my Apogee Quartet. The DAC quality on the Ultralite and M4 were virutally identical which is why I kept the M4 instead. The Pre amps were a little better on the Ultralite and 828ES. I didn't expect my M4 to sound identical to my 828ES no way because that's a near 800 dollar price difference a Prosumer unit up against a Professional studio interface. The higher end MOTU AVB units seems to have a faster attack time that has a nice punchy sound in the lower end frequencies. Kick drums and bass sounds more tigher. That's how you know the converters are good when they have quick attack with a nice punch. Apogee is pretty well known for that as well. The stereo imaging and separation was also noticable wider on my 828ES than the Ultralite AVB and M4. The M4 and Ultralite were just missing that 3D space and depth around the sides. I will say that the M4 compared to the Focusrite stuff that I used for over 5 years seems to have better conversion quality.

Given that the Ultralite in general is an Entry Level Professional interface, it seems to sit in the middle between the M series and the higher end AVB full rack units. So if the full rack Studio interfaces get updated, they are probably going to sound better than the Ultralite Mk5 unit because they just have a better analog design once you start getting in to the thousand dollar range.
Old 10th April 2021
  #53
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SWAN808's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
damn tough choice on this vs the 838es....
Old 10th April 2021
  #54
Gear Nut
 
I've been super satisfied with my m4 and the support I got from motu, think I'm going to pick this one up. Having toyed around with vocal recording and direct monitoring, I think I'm ready to go with a DSP capable interface, because holy cow having no latency in tracking really makes a big difference.
Old 10th April 2021
  #55
Lives for gear
 
15 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I've been a little interface-restless recently and have gone through the Symphony Desktop, M2, M4, AudioFuse, and Apollo Twin X. The ULmk5 piqued my interest because I like the M4 but wanted a little more gain from the preamps and didn't want to buy an external preamp. The ULmk5 absolutely has gain in reserve, sounds really good, and has unbelievable latency even at settings I would normally use for playback.
  • Hardware: very high quality including all the buttons and knobs. Love the screen—the meters are much easier to see than the typical "LED inside the case" design. Everything on the case is very dark (labels, knobs, etc.) so it's a little challenging to see in lower light. Luckily the front panel is very simple.
  • Preamps: low noise, tons of gain, and sound good
  • Headphone amp: drives both the K712 and K371 fine, with plenty of gain to go beyond what would be a comfortable volume.
  • Setup: other than having to override the Mac's security policy (not a fan) the software install was so simple compared to Symphony & Apollo. Granted those have all the plugins to authorize but registration and install was so easy (and no account to create).
  • Software: CueMix is easy to use, stable, and responsive. I don't do anything complicated but was able to figure out how to make a custom monitor mix w/ reverb. Though with the latency this low I don't even think I'll use it while tracking. I could see this being incredible for people who have a few synths and also track guitars and vocals.
  • In use: sounds great. The latency is crazy low (3.99ms @ 44k, 64samples—could go down to 1.42ms on my MBP M1 in Ableton at 192/64). I'm looking forward to tracking electric guitar at this latency.
I've been working on vocals (my own) and acoustic guitar tracking over the last 2 months and have tracked with all of the above interfaces. I don't think any of them stand out as better or worse than the others. The UltraLight stands way above in latency and preamp quality.

With this and the M2/4, MOTU has really been killing it. Given the low latency and awesome preamps, I expect this to be huge with producers who want a little more power and fidelity than the M series but don't need all the added stuff of the Symphony or Apollo. I feel like there is a huge divide between the $150 2 channel DAC's and the big multichannel $1k "pro" options. The Symphony could have been that but the unfinished software and insane price leave a big window open for something like the UltraLite mk5.

I'm looking forward to not thinking about interfaces for at least a few years, and also hearing about any experiences you all have with it, or how you plan to use it.
Old 10th April 2021 | Show parent
  #56
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 360studios15 ➡️
Going just by numbers doesn't tell you anything about the sound quality of a converter.
Because sound is a mysterious/esoteric thing that isn't subject to the laws of physics?
Anyway, you're free to believe whatever you want of course. I'm just glad that people who actually make audio gear believe in the laws of physics and measurements and all that numbers stuff.
Old 10th April 2021 | Show parent
  #57
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenSW ➡️
Because sound is a mysterious/esoteric thing that isn't subject to the laws of physics?
Anyway, you're free to believe whatever you want of course. I'm just glad that people who actually make audio gear believe in the laws of physics and measurements and all that numbers stuff.
I am glad as well they're doing that. But still, in the end you have to hear, if you like it or not. Even if some gear measures the same as some other gear, it might sound completely different.
Its easy to test compressors i.e. inside plugin doctor, so they measure identical, but behave different when feeding a recorded instrument through them. The same happens to some extent to an interface/converter. Good measurements only indicate that the technical stuff has been done right, but the rest should be decided by ear.
It might as well be, that there is technically better measuring gear, which still sounds worse than another gear which technically should be worse.
When mixing you don't choose plugins/HW which measure better, instead you choose what sounds better, even if it may introduce some aliasing or noise or whatever.
Old 10th April 2021 | Show parent
  #58
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenSW ➡️
Because sound is a mysterious/esoteric thing that isn't subject to the laws of physics?
Anyway, you're free to believe whatever you want of course. I'm just glad that people who actually make audio gear believe in the laws of physics and measurements and all that numbers stuff.
Dynamic range is about how quite the converters are. doesn't tell you anything about how it sounds or the crosstalk separation. All converters sound different from one another. As I explained before the Lynx Converters are used in Mastering that aren't obsessed with specs. The Lynx Aurora is pretty well known for it's very transparent sound and very wide stereo imaging and depth which is why you see them in many Mastering rooms. Prism converters has worse specs too that are considered some of the top converters in the world.

To top that off, no converter made is truly operating at 24bit resolution as you need a dyanmic range of at least 144db.

If you ever taken apart any interface, the analog design path is more important than the conversion chip itself. The M series has many compromises to keep the cost down as they don't sound identically the same as the higher end MOTU AVB Pro Audio interfaces. That's why some interfaces cost more than others. Why do you think an Apogee Duet cost two times the price of a Scarlett or the M2/M4? The Duet and MOTU M series shares the exact same ES9016 Sabre chip but a Duet cost over $600.
Old 10th April 2021
  #59
Gear Nut
 
Hey 360studios15, have you ever considered just not derailing every interface thread? I already have you set to ignore but man, every interface thread you jump into and say the same things over and over. You're free to whatever but don't you think there are better uses of your time?
Old 10th April 2021 | Show parent
  #60
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshmelo ➡️
Hey 360studios15, have you ever considered just not derailing every interface thread? I already have you set to ignore but man, every interface thread you jump into and say the same things over and over. You're free to whatever but don't you think there are better uses of your time?
I don't think any one cares what you think. It's a public forum. You aren't the authority over anyone. It's not your place to tell people what to do. Everyone has there own right to participate in a public forum. You post in many threads so don't be such a hypocrite. If you don't agree with a discussion then move on.
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