MOTU has announced the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid, the world's first hybrid FireWire/USB2 audio interface for Mac and Windows. Here's what they have to say about it...
The 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.
"As a FireWire audio interface, the UltraLite-mk3 was an all-time best-seller," explains Jim Cooper, Director of Marketing for MOTU. "So we added a USB2 port for users who want to connect it to laptop or desktop computers that don't have built-in FireWire. Pretty much all Macs and PCs now come standard with hi-speed USB2 ports."
As the first-ever "hybrid" audio interface of its kind, the rear panel of the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid provides both a FireWire A (400 Mbps) and hi-speed USB2 (480 Mbps) port. Users can connect the UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid to their computer using either port for full-featured operation and ultra-low bus latency. Using FireWire provides the added benefit of fully mobile bus-powered operation, with enough power through the FireWire cable connection from the computer to support all features, including 48-volt phantom power to both mic inputs. An included power adapter can be used for USB2 connectivity, or operation as a stand-alone mixer.
Other updates include computer-controllable pad and 48V phantom power switches for the two mic inputs, simplified two-way pad switch (-20 dB or off), and an increased mic trim range (0-60 dB). The UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid includes all award-winning features from the earlier FireWire-only mk3, including:
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 mic 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 users to record or mix UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid reverb output separately in their 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 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 1/4" guitar input or XLR mic 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 adjustments 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.
Includes 64-bit and 32-bit native drivers for Mac OS X and Windows 7, Vista and XP, including ASIO, WDM, Wave, Core Audio, and Core MIDI. Supports all popular Mac and Windows audio software.
Includes AudioDesk full-featured sample-accurate workstation software for Mac with recording, editing, mixing, real-time 32-bit effects processing and 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.
Pricing and Availability: The UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid will ship Q4 of 2009 at the same price as the original UltraLite-mk3.