MOTU interfaces (8 line ins)

Last time I bought an audio interface was almost 30 days ago (lol) - but before that it was about 10 years (God bless you, RME).

The MOTU M4 I got is phenomenal, but I want more inputs - 3 stereo for my BB and 1 stereo for my Typhon. MOTU used to have the Ultralite line, but I cant tell if they have been discontinued. The next closest option seems to be AVB, but that has a lot of tech I don’t need (even the Ultralite is overkill in sone ways).

Does anyone know a lot about the MOTU line of interfaces? Anyone have any recommendations for a “simple” 8 channel/line level input interface?

1 Like

MOTU 828 MK3 would be my go to for that. I have an 828 MKII and loved until it started not quite liking Windows anymore. The MK3 has a straightforward 8 inputs + 2 very nice, clean, modern preamps. It certainly does more than you want but it sounds great, is a workhorse and once installed gives you, very simply, what you want.

1 Like

Thank you! I forgot to mention it should be portable. :grimacing: I am constantly setting up and breaking down my set up. Another reason the compact desktop interfaces from MOTU are attractive.

I don’t have experience with another MOTU interface but I assume their smaller units in the price range are of similar quality. I feel like they make a more portable one with at least six inputs and likely one with more (even if it uses a breakout cable or something). I would take a look at their active line of products from the manufacturer website.

1 Like

I’ve got an Ultralite Mk3, one of the portable MOTUs. It was a steal at $300~ CAD (used) for 8 inputs (2 Pres + 6 Line) and you can do S/PIDF as well to expand that which I’ve been wanting to explore. I really like control software that comes with it even though it took some getting used to, you could use it in place of a mixer in a pinch as it’s got built in EQ/Reverb/Compression on every channel (I think).

It’s close to perfect but I hate that it doesn’t have a dedicated knob for headphone volume, it’s actually a stepped encoder and doesn’t feel nice to use. Also the driver support is TERRIBLE for Windows and I don’t even think it works great on my Macbook, there’s this awful noise that occurs at random and is only fixed by power cycling the unit which then also means shutting down all software that’s using it. Hopefully the newer units (M4) don’t have these issues but it sounds like MOTU doesn’t really care to fix them.

It’s very polarizing but I’ve yet to find better bang for my buck.


After researching about the m16/m8 I bought RME digiface and ferrofish pulse 16.

I found out a lot of things that as a pc user, I won’t have a lot of fun with :slight_smile:

The option I choose, is more expensive, but, it is expandable, sounds great! Both companies have very good costumer service (*ferrofish are great! )
And RME drivers, one of the reasons I’m using their interfaces for the last 15 years.

You can also buy a 2nd hand beringer ada8200, that works good and deliver results quite good.


UltraLite Mk3 here for the last 6 years under Mac OS.
Not a single crash in all that time.
Rock solid.
6 lines IN + 2 Mic Pres (usable as line IN).
Can be plugged / unplugged from laptop on the go :slight_smile:
Can vouch for it.
Also UltraLite MK4. Software on MK4 is browser based whereas on Mk3, it is an app.


MOTU 828es. It’s awesome


I’m considering a MOTU 8a for myself. I like it’s simple layout and it has full metering on the front. Is there any other decent interface with just 8 channels an no mic pres?

1 Like

I’ve had the motu 8A for several years now. It works really well on my old windows machine running win7 at first and now win10. I love the browser based mixer/router that it comes with. I use 6 of the DC coupled outputs to send CV from my daw to my semi-modular hardware.

I did have some initial disappointment that not only couldnt I use the thunderbolt connection (obviously to be expected on such an old computer) but usb-3 was unreliable. I ended up sticking to a dedicated usb-2 bus and fortunately I have not had any issues with it at all.


The pres can be used as line in.
Also the with the 8A you have to give up two outs for monitors.

Whatever you go with, I’d make sure you’re spending your money on one of the newer AVB-era interfaces…

i.e. Ultralite AVB or MK4 (not MK3), 8A… etc.

The Traveler MK3 and Ultralite MK3 aren’t bad interfaces, they’ve just been replaced with interfaces that have far more stable drivers which provide operation at lower latencies, much better D/A converters, much better digital clocks, and are more actively supported with current (and future) operating systems.
Also the Ultralite MK3 isn’t as expandable (no ADAT).

I have paired a Ultralite MK4-AVB with an old Traveler MK1 as a standalone ADAT expander. That Traveler does not work on Catalina or later, so I’ve set it up for standalone. It is clocked to the UL MK4, and that has made it sound quite good.

So yea, if you’re going to spend the money, I’d go with an AVB era MOTU.
I would love to see MOTU expand on the M2/M4 series with some M8/M10 offerings.


I was hoping you would chime in. :slight_smile:

Are the new ones bus powered? That is important to me. The m4 is so lovely, I just need a few more inputs! (Err, ok, double the number lol).

I greatly appreciate your knowledge and advice, @AdamJay. Actually, that goes for everyone in this thread! :metal:


Happy to help.

Thank @PeterHanes who used the new-ish “share” button at the bottom of the thread to invite me to this topic. A functionality I just learned about thanks to him. :slight_smile:

I’ll go one further:
If you do go with an Ultralite MK4, make sure it has a serial # that starts with “ES”
There were some early units that didn’t have the newer ESS Sabre32 DACs, the units that do have the new DACs have serial numbers that begin with “ES”

Sadly no, of units made since the AVB era began, only the M2 and M4 are bus powered.
Most require an included 15V PSU, which is fortunately very small and compact.


Ok, thanks. The need for an outlet is something to consider, but it is not a dealbreaker in the face of such awesomeness. Is the cable on the AC adapter a reasonable length, at least?

1 Like

It’s over a meter long.
A DC cable extension wouldn’t be difficult to source, if needed.

1 Like

Thanks. Might not even be able to find one anyway, but I got lucky on the m4, so…maybe?

1 Like

8A is a real good option, as has been mentioned.
I prefer the displays on that series. Very similar to the M4.
The TB/USB3/USB2 flexibility is a nice bonus. Lack of midi is a bummer but only if/when it is needed.

It seems like covid really disrupted their ability to keep things in stock, also.

1 Like

There was a fire in Japan at a DAC manufacturing facility. Big problems for a lot of manufactures, apparently. I thought the mk4 had been discontinued given its limited availability.

Yea. Easy to surmise that, but it is still an active product in the current lineup.

1 Like