Mac recording suggestions - MoTu Ultralite anyone?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Jo, Mar 4, 2006.


  1. Jo

    Jo Silver Supporting Member

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    After recently purchasing an iMac at the end of last year, I now want to check in to what would be the best way to record stuff to it. I previously was using a PC with Sonar and SoundBlaster Audigy Plat for inputs.

    I was thinking of getting the Mbox 2 with the factory bundle ($550) and I saw there's a new MoTu Ultralite firewire interface with 10 inputs and 14 out http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/ultralite/ for approximately the same price. The Motu comes with Audiodesk Workstation software whereas the MBox comes with Pro Tools LE.

    Or maybe I should look at something like the MoTu 828?

    Any suggestions for a reasonably small setup?
     
  2. Da5Id

    Da5Id Member

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    Do you need multiple inputs for recording a group of instruments simultaneously or are you just recording yourself for multiple tracks? If you are the latter and want a kicka** unit, I highly recommend the Metric Halo ULN/2. It's pricey but worth the money for the quality IMHO. They also make the 2882 for 8 inputs. The A/D converters are of much higher quality than most units (except maybe Apogee), driver support is great and they can be buss powered if desired (although probably not an issue for you with an iMac).

    Combined with Logic Pro, you'll have a fantastic system...
     
  3. Jo

    Jo Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks, I just checked it out and it looks like it's a bit pricer than I want to pay for now. I'd like to be able to record a few instruments at once (ie mic'd drums etc).
     
  4. Aldwyn

    Aldwyn Member

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    Jo, have I mentioned I dig my Firepod? :D

    Might want to check one out!
     
  5. Jo

    Jo Silver Supporting Member

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    Aah, but now I'd have to buy a rack too. :), the thing is the software though. It comes with Cubase LE (bleh), I wish I had a version of Sonar that ran on the Mac. The last time I used Cubase was 10 years ago. :eek:

    I think the MoTu Ultralite looks cool. I just can't find any other info on it.
     
  6. jmadill

    jmadill Gold Supporting Member

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    Jo,

    I've been using MOTU hardware & software for years. I use MOTU's Digital Performer. I had a 2408 in my PowerMac, but recently went to an iMac, so had to go with a Firewire or USB product.

    Now, I'm using an 896. They didn't have the Traveller or the UltraLite at the time, but they do look great for portable stuff. My main concern is that they are powered by the firewire. The iMacs, for all the good stuff, are a little weak on the power to USB and Firewire ports, so plan on using the ac adapter.

    The main reason I decided on the 896 is because it had 8 preamps. UltraLite only has 2, so if you think you'll need more than 2, then you'll need something else. I'd say if the UltraLite doesn't work for you, then the 828 won't either, so go for the 896.

    All of the MOTU products come with AudioDesk, which is essentially Digital Performer without the MIDI support. If you aren't planning to record MIDI, you might not even need to upgrade to Digital Performer, but they have an upgrade offer that will save you some cash if you decide to go from AudioDesk to Digital Performer.

    Edit: Just found out that the UltraLite isn't shipping yet. April?

    I hope this helps! Email if you have more questions.



    -jm
     
  7. noises ten

    noises ten Member

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    Hard to go wrong with Motu... You can get used 828 mK ii's for around 5-600.. As far as software, I really enjoy Logic Pro, and I have been told that Logic Express is only lacking a few features for 1/3rd the price.... My bands last CD was done on Logic with a couple of 828's...
     
  8. Aldwyn

    Aldwyn Member

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    This is true... you had been using Sonar. Forgot about that. :)

    Maybe it's time to switch to ProTools?
     
  9. jmadill

    jmadill Gold Supporting Member

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    If I had to switch from MOTU DP to anything, it would likely be Logic and not ProTools.

    Although ProTools is used by Pros in major studios, as are Logic and Digital Performer, ProTools is way behind the others as far as updates are concerned. Granted, it is possible that production studios may have been reluctant to move to OS X, but it took Digi *forever* to accept the fact that OS 9 was dead and gone.

    There are some excellent features in OS X, like core audio, and to use a product that is reluctant to leverage these assets is a little limiting. Now, I know I'm just a project studio, but I can't imaging anyone not wanting to take advantage of multiple processors and OS level audio processing.

    If I were to move to Logic, I know that those features would be leveraged.

    -jm
     
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>If I had to switch from MOTU DP to anything, it would likely be Logic and not ProTools<<

    Me, too.

    Actually, I spent the day yesterday in audio post in a new studio equipped with the Digidesign Icon console, running PT on a windows machine.

    Digi recommends windows machines now, because evidently there is bad blood between them and Apple. The windows machine was a nightmare; the engineer was tearing his hair out. When I asked why he didn't spec out the system with a Mac, he said, "I wish we had, but Digi isn't supporting it very well now, and the Digi rep sold us a windows machine."

    Of course, Digi doesn't have software ready to support the Mac on several important pieces of Audio Post hardware.

    $70,000, and an experienced Pro Tools engineer imported from LA was ready to take a hammer to the entire rig.

    Anyway, I have a Traveler. It works fine with a powerbook or an Imac or any mac. It sounds fantastic. I think the new box will be great, too, and I've already ordered one for my son.
     
  11. jmadill

    jmadill Gold Supporting Member

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    Curious about the latency. How far in advance of what you do, do you know what you're going to do?:D

    I'm a cave man. I figure stuff out by brute force at the last minute, just before I have to get it done.

    But, I digress ...

    How much ya wanna bet that the Windows machine had an internet connection on it?

    -jm
     
  12. Jo

    Jo Silver Supporting Member

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    Les, what's the "Traveler"?
     
  13. jmadill

    jmadill Gold Supporting Member

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  14. Jo

    Jo Silver Supporting Member

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    Ah, ok thanks. It's a bit pricer than I wanted to pay. I wanted to stick around the $5-600 limit.
    I see it also comes with the same AudioDesk Workstation.

    Does Digital Performer work the same as AudioDesk? Or is it a totally different programme?
     
  15. jmadill

    jmadill Gold Supporting Member

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    Essentially the same, with the exception of no midi recording in AudioDesk.

    It may also lag a little behind DP version wise.

    -jm
     
  16. retro

    retro Member

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    There are quite a few difference's between DP and AudioDesk, I think. Some important, some not.

    There's a summary here. I didn't notice on a quick review if automatic plug-in latency compensation is listed. But that is one I find important.

    http://www.motu.com/products/software/audiodesk/upgrade.html

    One thing I don't understand about the Mbox 2 is that it is still USB 1 not to mention the other specs on the unit.
    I do like PTLE and have owned previous Digi interfaces, but I simply lost interest in the price perfomance ratio of their proprietary interfaces.

    Anyways, one thing I have always liked about Motu gear, that doesn't often get mentioned are their rock solid and frequently updated Mac FW drivers.

    Besides the others mentioned here I think the Mackie 400f and Echo AudioFire 8
    are worthy of consideration for budget Mac interfaces.
     
  17. Supasso

    Supasso Member

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    I bought the UltraLite today at Guitar Center Chicago. The salesman told me that they just got the shipment this morning. I can't try it until I fly back to my home on the other side of the earth.

    Anyways, it's available now.
     
  18. Jo

    Jo Silver Supporting Member

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    Oh cool... I'll check it out!




    edit: thanks, I just picked one up!:dude
     
  19. overture2005

    overture2005 Member

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    I'm kinda interested in it. Another good unit for this budget is firepod maybe. Which one to take? I need you guys' 2 cents.
     
  20. Jo

    Jo Silver Supporting Member

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    Well so far I quite like the Ultralight. It's a nice sturdy piece of kit.

    The freebie software that came with it AudioDesk Workstation (Mac only) I have not been able to get to work. It keeps crashing every time I try and load a demo song and I press play or record or any of the transport buttons. There's an updated beta version on the website so I may try that. So, as far as using it with the Mac software it blows.

    BUT.... I hooked it up to my XP PC which has Cakewalk Sonar 3 and I had no problems getting my instruments hooked in and recording with no latency problems whatsoever.

    The only prob. I have right now is trying to get the metronome in Sonar to work. (midi?) ... otherwise I love it and it's doing what I expected. Just a shame about the Mac software being a duff. I'll probably have to spring and buy some decent software if I want to use it with my Mac (which was the whole reason why I bought the Mac ... for recording).:rolleyes:
     

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