MOTU UltraLite-mk5 USB Audio Interface

(10 customer reviews)



The latest in MOTU’s popular, award-winning UltraLite interface series, the UltraLite-mk5 is an 18-input, 22-output audio interface with DSP mixing, effects processing and best-in-class analog audio quality for on-the-go mobile audio recording. Connect to a computer through hi-speed USB 2.0 with optimized ultra-low latency drivers (audio class compliant, compatible with USB 3.0 and iOS) and record at sample rates up to 192 kHz with two combo XLR/TRS mic/line/h-Z guitar inputs, six line-level analog inputs, ten analog outputs, 8-channel optical I/O (with support for 2-channel TOSLink), RCA S/PDIF digital I/O, MIDI I/O and a headphone output. Monitor live inputs directly on any analog output pair with DSP-driven mixing. Create a separate, unique monitor mix for each output (monitor outs, phones, etc.) Apply on-board effects, including reverb, 4-channel parametric EQ and dynamics processing to inputs and mix busses. Use the UltraLite-mk5 as a stand-alone mixer and control everything from new CueMix 5 software running on your laptop, iPad, iPhone, tablet and smartphone. From studio to stage, the UltraLite-mk5 delivers exceptional sound quality, state-of-the-art operation and rock-solid performance.Features: Superb analog quality with ultra-low latency Analog outputs deliver 125 dB dynamic range; pptimized drivers deliver rock-solid performance and industry-leading low latency DSP-driven monitor mixing Mix live inputs to any analog output pair; create a separate, unique mix for each output pair (six separate mix busses). Include computer channels in each mix On-board effects Apply reverb, 4-channel parametric EQ and dynamics processing to inputs and bus mixes Universal connectivity Connects to any computer with hi-speed USB 2.0 (audio class compliant, compatible with USB 3.0 and iOS). Compatible with all audio software Comprehensive metering The high-resolution OLED display lets you view all signal activity at a glance with detailed metering for all analog

Additional information

Weight 2.2 kg
Dimensions 30.48 × 17.78 cm
Item Weight

‎2.2 kg

Product Dimensions

‎40.64 x 30.48 x 17.78 cm; 2.2 Kilograms

Item model number




Compatible Devices

Personal Computer

Connector Type

USB Type C

Hardware Interface


Supported Software

‎CueMix 5


‎IOS, Mac



Date First Available

6 April 2021



10 reviews for MOTU UltraLite-mk5 USB Audio Interface

  1. The General

    Endgame beast of an audio interface!
    I’m reviewing this unit as a type of person who isn’t an audio engineer, sound producer, musician, nor audiophile. I’m a computer person who loves music and wants to have ways to connect audio components together but using an M1 Pro 16.2” Mac, however.So this is my take on this MK5 unit: It has 18 inputs, 22 outputs. Simply speaking using my Mac, I’m able to output 5.1, 7.1 surround or 10 channel surround if I choose (that’s also depending on the source material used.) It has SPDIF/ADAT inputs and outputs. It also has COAXIAL DIGITAL in/out. Before doing any research I didn’t even know what to expect in an audio interface but I did know I wanted high end audio sound output and I wanted to be able to connect an XLR microphone of my choice. This Mk5 can do it all.Examples of what I use it for:I have a PS5 connected via a USB DAC1 coaxial output to the MK5 coaxial input. I have SPDIF output from the MK5 to my Logitech Z625 speakers. I also have some Yamaha monitor speakers I use via TRS outputs from MK5 to the monitor speaker’s TRS inputs. I can play lossless quality audio via iTunes now just simply enabling higher audio bitrates and resolutions via the MK5.I use this with Discord chat, FaceTime, and any other social/meeting apps available. It works with everything – but I’ll tell you how I was able to do all this a little later. Since I’m not sound engineer, I cannot give you specific harmonic distortion values measured, etc. because those are all analytical values that I do not really have the technical expertise/background education to explain in detail – but what I do understand is that I can record and playback at higher than 48KHz resolution and I can use any core logic digital DAW to record microphone audio easily and be able to mix all of it together. You can’t do it without an audio digital interface and this mk5 can bring in so many inputs at once and record so many tracks at once. I use Logic Pro to record my voice in real time, apply affects, send it to discord chat while playing my PS5 at the same time. I can play music while I play a game like GT7 driving mundanely around the tracks (the music playlist from that game I find atrocious). You can do this with a PS5’s built in music player but it’s just not the same as having full control of audio channels using like using the Mk5. You can even send audio from iTunes while on a chat with someone or you can bring in multiple microphones and mix that into your chat sessions along with any other music source, sound source you want. You can mix discord user audio and FaceTime user audio together via this MK5 but external software is required. The possibilities are only available if you use this MK5 with so many different input options.Build quality:This MK5 chassis is made of metal and knobs and other parts all plastic. On my specific unit, the audio knobs are rotary encoder knobs that offer multi-functions. The knobs are fine, but when you press them in to select a menu item, it pushes the display panel as well. I think this is a QC issue on my specific unit for the display would move every time I press the knobs inwards. Not a deal breaker, but definitely some strange quality issue. I do not use the knobs at all, however, I am a fan of the CUEMIX software that allows you to mix all the channels via software. I can also do this via an iPad/mini/iPhone connected to the mk5. The iOS app you can get from the store and basically allows you to control the audio channels via those devices.The TRS inputs/outputs are solid in the rear and I’m going to just say you can really expand this MK5 – it includes ADAT as well so you can get more microphone preamp inputs via another brand name that supports ADAT. The possibilities are great with this MK5 due to the fact it has 18 inputs, and 22 outputs! Also there is no heat issue – it does get WARM to touch, but never burning hot. It’s working as intended and I do not have an issue with thermals. And my ambient temperature around the home during the time I was using this MK5 was around 83F! (No AC).There is another slight issue that I did encounter and that was turning off the unit – when using TRS output to my Yamaha speakers (when they are ON) – when I shut off the MK5 it makes a loud POP sound on my Yamaha speakers. I guess you have to turn off the speakers then turn off the MK5. In that order. BUT when using my Logitech Z625 (SPDIF input) – I have ZERO issues. No popping, none at all. I think it has to do with the electrical nature of the monitor output ports. But then again using when using my Volt 2/476 units, I NEVER encountered any popping noise when I shut those interfaces off. It only happens with this MK5.I did not encounter any hissing or strange noises when using this MK5 in any applications. Overall it is a solidly built metal chassis audio interface. As for the OLED display panel, it’s monochrome and looks very sharp and bright. There’s no way to adjust brightness but they’ve included a “screensaver” function now in the latest firmware.The included usb cable is short – I used another usb-c to usb-a cable to connect this to a hub. I have a ferrite/filter on the cable and it’s a superior cable compared to the included one. I also got another 15v/5A power adapter instead of the included wall wart one. Nothing wrong with the included adapter it’s just that I had a more robust one available to use. Most importantly this MK5 did not produce any audible hiss/whine when idle and when outputting audio. That was very important to me for I do not like electrical noises such as coil whine, etc. and thankfully none of it was present in my MK5 unit.Usability/software:Now to do what I wanted it to do on the MK5 on a Mac in particular (because PC’s don’t have this issue) – MacOS does not allow me to route app audio – I would either use this loopback function built into the MK5 or I would have to buy software such as LoopBack 2 (amoeba software) – and I ultimately purchased it because I needed macOS to be able to route microphone output from the MK5 so that FaceTime and other apps like discord can use it properly. Even OBS works with the MK5 but you’re gonna need help on the Mac (using free stuff like Blackhole – which is limited in functionality compared to Loopback2). What is astonishing is that the Mac is tailor designed for audio users yet lack simple audio routing via software internally. On a PC, you have no such limitations with Windows 10/11.The firmware/software upgrade is also painless and can be done on a Mac easily. I’ve encountered no issues and I’m on firmware: 1.1.9+2466:23 and with this firmware the OLED display can be timed out (you get 30sec/30min) and some pong style screen saver will be running. I’ve not encountered any technical issues recording via Logic Pro thus far, no metallic audio sounds/drop outs, nothing. It uses usb-c but is limited to usb2.0 data speeds (which has sufficient bandwidth at 480mb/s) – I’m not doing anything in the DAW to require ultra low latencies and I’ve not had any issues recording anything so far. I’m not a musician and I do not use this for recording instruments but microphone audio only.Using a combination of external software (loopback 2) and this MK5, the possibilities are so great you can really control which audio you want to hear and mix different channels together. It’s really overkill for my application usages but like I said I want to play my PS5 and record audio from different devices all connected together using just this one unit. As for XLR microphone gain, noise floor measurements, etc, you can look all that up on YouTube and get all that tech info yourself. I also am able to use this to add a Topping L50 headphone amp, add some old record player via one of the six TRS inputs in the back easily.If you need something to record audio and mix channels together, this MK5 is just a beast. It gives you that superb digital to analog quality with so many inputs available and so many outputs for the price tag it can’t be beat. I’ve used Volt 2/476 audio interfaces and those are just so limited in function compared to the mk5. There is no loopback function built into those units either. You can get an RME babyface but those are way out of my budget and just seems too limited in inputs/output ports.The cuemix software allows you to change settings on the MK5. I’m a software guy so I enjoy using software based controls – there are limited settings you can change using the MK5 knobs but I just don’t have the need for that since I have this thing hooked up to my laptop all the time. It does have a loopback feature built (if you use the motu drivers) in for those that don’t know about loop ack functionality you can record what your computer is playing and use that loopback channel to play it back while you are streaming, online chatting, etc. Other software will be able to “see” that channel your computer is playing music/YouTube on. But it’s limited and it doesn’t work for FaceTime/OBS/discord easily. Just save yourself the headache and use this in combination with LoopBack2 – which is much more superior to Blackhole.Conclusion:This isn’t a comprehensive tech review but a general idea of what you can expect if you are a Mac user who wants to be able to have a nice quality external DAC/interface that can really do it all. For nearly 4 months of continuous use, I will conclude I really enjoy this MK5. I may not use all the inputs/outputs to the max but it’s all available if I want to expand or be creative with ways to connect things together on my Mac. Best thing about this unit is that it remembers all your settings when you unplug and plug into an iPad/iPhone and use it mobile. The settings are saved in the device. It’s small enough to carry anywhere with you and with a laptop, it’s like a mobile DJ station. I also am able to drive my Sennheiser HD650S headphones; The headphone amp built in is plenty but I now use an L50 instead (connected to the MK5 outputs). Bottom line is if you want ports to expand and have the budget, this is the endgame digital audio interface.If you just want to record your voice via XLR inputs and say a guitar, you’re better off just getting a cheap audio interface. But if you ultimately want to mix in external audio sources (gaming consoles, record players, etc) – and have the flexibility of having multi-channel output, this MK5 is really superior to anything else on the market at this price budget. I’d give it a solid 5-star rating if not for the slight build quality issue (my OLED display panel moving a bit when pressing the 2 microphone rotary knobs). The main power rotary knob does not have this effect on the display panel. And lastly if I were to ask for something to be added/changed in this MK5, I’d really like a better display – that is one in COLOR and have the software ability to shut off the display at will. Perhaps an auto-off function too (which can be done via software I’m sure of it.) Another option perhaps is a different color chassis/different material. It’s cold metal and it’s intimidating for non-tech users. But then again if you’re in the market for this MK5, you have an idea of what you are getting into.

  2. Brucker

    Excellente qualité sonore mais..
    Pourquoi 3 étoiles ? Pour la qualité sonore mais…J’ai donc acheté cette interface par curiosité et car je voulais voir a quel point les convertisseurs et préamps sur supérieurs par rapport a ma focusrite 18i20 3rd gen… Ils le sont clairement ! Les convertisseurs sont plus clairs, plus porté vers l’aigu et le haut medium(classique avec les ess sabre) et moins “étroits” que ceux de la focusrite.Pour les préamp c’est assez délicat de juger donc j’éviterais mais ils ont de la réserve ! Maintenant on attaque le sujet problématique avec MOTU donc je vais être brefCuemix 5 est le logiciel livré avec, vous pourrez faire vos propres mixages pour toutes les sorties sauf pour les sorties adat et spdif qui utiliseront un mix préexistant d’une de vos sorties(vous pourrez utiliser les deux en même temps contrairement a la focusrite mais cette dernière permet d’avoir ses propres mixages sur les sorties adat et spdif)Mais vous allez me dire mais ou est le routing matrix ?! Il n’y est pas, terminé le routing de folie comme sur les MK4, MK3 etc… Vous avez donc les mêmes possibilités qu’une focusrite en terme de routing ou presque(pour l’adat et spdif)L’interface est sortie depuis presque deux ans maintenant et tout ce qu’ils font c’est dire qu’ils vont faire parvenir la suggestion du routing matrix a l’équipe de développement..Donc peut-être ça viendra ou pas car ils ont clairement segmentés les différentes gammes de produits et la MK5 est surement maintenant classée comme grand public donc pour ne pas perdre des bénéfices le routing qui était présent sur cette gamme est disponible uniquement sur les gammes plus chères et sur les interfaces AVB.Mais si vous cherchiez cette interface vous n’aviez surement pas besoin de toutes les fonctionnalités des interfaces avb mais vous vouliez une interface avec des préamps et convertisseurs d’une très bonne qualité et surtout ceux qui viennent des anciennes interfaces a un routing plus flexible car vous avez après tout payé plus cher pour cette interface pour ça ! Mais non, elle ne fait pas plus que les autres bien moins chères donc difficile d’accepter les 200 euros de plus par rapport a une focusrite.Ensuite niveau stabilité des pilotes c’est pire que focusrite dans mon cas(AM4, X570), le son qui crashe totalement, l’instabilité..Alors que ma focusrite n’a aucun problème. Motu ce n’est plus ce que c’était clairement et je ne parle pas du support qui ne vous répond pas dès qu’ils ne savent plus quoi faire.En conclusion :Vous voulez des bons convertisseurs et préamps et vous n’avez pas besoin du routing ? Allez-y !Vous venez des anciennes interfaces ? Fuyez si vous avez besoin du routing avancé car cuemix 5 est limité au possible et il ne vous reste plus que la 828es qui a autant de sortie et d’entrée ainsi que le routing flexible mais c’est 500 euros plus cher en moyenne.Avec un logiciel plus complet comme pour les anciennes interfaces et l’instabilité corrigée cette interface est juste un monstre en terme de qualité des composants mais comprenez que c’est du 50/50 sur la question ou pas qu’ils rajouteront le routing matrix…

  3. Joh

    One of the best
    Has enough connectivity, back connections adat, toslink, spdif, analog, midi, all with in/outs, front has line, mic, inst, all in with one of the lowest db noise floor available. Compress/ reverb maximum supported sample rate is 96hz, Eq works on all sample rates up to 192hz.

  4. Justin Deal

    Maybe needs a better cable to make it work? (And a couple other problems.)
    First, instead of a USB C to USB A cable, I got an empty bag. Either 1) this was a return that was sold to me as new or 2) MOTU’s quality control is really bad if they send empty bags instead of cables.There was also a handwritten serial number on the instruction card, and the box was mangled. The former seems weird, the latter not so much since I often get mangled boxes from Amazon. The box did have a seal on it too, so mixed signals there.Second, it sounded great for a few minutes (playing a song in Logic), and then it went into “thin metallic” mode. I unplugged the USB cable and plugged it in again, and it went back to normal for a few minutes. Then it went back to weird mode. I’m replacing a Steinberg interface that I’ve used for many years (many months with this particular Mac), and I’ve never heard anything like this. An audio interface has one main job, to send and receive audio, so I find this unacceptable, especially a few minutes into using it.I did some searching and found several others that reported this, and some of them said a new cable fixed it. Others said it did not. Either way, I don’t think I should have to immediately replace the cable when MOTU provided one. I would have gladly tried the USB A cable in my hub, but… see above, I got an empty bag instead of that cable.I’m giving it 3 stars since I might have gotten a lemon, and I also didn’t give it much chance before sending it back. I know there are some custom drivers to install, maybe those would help. But it’s supposed to be class compliant, and I planned on using it with my iPad as well, so it should function fine (albeit with more latency) without the drivers.Third, and somewhat minor but worth mentioning: the main volume knob is pretty cramped, and it takes a lot of turning to go from -♾ (muted) to -0 (highest). I often switch from speakers to headphones or vice versa, and on my Steinberg, I would just spin one knob up and the other down quickly. This would take a tedious minute with the knob on the MOTU, so instead, I’d have to do this in software.On the positive side, while I had it, it was really loud and clear, a significant improvement over my Steinberg, which by comparison was weak and a bit muddier.

  5. Glenn

    Nice product, but so far only 50/50 on tech support
    UPDATE: Adding a star after my original review (below), because MOTU tech support did eventually get back to me. BTW, I did find out that you can’t have 2 of these interfaces in the same system (unless one is just acting as an ADAT converter). I realize it’s a corner case, but that’s too bad as two of these working together would be an awesome “high I/O count” solution. As it is, using one as an ADAT converter technically gets you +8 inputs (and +8 outputs), but the DSP Fx can’t be applied.For the money, great feature set (e.g., monitoring mixes, Fx) and number of I/O’s. But I’m disappointed in their tech support. They steer you to open support tickets, and I’ve opened two. They’ve only responded to one (the other one has been sitting for a week with no acknowledgement). So I’d say it’s a good product and choice as long as you think you won’t need help or have questions.

  6. CAAmazoner

    Extremely high mic gain, extremely clean mic pre-amps, excellent software
    Check out the videos that Julian Krause has done of this audio interface. It’s pretty incredible what this unit can do.It has the highest gain of any audio interface that he has reviewed, and is one of just two units that has more than 60db of max gain. It also has some of the lowest pre-amp noise out of dozens of units that he has reviewed. (Amir at AudioScienceReview also took measurements and came to similar conclusions).All of this means that is a technically excellent unit. Almost “lab perfect” performance. And that means it is great for very “gain hungry” mics such as the Shure SM7B.I’ve used it with the Shure SM7B, and my co-workers said “wow when did you get a broadcast recording studio in your house” when they heard it.The software is also excellent (especially on MacOS).The overall build quality is also top notch — lots of metal in the construction, and nothing that seems like it will break off easily.

  7. Anon

    Just say NO-TU this MOTU
    I worked in pro audio at Guitar Center in 2001, and MOTU gear was always coming back with complaints. The audio program I graduated from had a MOTU interface that expeienced issues quickly after it was installed. I’d never heard good things, but at the price point there aren’t many available DC Coupled interfaces with this much I/O. So I tried it. Two of them in fact. Both had various different issues. But they shared one common issue, the outputs didn’t send out CV voltage correctly without needing a factory reset each time the unit was powered on.Upon doing enough research it appears this is an issue many modular synth users are experiencing, it seems to be attributed to the firmware. More than a few users expressed frustration that MOTU seemed to be ignoring the problem and has poor customer service. I wasted enough time on these two units already so I sent them back. This issue could be why MOTU is recycling some of them.I gave it 2 stars because somewhere out there this unit might be good for desktop recording. Both of mine had audio issues so it’s buyer beware at that point. But the unit is compact and isnt a 1U rack mount like it’s replacement, the Presonus 1824c, which is $150 less, has better software and much better sounding mic pre’s. This unit could fit in a backpack and if it was reliable could make a suitable mobile recording interface. That is the only reason I could think of for taking a chance with this unit.

  8. AaronT

    Great device and support
    The Ultralite mk5 is a really great device. Sound quality is great and the i/o and routing is very advanced, particularly for this price point. I had an issue with the headphone jack on the unit I bought from amazon. I reached out to Motu hoping it was something in the routing I was doing wrong, but they replied quickly and after confirming it was a hardware issue they sent me a replacement for free. My experience with some of the other audio manufacturers (UAD, RME, etc.) is they’re very hesitant to admit anything could possibly be a hardware issue even when it’s quite obvious. Also the latency is very low on my macbook pro and 2nd probably only to RME. If I had 1 slight complaint it’s that cuemix 5 while advanced in routing capability, takes too many clicks and scrolling through screens to change things. I wish it was controllable via midi or ipad like you can do with RME. All in all I definitely recommend the unit and Motu as a company.

  9. Ron Wallace

    Great sound
    Ordered this unit and it was everything I wanted except the music would dropout for a split sec at any given time couldn’t figure out why and I tried everything. Sent that unit back and ordering another to see if I can get one that doesn’t do that so I’ll give another update after that.

  10. Amazon Customer

    Stable drivers and lots of IO
    I’ve had issues with drivers on most brands of interfaces I’ve used. These drivers are very good on windows. UI is a little rough and I wish you could rename things but it performs beautifully.

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