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MOTU Ultralite mk3 or AVB as submixer for live use?


mynameisdanno

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Anybody used the MOTU Ultralite mk3 or the Ultralite AVB in standalone mixer mode in the context of a live keys rig? Reliable? Fiddly? I use the same rig 95% of the time, and the only level adjustments I'm making are to the headphone output volume (which I use to feed my amp on stage), so the need for an iPad or computer for most mixer controls doesn't really bother me, since there's a dedicated front panel knob for headphone volume.

 

Currently using an ART PowerMIX III, and looking for an improvement in sound quality and RFI rejection, but I want something in a half-rack or smaller form factor (otherwise I'd go Ashly). The only other options I'm seeing are field mixers marketed for video production, which generally start at $1500+.

 

I very rarely use a laptop live, but the ease of integrating one into my rig with a unit like this is pretty appealing, as are the EQ / compression / reverb, and the ability to configure the additional outputs as pass-throughs for each channel for the occasional FOH guys who prefer to get all the signals individually instead of a submix.

 

Just wondering if there are any serious cons that I'm not seeing. The 20-second boot up time on the AVB is slightly concerning, but my Nord Stage 2 takes about that long anyway, so I guess it's not a big deal if another piece of gear does too.

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My Ultralike MK3 Hybrid is the cornerstone of my live Mainstage rig, and I love it. I've used it a couple of times standalone, and while it's not something I love to do (hate mixing from the front panel with turn'n'push ;) ), I can deal with it without much hassle.

 

Sounds like it would be an ideal solution for your particular situation, frankly.

 

Haven't had a chance to play with any of the AVB stuff, but it looks amazing on paper. Might be in the upgrade path for me next year. :thu:

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I'll second Sven. I use the Ultralite mk3 in my live rig and really don't change much but the headphone level. I do sometimes adjust the monitor feed I get from my band's mixer, but I use a laptop so it's easier.

 

I've fiddled with the knobs before just to see if it is doable. I can do it, but I'd hate to do much mixing with it in standalone, but I suppose with enough training I'd get good.

 

One of the coolest things for me is the ability to have multiple mixes and outputs - the FOH gets a separate feed, and I have another mix sent to my MOTIF for vocoding.

 

The new AVB lineup sounds cool, but is probably overkill for my needs (not to mention budget).

Live rig: Roland FA-08, Yamaha MOTIF ES 6, laptop for supplemental sounds.
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Yeah, on the mk3 at least I'd have the push-and-turn available as a fallback option. I checked with MOTU, and on the AVB, you can't control any aspect of the mix from the front panel other than the main/phones output levels and the two mic/instrument channel input gains. I don't anticipate needing to make mix adjustments very often, but it would nice to be able to without having to always have a laptop, or wifi router there just in case.

 

On the other hand, I suppose there are some tiny wifi routers out there that would be pretty trouble free to always have plugged into the power strip, and I could loom the power supply and Ethernet cables together to keep it down to one run (too bad the AVB can't run on PoE...). Plus push-to-turn would suck to use anyway, as I plan on having the interface live on a pedalboard on the floor next to me, so I'd have to prop it up at an angle to be able to read the display.

 

Also, the AVB mixer looks to be more powerful, and it least it's designed to be controlled from an iPad via the web interface, and I always have the iPad on stage with me already for Set List Maker. You can get iPad control on the mk3 with TouchOSC, but it looks like a bit of a kludgey solution to me.

 

Complicating the decision is the fact that going to a MOTU for my submixer means also getting a different size pedalboard (Pedaltrain Metro 16), a different DI (the new, smaller Radial JDI Stereo rather than Duplex), and a Mini-Vent to replace my current Vent 1, in order to keep it all on a pedalboard that can go under an airplane seat. So the whole package would be ~$1k to replace a system that works just fine, in exchange for improvements in sound quality and RFI rejection that I'm uncertain would ever be noticed in live performance contexts, and the ability to easily integrate a laptop as a sound source (which I have no real interest in doing at present)...

 

Just thinking out loud here. Thanks for your input, guys.

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  • 11 months later...

Zombie thread alert. After much pondering over buying a new sound module or even a whole new 88-note board in search of expanded or better sounds, I've finally decided it's time to be pragmatic I already have a fairly new Macbook Pro that gets used at about five on-site meetings a year. It's time to try Mainstage, controlled by my PX-5S. So I'm in the market for an easily-portable audio interface.

 

At the same time, I've been hatching a plan to move to IEMs and had been thinking of one of the Behringer XR series to fulfil the mixing role but I'm beginning to think the MOTU Ultralite would be the better bet, be more compact and fulfil both roles. And will probably just about velcro on to the top of my Casio.

 

My thoughts with the Behringer were for two keyboards going in (and possibly a vocal mic), main mix going to FoH. Then two sends on the input channels, along with an incoming FoH monitor return, mixed into an aux monitored through the headphone socket. Thus, I can listen to FoH mix, but add whatever small boosts I need from the input channels.

 

With the MOTU/Macbook Pro combo, I'd do the same only with the laptop output coming in as well, and the Casio direct audio on mute, just standing by in case Mainstage went down.

 

I'd probably be using the laptop on 80% of occasions but it would be nice to have a preset set up in advance which you could use one knob for general monitor mix level and maybe one or two more for 'more of me'.

 

So my question (at last, I hear you mutter): On the basis of all the above, is the better fit going to be the Ultralite Hybrid MkIII or the AVB? Judging by Danno's comments above, I get the feeling that the answer may be the former and it's about 100UKP or so cheaper, too. But what would I be missing by not going with the AVB variant?

 

 

Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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I believe the AVB will network audio & midi over ethernet and uses a built-in web app for control so you need a computer with ethernet or a dedicated wifi router, (then take your chances with whatever local wifi network is at the venue, or possibly create an ad-hoc network from your Mac). The mkIII's external control is via OSC from an iPad. MOTU provides a TouchOSC layout but you are actually controlling the CueMix FX software running on your Mac, not the interface directly like with the AVB. Not an issue since you'll be bringing the Mac to the gig anyway. With the AVB you could conceivably use just an iPad or other tablet and leave the computer home.

 

I just started using the MOTU Microbook IIc for what looks like the same reason you mentioned I've switched to in-ears. The Microbook lets me bring in two additional input sources and add them to my in-ears mix only: an ambient stereo mic I place on stage, and a send from the monitor board (when it's available). Of course I also have independent control of my key rig's volume in my in-ears too. Not exactly an Aviom or the Behringer Powerplay "personal mixer" but it's highly portable and works on any gig, whether there's a FOH system or not. Instead of an iPad, I send OSC to work CueMix from my host software (Plogue Bidule) using knobs on my Roland A800 Pro. This past weekend was the first time I've tried this system and it worked fine though I'm still getting used to the "in-ears experience" (I've never used IEMs until now).

 

[on edit... yea a lot of my first paragraph was covered by the post above Aidan's, sorry for the redundancy. Just to add, I would not want to have any kind of pressure situation on a gig where I needed to quickly get to a parameter on this interface using the front panel.]

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Meeting halfway, I hear that. I feel a little "disconnected" from the band. I just added a convolution reverb (which is on my in-ears mix only) to give me an illusion of being in a space, rather than my keys just living all inside my head. I'm hoping that helps.

 

For me, using in-ears is a medical exigency. My tinnitus got much worse after this past NYE gig. My in-ears' first job is to be earplugs!

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Yes a medical necessity here too. I already have substantial single sided hearing loss in my left ear and need to do everything to protect my hearing that remains. I've been using custom molded earplugs but I feel more isolated using those than I suspect I would IEMs. Also find pitching is difficult with the plugs. I've known myself to be a half tone out trying to follow something spontaneously with the plugs in.

Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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Not wanting to risk big money on something I wasn't sure would work for me, I opted for the MEE Audio M6 Pro which I got for $40 (US) on Amazon. They sound fine to me although I can't say I've heard the more expensive Shures or Westones. The MEEs' included "Comply" memory foam tips do a very good job in blocking outside sound. At this point I see no reason to go the custom-molded route.

 

I've always hated playing with earplugs and that's why I'm in the situation I am now. Tonight I'm playing a very loose jazz jam and I'm going to try my new setup with a convolution reverb dialed in to hopefully make me feel a little less isolated.

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