Motu UltraLite-mk5

With the Okto Research Dac8 Pro impossible to get right now, I’m curious if there are any Roon users who have implemented the Motu Ultralite Mk5 with Roon for active crossovers?
https://motu.com/en-us/products/gen5/ultralite-mk5/

If so, what is your experience? Are you a Mac or Win user?

A few draw backs I see are:

  • Windows drivers are required
  • Master volume only control channel 1/2 outputs (But I can use Roon DSP volume).

Thanks, any feedback would be amazing

Hi

In short: Windows 10, Big Sur on an M1 Mac and Rasperry Pi 4 all work with the UltraLite-mk5.

I’m using the UltraLite-mk5 hooked up to a Raspberry Pi 4 running Ubuntu 21.04 (Linux kernel 5.11 or later seems to be important from what I’ve read) and CamillaDSP, and this combination works just fine. No drivers are required. I’ve got CamillaDSP in place to be able to run convolution for non-Roon sources, but to play just Roon, CamillaDSP isn’t required. However, there is a small bug in that configuration that I’m just about to report (any unused channels get filled with a fairly loud static noise!).

It also works just fine on Mac or Windows too. On either platform you need to download the appropriate MOTU package which installs both the relevant drivers and also an application called CueMix 5 which allows you to configure the MOTU. Once that’s done, CueMix 5 can be closed and the UltraLite retains the appropriate settings. You can set the master volume to apply to whichever channels you like.

For completeness, I tried it with the SOtM sms200 Neo and that doesn’t work. I suspect that’s because it’s based on a Linux kernel earlier than 5.11.

I did a brief trial with a headless fanless W10 machine running RoonBridge running as a service, UEFI set to reboot on power restore after any power interruption, and that works just fine too as a reliable appliance for this purpose. I got the impression that my particular W10 machine didn’t sound quite as clear and transparent as either using the RPi4 or Mac, but since my plan was to use the RPi4 I didn’t spend much time testing that impression.

One other point. The device works at a fixed rate that you set with CueMix 5. EDIT - incorrect. see later in this thread I run mine at 192kHz but it would be perfect if it swapped automatically between that and 176.4kHz so the Roon sample rate conversion could be set to a power of 2. Of course you can swap manually if that’s really important to you.

And finally, it sounds great! But you probably know that already.

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2 channels with the RPi4 + Ubuntu ? Or multichannels ?

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Amazing information thanks.
The fact that it works with RPI Ubuntu is a plus, albeit with noise on spare channels.
I would love not to have a “PC” in room.

My current setup is Server (office), RPI 4 in the audio room.

John, understanding the software master fader can be applied to any channel is great news.
I read that in the manual too, but the Okto dac Pro 8 does provide volume control via IR remote, which is a significant benefit.

A few questions if I may:

  1. Are you typically controlling volume using Roon once you have set volume in Cuemix?
  2. Is there a phone app for CueMix that allows relative channel volume, and/or master volume control via phone?
  3. Have you tried RPI4 and Ropieee?, I.e. can Ropieee address multi channels?
  4. Have you compared the DAC sounds to AKM etc?

Thanks so much.
Very helpful

I use it for stereo but I’ve also tested 5.1 and 7.1 which work just fine

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Tested 7.1 with Motu + Linux?

It’s not that common for pro audio interfaces to work with multichannel & Linux.

Very common with Windows and macOS of course because those are usually always officially supported.

I’ve just submitted the support request: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 and Linux on Raspberry Pi 4: noise on unused channels

At the moment, yes. Several others have installed an USB IR device on the RPi4 to control the volume in CamillaDSP, and that’s the way I’m intending to go.

Not that I’m aware. I understand there’s an API for the UltraLite, but you’d have to be pretty skilled with Linux to be able to address the UltraLite via networking over the RPi4 USB (without disrupting the audio as well) … way too hard for me, if it is even possible

RoPieee has just been updated to Linux kernel 5.10 which is probably why I couldn’t get the two to work together. I have read that RoPieee doesn’t support multichannel, but I’ve not had the opportunity to test that of course.

I haven’t

You’re welcome!

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Yes. No problem other than the one I referred to above.

I’ve read that view a lot online, but I’ve also read posts of the opposite view. Clearly from my experience with this MOTU device (and also the M4 and M2 from what I’ve read) they do work fine on Linux. And given that the UltraLite-mk5 works perfectly with Roon via CamillaDSP, I suspect that the problem I’ve reported relates to the fact that Roon gets confused when the device can accept 10 channels, whereas Roon is configured to offer 2, 6 or 8. But I don’t know that of course.

And that’s the case with this MOTU’s official support and driver packages.

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Thanks it sounds as though W10, or Mac is a good way to go.
Possibly Ubuntu running server?

Thanks for your time.

So why would I use a multichannel device for stereo? For bass management, and also sending stereo to a second zone with a different convolution filter. That’s another reason for using CamillaDSP.

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I personally only need Roon as a source, so Roon DSP volume is probably best via the Tablet/phone app. If I step away from Roon, I might explore Camilla, or an alternative solution.

I also don’t have Linux line code experience for customising Camilla DSP, although it would be nice to access additional analog/AES sources, but its not a deal breaker in my application.

Maybe down the track Camilla DSP will have a GUI, for Linux noobs.

Sure, but for me RPi4/Ubuntu is the best for the endpoint. Relative to the others, the software stack running on the hardware is minimal (no needless desktop GUI elements, and also keeping unnecessary processes and network calls to the minimum), it’s more stable and will stay put rather than trying to update itself (although you can configure that of course).

Of course that’s possible, if your RPi4 is released, why not?

No problem!

Thanks. Ubuntu and Diet Pi would both probably be good options worth trying.
I might install Ubuntu or Diet Pi tonight on my spare RPI, and install Roon bridge to try with my current setup.

Thanks

Just in case I caused confusion, when I say stereo vs multichannel, I’m not talking about the music content itself.

I use an 8 channel DAC but it’s really a ‘stereo’ setup. 3-way DSP crossover plus 2 subs…

All music content itself is stereo, I have zero multichannel music content.

The speaker setup is technically 2.2

I’ve been through various big brands of USB pro audio interfaces (except Motu though !!) and none expose all channels in Linux, without doing some manual patch / tweak.

Hence my query about your Motu and Linux specifically seeing 7.1 channels and properly routing audio to all those channels

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Three weeks ago the Linux command line was new to me too. I’ve kept track of what I’ve done, down to the level of each specific command line instruction. If there’s interest I could tidy it up so anyone who wants to can follow the same steps

The irony is that there is a GUI accessible over the network … that I’d have to install on the Linux command line! Camilla DSP is already built into the GUI-based moOde network player, but the Linux kernel they’ve used is pre 5.11, so didn’t work with the UltraLite for me. But in time I guess that will be updated.

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Thanks I installed Moode the other day.
I wasn’t impressed by the interface.

I’m looking to run directly from Qobuz software or Roon at this time, with the PC doing crossover duties.

I suspect the Ultralite might give me everything I need right now, at 50% of the cost of the Okto.

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I’ve searched but haven’t found an exact answer. Since output 1 & 2 are main and the volume control is for them and the headphone output; is there a way to use the volume control to control 1-10 line outputs on the back?

Ideally, I can set that volume control to a point then use Roon to adjust up/down from there.

I’ll be using it for 4 outputs for the mains then 4 subs with Audiolense.

Chain will look like this:

Fanless NUCi7 W10 (RoonServer/Convolution) > USB > Motu Ultralite Mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

Using iOS and other various control points from MacBook to other W10 machines.

My understanding is you can add any channel to the master fader and control the level. This is completed within the cue mix software. The physical volume knob can then control those particular grouped channels. This essentially means you have channel trim (via software) and master out control via the knob/software.


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John, do you get noise on unused channels with wind10? I suspect not? But would like to confirm.

Also you mention above you run the Motu at a fixed rate, I suspect this is to minimise sample rate change clicks and pops? with Linux.

Is a fixed rate required when using with Win10/Roon for instance? or will the Motu switch sampling rates as the sampling rate on source music changes?

Confirmed - no noise with W10.

The MOTU is a prosumer audio card, and runs at a fixed rate by design. This applies in every context irrespective of the host device operating system.

EDIT: It appears I was misinformed and this is incorrect. The UL5 does adjust its sample rate as @grizaudio reported later in this thread

I run at 192kHz and it sounds good whatever the original source rate is. I used to upsample to max power of 2 with my previous stereo DAC, and I’ve not noticed any downside, although I’ve not done any specific testing to see if, for example, 44.1kHz sounds better at 176.4kHz rather than 192kHz.

To change the sample rate you have to access the control interface using the MOTU software, CueMix 5. From my perspective that’s impractical, since I just want to set a playlist and relax! Who doesn’t?!

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