Interfacing Linux: MOTU Traveler MKI

The MOTU Traveler MKI is a portable smurf tinted interface sporting 4 mic preamps, 4 line ins, ADAT, S/PDIF, TOSlink and AES-EBU digital connections. On top of that it can be powered over Firewire, battery pack, or directly by the mains.

Now I’m quite aware that MOTU is very Linux unfriendly. Hell, you could say down right hostile. Flat-out refusing to release any information that would assist in developing drivers for our beloved OS. Then again, all that accomplished was getting their product stack reverse engineered thanks to the work done by Jonathan and the FFADO team.

All that said, let’s do that thing we do. Take a look at the device, plug it into the penguin, do a quick sound check, and see if we can force some xruns in a live recording session.


Jackbox: Testing setup

CPU AMD Ryzen 7 1700
RAM Corsair LPX 16GB
Motherboard MSI B350 Tomahawk
GPU Nvidia Quadro 4000
SSD Samsung 840
PSU: EVGA 600 B1
Firewire: Syba SY-PEX30016
Network: Intel i350-T4
OS: Debian Buster
Kernel: 5.4.47-rt
Desktop: XFCE 4.12

Disable ALSA firewire drivers: Create the file alsa-nope.conf in /etc/modprobe.d/ and add the following.

blacklist snd-fireworks
blacklist snd-bebob
blacklist snd-oxfw
blacklist snd-dice
blacklist snd-firewire-digi00x
blacklist snd-firewire-tascam
blacklist snd-firewire-lib
blacklist snd-firewire-transceiver
blacklist snd-fireface
blacklist snd-firewire-motu
blacklist snd_hda_codec_hdmi
blacklist snd_hda_intel

MOTU Traveler MKI: Round-trip latency @44100 HZ


MOTU Traveler MKI: Round-trip latency @48000 HZ


MOTU Traveler MKI: Round-trip latency @96000 HZ


MOTU Traveler MKI: Round-trip latency @192000 HZ


Verdict:
Painfully blue or not this is a feature packed unit that brings the business. 73 dB of gain from the preamps, bus powered, and full ffado-mixer compatibility. The only downside is finding one that hasn’t been smashed to hell.


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MOTU Traveler MKI

$120 / $175
4.9

Works out of the box

5.0/5

Ease of setup

5.0/5

Stability

5.0/5

Features

4.5/5

Works

  • 73 dB of gain on tap.
  • Standalone mode.
  • Accurate VU meters.
  • Bus powered.

Nopes

  • Painfully blue.
  • Confusing front-panel interface.
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