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Your guide to superior sound with Universal Audio interfaces

Your guide to superior sound with Universal Audio interfaces
Your guide to superior sound with Universal Audio interfaces

Your guide to superior sound with Universal Audio interfaces

Industry leaders. Universal Audio is renowned for making some of the finest interfaces, accelerators, hardware and plugins that money can buy. From Andrew Schepps to Joe Chiccarelli, and Marcella Araica to Malay. The list of high-profile Universal Audio users spans every genre, country and style you can think of.

Your guide to superior sound with Universal Audio interfaces

By Daniel Collins | Published 28.10.20

Want to know more about Universal Audio interfaces but don’t know where to start? You’re in the right place.  Although their range is vast, this article will help navigate you through the world of Universal Audio to find the model that’s right for you.

What’s in a name?

Established in 1958. Universal Audio is synonymous with success. Company founder, Bill Putnam Sr. wasn’t only the “go-to” engineer for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, he also had a profound impact in determining the way that records are made - right up to today.

Seriously. You name it, he did it. Invented the 610-B, LA-2A and 1176? Check. Built the world’s first multi-band equaliser? Check. The first engineer to incorporate the sound of artificial reverb into a contemporary recording? Check.

Ten years after his death, the company was re-founded in 1999 by James and Bill Putnam Jr. They continued their father’s legacy, hiring only the finest DSP engineers and modelling authorities to design their critically acclaimed collection of plugins.

Now, Universal Audio prides itself on scrutinising the inner workings of the original hardware for the most authentic reproduction possible. We’re currently living the second “Golden-Age” of recording.

Why choose Universal Audio?

The perfect blend of power and performance. It doesn’t get much better than recording with Universal Audio interfaces. There’s a good reason why some of the world’s leading producers including Jacquire King (Kings of Leon / James Bay / Norah Jones), Derek “MixedbyAli” Bell (Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Childish Gambino) and Dave Pensado (Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Maroon 5) swear by them! 

They’re excellent for both Mac and Windows operating systems. With a Universal Audio interface in your set-up, there’s nothing stopping you from achieving the same standard of recording as any high-end commercial studio.

The A/D and D/A conversion are stellar. So much so that when you’re recording and mixing, you’ll be exposed to the subtlest of nuances that you’ll swear were never there before. Each recording will sound so good, it’ll feel like you’re sitting in the room with the artist. You’ll be hard pushed to find an interface with a noise floor lower, or dynamic range higher within this price range.

Universal Audio Twin X & x4

Helios, SSL, API, Manley, Neve, Avalon. Unison technology grants you access to the exact sound and colour of many renowned preamps, without having to pay the six-figure price tag. Fully endorsed by the companies, these preamps are here to level the playing field.

The wide range of classic analog equipment modelled allows you to take your legacy hardware and amplifiers anywhere - without having to pack-up and pack-down endless racks of gear.  Thanks to DSP technology, you can achieve record ready sounds from the get-go. This makes sure you get the most out of any performer, ultimately making your job easier!

Each Universal Audio interface comes complete with Thunderbolt connectivity. So, you’re guaranteed incredibly low-latency and allows you to operate four Universal Audio interfaces simultaneously, which is just as well as once you’ve heard one, you’ll want another!

Shop now | Universal Audio Interfaces

How many inputs do I really need?

Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo MkII, Thunderbolt

All inputs on Universal Audio interfaces are combi-jack. Incredibly versatile, they allow you to connect both XLR and line-level sources to the interface with ease.

The desktop interfaces come complete with one high-impedance input on the front of the interface whilst the rackmount includes two. These inputs allow you to match each virtual amplifier’s signature impedance, gain-stage sweet spots and component-level circuit behaviours. Forget all your misconceptions about “In-the-box” tones, these amplifiers play and sound just like the real thing.

If you’re a singer songwriter or someone who prefers mixing and mastering over engineering, you’ll be able to get away with just the two inputs. Interfaces such as the Apollo Solo and  Apollo Twin Duo MkII are perfect choices. The number of inputs is more than enough to record vocalists and multi-mic’d set-ups like guitar amplifiers, as well as a stereo capture of sources such as synths and pianos.

Shop now | Apollo Solo

Shop now | Apollo Twin Duo

Need more?

Universal Audio Apollo x4

For basic drum recording, four inputs are excellent and it doesn’t get much better than the Apollo Quad, Apollo X4 and Apollo X8. With any of these premium interfaces in your rig, you’ll be able to establish a variation on the legendary Glyn Johns’ drum technique via a kick, snare and two overhead set-up. The two additional inputs are also useful for even more tonal variety in the post-production stage.

Go all-out and take on any task with the Apollo X8P. Eight inputs are fantastic for simple full band recordings or multi-mic’d set-ups of single instruments. The multiple channels let you achieve an incredible level of detail to capture the true sound of any room.

If that’s not enough inputs - don’t worry! The optical connection point means you can sync your Universal Audio interface with another interface, allowing you to expand on the possibilities that your current set-up can offer you. Use the connection points available on the Apollo X rackmount series to daisy-chain up to four of these units simultaneously.

Shop now | Apollo Quad

Shop now | Apollo X4

Shop now | Apollo X8

Shop now | Apollo X8P

DSP de-mystified

Although it may seem complex at first, you’ll be pleased to know DSP is incredibly easy to understand. DSP stands for Digital Signal Processing. This is the process of taking the signal from an audio source such as a microphone or instrument and digitising it so it can be mathematically manipulated.

It starts with the Analog to Digital converter acknowledging the signal and transforming it into binary data code, consisting of 1’s and 0’s. From here, the DSP can take control of the signal and manipulate it before it‘s outputted through the digital to analog converters and into your DAW.

Universal Audio UAD-2 Satellite

The different names at the end of Universal Audio interfaces simply refer to how many DSP processors are included. SOLOs consist of one, whilst DUOs consist of two, QUADs four and OCTOs eight. Going above and beyond, the all new HEXA Core processing is designed to deliver 50% more DSP.

If you’re a performer who’s certain of your artistic vision and like to commit to sounds as you go then the SOLO and DUO interfaces are a great choice. For producers and engineers, we recommend the QUAD interfaces, and the X rackmount series for their HEXA core processing.

If you need even more processing power then be sure to pick up an accelerator. Or, if you’re already satisfied with your current interface but would like access to the wide range of incredible plugins on offer, then a Satellite is perfect. From Thunderbolt 3 to USB - there’s something to suit the needs of everyone.

Shop now | DSP Cards and Accelorators

Universal Audio Plugins: The finest emulations available on the market

One of the greatest perks of using Universal Audio interfaces is access to high-quality plugins. From premium emulations of Ocean Ways studios to Capitols’ Chambers, and Moog filters to Fender amplifiers.

These plugins are as good as it gets. Only luck will help you differentiate between plugins and the real thing. If you still need convincing of their greatness, in 2018, Universal Audio’s plugins were present on 80% of all Grammy-winning records. Not bad right?

Every plugin comes with a 14-day free trial which renews every time a new Console update is released. To make sure you hit the ground running, a wide range of plugins are included to get you started.

The Solo and Twin X come complete with the Analog Classics Bundle:

  • UA 610‐B
  • Marshall Plexi Classic Amplifier
  • Teletronix LA‐2A Legacy
  • UA 1176LN Legacy
  • UA 1176SE Legacy
  • Pultec EQP‐1A Legacy
  • Pultec Pro Legacy
  • Ampeg SVT-VR Classic Bass Amp
  • Precision Channel Strip
  • Precision Reflection Engine
  • Precision Delay Modulation
  • Precision Delay Modulation L
  • Raw Distortion
  • RealVerb‐Pro

Whilst the X4, X6, X8, X8p and X16 feature the Analog Classics Bundler Plus:

  • UA 610‐B
  • Marshall Plexi Classic Amplifier
  • Fairchild 670 Legacy
  • Universal Audio Apollo x4
  • Teletronix LA‐2A Legacy
  • UA 1176LN Legacy
  • UA 1176SE Legacy
  • Pultec EQP‐1A Legacy
  • Pultec Pro Legacy
  • Ampeg SVT-VR Classic Bass Amp
  • Precision Channel Strip
  • Precision Reflection Engine
  • Precision Delay Modulation
  • Precision Delay Modulation L
  • Raw Distortion
  • RealVerb‐Pro

LUNA: The All-inclusive DAW

It’s free to all Universal Audio Mac users. Universal Audio built their DAW, LUNA, from the ground up. Their aim was to bring audio recording into a new era.

You’re able to integrate your favourite DSP powered plugins when recording, completely free of latency. Plus, thanks to accelerated real time modelling, you'll also be provided with analog style recording and overdubbing via your Apollo's on-board DSP acceleration.

This DAW will take you back to the golden age of record production with Neve summing from the iconic '80s series console. This imbues warmth and richness into your tracks from the very series of desk that is associated with seminal albums from the likes of Nirvana, Dire Straits, and Pink Floyd.

With a highly realistic Steinway Model B piano, Moog Minimoog emulation, a wide array of premium samples from Spitfire Audio, and unlimited track count - you'll have nothing holding you back from making the greatest records of your life.

Find Out More

Shop now | Universal Audio Interfaces

See more | Universal Audio

Universal Audio Apollo Solo
Posted on 28 Oct 2020 12:02 to category : Instruments News

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