Universal Audio products are now available at Pixel Pro Audio! With a legacy that goes back to the 1950's, Universal Audio is a revered and innovative pro audio brand that has found it's way into many studios. From the legendary LA-2A and 176 compressors, 610 Preamps, and today's Apollo and Volt Interfaces, Universal Audio's products have been an instrumental part in recording many of timeless hits.
The Universal Audio Story
Universal Audio was founded by Bill Putnam Sr., a recording engineer who worked with many artists including Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles and more. Beyond just being an engineer, he was a pioneer and innovator who wasn't afraid to try new things and is credited as being the inventor of the modern recording console, multi-band audio equalizer, and the vocal booth. He would later go on to start three different audio product companies, Universal Audio, Studio Electronics, and UREI. To say that he had a large impact on the audio engineering industry is an understatement. He left a legacy that is nearly unmatched in the recording industry, and his products and designs have been used on countless hits and recordings.
Today's Universal Audio
Re-founded in 1999 by Bill Putnam Sr.'s sons, James Putnam and Bill Putnam Jr., the company continues to honor their father's heritage while still maintaining his spirit of innovation. Universal Audio still sells high quality analog hardware, such as the Teletronix LA2A Limiting Amplifier, or the Solo 610 Preamp, but their Volt and Apollo audio interfaces have become the digital heart and soul of many studios today. Their UAD Powered Plug-ins platform is also one of the finest digital platforms on the market. This means that whether you love to mix and record in the box, or out of it, Universal Audio has you covered. Let's take a look at their entire lineup.
Analog Recording Gear
When it comes to outboard gear, Universal Audio is on the top of almost every audio engineers wish list. Fortunately, Universal Audio remains committed to their analog heritage, building these all by hand in their factory in California, not in some factory overseas. That gives them full control over each unit that they build, allowing them to pay attention to every detail.
The 1176LN and the Teletronix LA2A are two of the most highly regarded limiting amplifiers in existence today. The 1176LN is the most recent iteration of the 176 compressor, and the Teletronix LA2A is the same as it has ever been. If you want to get the original sound of these legendary compressors, you can do so with these units.
The 610 Preamp is a classic, and is still one of the best preamps available today. Universal Audio still has the Solo 610 Mic Preamp, but they also offer their 710 Twin-Finity, which combines tube warmth with solid-state and allows you to blend between the two. For larger studios, the 4-710d offers four 710 Twin-Finity preamps and adds 1176-style compression and professional A/D conversion.
The LA610 MKII and the 6176 give you even more tone flexibility with two different signal paths. The 6176 combines an all-tube 610 preamp with an 1176-style FET compressor. The LA610 MkII gives you the 610 tube console mic preamp and compression with Teletronix tube circuitry, and gives you more control with a High and Low frequency shelving tube EQ.
Reactive Load Box
In the past few years, Universal Audio released their OX Amp Top Box, which is a beautiful fusion of analog and digital technologies. The OX allows connects to your amplifier and can give you a wide range of cabinets and microphone models to choose from, all perfectly studio-miked amp sounds every time. The OX is controllable with five large knobs on the front of the unit, but can be further controlled wirelessly from the iPad app. The OX reacts and feels just like you are playing into your own amplifier, just giving you more control over the final outcome. The applications for studio recording and playing live shows are really opened up with the OX.
As mentioned earlier, Universal Audio's line of audio interfaces are the digital heart and soul of many studios. Whether you look at their entry level Volt series of interfaces, or their studio-grade Apollo series audio interfaces, these boxes have plenty to offer every musician, producer, or recording engineer.
Designed for those who are just getting into recording, the Volt interface lineup is designed just for you. The Volt 1, Volt 2, and Volt 4 offer up to 2 preamps with the ability to add some vintage Universal Audio tone with the push of a button. Looking for more? The Volt 176, 276, and 476 offer the same amount of preamps and the same vintage tone, but add an analog 76-style compressor built right into the interface to give you even more options while recording. The Volt 476p rounds out the line-up by offering 4 mic preamps with the vintage tone button, and the 76-style compressor. For those with no audio equipment, the Volt 2 and Volt 276 Studio Packs includes a Microphone, XLR Cable, and a set of Headphones for a complete recording package. All of the Volt interfaces include a suite of software to help get you started, and sound great, right from day one! The Volt audio interfaces are definitely worth a look and are priced competitively with many other options on the market today.
The Apollo interfaces take your recording to the next level with built in UAD processors that enable you to record with the UAD Powered Plug-ins in real-time. This is like taking that vintage button on the Volt interfaces and boosting its abilities, allowing you to choose the right preamp, compressors, equalizers, effects and more, to dial in the precise tone that you want. Available in both Thunderbolt and USB options, the Apollo lineup is also expandable so that if you need more preamps or channels down the road, you are ready to go. While all of the Apollo interfaces come with a selection of UAD plug-ins, the Heritage Edition interfaces include even more UAD plug-ins, including the Teletronix and UA 1176 compressors, Pultec EQs, UA 610 mic preamps, and more!
Universal Audio just released a series of microphones to help you get the most of your recording right at the beginning of your audio chain. Whether you are podcasting, recording vocals, or trying to record your next guitar riff, their microphone lineup has you covered.
SD-1 Standard Dynamic Microphone
The SD-1 microphone is perfect for speech, vocals, and instrument recording, and will give you a polished studio sound.
SP-1 Standard Pencil Microphones
The SP-1 small diaphragm "pencil" condenser microphones are perfect for recording instruments and live performances. An excellent choice for room microphones, guitar, strings, or piano, these microphones give you a natural sound.
Sphere Modeling Microphones
Looking for a little more versatility? The Sphere LX and Sphere DLX modeling microphones utilize Universal Audio's DSP prowess to give you a selection of digital microphone models to choose from. This allows you to dial in the precise tone that you want, all with a single microphone. Want to try out a ribbon microphone, vintage condenser mic, or even a dynamic microphone - it's all available to you with these microphones. Want even more power? When you pair one of the Sphere microphones with an Apollo audio interface, you can change mic models in realtime.
UA Bock Microphones
For those looking for the absolute best, the UA Bock Series of microphones should be on your radar. the Bock 176, Bock 187, and the Bock 251 are all handmade in Santa Cruz, California and provide unmatched sound quality.
Another relatively recent addition to the Universal Audio lineup, is their collection of UAFX Guitar Pedals. This collection incudes reverbs, delays, compressors, modelers, and more. Each pedal is built upon powerful processor engines and Universal Audio's analog modeling expertise, giving you incredible sonic fidelity that are a step above the competition. If you are a guitar player, then you definitely need to check out the UAFX Guitar Pedals!
The UAD Powered Plug-ins platform is also one of the finest collections of plug-ins available today. The UAD plug-in library has a large selection of perfectly modeled vintage outboard gear that can give you a complete recording studio right in the box. Need a Lexicon Reverb? Fairchild Tube Limiter? Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor? Manley Tube Preamp? They have all of that and more. This year, they also made all of their plugin's UAD Native, which means that you don't even need to have Universal Hardware in order to run their plugins. So you can get the best digital plugins, and run them with your current hardware. Universal Audio has invested heavily into it's UAD Powered Plug-ins Platform, and the quality of their plugins shows because of it.
Why We Love Universal Audio
We couldn't be more excited to carry the Universal Audio product line in our store! We love working with brands that care about their products and their customers. Universal Audio is just such a company. They have a proven audio heritage and they have poured it into every aspect of their company. Instead of resting on their laurels, they continue to innovate and lead the way in developing audio recording tools, whether analog or digital. We love the products that they make and can't wait to see what they come up with next. Join us in giving Universal Audio a huge welcome to Pixel Pro Audio!