Volt interfaces by Universal Audio: Finally some budget UA gear?
Pro audio maker Universal Audio has just introduced a new series of budget-oriented interfaces called Volt. The alluring fantasy of UA quality for those on a budget – is that promise fulfilled? With the entry level and mid-range segments so densely saturated with quality offerings, you’d expect these boxes to offer more than just the name. But this wouldn’t be a UA release if they hadn’t given that aspect some serious thought. Here’s more about that and all things Volt…
Universal Audio Volt interfaces
The Volt line-up comprises four desktop interfaces: Volt 1 (1in/2out | USD 139), Volt 2 (2in/2out | USD 189), Volt 176 (1in/2out | USD 249), Volt 276 (2in/2out, USD 299), Volt 476 (4in/4out | USD 369). All interfaces offer a Vintage Mic Preamp mode with modeled mic/line preamp circuitry from the venerable UA 610 console. The Volt x76 models go even further, with built-in analog 76-style compressor circuits and included presets for voice, guitar, and other sources.
That’s already valuable, but then the bundled software makes for a respectable offering as well. There’s Ableton Live Lite, Marshall Plexi and Time & Tone (Softube), Melodyne Essential, LX480 Essentials (Relab), Ampeg SVT-VR / bx_tuner / bx_masterdesk Classic (Brainworx), Virtual Drummer DEEP / Virtual Bassist DANDY (UJAM), and LABS (Spitfire).
UA being UA, you’d expect a bit of DSP thrown in as well, but the Volt line seems to have none of that (so it isn’t integrated with LUNA). It’s understandable: the Volts would be cannibalising the Apollos otherwise, and UA has been in this game too long (remeber the UAD1?) to make that kind of mistake.
Otherwise, the Volts have 24-bit/192kHz conversion in common, alongside compatibility with Mac, PC, iPad and iPhone devices over USB 2.0 (Type-C) connection. They also offer direct monitoring, 48V phantom power, knob-happy top or front panel layouts and stylish wooden sides on the x76 Volts.
Price and availability
Volt interfaces and Studio Packs are available for pre-order now from select UA dealers, with shipping and general availability projected for late November 2021. If you want to get your order in, you can use the links here (to our affiliate partner Thomann).
More about UA and Volt interfaces
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- Univeral Audio Volt 1: Universal Audio
- Universal Audio Volt 2: Universal Audio
- Universal Audio Volt 176: Universal Audio
- Universal Audio Volt 276: Universal Audio
- Universal Audio Volt 476: Universal Audio
Given that their drivers have always been spotty at best, unless the AD/DA, mic pres and 76 comps are significantly better than similarly priced competitors, there’s nothing on paper that makes them stand out.