Steinberg Media Technologies has the UR-RT2 and UR-RT4 audio interfaces both capable of 24-bit/192 kHz operation; they feature built-in Rupert Neve Designs audio input transformers. The UR-RT2 comes with four inputs and two outputs while the UR-RT4 has six inputs and four outputs. Both interfaces have rear panel jacks for an included wall-wart power supply, MIDI I/O, a USB 2.0 spigot, and 1/4-inch TRS outputs and line inputs. The UR-RT-2 (reviewed here) has L/R Main outputs that connected directly to my powered monitors plus two more TRS Line input jacks. I liked the way Steinberg kept the front panel clutter-free with both the main power and master phantom power on/off switches located on the rear panel.
The UR-RT2 has two Yamaha Class-A D-PRE mic preamps (four on the UR-RT4) with switchable Rupert Neve Designs transformers on each front input channel's XLR/TRS combo inputs. There is a Hi-Z switch on Input 1 for direct recording of electric guitar or bass. Good to see LEDs used to indicate USB connection, +48-volt phantom power, and input level peaking. Also on its front panel is a headphones jack with an independent level control a well as a main stereo output volume control.
I installed the included Steinberg USB driver and got to work using the UR-RT2 with Pro Tools. The all-metal case and the built-in features make this the perfect rig for lap top portable use. In addition to the driver software, you get the authorization code for installing Cubase AI software for Mac and PC and/or the Cubasis LE DAW app for iPad.
The Cubase software configures the whole setup for latency-free DSP-powered monitoring along with REV-X reverb, Channel Strip, and Guitar Amp--all Steinberg Classics. There is the dspMixFx editor application for Windows, MAC OS and iOS also included!
I like having the option of using the transformer on an individual basis--sometimes I was looking for a thicker and warmer tone for recording a direct guitar of female vocal--just kick in the transformer! Other times I was OK without it when tracking a bass guitar or handclaps. All the controls works smoothly and as expected from good equipment.
The UR-RT2 sells for $349.99 and the UR-RT4 is $599.99 MSRP.
Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com