New Toys: Universal Audio Volt Interfaces

There are five new Universal Audio Volt USB audio interfaces ranging in price from $139 to $369. All five are USB 2.0 class-compliant interfaces for Mac/PC/iPad/iPhone devices with 24-bit/192 kHz audio converters. All come with professional XLR Combo input jacks, switchable +48-volt phantom mic powering with selectable Instrument inputs and a vintage mic pre-amp mode. There is a switchable 76 Compressor mode that uses an onboard analog preset compressor based on the UA's 1176LN Peak Limiter.

All the interfaces have headphone jacks with volume controls and all have rear-panel MIDI DIN connectors, a USB C jack, and a jack for an external 5-volt power supply.

The five interfaces are: the Volt 1 with a single mic input and stereo outs, a great basic unit for bloggers and Zoom meetings; the Volt 2 is the same but with two inputs for recording in stereo. Volt 176 includes the 76-compressor mode but is the same otherwise, while Volt 276 (my review unit) is the same except it has two mic inputs. Things get more serious with the Volt 476, a complete four-channel interface with multi-channel input/output metering, headphone monitoring and switchable line level inputs.

I hooked up my Volt 276 in place of another USB interface and it worked immediately and perfectly. Compared to my previous interface, the Volt interfaces are more practical to hook up while sitting on my desktop. I liked the front mounted XLR Combo jacks for plugging in mics; guitars or keyboards while the rear mounted jacks easily connect to powered speakers, computer and MIDI.

I think the new Volt interfaces are all great values especially considering all the software that comes with them—just download products from: Ableton, Celemony, Plugin Alliance, Relab, Softube, Spitfire and UJam—all free. Also available are various studio packs with Volt-badged microphone and headphone combinations—an awesome way to get going now!