Universal Audio Arrow Interface Review

Today I am reviewing an amazing new interface from Universal Audio, the Universal Audio Arrow.

During this review, I have the Rode NT1 connected directly to the Arrow, recording at 24-bit, 48kHz. I have done no post processing to the audio, but it was boosted ~6dB in Final Cut Pro to make it easier to listen to.

If you are interested in this interface, it will set you back $500.00 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Interface
  2. Quick Start Guide

Specifications

  1. Bit Depth: 24-Bit
  2. Sample Rate: 44.1 - 192kHz
  3. Gain Range: 10 - 65dB
  4. Dynamic Range: 118dBA
  5. EIN: -128dBu
  6. Input Impedance: 9.2K Ohms, 5.4K Ohms (with +48v engaged)
  7. Pad: -20dB
  8. Phantom Power: +48v
  9. Processing: Solo Core DSP Chip

Performance / Features

The build quality of this interface is great. It has an all aluminum chassis, and a foam/rubber bottom to keep the interface from sliding around your deck. The XLR and 1/4" inputs all feel firmly attached and do not wiggle around at all. The buttons and dials on the face of the interface also have nice tactile feedback and feel sturdy as well. If you would like to learn more about the functions of this interface, this is covered in the video review. 

The overall performance of this interface is amazing. First off, the preamps. You're getting up +65dB of gain, which is fully capable of driving even the most gain hungry microphones (like the SM7b). When I tested the noise floor, I measured it at around -110dB, which is very impressive at 100%. The A/D converters offer all you could possibly need by recording 24-bit up to 192kHz. While you're at 192kHz, you get roundtrip latency as low as 3ms, and output latency around .5ms.

The real stand out future of this interface is in it's processing and plugins. You get the same near zero latency monitoring/processing as mentioned before, but it's processed on the interface and not on your computer. The plugin pack that comes with the interface has some useful tools like the UA-610B tube preamp, Teletronics LA-2A, Marshall Plexi Classic, and Bass Amp emulator, but I actually bought a unison pre, and I used it on every podcast I recorded. That is the API Vision Channel Strip, paired with the LA-2A. There's not much more I can say about the performance of this thing. It is outstanding on all fronts, and I truly enjoyed using the device.

Pros

  • Live DSP Processing (Near zero latency)
  • Bus powered so there's no need for an external power supply
  • -110dB noise floor at 100%
  • Preamps have 65dB of gain
  • 24-Bit 192kHz High Res A/D convertors
  • 3ms roundtrip (.6ms output) latency at 192kHz
  • Great build quality
  • Offers full +48v phantom power on bus power

Cons

  • Expensive relative to other dual preamp interfaces
  • Steep learning curve for the routing software
  • Some software does not like this interface (discord)
  • Locked into thunderbolt 3

Conclusion

This is the perfect interface if you are looking to dive into Universal Audio's ecosystem without spending $1000 on an interface. If you're a musician who strictly records in the box, and can't afford expensive outboard gear, this is a great entry point to play with Universal Audio's top of the line analog emulation plugins to add color and life to your recordings. If you're a podcaster, I also think that this is an awesome option since you will get the chance to play with emulations of gear that podcaster's don't typically get a chance to use.

After two months of testing this thing, the plugins and live processing have become so essential for my podcasting workflow, and voice chat workflow, that I am not able to remove it from my desk. It has become a permanent staple in my recording system.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy the Universal Audio Arrow
US: https://amzn.to/2HEPlc9
UK: N/A
CA: https://amzn.to/2He8BO6
DE: N/A

Buy the Rode NT1 Kit
US: http://amzn.to/2i1eWfO
UK: http://amzn.to/2i3uFh8
CA: http://amzn.to/2qzk3dz
DE: http://amzn.to/2FCzPsk