If you're like me, and you've always drooled over Rupert Neve gear, but wasn't ever able to afford it, the Steinberg UR-RT2, may be the cheapest way for you to get your hands on some of that subtle Neve tone.
During this review, I have the Rode NT1 connected directly to the Arrow, recording at 24-bit, 192kHz, with my gain set at 12:00. I have done no post processing to the audio, but it was boosted ~4dB in Final Cut Pro to make it easier to listen to.
If you are interested in this interface, it will set you back $350.00 on Amazon, and many other retailers.
What's In the Box
DC Power Adapter
Quick Start Guide
Cubase AI / Cubase LE, and more
Bit Depth: 24-Bit
Sample Rate: 44.1 - 192kHz
Gain Range: 6 - 60dB
Dynamic Range: 101dBA
Input Impedance: 4K Ohms
Phantom Power: +48v
Performance / Features
The build quality of this interface feels great, like other Steinberg interfaces I've tested. The dials all feel firmly attached, with minmal wobble. The XLR ports and other inputs are the same, they do have a minor amount of wiggle, but nothing out of the ordinary.
The overall performance of this interface is pretty good. If I'm not mistaken, this has the same D-Pre's as Steinbergs lower end models, but they still offer +60dB of gain. When I measured the noise floor, I was measuring around -100dB at 100%. The A/D converters are also perfectly fine, allowing you to record 24-bit, 192kHz. When at 192kHz, I was able to get down to 2.7ms output latency with an I/O buffer size of 64 samples.
The selling point of this interface though, are the 2 Neve Transformers, that you can route Channel 1 or Channel 2 through. I found the most noticeable area of improvement here was when plugging instruments in direct. Typically, those instruments sound somewhat sterile, and lifeless. By initializing the Neve transformers, it added a bit of natural compression and saturation which, to my ear, accentuated the overtones of my instrument and added some life and excitement back into the recording.
Rupert Neve Transformers
24-Bit 192kHz High Res A/D convertors
3ms output latency at 192kHz
+60dB of gain
2 additional line inputs on the rear
Great build quality
Offers full +48v phantom power
Expensive for 2 mic preamp interface
The DSPFX software seems outdated, and clucky
Not a big fan of the DC power requirement
Would have preferred USB3.0 or Thunderbolt 3.0
I think this is a fascinating interface. It sounds great, and it is the cheapest way to get some subtle Rupert Neve tone in your home studio mixes. Other than the Neve transformers, I think it's a perfectly fine interface, with a few minor drawbacks. With that being said, if you're a musician, and you find your mixes sounding sterile, this may be a good interface to help breathe a little bit of life back into your recordings. On the other hand, if you're a voice over artist, I don't think this offers much for you, so I'd save a few dollars, and consider picking up something like the Audient ID4 instead.
If you have any additional questions about this interface, leave them on the youtube video, and I will try to reply ASAP.
Buy the Steinberg UR-RT2