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

Superhero Sunday: Green Arrow!

Grab your bow and quiver for this month's Superhero Sunday: Green Arrow! Lets flash back to 1941 when Morton Weisinger and George Papp created/designed Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow.

The History

Oliver would appear in "More Fun Comics #73" and would spend the next 25 years gaining notice but wouldn't reach real popularity until writer Denny O'neil started working on him in the 60's. From there the popularity has only grown with the character getting a solo TV series.

The Character

This origin is the most current and collected version, there have been many retools and reboots of this character (like many hero's who are decades old). This origin is a hybrid (including TV elements)

Oliver Queen is a rich, arrogant, ego driven workaholic until everything is taken from him. He is young and has the his fathers company, Queen Consolidated, bother his parents have past under mysterious circumstances. But his life changes when he goes out on to travel on a ship and the boat wrecked onto an island.

Oliver Queen must survive the island and become something stronger than he was, but even after his time on the island when he returns and the world thought him to be dead he loses his fathers company and is left with nothing. The arrogant Oliver must be better and must mature. Oliver learns his bow skills on the island but always had a love for robin hood as a child. The mythos of the island only grow in Jeff Lemire's story (New 52). That is the origin. (if this all sounds familiar thats because the original creators saw Green Arrow as the Batman with a bow for Star City).

But with all the iterations of Green Arrow comes his character and who Oliver Queen is. That hero is a man who had to build up after losing his family his company and survive on an island, Oliver Queen protects a city from corruption and is progressive for the liberal rights of all humans. He is known for being friends with Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and fighting on the Justice League but mostly his own solo work.

Why this hero?

 Honestly, I didn't like Green Arrow at first. I thought he was like Hawkeye with a Van Dyke and didn't seem very interesting. As a kid he was the grumpy one on Justice League cartoon. But I was watching a PBS documentary or some other doc and it went of the history of heroes, Green Arrow teaming up to work for equality for all people was amazing. He became more interesting and I wanted to know more. 

The Green Arrow is DC's Robin Hood and green solutions and civil rights, he was later revamped to be more a vigilante in the more common sense but was given a deeper mythos including guilds and magic. He is truly an interesting character that has carved out a path in the DC universe. The TV show and new books only add to his depth and keep him interesting.

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