Common Audio VoLTE Overview | Engadget

The twenty first century gave start to the bed room maker. And in 2020 the music business lastly acknowledged that songs recorded in a single’s bed room had been as viable as these captured in studios stuffed with tens of millions of {dollars} price of kit. This, in fact, impressed a lot of these high-end studio gear makers to attempt to get into house studio video games.

The most recent to make the leap is Common Audio. They’re a model with over 60 years of expertise whose gear has been used to report a few of the most iconic albums of all time. However, till just lately essentially the most inexpensive interface the corporate has ever made was the $699 Apollo Solo—hardly the type of cash a newbie or informal hobbyist goes to drop. Nevertheless, the Volt collection eschews the corporate’s costly DSP chips and focuses on delivering the fundamentals with a number of distinctive twists. The result’s a set of inexpensive audio interfaces that must be on the shortlist for any house studio setup.

The Volt lineup contains 5 fashions from the $139 single-input Volt 1, all the best way as much as the $369 four-input Volt 476. Some options are completely different and the variety of ins and outs differ from mannequin to mannequin, however they share the identical core together with 24-bit/192 kHz audio converters and preamps with a “classic” mode {that a} traditional UA 610 tube. Tries to recreate the sound of the preamp.

I examined two midrange fashions: the $189 Volt 2 and the $299 Volt 276. These are each two-input interfaces. There are a number of ergonomic and design tweaks that differentiate the “76” variations from the bottom mannequin, and the inclusion of a built-in compressor constructed on the corporate’s iconic 1176 restricted amplifier.


Terence O’Brien / Engadget

Earlier than you start thinking about compressors, nevertheless, the distinction between the Volt 2 and 276 is instantly obvious. 2 is straightforward and utilitarian. It appears to be like like most different interfaces within the sub $200 vary. There is a pair of mixture TRS/XLR inputs on the entrance, together with knobs to regulate the acquire of every channel. There are buttons to activate 48v phantom energy for utilizing condenser mics, classic mode, and to modify between line degree and instrument degree indicators. Lastly, there is a monitor quantity knob, headphone jack, and a button to show direct monitoring on and off.

Round again are MIDI out and in ports (notably absent from a few of the firm’s high-end Apollo interfaces), balanced outs for connecting studio screens, a USB-C port, a 5V energy jack (this can be utilized with an iPad or different cellular machine). Required when utilizing the machine) and, considerably oddly, an on and off swap.

universal audio volt

Terence O’Brien / Engadget

The remaining Volt 2 is a plain field. Plus, when you have restricted desk house, you possibly can stick the Volt 2 in tight areas or put all the pieces else on high of it, and nonetheless have entry to all of the controls. On the draw back, it may really feel cramped, particularly once you’re attempting to observe your enter ranges. Subsequent to every of the inputs are two small LEDs that gentle as much as warn you once you’re about to begin clipping.

Alternatively, 276 is gorgeous and spacious. However you may want further desk house as a result of a lot of the controls are on high. On the highest proper you may discover the massive five-segment LED for checking your ranges. The acquire knob and monitor degree knob on the highest are additionally fairly massive, making issues simple to dial in.

Plus, there’s simply an excessive amount of type to the entire thing. The metering LEDs are at a slight angle to make them simple to see, and the edges are an attractive wooden. Are these magnificence prospers and conveniences alone price the additional $100? Actually, they could possibly be.


universal audio volt

Terence O’Brien / Engadget

When you think about compressor, I believe the selection between the 2 right here is evident, so long as your funds can deal with it. The Volt 2 (and by extension the Volt 1) are fairly priced, absolutely serviceable audio interfaces. However they do not essentially stand out from the gang. Focusrite’s Scarlett collection is nicely established, priced competitively and shares a number of related options. The third-generation Scarlett 2i2 is $170 ($20 lower than the Volt 2), shares all the identical connectivity choices and has an “Air” mode, the UA’s classic equal.

Most significantly, although, in case your objective is to seize clear audio, you may have a tough time telling the distinction between the 2. With Air and Classic off and acquire on the decrease ranges on the preamps, each interfaces ship clear and clear outcomes. Are there variations? Certain. however they a number of Micro. I would not have the ability to distinguish a Volt from a Scarlett, from an Arturia Minifuse, in a blind style check. And I doubt the audience of hobbyists and newbies will have the ability to both.

(If you wish to get actually silly about signal-to-noise ratio and noise flooring and frequency response, I extremely advocate Julian Cross’s YouTube channel.)

universal audio volt

Terence O’Brien / Engadget

The latency can be fairly related between all of those. I gathered the interfaces I had mendacity round — the VoLTE 2, VoLTE 276, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 second-gen, and Arturia Minifuse 2 — and plugged them into my MacBook Professional (2019, quad-core Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM) Achieved and Dell XPS 15 (2019, quad-core Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM), set pattern fee to 44,100Hz and buffer measurement 128 samples and measured complete latency in Ableton Reside 11. All 4 interfaces offered the identical actual latency of 12.2 ms on the Mac. On the Dell, each Volts got here in at simply 8.89ms, the Minifuse at 9.89ms and the Scarlett behind at 12.9ms. Whereas decrease latency is clearly higher, none of those numbers are notably harmful.

While you crank up the acquire and push the preamps on these interfaces the distinction begins to indicate up a bit extra. I plugged my Fender Toronado with the Atomic Humbucker straight into the Volt 2, Volt 276, 2i4 and Minifuse. I cranked up the preamp acquire by all means and fed them right into a primary clear amp simulator in Ableton. The variations listed below are a bit extra pronounced, however they are not dramatic—at the very least till you flip up the 276K compressor.

At full acquire the minifuse is a bit brittle and appears like a full-on fuzz pedal. Scarlett has a extra rounded decrease finish and barely scooped mids, however continues to be fairly aggressive. Whereas the Volt 2 is a contact thinner on the decrease finish and focuses extra on the mids and highs. The compressor on the 276 makes a giant distinction right here, although. This softens the sides a bit and subdues a few of the harsh frequencies. It is price noting that each one of those sound very harsh at excessive frequencies with acquire. Then once more, it is unlikely that anybody would often crank these preamps to the max.

Sadly, I did not have SSL2+ to check with, which might have been a greater comparability to the VoLTE 276.

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