In this review, I’ll be taking a look at Universal Audio’s Volt 2 audio Interface. Universal Audio has been renowned for being on the cutting edge of recording technology, let’s see if their new addition to the Volt series stands up to the hype.
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Final verdict on the Volt 2
Yup, the Volt 2 does, in fact, add up to the hype. While this interface isn’t groundbreaking in any particular way, it is a solid and reliable interface that would fare well for any beginner or intermediate musician.
What I like
- Excellent sound quality.
- Excellent preamps.
What I don’t like
- Perhaps too compact for its own good.
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I/O and controls
The UA Volt 2 is a 2-in/2-out audio interface which features two XLR/TRS combo inputs and two 1/4-inch outputs as well as a 1/4-inch headphone jack.
Each audio input is equipped with gain control, and switches for line performance and a “Vintage” switch (which I’ll discuss later on). Each input is also equipped with 48 V phantom power for condenser microphones.
The master control is located to the left of the inputs, and the level control for headphones is right above the headphone jack.
On the rear panel, you’ll find that the interface also comes with MIDI I/O for any of your synthesizers or controllers. Here you’ll also be able to find the USB-C hub, a 5V DC input, and an ON/OFF switch.
The Volt 2 boasts impressive analog circuitry, as well as 24-bit/192 kHz AD/DA conversion, allowing for near-professional sounding recordings.
For the most part, there isn’t much of a clear difference in audio quality if I were to blind taste test between the Volt 2 and say, the Scarlett 2i2. What little differences there are are subtle enough that beginners and intermediates might not pick up on.
An interesting feature of the Volt 2, is the Vintage mode compressor it comes with, which is inspired by the classic UA 610 tube preamp.
Fans of Focusrite might be familiar with the signature Air and 4K modes, and should be pleased to see that Universal Audio’s Vintage is in essence, the same thing.
Engaging Vintage brings a layer of warmth and saturation to your recordings. Now, if you want to maintain some flexibility in your recordings, it’s best to leave this effect off.
This feature helps close the gap between the Volt 2 and other similarly-priced interfaces on the market.
While this interface is a great stepping-off point for beginner recording engineers, seasoned professionals may find less use in having a 2-in/2-out interface for anything other than quick mobile recordings. The unit is extremely compact, however, and will fit snugly onto your desk.
The Universal Audio Volt 2 is light and compact, weighing a little less than a pound and a half, making it easy to transport. The 5V DC socket is also crucial for using it with an iPad or other mobile device.
Overall, the Volt 2 is a solid, well-built interface. On the downside, its small size can lead it to feeling a bit congested, especially when trying to monitor levels and gain staging.
The Volt 2 comes with a sizable software bundle. Granting you access to Ableton Live Lite, Melodyne Essential, UJAM, Softube Marshall, Plugin Alliance Ampeg, and Relab LX480 Essentials. This is more than enough to get you started recording as soon as possible.
Compared to other audio interfaces
UA Volt 2 vs Motu M2
Without bogging you down with all the technical details, the Volt 2 has slightly better recording quality than the M2. At least, in my opinion.
UA Volt 2 vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
These are both great interfaces, and both generally offer the same performance. What it really comes down to is price and aesthetics. The Scarlett is less expensive, but if you hate the color red, maybe the Volt 2 is the better option for you.
UA Volt 2 vs Audient iD4
The Audient iD4 Mk2 is a solid audio interface, but its sample rate leaves a bit to be desired in this case. I recommend the Volt 2.
UA Volt 2 vs NI Komplete Audio 6
While the Komplete Audio 6 is fairly more expensive than the Volt 2, it’s worth it for the extra connectivity. For anybody looking for an interface that can accommodate for more involved recording setups, the Komplete Audio 6 is the better option.
Who is the UA Volt 2 best suited for?
The Universal Audio Volt 2 is perfect for beginners and novices in need of a simple audio interface to start recording. Its lightweight, compact design and high recording quality put it on par with many of the top audio interfaces that have been dominating the market for the past several years.