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Steinberg UR28 Audio Interfaces
Old 28th September 2011
  #91
Gear Head
 

gurnisht...

I am not avoiding my friend. I, we, are in the process of creating a complete description that best outlines the "sound" relationship between the UR and MR Series. Please allow me another day or 2 to fully put this together as I would not to mislead in any way.

I appreciate your understanding.
Old 1st October 2011
  #92
I GOT MINE!!!!!

Ok, since getting a new audio interface was a nice opportunity to do that, I also updated my Macbook Pro to OS X Lion. Reinstallation of everything still running, so I need another day or two to actually USE the UR28M.

Right out of the box, the unit makes a good impression. It is fairly heavy, the box feels quite sturdy and really looks nice.
Plenty of space between the knobs, which make an ok impression, for a product in that price range they're fine. They turn actually very well, not too easily and yet smooth enough, good for exact adjustments. But you can see they are not perfectly centered and stuff like that. So, they get the job done well, but you would probably frown at them if they were on a 100k mixing desk.
The buttons need some force to be pushed and react with a soft click when they switch, feel also very sturdy and nice.

I am really looking forward to trying it out! May be able to give a first impression on Monday or Tuesday.
Old 1st October 2011
  #93
Lives for gear
 

Yes, definately post here your impression about the most important thing, how does it sound and how good are the converters.
Old 3rd October 2011
  #94
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgovern View Post
gurnisht...

I am not avoiding my friend. I, we, are in the process of creating a complete description that best outlines the "sound" relationship between the UR and MR Series. Please allow me another day or 2 to fully put this together as I would not to mislead in any way.

I appreciate your understanding.
Well???

Is the UR28M ad/da at least on par with the MR series? If, yes, I think you have a winner.
Old 3rd October 2011
  #95
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojoMuffin View Post
Well???
+1

Please address the conversion of the UR824, as well. If the specs are significantly better than my current interface (ad/da 110db), I'll audition it. I've read a lot of good things about the D-Pres.
Old 3rd October 2011
  #96
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgovern View Post
On the UR824, will you lose 2 channels of ADAT if you're using the SPDIF the way you would with the MR?
Please keep in mind there are no coaxial SPDIF connections. However, the UR824's ADAT can be set separately as follows.

(A Port)
ADAT
ADAT
S/PDIF
S/PDIF

(B Port)
ADAT
S/PDIF
ADAT
S/PDIF

Hope this helps.
so, am I correct in thinking I could have ADAT inputs on A & B, one set of ADAT outputs (A) and one S/PDIF output (B) all simultaneously? thanks
Old 3rd October 2011
  #97
Ok, time for my first review...

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way a capable engineer. I am a singer, guitar player and songwriter. I only do demos and pre-production at home. I have a horrible monitoring situation, my "studio" room is completely untreated and just a bit of undisturbed private sphere where I can collect my ideas.

So, here are the observations I made, all in comparison to the Duet.

FORM FACTOR
I like the UR28M much more than the Duet. Separate knobs for gain, volume, headphones etc., no need to switch everything from software. No breakout cable is also a big plus. Total winner on that.

DAW INTEGRATION
This applies of course only for Cubase users. Works great, very handy to dial everything in from inside Cubase and save it with the project. Again, total winner.

PREAMPS
From the short time I have played with it, I would say that I like the D-Pres a lot more than the Duet's. They have PLENTY of gain, no problem at all with my SM7B, gain knob only on 2 o'clock and it's enough. They sound very nice to me, at least with my mic on my voice, I found it very easy to get a vocal sound that I liked, while I needed way more time for that with tracks recorded through the Duet. BUT that certainly also reflects my lack of engineering skills.

DI
I could only test the DI so far by running my Ibanez RGD2120z through it. I tried both with Hi-Z in and out; with Hi-Z in, I quickly clipped the converters, even with the gain all the way down, but without Hi-Z activated, it sounded a bit dull. So I ended up preferring the Hi-Z in, Pad in, and gain turned up a bit. Still looking for the best gain setting there, but compared to the Duet I do NOT hear much of a difference.

CONVERTERS
I can not say much about the quality of the AD, since the D-Pres play such a big role on the way in. On the DA side, I can also not hear that much of a difference between the Duet and the UR28M.

COMMENT ON DI AND DA:
When I say I don't hear much of a difference, then it does indeed mean I hear a bit of a difference. BUT I have already uninstalled the Duet and boxed it for shipping, so I can not compare side by side. I also have a flu since yesterday and that certainly affects my hearing. So take this following comment for what it is - a rather uneducated guess....
What I believe to hear could be described like this: The Duet sounds a bit mire hi-fi, more detailed, has more high end and a flatter (in a good sense, like "cleaner") low end. The UR28M sounds more mid-heavy, forward, also a bit warmer, but it less detailed.
This would have to be verified by somebody who is healthy, has better monitors than me (Yamaha HS80's here), a treated room, and especially better ears than me!

HEADPHONES OUT
I find I have to turn them up quite far. I would appreciate more power. The Duet's headphones out was louder.

DSP AND VST PLUGINS
Here comes the biggest winner of it all - I am surprised about the quality of the sweet spot channel strip and the rev.-x. They sound very good to me. I find them very very handy, it is so easy to dial in a good vocal sound with zero latency eq, comp and reverb. This plugin package is probably the biggest plus for me.

So, all in all:
Duet is suspected to win on the converter front
Duet wins on headphones volume
UR28M wins on preamps, form factor, integration, zero latency monitoring

I am pleased with my purchase.
Old 3rd October 2011
  #98
Gear Maniac
hi Parlopower , thanks for your review !!!

in the coments on the DI and DA when you said "The Duet sounds a bit more hi-fi, more detailed, has more high end and cleaner low end" so UR28m was more bassy muffed or loose in the bottom ? Do your heard it playing music or pluging something in DI like guitar or a mic in both Interfaces ?

When you talk about the Duet has more clarity, detail, and high end , you mean? More crisp sound in duet , like "remove the tissue paper or blanket from the speaker" in comparition with the UR28m ?



PD: if its in that way, Duet will be much better in converter quality than UR28m , hhhmmmm
Old 3rd October 2011
  #99
Lives for gear
 

I mean this in a good way Parlophone.....

But maybe dont jump the gun and make a "review" until you are able to judge things fairly. I understand its a new toy and you want to share it with everyone (seeing as you're the only one on here so far with one) but a review is supposed to be fair, objective and to the point.

Its not that I dont appreciate the review, on the contrary, thanks very much ( ) but I'd of preferred if you had done it when you were well and able to hear properly. Just my 2 cents, but I was looking forwards to your thoughts on this an to hear them so obviously coloured by illness and experience with a Duet is a shame. (I was actually looking forwards to your opinion on the new unit(s))

Not that I'm a fanboi of Steinberg or anything...sure I nearly bought a Duet but I needed more IO for recording drums.

Could I ask a big favour, and could you perhaps re-review it when you are feeling better? If you still prefer the Duet then thats cool.... if not then no worries...I'm sure someone else will be along soon with their review.

peace! Get well soon! :D
Old 3rd October 2011
  #100
Gear Maniac
would be great if Parlopower can compare Duet vs UR28m side by side , so alot of musicians producers , compousers after reading it will be more able to decide between these 2 important audio interfaces , but is important to make the comparison side by side

please Parlopower, if you can make a new comparison side by side between Duet and UR28m , we ll be very greatful and you would make us a huge favor. please...

Doesnt matter if you dont have a good acoustic room , your speaker are good HS80 , and from what i read in your review , you already have good ears to hear the differences without a side by side.

+1 vote for a new side by side review from Parlo
Old 3rd October 2011
  #101
Here for the gear
 

Hey guys. Am I wasting time holding out on buying a duet 2 to see what people say about the UR28m? Is there even a chance the ad/da would compete, or does the $200 more price point of the D2 give it an obvious upper hand? Have seen the d-pre's getting a lot of love and think the integration into cubase is amazing on top of the dsp built in but in the end I have to go with the best conversion. Just want to make sure I'm not waiting to compare apples to... ducks or something.

Thanks
Old 3rd October 2011
  #102
Hey guys,

thanks for the feedback. My review was meant to be a first impression thing, I emphasized the background so that you will know how to judge it.
I was working a bit again with the UR28M this evening, and things begin to clear up a bit. So, here some additions to my review before:

FORM FACTOR, DAW INTEGRATION, PREAMPS AND DSP / VST FX:
Continue to love it to death. All good on that side, way better than working with the Duet.

DI:
Worked a bit more with that, and have to revoke my comment on how it sounds compared to the Duet. My Ibanez, a typical metal guitar, sounds clean almost strat-like through the UR28M's DI, something it never did on the DI of the Duet and also not on the DI of a Universal Audio 2-610 I ever borrowed for 2 weeks from a friend. So the DI of the UR28M is certainly not dull sounding. The mid range is really really nice. It is warm and sounds great on distorted tones. I get very nice high gain sounds with Metal Amp Room, cab bypassed into Torpedo PI-Free. All in all the DI is certainly no downgrade from the Duet!

CONVERTERS:
Here is the most important thing I have to say about my former comment about a difference I thought I hear:
THIS DIFFERENCE, IF IT IS EVEN THERE AND NOT A RESULT OF MY STUFFED NOSE, IS SO MARGINAL THAT IT WILL NEVER EVER PLAY ANY ROLE FOR THE TYPICAL BEDROOM COMPOSER / SONGWRITER / HOME RECORDIST.
You will no way have such a "the blanket was taken off the speaker" difference between the two.
Apart from that, it should really really really be left to others to judge on the converter quality. I have not only a stuffed nose currently, but when I'm healthy I am also far from having golden ears. I ruined them in decades of going to loud clubs and rehearsal rooms.

HEADPHONES:
I stick to that statement - I would have appreciated more power.

Again, as a final statement for this time: I am pleased with my purchase and happy I have swapped the Duet for the UR28M. I recommend the UR28M to everybody who needs a box with these features and especially when you work in Cubase. I LIKE IT. A LOT.
Old 4th October 2011
  #103
Lives for gear
 

I tip my hat to you sir!

Thanks for the update!
Old 4th October 2011
  #104
Ok, I really wanted to know it now and unpacked the Duet again. I tried to compare them side by side, match levels as good as I could, but I always had to swap the cables and switch the Audio Midi setup to the other device, so there was always a short break between listening, and I could not blind test it. But not necessary...

I tested it with tracks from Breaking Benjamin (from Phobia and Dear Agony), Sucker Punch soundtrack, and Avatar soundtrack. The result was quite clear. My wife, who also listened and has no experience in audio production, heard the same I did, her opinion unbiased by mine since I let her tell her opinion first before I said mine out loud.

RESULT
The Duet has more "room information" if you know what I mean. The Steinberg sounds flatter and less "spacious" or three dimensional.
The "frequency distribution" is also different. Either the Duet is scooped and has a hole in the mid range, or the Steinberg emphasises the mids. I don't know which one is the truer one, but the Duet sounds clearer.

All in all, I prefer the DA of the Duet. Since I don't do serious mixing, and I find all the other things better on the Steinberg, I am still happy to swap to the UR28M.
Old 4th October 2011
  #105
Gear Head
 

Thanks parlopower for your excellent reviews! Would you say that the duet is more for to listen to music with?
Also, some other questions:
is the latency when playing guitar with an amp simulator through the ur28m passable?
is it made in japan like the mr816?

also, I noticed on the tech specs on the steinberg site that the specs of the Hi-Z input are different: in ur28m the input impedance is 500 k Ohm, in ur824 it's 1M Ohm, and for instance in the duet2 it's ">2MOhm". can someone tell me which is better, and if it's significant?
Thanks!
Old 4th October 2011
  #106
Gear Head
 

comment removed
Old 4th October 2011
  #107
Gear Maniac
Great Parlo !!! thanks for the update !!!!!

I read about the Duet that is a little hyped in the low end and highs, i think it shoud have a more bassy sound and treble than UR28m , but anyway it seems that its convertion is better than UR28m , clarity is important when mixing. But the UR28m has better mids and is also important when mixing...

im curious about if it was all about clarity or perhaps more treble or harshness from the Duet

If there is any other info about both u want to share , you re very welcome !!
Old 4th October 2011
  #108
Administrator
 
Grahamdwc's Avatar
 

Thanks for that parlopower.
I think i might give it a shot, seems to have all features that i need.

Graham
Old 5th October 2011
  #109
Here for the gear
 

I thought the u28m was a 2-preamp USB version of the mr816, guess not... I really wanted it to have the great converters, guess it's too much to ask on such a reasonable unit.
Old 5th October 2011
  #110
Gear Maniac
but Mojo , maybe the DA converters of the UR28m are not so far less than the Duet, maybe just different ,less clinical and more analog sound. Sometimes more treble high end can sounds like its has more clear and detail
Old 5th October 2011
  #111
Here for the gear
 

Yes, perhaps! I'm still waiting for that Steinberg dude to give us the specs,
Old 5th October 2011
  #112
Personally, I don't regard the converters as an issue FOR MY APPLICATION.

There is more mid range than on the Duet, which makes the sound a bit muddier, but that will force me to get even better at tracking. I do mostly alternative rock with lots of layered guitars, and the UR28M will teach me or better said force me to play very tight, choose sounds carefully etc.

If you are doing serious mixing (which I don't), then I think the Duet will make it easier to dial in reverbs and delays, since the Ur28M does not show such a good resolution of space, depth, dimension, whatever you call it.

Personally, my two main downsides are the headphones volume and the DI.

The headphones volume is ok, but I have to turn the knob all thew ay up. However, I run my Cubase mixes at VERY low volumes, so I think I can easily turn every track up 3dB or so and still have plenty of headroom. That should solve the headphones issue.

The DI is my for the present time my bigger concern. The more I play with it, the more I notice a high end roll-off. It does not stick out everywhere, but depending on which amp sim you feed with it, it shows off more or less. The 500k is maybe not enough to load guitars with passive pickups properly, 1MOhm or 2MOhm might simply be better. On the other hand, mid-heavy high gain sounds are really nice with the UR28M. One example is the Ultrasonic from GR4. Sounds much better through the UR than through the Duet. I think what sounds and amp sims you use is very decisive here on how you like the DI compared to the Duet.

Anyway, the DI is only a temporary issue for me. One of the reasons I switched from the Duet to the UR28M is the need for more ins and outs, since I was never 100% happy with amp sims anyway. So, to still record guitars at home recording loudness levels, I have planned to get a nice amp head (Engl E670) and run it into the Two Notes Torpedo VB-101, and since I would connect that through the SPDIF, neither the DI nor the converters will be any issue anymore.
Old 5th October 2011
  #113
Gear Maniac
thanks Parlo for this new update !!! you re the man !!

Things are getting more clearly. Two important things , audio resolution in stereo field, space , reverbs ( more detail for Duet ) and DI AD converter quality seems to roll off highs in UR28m , i read something about this for the MR816x. Could be the AD converter or the DA maybe is not showing enough high end. :s
Seems like the RME babyface is the nearest one that compete with the Duet , and the Duet2 has even more detail and high end than Duet 1
Old 5th October 2011
  #114
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgovern View Post
gurnisht...

I am not avoiding my friend. I, we, are in the process of creating a complete description that best outlines the "sound" relationship between the UR and MR Series. Please allow me another day or 2 to fully put this together as I would not to mislead in any way.

I appreciate your understanding.
Reminds me of that old Scorpions tune, "Don't Make Promises Your Body Can't Keep"
Old 5th October 2011
  #115
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marsnal View Post
Reminds me of that old Scorpions tune, "Don't Make Promises Your Body Can't Keep"
yep
Old 5th October 2011
  #116
I would not necessarily say that it's the AD converters that create the frequency roll-off on the guitar DI, because I don't find any such roll-off on the mic press. TO SAY IT EMPHATICALLY: I LOVE THE D-PRES. They are much better, or I should say for me they work much better, than the Duet's. I think the HF roll-off on the DI is due to the relatively low impedance of 500k, not the AD. The DA also don't sound like it loses HF information, it's rather that the mid range is simply more present. By the way, I like the sound of the DA of the UR28M in the lower mids / bass more than the Duet, depending on the song. It is not as tidy, but it has more balls.

After working for a couple of days with it, I am still quite happy I bought it and sold the Duet (shipped it today...). For my application, I can work faster with it because of the integration and the physical control of mute, volumes etc. and tracking vocals is easier, faster and more fun with the latency free FX. The things that I don't like, headphones volume and DI sound, are both not that relevant for me as I explained in my last post - with the guitar soon going through amp/Torpedo/SPDIF and just adjusting my track volumes in Cubase, it is solved. I wonder if it's also not simply possible, for those who need the DI to be good for amp sims, to just buy a Radial JDI or J48 - or if you have the dough a RED DI - and plug that into the line in, and the HF roll-off should not be there anymore. It's 200€ more, but you have a high end DI that will never leave you desiring for more.

If I ever feel the need to get better DA, well, that's after I got a new room with better treatment, and then there is the SPDIF out on that thing... sorted.

EDIT: I just checked the specs of the Radial JDI and J48, they have an input impedance of 140k / 220k, so the 500k on the UR28M can not be that bad... let me try around a bit more with it, maybe it's just the gain staging I do on the interface and in Cubase etc.
Old 5th October 2011
  #117
Gear Head
 

yah, that is one hell of an amp you are planning on buying for the rest of us, maybe a dedicated DI box like the Radial would do instead? btw, wouldn't you prefer to just buy a really good high gain pedal (like the new Wampler SLO) and use the ur28m and the Two Notes software version instead? I guess you'll get pretty similar results for a lot less $.
Old 5th October 2011
  #118
Quote:
Originally Posted by gurnisht View Post
yah, that is one hell of an amp you are planning on buying for the rest of us, maybe a dedicated DI box like the Radial would do instead? btw, wouldn't you prefer to just buy a really good high gain pedal (like the new Wampler SLO) and use the ur28m and the Two Notes software version instead? I guess you'll get pretty similar results for a lot less $.
The amp head will serve me also for live purposes, and I think that having not only a distortion box or even pre, but also the power amp section, will be better. I want to reduce the digital processing on the guitars as much as possible, cab and mic are simply necessary due to the volume, the neighbours, and the police...
Also, the E670 seems to be so very flexible, I think I can use it for pretty much anything I write / compose, no matter what style.
Old 6th October 2011
  #119
Gear Maniac
i heard a little roll off in the highs and more mids when pushing hard my preamp A-design Pacifica P-1 with pad on, and also when i pass the P-1 inside the Steinberg MR816x D-pre with 0 volume. Im talking about vocals with a U87.
DId you tried using the line in channel 3 - 4 ( without the D-pre ), just to know if theres a roll off in highs ? or maybe is just to much input gain .

how much difference HF in the DA had the Duet vs UR28m ?

i wished that the UR28m had almost near the same detail ,clarity level as Duet..
Old 6th October 2011
  #120
Quote:
Originally Posted by LMNproyect View Post
i heard a little roll off in the highs and more mids when pushing hard my preamp A-design Pacifica P-1 with pad on, and also when i pass the P-1 inside the Steinberg MR816x D-pre with 0 volume. Im talking about vocals with a U87.
DId you tried using the line in channel 3 - 4 ( without the D-pre ), just to know if theres a roll off in highs ? or maybe is just to much input gain .

how much difference HF in the DA had the Duet vs UR28m ?

i wished that the UR28m had almost near the same detail ,clarity level as Duet..
Yes, maybe the roll-off is also because I have the pad in on the input? I will try again without, problem is, with the pickups of the Ibanez that have a rather high output, I quickly clip the converters without the pad, even at the lowest gain setting. Methinks it is time me needs a Telecaster... (already wanted to buy one for ages)

Anyway, i have to do more trying around with the DI part.

About high end on the DA, I can only say it again, I do not think there is less high end on the UR28M than on the Duet, if it is, then it's a rather marginal difference. The mid range is more present, but that does not mean the highs are less. What I clearly notice is the lack of room information compared to the Duet.
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