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Universal Audio 2 610 Tube Preamplifier

Universal Audio 2-610

4.35 4.35 out of 5, based on 9 Reviews

Universal Audio 2 610


5th March 2012

Universal Audio 2-610 by jroq

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Universal Audio 2 610 Tube Preamplifier

Super solid mic preamp. Seriously this thing has major level control, with an easy big knob and precise turning it is most definitely a top notch mic/line preamp. Universal Audio are known for their prestigious gear line up, the 2 610 will continue that line. All-tube dual channel preamplifier derived from legendary Bill Putnam-designed 610 modular console,Variable impedance Input, Gain and Output levels ,High and Low shelving EQ. Captures the sonic integrity of all sound that runs thru it. Mic, balanced line and Hi-Z inputs, Custom wound double sized alloy transformers, Front panel -15 dB Pad switch, Improved EQ circuit and more “open” sonics, Ultra quiet operation, Quite possibly the best tube preamp ever made in the human existence, ok maybe a bit to far there but it is a solid piece of gear that is recommend for all who recording music in a serious form, by capturing the moment and kinda adding a unique tone coloring quality. The 2-610 has improved stability in the feedback design of the shelf filters as well as an improved power supply. Universal Audio's expertise in analog design translates into a classic tube preamplifier with all of the character of its vintage predecessor. Buy one today!!!!!

17th March 2012

Universal Audio 2-610 by gm1pp

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Universal Audio 2 610 Tube Preamplifier

I bought a Universal Audio 2-610 unit from Guitar Center years ago and I've employed it for about almost every application in my home studio.

One of the things I really liked about the 2-610, from the first, was how much warmth was added to the sound when going direct on Bass/Guitar instruments.
I am one of those that prefer, on clean guitar tracks and bass, to get as much of the guitar/bass sound from the instrument/pickup.
From the A/D D/A translation aspect of things, I also almost never find myself scratching my head as I try to navigate through the why tracking wasn't as good as I hoped. With the 2-610 in front for this application, I never have issues going direct; warm, clean, instrument tones with just enough presence and volume. Since I've had some experience with tracking with tape, the 2-610 adds the dimension of analog sound to my digital universe.

After tracking instruments direct though, we get into the real meat and potatoes of this unit when we start mic'ing things. I've got 3 Newman mics, 4 Modded Octava mics, 2 Shure SM81's and no matter which I choose, the dynamics, warmth, presence are stunning. I've tracked everything from Violin to Martin's to Vocals with the 2-610 and am always impressed and always feel kind of confident when I start tracking with it. I know customers and friends and enthusiasts do double takes when I use it in my studio applications. The violin was a surprise. If you worked with as many low/high-end A/D D/A converters as I without a nice pre in front most acoustic instruments have a thin, shrill almost non-distinct quality A Martin sounds like any other acoustic in other words. The 2-610, in combination with a good microphone, presents the A/D D/A converters with a dimension quality of sound it can't interpret on it's own. In other words, a Martin recorded with the 2-610 sounds like a Martin in your recording. And while a cheaper acoustic guitar might be lacking as far as brand or quality, the 2-610 can capture resonance and depth/air of an instrument where there is little. We are not talking artificial coloring. The 2-610 provides the realism you need in a digital world if you are wishing to retain the organic sound of the instrument.

In closing the 2-610 was a perfect buy and it is always on in my studio.
For any application where you wish to preserve the "organic-ness" of the original sound while adding just enough warmth to make your digital recordings sound real and alive, this is it.

26th March 2012

Universal Audio 2-610 by juraju

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Universal Audio 2 610 Tube Preamplifier

I absolutely love this unit I own this for 3 years now no issues no complains at all, very versatile mic pre's that recreates the sound of a UA 610 console from the 60's, it will add nice harmonics of pure tube sound to your recordings! You can use it on kick, snare, overheads, vocals, guitars, bass or any other instrument and use the 2 band eq section to boost or cut some low or high frequencies adding more color to it. Also comes with a 1/4" D.I. with multiple impedance selector for instrument and mic with a phase reverse switch for each channel all at the front panel.
If you want to add more rich sound just crank the +6 or +10 gain section while keeping the level knob low to get an extra tube sound or you can keep the gain down and crank the level knob all the way up to get this super clean sound.
I use this also to print my mixes and give them more warm sound and a little touch of eq when needed just before delivering it to a mastering facility.
I recommend this unit to anybody looking for a high quality dual mic pre's with multiple uses, features and great design!!

27th March 2012

Universal Audio 2-610 by Blacklab

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Universal Audio 2 610 Tube Preamplifier

First, this is the only preamp in my studio I would never sell, and if it ever dies (unlikely, it's built like a truck) I'd get a new one. In my experience (I was a first-call studio cat in the 70's and 80's) there is nothing like the 2-610. My studio is a "project studio", but I've recorded soundtracks, jazz, blues, world music, classical music, pretty much everything, here. The 2-610 adds analog warmth to all of that. At first, I'd get a great sound and leave it, but as I became more familiar with the unit, I found that just messing with the simple controls brought me whole new worlds of sound. This is a "character" preamp, but it has a warm clarity that fits extremely well in tracks. Recently, I used it to record a bebop trumpeter, and the only mic that would handle his playing was a Shure SM58! A $100 mic that sounded amazing with the 2-610. He's played and recorded all over the place, and said that was the best his trumpet had sounded! I always use a large diaphragm mic at the bass end of my 7' Yamaha S6 and run it through a channel of the 2-610. That and an Earthworks QTC40 at the crook of the piano are all I need for a HUGE sound, clear and full. I used it recently to record a variety of African instruments, and it tamed the transients very well, turning some pretty shrill sounds into musical ones.
With the Universal Audio 2-610 and a transparent preamp like a Grace, you've got it covered.

30th March 2012

Universal Audio 2-610 by guss431

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Universal Audio 2 610 Tube Preamplifier

I have owned two of the 2-610 in my previous years of of owning my own studio. I have used the 2-610 mainly on stereo recording guitar amps that were a little treble sounding to me like marshall plexi and fender. Two things I wish i have had to help me on two mike set up was a more usable phase Instead of switch from 180 are 0. It would have saved me alot of time Instead of running a long headphone cord with head phones and trying to line up the microphones perfect so they would not sound thin together. and I wish that there was a more control on the eq section,It was just like a tease to get you close but not get the job done all the time. Its like it needed a hi-mid fine adjustment with a boost control and a low mid adjustment with a boost control. That was the negatives for me! know the good side was I had 2 neumann 149 run through to record classical guitar and It was freaking perfect extremly low noise floor and had warm tube sound and just enough darkness to take the highs off of the classical guitar. I also liked direct recording bass guitar using a audio evidence cord straight to the 2-610 and had some nice recordings. Overall if I started up a studio again I would have a 2-610 again hopefully along with a la-2a and the 1176 compressor for the third time.

31st March 2012

Universal Audio 2-610 by zilla_studios

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Universal Audio 2 610 Tube Preamplifier

This is a very usable, if somewhat dark sounding preamp that, for me, excels on bass guitar in particular.

I don't personally hear the 610 as a swiss army knife pre, but it's character is something I'm pleased to have at my disposal.

One thing that I haven't seen a lot about in the previous reviews, is that the 2-610 is a great line level device, offering basic but very musical EQ and imparting this boxes character on whatever you like... drums come to mind.

You do need to be careful how you run the 2-610 on program material, as it can become a bit cloudy if you drive the input too hard. That said, sometimes it's really great on the 2-buss.

I once mixed a project that was tracked on a consumer grade 4 track cassette machine. Running the tracks through the 610 added just the right amount of saturation and character to take the tracks from blah to something that was still lofi but vibey.

It's also a great distortion box; if you send line level drums (or whatever) to the mic inputs you get great distorted sounds for indie, alt rock, and experimental stuff--- i.e. not for the faint of heart... or ear.

31st March 2012

Universal Audio 2-610 by spiral

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Universal Audio 2 610 Tube Preamplifier

When people talk about the huge tube sound the 2-610 is what immediately comes to mind. The unit looks like it was pulled out of some 50’s rack of a TV studio or NASA testing lab.

The 2-610 has many useful settings for a wide variety of mics: for ribbon users there are different settings for setting the load on the mic, or just for adding tonal variation; there is also some nice EQ shaping if you want to trim or add something before you hit record. The combination of the mic-loading, direct input on the front panel, and EQ give you a bunch of useful tools in one box. Many other workhorse mic preamps lack a DI or mic load selection but the 2-610 picks just the right things for a broad range of applications.

The layout of the controls are also extremely logical in that they flow from left to right and are sized according to their heirarchy: the main gain knob is huge and clearly labelled. There are no fancy lights just logically labelled controls in clear fonts. The 2-610 seems all business but looks extremely cool doing it. The sound is pretty monster. It is easy to get the mid-lows too big with the 2-610 but it is also easy to clean them up on the front panel if it gets to be too much.

I don’t know what the original UA console sounded like but the 2-610 sounds like i imagine it and it offers really useful studio tools for the modern recordist.

21st June 2012

Universal Audio 2-610 by James Meeker

  • Sound Quality 3 out of 5
  • Ease of use 2 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 2 out of 5
  • Overall: 2.75
Universal Audio 2 610 Tube Preamplifier

The 610 preamp has a divided following: it has die-hard fans and equally die-hard critics. There's no real consensus on this preamp in the audio community; some people love 'em, some people (myself) hate 'em. Just take some of these reviews and you can see the 610 fan club is on board. Plenty of "10" ratings for sound quality, which means something like a DW Fearn is going to be a "15" or "20."

Anyways, that being said--if you're interested in the 610, please try to demo one first. They were nothing like I expected, and maybe I held that against them. (Hey, the advertising said it would be like The Doors and the first few VH albums so I was sold....) However, I will try to be fair with this review because the 610 isn't a total disaster... it's just a preamp that, well... you'll probably either love or hate.

First off, the 610 is a character preamp. It has gobs of character. Nothing else on the market that I'm aware of sounds like it or displays its unique characteristics. This is probably the source of the love/hate. In general--I like the TONE of the 610. I can even live with the EQ's, even though they are slightly (I said slightly) noisy past the +3 mark.

But the lack of headroom the 610 can display is unsettling.

"But you have to SET IT RIGHT!" the lovers will say. And they are right--you need to pay careful attention to how the gain/level controls work in tandem to arrive at the tone/output level you need to record. Here's a hint: think of the gain as a "tone" control: the bigger the number the more grunge you're going to get--if you want clean set it to "-10", if you want distorty put it on "+10", either way, adjust it to taste. Now use your level control to get the proper recording level (and yes, it is an attenuator, at "10" it's technically off if I remember correctly). So... you've set it correctly for what you want. Now what? Well, I found some frustration about half of the time. Things would just break up a bit more than I wanted, or not enough. The "zone" of the preamp just seemed too small for me. On some sources it just flat out wasn't right (at least it was obvious). Occasionally it would be brilliant.

In practical use: I didn't care for it on vocals much. Didn't really like it on electric guitar either. On drum rooms it was okay. Acoustic guitar it tended to be pretty good or compliment other preamps. It could occasionally be cool paired with a dynamic in front of a bass cab. I never tried it, but I'd like to think it would be awesome on Rhodes/Hammond types of sounds because its tendency to add "bite" to transients.

Build quality is good, no problem there. Looks nice in a rack--you cannot miss these! Ultimately, for the same money, I felt something else would have been a far better purchase for my taste and expectations. Even if I had an unlimited budget/space I'd probably skip the 610. Caveat emptor.

Bottom line: Can sound pretty amazing on some sources; can sound equally awful in mismatched. Requires experience in dialing in the sounds (not much, just pay attention). Has tons and tons of character to it, maybe more than a Chandler Germanium preamp; if you are looking for a "do everything" preamp you're probably going to be bummed. However, nothing else on the market sounds like the 610 either, so....

7th May 2013

Universal Audio 2-610 by lifesize

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Universal Audio 2 610 Tube Preamplifier

i sold mine because i was paring down and didn't use it that much. but it was very good at providing vintage tube warmth and size. i've been using mostly tube mics, and the 610 is very tube-y for a high-end pre, so the combination was tube overkill in most cases, thus sold. still, it paired well with a kiwi, fattening that unit's dry sound on baritone singing and tenor sax. the eq's, used right, can nail a hard-to-get tone, and i'd recommend it for those seeking old-fashioned tonality, which i get using tube and ribbon mics. love my adl 600 for less tube-y valve tone, but for some the 2-610 is irreplaceable.

 
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