Universal Audio 2192 by Gertius
I bought the UA2192 two years ago to improve the monitoring and recording quality of my project studio. At that moment I was overcome by a no-compromise mentality for recorded sound and extremely interested in what a converter of that price level could do, so I sprung for it.
Also the endorsement of Elliot Mazer, Bruce Swedien and Daft Punk had a lot to do with my interest.
First of all, I love this thing! The DA is very open, detailed and sweet, I don´t want to stop listening to it! Comparing to the DA of a FF800, which is also in the studio, the 2192 just has a more pleasing, smooth and also “real” quality to it. Also the image seems to be deeper. The AD is also great! Although the converted sound is not exactly the same as the analog source it yields a very pleasing representation. When I listen to some tracks that I´ve recorded with the 2192 I´m physically excited about how great it sounds. It´s hard to pinpoint, but let´s just say listening to those tracks makes me feel good in addition to thinking it sounds good.
There is a discussion going on on GS about the unit being colored and I cannot really say anything about that, as I have no suitable comparison.
Feature wise it is well thought out. I like the big knobs on the front panel for controlling all the main functions. The master clock section is starting to come in handy as I´ve combined forces (and digital gear) with a friend in the studio. The 2192 runs pretty hot, so plan in a free rack space above and below.
I have one point of criticism, and that is the calibration procedure. If you want to change the default +4dBu setting, you have to calibrate it using a signal generator and SPL meter, adjusting the line trim pots to the desired in/output level, which I´ve done. It´s a hassle, but with the detailed manual easily doable (provided you have generator/meter) and you might learn something in the process.
BUT: secondly you have to calibrate the meters removing the top cover and trimming a pot inside the device with a plastic screwdriver. This I haven´t done. Even though I have an electronics background I didn´t feel like opening up a 2700 EUR device upon reception to fiddle with the inside components. In my mind this is a real design flaw of the unit.
To sum up, I sometimes wonder if it´s justified to have a 2.7k Eur stereo converter in my project/hobby studio, especially thinking what else this type of money could get me.
But everytime I have those thoughts, a quick listen makes me never want to give it away again.
Unfortunately it has been discontinued last year but I´ve seen em go for attractive prices on the used market.