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Universal Audio Ships Arrow Desktop Audio Interface For Music Creators

Member for

21 years 2 months
When I think of what I had to use in the 80's, like the Tascam Portastudio, then see this... (y) How cool.
Today's musicians have no excuse, so much more in-terms of producing "good enough" quality when it comes to being able to get affordable recording systems.

Look at this brilliant product from UA.



Featuring two Unison mic preamps, Realtime UAD Plug-In Processing, and class-leading Universal Audio conversion, this portable, compact, and lightweight 2x4 bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 audio interface provides a generous collection of UAD plug-ins to record album-quality vocals, guitars, and more at near-zero latency.

Derived from Universal Audio’s award-winning Apollo interfaces, Arrow features an onboard UAD-2 SOLO Core processor, letting musicians monitor and record through the full library of UAD Powered Plug-Ins — at near-zero latency, no matter their audio software buffer setting.

Arrow also features acclaimed Unison mic preamp technology, giving musicians the tone, touch and feel of the world’s most sought-after tube and transformer-based mic preamps and guitar amplifiers.

The included UAD studio mixing tools — featuring classic compressors, EQs, and reverbs — enable musicians, electronic producers, and songwriters to produce polished tracks quickly and easily, right out of the box. Highlights include the UA 610-B Tube Preamp and Marshall® Plexi Classic plug-ins — and Arrow can be expanded with exclusive titles from Neve, SSL, Fender, and Ampeg.

The UAD library offers more than 100 titles, including everything from classic Moog filters to Ampex tape to Lexicon reverbs — with more being added every few months. These are the same UAD plug-ins used on hit records by Kendrick Lamar, Coldplay, Dr. Dre, Brad Paisley, and many more.

Arrow is now shipping, with an estimated street price of $499.

Arrow Desktop Audio Interface — Key Features:

  • Desktop 2x4 Thunderbolt 3-powered audio interface with class-leading 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion
  • Unison mic preamp technology provides the tone, touch and feel of the world’s most sought-after tube and transformer-based mic preamps and guitar amplifiers from Neve,® API,® Manley,® Marshall,® Fender,® and more*
  • Realtime UAD Processing allows near-zero latency tracking with classic UAD plug-in effects, regardless of software buffer setting
  • Includes studio compressors, EQs, reverbs, and guitar amp emulations, and more as part of the “Realtime Analog Classics” bundle — featuring 14 quality UAD Plug-Ins
  • Bus-powered connection to modern Mac and Windows systems for easy portability and reduced cable clutter

Comments

Member for

16 years 6 months

ronmac Wed, 01/17/2018 - 19:32
Kurt Foster, post: 455111, member: 7836 wrote: isn't it kinda hard to get high volt rails for the pre amps and phantom power for condensers with bus-power?

Others have done it. The RME BabyFace Pro is an excellent example.

Having said that, I suspect the reason for having only one Sharc chip is a limitation of the current available via USB bus.

Member for

7 years 3 months

Tony Carpenter Wed, 01/17/2018 - 22:49
ronmac, post: 455135, member: 24337 wrote: Others have done it. The RME BabyFace Pro is an excellent example.

Having said that, I suspect the reason for having only one Sharc chip is a limitation of the current available via USB bus.

Arrow is thunderbolt 3 :). However power is possibly part of the reason. I suspect it’s more about cost too. That’s a new price point for the available abilities UAD gives in a ‘pro’ level interface. I’m sure it probably won’t drive a ribbon mic, but seriously that’s a non issue for most users of this level.

I find it funny them showing a demo with Neve mics on one YouTube idea I saw :-/.

Tony

Member for

15 years 7 months

Boswell Thu, 01/18/2018 - 02:51
More d.c. power is available on both Thunderbolt-3 and USB-C ports than with their respective predecessors. T-3 peripherals are allowed to take up to 15W (3A at 5V), but there is power negotiation as part of the plug-in sequence, so whether the Arrow interface would work on your particular PC or MAC could depend on many other factors.

Don't get too excited about "high voltage rails". For bus-powered gear, it's come to mean that the rails are the old-fashioned +/-15V or +/-18V, rather than the skimpy +/-5V or single 5V common in many lower-spec USB and Thunderbolt interfaced boxes.

Member for

15 years 7 months

Boswell Thu, 01/18/2018 - 04:27
Makzimia, post: 455142, member: 48344 wrote: @Boswell is it possible they could do an internal step up of the power?. However you look at them still nice kit for the price point.
That's what they all do, with the exception of most of the 5V-only units. Of course, you can't step up the power, only the voltage, and you lose some power in the process.

Member for

9 years

DonnyThompson Thu, 01/18/2018 - 04:32
There are some USB powered interfaces/Preamps that also allow the connecting of an external power supply to actual wall current. The Apogee Duet is one of these. I've got one on the way, (should be here any day now) and I'm interested to see what scenarios would call for this option of plugging it into wall current all by with using the USB for power.
The Duet has two Preamps, and boasts an 80db gain range, so perhaps the USB power suffices for condensers, and the optional power source would be for Ribbons or lower output moving coils?
I'm only guessing here, I don't know the answer to this yet. (@Boswell ) Bos... Does that sound feasible? Or am I off on my guess?
My main use - or should I say my main intended use - is to use the Apogee for conversion. It allows for bypassing of its own internal Preamps, and sending signal directly to its conversion stage. This was attractive to me because of my recent acquisition of the Focusrite ISA One... I like having the option of bypassing the Duet's pre stage. Then again, I've heard Apogee Preamps in the past, and if you are looking for an uber clean sound, Apogee is definitely a great choice for that.
The ISA doesn't have a lot of color, it's also really clean, but there is a certain vibe from the Lundhal transformer that I'd like to have the choice of keeping true to that sound, if I wish.
Back to UAD...I've worked with several UAD pieces in the past, at friend's home studios, and they are very nice. I recall that one occasion where I heard a very noticeable difference between a Head's converters and a MOTU. I was surprised at how much more "open" and detailed the UAD sounded in comparison...which surprised me because I was always under the impression that MOTU conversion was always superior. Anyway...
With UAD you also gain the advantage of Having some plugs available with the hardware as the host for VST, which would alleviate the dent on your computer's CPU and memory for DSP.
I don't know what UADs hardware limitation is for plugs...how many you can run, etc., But relieving even a little stress from your internal DSP is good, I think.
I'm interested to see what SOS or Mix says in their reviews of the Arrow, I wouldn't think that it would be all that far away.
Better yet would be if an RO member gets one, and tells us about it here. ;)

Member for

15 years 7 months

Boswell Thu, 01/18/2018 - 05:02
DonnyThompson, post: 455144, member: 46114 wrote: ...The Duet has two Preamps, and boasts an 80db gain range, so perhaps the USB power suffices for condensers, and the optional power source would be for Ribbons or lower output moving coils?
I'm only guessing here, I don't know the answer to this yet. (@Boswell ) Bos... Does that sound feasible? Or am I off on my guess?
It's more the other way round. Extra gain doesn't cost much in terms of power (although in many designs it means two amplifier stages instead of one), but starting from USB voltage to generate phantom power for condenser mics is very inefficient and hence power-hungry, even though the result may be only milliamps at 48V.

One of the commercial designs I was involved in last year had exactly this trade-off. A couple of the others in the overall development team wanted to go with lower-power op-amps so that there was guaranteed enough juice left for the PP supply. However, I couldn't get the required noise levels by simply using any of the available low-power amplifiers, even before examining their audio signal performance. After a good deal of work, I did come up with an acceptable compromise, but it involved extra component count and hence cost.

Member for

9 years

DonnyThompson Thu, 01/18/2018 - 06:22
Boswell, post: 455146, member: 29034 wrote: It's more the other way round. Extra gain doesn't cost much in terms of power (although in many designs it means two amplifier stages instead of one), but starting from USB voltage to generate phantom power for condenser mics is very inefficient and hence power-hungry, even though the result may be only milliamps at 48V.

One of the commercial designs I was involved in last year had exactly this trade-off. A couple of the others in the overall development team wanted to go with lower-power op-amps so that there was guaranteed enough juice left for the PP supply. However, I couldn't get the required noise levels by simply using any of the available low-power amplifiers, even before examining their audio signal performance. After a good deal of work, I did come up with an acceptable compromise, but it involved extra component count and hence cost.

Awesome info, Bos !! :)
Man, I would love to be a fly on the wall watching you develope these kinds of audio designs.
This isn't the first time you've mentioned flaws in initial designs and compromises. I find your posts to be fascinating... Hearing about how certain tools are initially developed, and how you find and point out flaws in designs.
Lol ...it'd be a lot easier if they'd just come to you first!!!
;)
-d

Member for

15 years 7 months

Boswell Thu, 01/18/2018 - 09:01
DonnyThompson, post: 455147, member: 46114 wrote: Lol ...it'd be a lot easier if they'd just come to you first!
The thing is they did - almost a year earlier. I turned out a straightforward design for the FE amplifier chain to the specification (including current consumption) originally provided. It's when the back end team could not persuade the PP inverter not to pull the input power rail low if there was a 48V short (bad XLR cable, for example) that they cast round for somewhere to save current, hence the re-work. It took a user of one of the early prototypes to bring the problem to light, and that was only by accident. A glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.

Member for

19 years 5 months

Kurt Foster Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:09
i think it would be a nice piece for someone who only needs 1 or 2 ins at a time. i just wouldn't have high expectations for the mic pres (there probably ok for utility stuff) but the line ins should be just fine. but someone could get one or two channels of a quality hi volt transparent mic pre like a Millennia and do very well.

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:15
Regarding power supplies and interfacing. A few years ago I did a Royer SF24 ribbon mic comparison between Lavry AD11 Black and Prism Orpheus. I ran 100 ft of high end cable to the stereo mic.
Lavry was the better AD for interfacing and phantom. The Prism Orpheus had crackling and pausing issues. The phantom seemed to take longer to stabilize with Prism.
Lavry preamps sounded better as well.

Lavry is half the cost of Prism but Prism offered 4 preamps opposed to Lavry only 2.

And then we have new products like this. I can only imagine where it shines it also lacks.

Member for

16 years 6 months

ronmac Thu, 01/18/2018 - 11:09
Here is a reply to questions on the UAD Forum posted by a company rep

The converters in Arrow are the same family as our current Apollos, which we call 'Next-Gen' to differentiate them from the original silver Apollos.

As with any interface, it's how we use them and what we do with the rest of the analog design that makes them sound great.

I've had my Arrow for a while now and it's pretty cool to be bus-powered. I like being able to be battery powered.


For people just getting started, it's a great solution that gives you two Unison preamps, ease of use and helps you get your ideas captured while the muse is still in the room.

It's also great for live performance.

We're excited about it and you'll hear plenty more about it next week at NAMM. If any of you are going to the show, be sure to look me up at booth 12302!

Cheers!

-GK
Gannon Kashiwa

Member for

19 years 5 months

Kurt Foster Thu, 01/18/2018 - 11:14
what excites me about the whole Apollo line is the ability to track with dynamics and effects. this provides us with a way to record into a mix, something that's differentiated analog recording from digital. now a recordist can mix the project while they record with compression and effects and be able to hear the outcome while the tracking is going on rather than being forced to wait for a playback to hear the results. this may be the first step to eliminating the need for a LF console at the tracking stages.

Member for

7 years 3 months

Tony Carpenter Thu, 01/18/2018 - 12:09
I can tell you from a lot of experience now with my Apollo Quad FireWire on various applications, Unison works a treat. Also, the whole chain with the console is excellent, near zero latency as I track and record. Distressor and UAD 610b Neve 88rs all unison capable plugins, amps for guitar and bass, it eliminates a lot of fluffing around as a mostly one man show. Quality of sound, well.. no complaints so far. It's better than the Motu Traveller MK3 that recorded the last song I show cased on here, and you'll get to hear the results before very long :).

Tony

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Thu, 01/18/2018 - 14:35
Yeah, the Distressor.

I've been fortunate to have tracked with 2 Apollo 16's. I did some comparisons between analog gear and UAD and although it wasn’t what my analog did for me, I really liked it.
The UAD console is how a console should be. Practical and to the point. They really have this system figured out.
Had I not been through a horrifying marriage breakup, I would still own that system :(. UAD is leading the way. UA without doubt, makes my favourite leveling comps as well. I love Universal Audio.

I’d love to have this Arrow. Looks good. Reminds me of the latest monitor controllers we’re seeing.
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