Universal Audio Volt 276 Studio Pack: Easy Audio for Budding Broadcasters
Macworld|February 2022
"This studio and podcast pack for new podcasters can shave time off productions."
By Jon L. Jacobi

The new Universal Audio Volt 276 Studio Pack is a starter kit for people who want to get into broadcasting (like on YouTube or podcasting) with a minimum of fuss— however, it’s hardly amateur or entry-level. The Pack includes Universal Audio’s Volt 276 USB interface, a condenser microphone, an XLR cable, and headphones.

The Volt 276 interface itself is as good as or better than anything in its price range, and the microphone is surprisingly good for a $429 kit. There’s also a software bundle that covers the basics very nicely. As for the headphones—well, they will do for a start.

If you have your own microphones, headphones, and so on, you can pick up the Volt 276 interface on its own for $299, and there are a couple of reasons why you might want to do that if you want to minimize post-recording work—the 276 features vintage preamp and coressor emulations. Universal Audio also has Volt interfaces with fewer inputs and features for as low as $139 (all have the preamp, while Universal Audio’s x76 models add the compressor). The 4-in/6-out 476 model for $369 would be my recommendation for the musically adept.

The 276 is a two-channel (two inputs and two outputs) USB-C audio interface that’s styled in gray, white, and light wood. It measures 7.28 inches wide by 5.11 inches deep by 2.55 inches tall and weighs a rather substantial 1.74 pounds. It sports a metal frame to ward off radio interference.

The inputs are combination type XLR/1/4-inch so you can insert microphone or instrument and line-level cables. There are gain controls for each input, as well as “vintage” and “76 compressor” buttons. The former invokes a circuit that emulates a UA 610 vintage preamp, and the latter invokes a UA UREI 1176 compressor with three settings to cover vocals, guitar, and so on. The real devices are rather famous in the industry, and you’ve no doubt heard tracks recorded using them thousands of times.

There are four LED stacks for monitoring levels (two input, two output), a large monitor dial for adjusting playback volume, and a direct monitor button (off/stereo/mono) for super-low-latency listening.

On the front, along with the inputs, you’ll find a 48V button for phantom power (condenser mics require this) and two buttons to switch the inputs between instrument and line level. There’s also a headphone jack and a headphone level dial. Note that the 48V function is slowly ramped up to avoid pops. Nice.

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