While Steinberg is a brand best known for its audio software, their output of hardware is becoming just as impressive – and the low mid-range UR242 is among one of the best audio interfaces you can find for less than $200. Let’s see what’s on offer!
Steinberg’s UR242 shares a very similar design with many other audio interfaces. It’s not going to win any awards for its appearance, but it is still designed very well. With a simple black and grey chassis, it looks clean and minimalist, and would fit into a professional home studio very nicely. Overall, a very old-school looking device that fits well into just about any environment. It’s also built to last and feels capable of surviving pretty much anything you could throw at it.
So, it looks decent – what about the inside? For starters, Steinberg have incorporated two of Yamaha’s PRE Class-A discrete mic preamps, which are just excellent and very efficient. There are two inputs – both combining XLR and TRS for instrument and mic connectivity – which are capable of handling high-impedance signals without breaking a sweat. Each input has its own gain knob as well as pads, while you have the option of phantom power for condenser mics.
The rest of the controls on the front come in the form of a master level and headphones volume knob, while round back you’ll find a pair of MIDI ports, as well as a quad TRS cluster consisting of two inputs and two outputs. Aside from that, Steinberg has included a DC adapter port and a USB port, for flexible power options depending on where you are using the device. Finally, you couldn’t have a Steinberg unit without some solid Steinberg software – the UR242 comes with a copy of Cubase AI and Cubasis LE as standard.
With a sampling rate of 192kHz, recording on Steinberg UR242 is a pleasure. The tone it delivers is very pure, while its ability to handle hot signals means you won’t have issues even if you’re using the wildest set of active guitar pickups. The excellent mic preamps make any condenser sound natural, without adding much coloration to the tone. Overall, it is a formidable performer that gets the job done with a high level of quality. It also is compatible with both Mac and Windows, as well as the majority of DAWs.
Compared to some of its competition, the Steinberg UR242 is easily up there in terms of performance. The combination of quality hardware and legendary software is too good to ignore and, for a brand that is best known for their software, Steinberg has proven that they definitely know their hardware too! If you’re looking for a true workhorse, this is about as good as it gets in this price range.