Steinberg’s UR Series has proven that the German audio software giant is capable of developing efficient hardware solutions as well. At the higher end of the market, Steinberg’s UR824 represents the peak of the entire series. This model sits among the best audio interfaces for less than $1,000. Let’s take a closer look!
When it comes to rack-mounted gear, design becomes a bit of a tricky issue. You have to get all of your hardware and features in there, while still fitting into a standard rack. For Steinberg, this doesn’t seem to have been a problem at all! As we have come to expect from their range of audio interfaces, the UR824 is very utilitarian and minimalist, which is quite attractive in this high-end category.
With a sleek 19” aluminum chassis, the main inputs sit on the front panel along with the relevant controls. Speaking of which, Steinberg has chosen to stick with the standard array of control clusters dedicated to each channel. Everything is analog and requires a turn of a knob or a push of a button, just like the good ol’ days! Steinberg have done a great job with designing this unit in a way that is user-friendly, easy to adjust and just as easy on the eye.
In terms of features, Steinberg has opted to include a fairly standard package for the UR824. That old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is epitomized by this interface! The UR824 offers a mix of analog and digital I/O, with eight XLR/TRS combo inputs and eight 1/4” output ports, as well as two pairs of ADAT optical I/O, to provide an additional 16 ins and 16 outs.
The respected D-Pre preamps featured in this unit are rock solid as you may expect, coming with +48V phantom power. To add to the quality, Steinberg has also implemented their proprietary signal syncing technologies and a number of other features, including a built-in DSP. On top of all that, you get one of the most powerful software suites you can find these days, including Cubase AI with a whole array of VST3 plug-ins.
Many have had their doubts about Steinberg’s hardware, but those days are long gone. The performance of the UR824 is exactly what you would want from a higher-end audio interface – a near perfect fusion of hardware and software that produces consistent results. The sound quality alone is stunning – pristine and pure, which is something we can thank Yamaha’s D-Pre preamps for.
This is where Steinberg has really nailed it. By outsourcing complicated components to other companies who have a long track record in making them, they have both reduced the cost of production as well ensuring a high level of performance and quality.
Steinberg’s UR824 is all about integration and a smooth transition between software and hardware, and it is ultimately achieved. This has resulted in an infinitely useful audio interface that is solid in both its reliability and sound quality. It may not offer some of the bells and whistles as others in the sub-$1,000 price range do, but we’d happily recommend it to those who are serious about recording bands and studios.