Universal Audio Volt 4: What is it?
The Volt 4 is at the smaller end of UA’s Volt series. Released in late 2021, the Volt range was devised to offer simpler interfaces than the Apollo series – which is known for its DSP-powered emulation effects – while still offering high-quality, low-latency recording.
While the Volt 4 does not have quite as many ‘analogue’ sounds and multiple interfaces can’t be centrally controlled so easily, it does offer one analogue simulation function. The integrated preamp for each input has two modes: normal and vintage. The vintage setting for each mic input nicely resembles the quality of an analogue tube amp.
The two front inputs are both TRS jack and XLR and sit on the front left of the device, with volume dials for each directly beside. Two more inputs for synths and drum machines sit at the back, so four instruments can be used simultaneously for recording. Here there is also MIDI in and out and USB power in. Fully bus-powered, there is no external power plug, so all it needs is a laptop, although there is also the option to use mains.
Universal Audio Volt 4: Performance and verdict
Each of the two front inputs has two monitor LEDs, green and red, so keeping an eye on the level is easy. The yellow vintage light shows when we are playing in the vintage mode. The green light signals that an instrument is playing. This setting ensures the preamp is powerful enough to bring the signal up to the level needed for transmission. The 48V phantom power key is also on the front as well as the mono key, which sets all inputs to the same monitoring output, for easy, centralised listening back.
Four line outputs mean users can listen on multiple speaker setups or output into four different tracks on a mixer. Low latency stereo monitoring at the back is great, as is the headphone monitoring output on the front of the device.
The Volt 4 has lots of software included: a Marshall Plexi Classic Amp Softie Time & Tone bundle, Ableton Live Lite, Melodyne Essential, Ampeg SVT-VR Classic, Ujam Virtual Drummer and Virtual Bassist, Spitfire Audio LABS, a 30-day free trial of UAD Spark and Relab’s LX480 Essentials; further advantages of the Volt range. A security lock on the back is also a nice touch for those wanting to kit out a studio securely.
Especially useful for producers recording both digital and acoustic instruments, four-track recording capability and vintage preamp mode make this stand out. It weighs 1.2kg, is a similar price to other affordable interfaces at £225, and is one of the best out there for musicians and producers on the move.
MusicRadar verdict: With its four-track recording and vintage tube amp simulation, the compact Volt 4 is one of the best affordable interfaces.
Universal Audio Volt 4: Hands-on demos
Universal Audio Volt 4: Specifications
- KEY FEATURES: Desktop 4 in/4-out USB audio interface with class-leading 24-bit/192kHz audio conversion, Vintage Mic Preamp mode, USB bus powered, 1-in/1-out MIDI, Studio-quality headphone amplifier.
- CONTACT: Universal Audio