By Mitch Gallagher
Universal Audio has a long heritage of creating top-notch analog gear. Now with the 2192 Master Audio Interface, the company has brought that analog expertise to the digital world. The 2192 is a 2-channel analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog converter. It utilizes discrete class A analog electronics and an advanced low-jitter internal clock.
But the 2192 is more than just an A/D/A converter. It can also be used for routing - any of the digital inputs as well as the analog input can be sent to the analog outs. The selected input feeds all digital outputs simultaneously. It can convert among digital formats, and it has two word clock inputs and four word clock outputs for distributing clock around your studio. The A/D and D/A stages can work completely independently.
The unit has analog (XLR), AES (XLR), S/PDIF (coaxial), and ADAT optical I/O. Sample rates from 44.1 - 192kHz are supported, with 24-bit resolution.
High sample rates are handled by S-MUX on ADAT optical, on S/PDIF, or via single- or dual-wire AES. Rear-panel trim pots allow you to calibrate analog levels exactly where you want them.
The 2192 is a joy to use - no menus! There are four rotary knobs on the front panel for selecting clock source, sample rate, D/A source, and A/D source. Two buttons select AES or S/PDIF and single- or dual-wire AES. Ten-segment LED meters show input and output levels. The meters don't quite have enough resolution for low-level or very dynamic signals; -27dB is the lowest level indicated.
In use, the 2192 is a joy. It's easy to operate, plays well with other digital equipment, and sounds awesome. I compared it to five other converters (some built into equipment, some stand-alone) and found that it shone in every situation. The sound is (I hate to use the word) warm, rich, and natural. The top end is open and detailed, without harshness. In addition to multitracking with it in Pro Tools Accel, I used it for recording classical guitar direct to an Alesis Masterlink at 96kHz. The results were simply stunning.
Combining UA's analog expertise with cutting edge digital technology was a masterful stroke . . . and the results are outstanding. The 2192 wins on versatility, features, ease of use, and exemplary sound quality.