Steinberg's UR range is a proven studio stalwart. We take a look at the newest addition to the family.
Steinberg claim that their UR series is "considered by many to be the benchmark USB audio interface range". I can think of one or two other manufacturers who might contest that statement, but the UR interfaces are undoubtedly popular and cost-effective. In part that's because there's a model to cater for almost every need, from bus-powered mixing on the road to full band recordings.
The original UR interfaces have been on the market for nearly eight years, and have now been joined by four new models bearing the 'C' suffix. The key difference, apart from a visual facelift, is that these provide a USB Type C port for connecting to the computer, rather than the older Type B. This port is labelled USB 3.0, which is a little confusing, because the Type C port is specific to USB 3.1 and 3.2. What it signifies is that as well as being a conventional, forwards-compatible USB 2 High Speed device, a UR-C interface can also be switched to use the SuperSpeed mode defined in the USB 3 spec.
For review, we were sent the flagship of the UR-C range, the UR816C. With eight analogue inputs, all featuring Yamaha's D‑PRE preamp design, this provides a broadly similar collection of features to the original UR824, which was reviewed in SOS back in July 2012. Compared with that unit, the UR816C has lost a pair of optical digital ports, but gained an additional pair of master line outputs.
Steinberg's makeover has delivered a good-looking interface, which is housed in a smart, compact and surprisingly heavy metal case. Optional rack ears are provided, as is a laptop-style 'line lump' 16V power supply. As is the norm on products of this type, its eight analogue inputs are all on Neutrik Combo...