Jack Kontney /
12.10.2010
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Sound Devices now shipping USBPre 2

Sound Devices is now shipping its USBPre 2 audio interface, an all-new version of its USBPre computer audio interface. The two-channel USBPre 2 offers professionals a powerful yet easy-to-use, portable interface to interconnect audio sources to Mac OS and Windows computers over USB. Featuring a new electronic design, USBPre 2 uses the same extended bandwidth, low-noise microphone preamplifiers and digital converters found in Sound Devices premium 7-Series digital recorders. It is fully compatible on a plug-and-play basis with both Windows and Mac operating platforms.

The new USBPre 2 replaces the original USBPre, which featured a bus-powered audio interface with a full mic preamp and 48V phantom power onboard. Introduced 10 years ago with computer recordists in mind, the product found a home in the test and measurement market due to its high quality and ease of use.

According to Sound Device managing director Jon Tatooles, the new model builds on the success of the original with several significant upgrades. “Today, we’re in a USB 2.0 environment, and high sampling rates are commonplace,” he said. “The USBPre 2 offers a 114dB dynamic range and extended bandwidth, with 192kHz sampling rates … We’ve also added some upgraded hardware that really makes this product sort of a Swiss army knife.”

The new model includes high-resolution hardware meters, allowing users to toggle quickly between input metering and computer playback metering. Also new are mic/line-switchable XLR outputs. The USBPre 2 also features a stand-alone mode, allowing it to function as a stand-alone mic preamp with digital outputs when powered directly off USB.

Sound Devices has added further to the USBPre 2’s capabilities with a loop mode. “A lot of users utilize the device with software applications like Smaart Live for system tuning,” Tatooles said. “With loop mode, they can now route the audio playback directly to an input. That allows users to quickly do a transfer function measurement with having to do any complex wiring. The test and measurement folks really appreciate that.”

The USBPre 2 also features selectable analog limiters on the input side, enabling voice-over artists to use it with any microphone to produce high-quality audio without fear of overload, something that’s highly critical in a digital recording environment. Pro audio users will appreciate the unit’s ability to output full line-level signals on XLR connectors. Additional product features include 48V phantom power and both coaxial and TOSLINK inputs, and a rugged all-aluminum chassis.

While fitting nicely into the test and measurement field, the USBPre 2 is expected to find favor with a wide range of computer-based recordists and field-based sound engineers, due to its high-quality circuitry, flexibility and ease of use. “Really, it’s the perfect portable audio interface for Avid, Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro editing systems,” Tatooles said. “It’s especially great for Pro Tools 9 users. Since it’s now a hardware-independent system, we expect to see a lot of people taking advantage of the audio quality they can get in the USBPre 2 in that environment.”



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