With NAMM 2018 fast approaching, Universal Audio just launched its new Arrow audio interface, and it looks to be quite compelling. Featuring a design that’s similar to the company’s higher end Apollo series of interfaces, the Arrow comes with a simple and clean all-aluminum chassis.
The Arrow is Universal Audio’s most affordable audio interface, coming in at only $499. That’s a not so insignificant price difference between it and the Solo — the entry-level interface from its Apollo line that starts at $699.
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Building on this momentum, the Arrow is also the first UA product to feature Thunderbolt 3 on board. It means that there’s no longer a need to retrofit its devices to newer Macs with Thunderbolt 3-only via expensive Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 dongles and cables.
Another exciting aspect about the Arrow is that it’s truly portable, being a bus-powered unit that needs no external power connection. This results in a unit that’s literally plug and play, and means that even permanent desktop installs will feature a cleaner look with less cable mess.
All of those details are fine and dandy, but sound quality and performance are two reasons that Mac users enjoy UA gear. 14 UAD-2 plug-ins are included to use in tracking and mixing powered by a UAD-2 Solo Core DSP.
Included with the Arrow are two Unison microphone preamps, fed by dual rear XLR inputs that lead to high-class 24/192 A/D converters. You’ll also find left and right monitor outputs on the rear. As I’ve stated in past audio-related posts, I prefer interfaces with rear XLR input ports for the cleanest desktop look, and the Arrow makes that happen.
The front panel includes a 1/4″ Hi-Z guitar input and conveniently located 1/4″ headphone output.
Like other UA hardware products, the main panel features an interface dominated by the multifunction rotary encoder wheel, which allows you to easily adjust preamp or monitor levels. You’ll also find several additional buttons across the top panel for controlling input, high-pass filtering, phantom power, etc.
As with other UA interfaces, what really makes this special is the combination of hardware and software. The 14 UAD plug-ins include compressors, EQs, reverbs, preamp emulations and guitar amp emulations. And these can be expanded upon by purchasing additional plugins.
Of course, the Solo core could prove to be a limiting factor for users looking to push the limits of the device, but that’s why higher-end products like the Apollo Twin Duo, and Apollo Twin Quad exist.
Sadly, my trusty Onyx Blackjack is dying, and I’ve been recently eyeing the Apollo Twin Solo as a replacement. But with the announcement of the Arrow, it’s pretty much a no-brainer decision at this point. My audio voiceover needs don’t expand to the point where I’ll need more than one core, and the fact that this is a bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 interface makes it a better choice for my Mac-based workflow.
You can purchase the Universal Audio Arrow interface starting today for $499.
Image Credit: VintageKing