Universal Audio 4-710d Reviews4.7/5.0 based on 22 customer reviews
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from Chincoteague Island, VA
February 26, 2013Music Background:
Engineer, Musican, Educator, Performer
Stunning Gear – HUGE quality boostBefore buying the UA 4-710d I had used an Avid Mbox Pro as the front end to my DAW. The Mbox is a very good unit. I produced a lot of wok on it and continue to think highly of the Mbox. However, the UA 4-710d is stunningly better and more versatile. Several features make this unit extremely valuable: the ability to blend a transistor front end with a tube front end, a built-in compressor with selection for hard or soft knee, phase shifter, and a front-end low cut filter. Since the unit permits the user to select how much drive is applied to the front end, it’s possible to have extreme coloration of the sound or none at all. Within days of receiving the unit I ended up in a theater production. This required me to record a lot of voices. Not vocals, but actors and radio commercials. While this took me away from recording music, the task allowed me to really focus on the capabilities of the 4-710d and get comfortable with the nuances of this gear. I got up to speed on the unit with better chops much faster than if I had been working with full ensembles in recording. Nothing but praise for this unit. Everything about it is first class and professional. The price may give pause, but it shouldn’t. This is unit has FOUR preamps with many options for inputs. I nearly forgot to mention the converters in this unit. Absolutely great. The transparency and detail of my recordings have soared, thanks to the 4-710d. There is nothing currently on the market at this price point that does so much with such high, professional quality.
from Nashville, TN
February 13, 2013Music Background:
Money Well SpentVery clean and versatile. A/B'd against some lower priced - but very functional mic preamps, and there was a noticeable difference in tone. On board converters with the ability to plug in four additional preamps of your choice to send via light pipe to your interface is also very attractive. The compressors are program dependent and work well with minimal tweaking. It's a very smart box. Exceptionally well thought out. I'll buy another one for certain.
from Houston TX, USA
December 12, 2012Music Background:
Recording/Live Sound Engineer
This is an awsome piece of equipmentI don't usually take the time to write a review of any kind. This is a truely unbelievable. Right out of the box I hooked it up via light pipe to Digi 003 patched in some of my other preamps throught it. Tested every thing didn't even have to make changes in the i/o. It worked like a charm.
I've only had it for a week used on some vocals and it was simply amazing.
from san francisco
December 11, 2012Music Background:
composer, music teacher
This thing is amazing!This thing sounds good right away. Its difficult to make it sound bad. I also like it because I can immediately try tube or solid state tones without having to do any rewiring. I was also surprised at how good the compressors were. I wasn't expecting the compressors to be killer since I wasn't really paying for compressors, but they are really convenient to have, and sound really good. Also, I think this is my new favorite for DI guitar.
from Manteca, CA
September 26, 2012Music Background:
Simply the bestI cannot express just how quickly this became detrimental to my entire studio workflow. I've had it not even a year and It's already been the heart and soul of countless projects, from sampling sessions, foley sessions, to music production and tracking, to post - running audio line in and using it as a creative tool. What blows me away are the routing options! UA has really outdone themselves, and if I could only own 1 piece of UA gear, this is it.
June 22, 2012Music Background:
Awesome piece of equipment.I went from an Avalon 737 to this and I was bit worried, but it i amazing. Being being able to dial in exactly how much tube vs digital you want is awesome. Highly recommend this.
from Manteca, CA
March 22, 2012Music Background:
Engineer, Producer, Owner - Neologic Studios
Too good to be true?!I certainly thought so but it's blowing me away still! Just received my order the other day. Had my first test recording session: Drum set, and guitars. Holy crap this thing sounds amazing! Color in all the subtle ways you want it! You're microphones will love you for it, no matter how you use them!
from Columbus, Ohio USA
January 24, 2012Music Background:
Great PriceThe tube gain does distort too easily, but seeing as the knobs are infinitely adjustable, this is just a quirk to learn. Once you find the sweet spots, you'll have no trouble getting the sound you want out of this unit. And man, it sounds great. Plus having some crazy distortion options is kind of nice - I've used it on some vocal tracks to great effect. The compressor is tricky to use, I wouldn't recommend using it on the fly. It is useful for going back and leveling out transients after the fact, though. The ADAT works wonderfully and helped me expand my front end by 8 inputs- nice! Considering 4 of the twin-finity preamps would be $2800 separately, and this package throws in compressors and ADAT, it's a sweet deal.
from Ithaca NY USA
December 28, 2011Music Background:
full-time performer with a project studio
Mind-blowing 4-710dThis unit is frightening - it does SO much and sounds great.
December 4, 2011Music Background:
Musician, Recording Engineer.
Wish I had more of these.After reading and reading I bought this amp for my studio. Yea, the tubes can overdrive easily but if you pull back and let the tubes warm, man oh man, this preamp will give you that warm, silky sound you're looking for. I use this on everything. I love the solid state/tube options. Have solid state, or have 100% tube. Or somewhere in between, it's up to you. This item will make any mic sound good. However, you will notice that your cheap mic's may sound better, but still cheap. A better quality mic will definitely shine with this preamp.
October 17, 2011Music Background:
Recording Engineer, Hobbyist, Musician
Workhorse, especially in a project studioThe heart of my project rig has been a profire2626. I've been looking for a frontend upgrade (the stock octane pres are pretty blah), and this baby is the one! The expansion from 8 to 16 (4 more pres, 4 line-ins) is a welcome one, and it's worked seamlessly.
OH. And did I mention they sound Great? The blend knob provides ample but subtle enough tonal variety, and the compressor can really tame a dynamic performance in a musical way! All the useful bells and whistles (low cut, polarity switch, inserts line-ins and hi-Z inputs on every channel, not to mention the classy 'vintage' metering) make this by far the most versatile addition to an project studio!
September 16, 2011
Generous Groove Productions
from Springfield, MO USA
May 10, 2013Music Background:
Pro Musician, Drummer, recording engineer
UA 4-710dTone blending dreaminess. Used mainly on drums here (kick, snare and OHs), it's been fun dialing in combinations of solid state and tube. I have used it for vocals--with an SM7 and just the right amount of tube dialed in, it really had character. Nice touch with the compression option, but I tend to do that ITB. Live would be another story, of course. Digital card makes it a winner all around, with great conversion. Definite bang for the buck here.
January 16, 2013Music Background:
Performer and recording artist
Universal Audio 4-710dI bought the 4-710d before the end of the year. Once it arrived, I racked it, plugged in the cable and got right to it. Testing all my mics, guitars, basses, drums, vocals in a variety of ways: mic inputs, line outs, HiZ inputs, adat out, line out and adat out at the same time....All in all, this piece of gear is like a swiss army knife. It can do a lot of stuff very well. If you are looking for a sick set of easy to use pre-amps, and you have the coin...Can't recommend the 4-710d enough.
from United States
December 25, 2012Music Background:
musician, recording engineer, live sound
ua4-710d - serious bang for your buckI've only recorded drum overheads and kick drum with it so far. I am totally impressed by the clarity and openness of the unit so far. I can't give it 5 stars yet because I haven't used enough. It really brought my overheads to life, and my kick drum sounds stellar through it- it's like I purchased new high quality Mic's. I can't believe the difference between this pre and the pres on my Ghost console. The pres on my Ghost are pretty good, but the 710 is simply pro quality. If you are looking to upgrade, you should seriously consider the 710. M y only problem is now, I want 3 more 710's....... yes, I think they are truly one of the best deals going. Excellent sound, blend b/t tube and ss is very cool, compressors are great. You can't go wrong with this unit.
John G McLane
from Fort Myers, Fl
November 2, 2012Music Background:
pro multi instrumentalist, recording engineer, producer
a real dandyThis pre sounds great on vocals, bass direct, sax, acoustic and electric guitar, percussion,drum overheads, etc.... Seems to bring out the best in certain mics. My only wish is for a threshold level on the compressor...but it's still very workable, and a great add to the pre amp.
Andrew K. Reheis
from Wichita, Kansas
October 4, 2012Music Background:
Musician, Hobbyist Music Producer and Recording Engineer
A must have in any recording workstation.You cannot underestimate the quality, versatility and tone that comes out of this unit. I started building my home studio and was concerned about the budget to go to the next step from just messing around to some real music production. This did it. No matter the sound you are looking for, no matter the matching with other devices, this UA 4-710d gets the most important vocals and instrument tones I need to master the track I am looking for. I threw the box away as it is never leaving the studio and I am considering buying another to expand .
from Ashburn, VA
July 17, 2012Music Background:
Bassists/guitars/vocalists and home studio owner.
Great place to start!I love the tone and warmth I'm getting out from this bad boy. Drums sound amazing the fast compression setting is perfect Overheads and snare drum. It has brought my C414 to life. Vocals, Guitars, Bass, you name it, it sounds good.
I love additional Adat inputs for another 4 channels. The way this thing sounds on drums I've thought about buying a second one. The option to blend between the tube digital signal is awesome!
My only complaint is the gain can be a little tough to dial in. You have to be careful with Guitars. Sometimes it's hard to get a hotter level without having to saturate it with gain.
Overall this is a great piece to start with. I highly recommend it. So far everything I've recorded with it is punchy and sits right in the mix.
February 22, 2012Music Background:
Engineer, Producer, Songwriter
Four Swiss Army KnivesListen, this should be the first high-end pre for any project studio. And it's an excellent source of high quality, do it all pre's for bigger studios. It is incredibly versatile. The tube/solid state options give you very different sounds as the pre is pushed a bit. The Tube side will round off some of the high end and break up sweetly. I'm not a fan of the solid state side's breakup, at all, but it stays clean when pushed to higher levels. The one improvement I could see would be a separate gain control for tube and solid state sides so you could push the tube side a bit more and then blend in the overdriven sound with the clean solid state side as needed. But, this is rarely that big of a deal.
The compressor section is great. A fixed 4:1 ratio with either fast or slow attack will get you 90% of the sounds you're used to with an 1176. My one complaint here is that I wish the compressor had it's own input control. In order to get the compressor to hit hard, you have to crank the gain on the input quite a bit, which, depending on what the sound source is, can cause the pre to break up a bit. This works on the tube side on vocals as the tube breakup is sweet and pleasant, allowing the 1176 portion to smack the vocals smoothly or aggressively, depending how hard you hit it. However, it's harder to get large amounts of comp on the solid state side or on the tube side if you want to keep things perfectly clean without an input control for the compression circuit. What this means is that the 4-710d will fulfill all your compression needs on any recording that only needs slight compression. However, it still works as an awesome first compressor in a longer signal chain in the event that you need to use more compression via hardware or software.
But in all honesty, there's not much to complain about. The compression control isn't perfect, but as you get used to the unit, you start to find the sweet spots. The pre's themselves are high quality, and considering you get 4 at the cost of $500 each, they're already a good deal. Add in the compressors, and the pot gets sweeter. High quality A/D conversion . . . it gets sweeter still. Finally, the extra 4 line inputs plus the seemingly limitless routing options afforded by the send/return jacks on the 4 preamps make it compatible with any studio setup. Wanna patch in an EQ? Flip a switch to send the signal to the EQ and back into the pre. Wanna use another outboard compressor? Easy, flip a switch. Better yet, send the signal to an outboard compressor and route that signal back into one of the 4 line inserts on the back of the 4-710d. The send duplicates the signal from the preamp. Now you've got a clean, uncompressed sound plus the sound coming back from the compressor. Parallel compression. And you can do this with all four channels. Did I mention this thing is versatile?
This isn't a full 5 star piece in my opinion because there were a few small routing options that would have made this already versatile piece even more ridiculous. Separate input gain controls for the solid state and tube sides could have been useful. Also, an insert point after the pre but before the compressor would be nice, too, as then you could patch in other signals into the compressor or increase the compression provided by the 4-710d by gain staging a source (say, vocals) through the compressor on two channels. However, considering the cost of this thing and all that it already does plus the converter, it's really hard to complain. I've had my unit for about 7 months now and used it on a wide variety of projects. I've had no reliability issues, consistent sound, and easy integration into my studio setup. What more could you want?
March 19, 2012
Easy Tone ShapingThis unit is high quality and the sound is outstanding. It really lets you match the mic with the sound you want from that deep warm groove to a hotter sharper setting with all points in between. A little pricey for entry level but you are going to end up here anyway.
from Union, KY
February 23, 2012Music Background:
A Good Starting Point/Go BLA!!I have many pres and this unit has the most of any as far as features and flexibility. To ADAT 4 channels of twinfinity and have another 4 inputs for other things is nice. The inputs on the front are indispensable for hardware routing as a reentry point and DI. It does get REAL crunchy in tube mode and there is not much in between clean and gritty. It helps to lower the tube strength to a 5751 (lower gain match to 12ax7) and there are only two tubes for the whole thing so its an easy/cheap swap and you can still have 1 stock tube in there if you like the gritty and the other two channels will be shared on another so no need to buy matched sets. I use the thing all the time as it shines on drums and vocals. Its basically learning what works and what doesn't. There is some definite limitations to the compression and its relationship to the gain stage. Example if your input gain goes past three you will be over compressing...and still not driving the pre. It is helpful with dynamic singers and kick drums on "fast" 100%tube. I definitely like the solid state sound on overheads/snare cause it smoothes them out way too much on tube. I can't wait to see black lions mod on this to the conversion section anyway so call and tell them to hurry because it will no doubt be in a league all its own once them boys are done as there is already nothing like this out there lol.
from Ontario, Canada
May 4, 2011Music Background:
Great UnitThese preamps sound great. The amount of options with this box make it well your your money. The A/D converters (which sound pretty decent as well) is a great feature too. The only downfall of these pres is that its a bit too easy to drive them into distortion in my opinion, but maybe that's what you're looking for. All in all this is a solid build unit, plenty of options to help you get through a session, and sound awesome, for a fair price point.