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Microphone Month 3

Universal Audio SOLO/610 Reviews

5.0 stars based on 30 customer reviews
Questions about the Universal Audio SOLO/610?

Questions about the Universal Audio SOLO/610?

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Sweetwater Advice

  • Paul Allen

    I've owned a SOLO/610 for years now and there's nothing else at this price point that offers the amount of vintage sound and detail that the 610 pre does. I use it first as my go-to tube pre on vocals, however many people (myself included) also use the DI for bass, keyboards, and guitar. I've even used the 610 as a DI live several times because nothing else seemed to get me the warm sound I wanted for bass.

  • from New Orleans January 17, 2017Music Background:
    Pro musician

    Inspiring!

    Best thing that ever happened to my home studio. I use this as a DI to record synths and drum machines, and as a preamp for my microphones. My mixes have completely changed! Everything sounds crystal clear now and mixes easily. Want another one now to record stereo parts.

  • from St. Paul, MN July 6, 2016

    I'm now a believer!

    For many many years I bought and sold and tried pretty much every interface, cheap mics and inexpensive mic pres and never thought about why my recording were ok but not great. After Nate Edwards my sales engineer finally made me understand why my interface was important(So I upgraded to a Duet) he also explained signal chains to me and why great recordings sound so great I decided to go with the Solo 610 and see if it was all true.

    I can say I'm a changed man! My vocals and acoustic guitars have never sounded so good. The 610 combined with my Neumann TLM102 and my Shure SM-7B provides extremely warm, round and detailed recordings.

    If you're on the fence, all I can say is just do it. You'll be very happy!

  • from Brooklyn, NY May 11, 2016

    A Creative Palette For Your Sound

    The UA SOLO 610 is a real treasure. With the gain cranked up it adds a thick tubey character to vocals, with the level cranked up you get a fairly clean sound with just a hint of tube warmth and color. By balancing different proportions of gain and level, the SOLO 610 becomes a real palette for coloring your signal.

    Driving the tube adds a fuzzy distortion that offers a range of forgiveness before it actually sounds like it's clipping. In the right context this distortion can be used as an effect that is far more usable than a clipped signal from a solid state preamp.

    Many people describe the SOLO 610 as having a "wooly" sound. This sound however is derived primarily from the stock JJ tubes that come with the unit. I swapped out the JJ's for a pair of Genalex Gold Lions (following the advice of Matt who also posted a review of this unit) and found that the Gold Lions clean up the wooly sound and give the SOLO 610 a clarity and brightness comparable to the Focusrite ISA ONE (solid state preamp). Rolling tubes in the SOLO 610 can definitely change the sound significantly, which adds yet another level of complexity and versatility to this unit.

    Final words? The UA SOLO 610 is a great sounding preamp. A must have for anyone who wants to get creative with their sound.

  • from Kentucky February 11, 2016Music Background:
    Hip Hop & Spoken Word

    Turned My $40 Mic Into A German Mic

    I record hip hop & spoken word vocals. Where I'm from we only have a few good recording studios which charge $40-$65 a hr to record. If you're doing a 10 track album, prices can add up. Bought a Samson C01 mic used for $40. I ran this mic through the 610 preamp and tweaked some settings. It made my mic sound like a $3000 mic German mic, no joke. Totally satisfied with this preamp. Boom!!!

  • from July 29, 2015

    Han Solo

    Professional hi end sound mobile.

  • from Chandler AZ March 19, 2015Music Background:
    semi-professional

    solo 610

    this is the second one that I purchased - Originally purchased for home studio and now using as well live to preamp vocals and resonator guitar through SM 58 Beta's. Adds a definite"crispyness". To bad they cost as much as they do... however, this is generally a serious consideration over the purchase of a new mic as it adds much more flexibility to less expensive mics. When using multiple mics for recording a single instrument, often the nicest sound is the cheaper mic through the 610

    I am used to the look of them and really don't notice anymore - however a lot of people comment on the older industrial look (positively) - great item for the discerning ear - some don't notice the difference, but the ones that do appreciate!

  • from February 27, 2015

    OMG!

    This alone made my cheap, inexpensive microphone sound way better than before! Definitely noticed the difference! NICE BIG FAT SOUND

  • from NC August 5, 2014Music Background:
    musician

    universal audio

    great sounding mic pre

  • from Utah August 27, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Watch your impedances!

    This is a great preamp - for low impedance mics. For example, paired up with a 50 TLM 103, it is outstanding. A fabulous combo. But driving low-output mics (which typically have 3-12 times more "ohm-age" than most condensers - i.e. dynamics and ribbons), you won't get a fabulous sound. This is because the two impedance setting on the Solo are 450 (Lo-Z) and 1600 (Hi-Z) for the mic channel. A 600 ribbon mic SHOULD have an input load of at least 5 times that, so 3000. Hence why my ribbons usually sound boomy and flat on the Solo/610. Just be aware! Granted, impedance matching is mostly a theoretical concept, real-world sound varies from preamp to preamp - but not on this pre! Being thus armed, you should be able to get a great sound out of this box if you know it's limits!

  • from Utah May 16, 2013Music Background:
    OCD with Shalaft's Syndrome

    Sounds great. UA rocks.

    The aural merits of this preamp should go without saying by now. What I want to TESTIFY to is UA's customer support.

    My unit developed a hum (most noticeable at high gain) a few months after I got it, and I sent it in for RMA, and it was found that the input transformer had a problem and the tubes were replaced for good measure.

    All was good. It was as quiet as it had been before, it drove my R121 just fine with no problem. Then the hum started again. I had also moved to a new place, and tried to make sure that I wasn't having a ground loop issue. There was none that I could detect, and every test pointed to the hum coming from the input transformer, as it had before.

    I sent it in again, and they let me know after thorough testing that it met factory spec. So I figured I had a problem in my setup. It came back, I tested it elsewhere that I knew had good power, and the problem persisted. I was a little flustered, thinking UA was losing their edge in their vaunted customer support. I ran this past Sweetwater, and they arranged for another RMA with UA, even though the warranty had expired that day.

    I sent as much testing evidence as I could with the unit, and then a couple of days later, they called me saying it tested to spec, but regardless that they were going to send me a new unit. I was not expecting that. I almost felt bad. But way to support your product!

    In the mouth of my own experience - UA deserves their reputation. In a good way. Enough said.

  • from Pennsylvania May 1, 2012Music Background:
    project recording, live performance

    New tubes for amazing tone

    I bought one of these used for five hundred bucks. I already own a Pendulum Audio SPS-1 preamp, which, though amazingly clear, can sometimes sound a little too clinical and almost brittle for lead vocals and instruments. I have to admit, I wasn't crazy about the tone of the Solo 610 at first -- it was noisy, distorted easily, and broke up when pushing the input stage too hard -- but the unit was already five years old, so I thought it might be time to change the tubes. I replaced the stock JJ's with a pair of Genalex Gold Lions -- a $90 upgrade. I was expecting a subtle improvement at best. Oh my god! The difference was incredible! Silky smooth with tight bass and punchy mids. The background hiss completely disappeared. Now, I'm in love with this preamp. Whereas my SPS-1 can be a little sibilant and lacking "meat" for lead parts, the Solo 610 makes vocals "pop" in a way that no transformer-based preamp could do. (Bear in mind the SPS-1 has two channels but also costs more than twice as much!) The controls are easy to figure out -- drive the input stage for desired color and adjust the output stage to suit. Works great as a direct box too. I would caution users not to overdo it with the Solo 610, however, since driving it too hard can add a complexity to tracks that makes them hard to mix. If you have another more neutral preamp, save the Solo 610 for lead parts. A highly recommended upgrade for any home or semi-pro studio, especially if you swap out the tubes.

  • from Woodstock, NY April 25, 2012Music Background:
    Producer, singer-songwriter

    Warm, smooth tube tones

    Universal Audio has created a true classic with the solo/610. This tube pre amp is versatile, portable and smooth, and adds fullness, warmth, and character. It is also portable, so you can take it wherever you need to, whether live or for recording outside the studio. It can be used transparently or cranked up to give your recordings that genuine fat tube sound. It will enhance and make any microphone in your collection sound richer than you thought possible. And you can run any line level instrument through it as well, bringing the inherent richness of your instrument to life. Highly recommended.

  • from Vancouver, BC Canada July 19, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Music Producer, Recording Artist

    It is a flexible classic sounding mic pre

    I have owned a 610 solo for a year now and I do like the quality of the mic pre from a sonic to a durability quality. I is a rich tube that can go from warm and rich to fat and fuzzy. it is great for vocals that need harmonic distortion to add that extra emotion. it is great for bass to really fatten up its low end content.

  • from kamuela, HI June 27, 2011Music Background:
    working musician, home recording enthusiast, teacher

    amazing tone for everything

    I am a working musician who decided to invest in the UA 610 solo. My signal chain is very simple: RODE NT2A-mogami gold cable-UA solo 610-apogee duet 2-imac-LOGIC PRO STUDIO/PRO TOOLS 9. I play all acoustic music MARTIN OMC 16, koa ukulele and bass guitar in the Hawaiian Genre.

    The UA 610 solo completely blew up my mixes. Prior to, I had been tracking with the GRACE 101 and got very clean smooth results almost to a fault. After researching online, I realized that the 610 could possibly lively up my sound. This is an understatement.

    Using my average NT2A mic for acoustic guitar and overdubbing 4x brought the most lush chorusing effect I could ever dream about. Using the D.I. to track BASS guitar brought a meaty and up front sound to the mix ( I can actually hear every bass note).
    Vocals are not as clean as the GRACE 101 but the harmony parts RING and ZING!!!!! You have to really play with your gain structure to dial in a "likeable sound". The 610 is like having a pallette full of colors, you can shade here, darken there, whatever you want.
    If you are a home recording studio enthusiast looking to warm up your sound, this is an awesome choice. It freakin' looks like some sort of weapon or something when you take it out of the box. I can imagine what a great mic will sound like through it. I would recommend getting this before a MIC that's $1K, it simply injects average mics with sonic steroids! ALOHA, hope this review helps...

  • from Vancouver, BC October 18, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer, Pro Musician

    The Solo Competition

    This piece of gear has done nothing but exceed my expectations in the vocal booth as a mic pre and giving me and my clients a huge warm silky vintage tube character only UA could truly offer.
    A definite must for bass/GTRs and vocals.
    of course using it with high quality gear will only enhance the mic pre capabilities and sonic achievement for your sound.
    An amazing piece of art work.

  • from fl May 4, 2010Music Background:
    Music Producer

    PHAT SOUND

    PHAT SOUND is all i can say about this little box. The wow factor is high, i use it so far for lead vox, wow, warm crist vocals, im so glad i got one after readin and searching..

  • from New Orleans February 18, 2010Music Background:
    Rock, Pop, R&B, Rap Engineer

    HUGE rich sound!

    This is such a great sounding pre, that I can't believe I've gotten by without it for all this time!

    Paired simply with an AT 450 into my Black Lion modded Digi 003R, I am absolutely SET FOR LIFE with the best sound I could have dreamed of for way less than $5K!!!

  • from Iran November 6, 2009Music Background:
    Vocalist-Sound engineer-Composer

    I love it

    610 solo has a warm ,round, and rich sound with very good details...
    With one good mic (mine is NEUMANN tlm 193)and a good converter (mine is APOGEE rosetta 800)you`ll realy enjoy of working with this pre and it`s high quality output..I love it for elec guitar and bass too!!
    you can change gain and volume knobs to color a signal...I realy love it.
    thanks UA.

  • from Philadelphia, PA, USA September 11, 2008Music Background:
    Guitarist, Recording Engineer

    Great for Room Mic Recording

    I've tried the 610 on many sound sources including vocals, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, direct guitars, direct bass, and mic'd bass, drums, percussion, Room-mic'd vocals and drums and i havent found anything that i cant make sound great due to the versatility of this tube pre. You can get real clean sound as well as the extra warm sounds you may want. I have found that i like that it is portable and not rack mounted, the 9lbs of metal on rubber feet have held it still anywhere i put it. UA has been great not only in product but it customer service as well. I would recommend this to anyone who records music!

  • from El Paso, Texas September 8, 2008Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Pro Musician

    If you like vintage tube gear buy one ASAP!

    I have been recording bands for a long time... I recently purchased one of these to record a live performance for Jim Ward ( Sparta, At the Drive In ) on his solo performance and a show for his alternative country band Sleepercar. I needed a pre amp that was portable and could give the tube warmth and character I was looking for. This pre amp was above and beyond what I expected... I own a ton of vintage tube gear and this totally stood its own ground... The outcome was top notch and I have used it since on bass which sounded gorgeous... as well as on guitars and actually even a kick drum.. amazing pre amp... and you cant beat the price!!! go buy one

  • from Louisville, KY August 5, 2007Music Background:
    Musician, Composer, Producer

    WOW!

    THIS PREAMP IS A NUKE!!
    GET ONE ASAP...
    IT MAKES MY SP C1 CONDENSER SOUND LIKE AN OLD GERMAN MIC.
    TESTED WITH VOCALS, AC GUITARS: AWESOME RESULTS!
    KILLER ON BASS...AMPEG SVT FLAVOR AT HIGH GAIN SETTINGS.
    YOU WON'T REGRET PURCHASING THIS PRE,
    IT'S SO NICE THIS UNIT BEING "MADE IN USA" SELLING FOR LESS THAN 1K...
    THANKS UNIVERSAL AUDIO FOR BRINGING BILL PUTNAM'S MAGIC TO MY HOME STUDIO.

  • from San Diego, CA February 22, 2007Music Background:
    Artist, Producer, Mix and Mastering Engineer.

    Giant things in a Humble Box

    Lets get this straight this pre-amp is wonderful. The only thing i don't like is its not rackable. However outside from that This pre-amp does wonders to my vocal sounds. I run it using a AT4040 and I love the Silkyness of the vocal after it passes through the Amp. Its a great unit built to last and deliever the goods at a Price many of us can afford. Not only that For those who want a clear vocal Fast and easy. This is for you. Of Course I would love a LA 610 or 2 610 but I don't have 2 610 money so this is a Steal.

  • from Baltimore, MD September 21, 2006Music Background:
    Pro Musician, Engineer

    Should be called a So-AWESOME 610

    I love all-things-tube, and this preamp is no exception. I've used it to track vocals and electric guitars with various microphones (SM57, TLM 103, Blue Baby Bottle, Studio Projects C1) in Pro Tools LE and HD environments. I've also used the DI for bass guitar... the resulting tone for all of the above applications has been incredible tone, period.

    Setting the gain low, and the level high, the amp is nice and clean, but full. With the gain up and level down, fat, warm, rich, full, round, etc. GREAT for all things rock. The impedance selector is a nice touch, and the phantom power is handy, of course.

    This preamp has become one of my favorite pieces in the studio. It's lunch box-portability is also a major plus, in that I can take it from studio to studio, and always get my tone, no matter what instrument I'm recording. I'll be sure to get another in the near future for use as a stereo pair.

    Bottom line... Great tone. Versatile. Portable. I love it.

    ROCK!!!!

  • from OH August 27, 2006Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Producer, Artist

    Warm, fat, clean, THE PERFECT TUBE SOUND!!!!!!

    I was a digital music producer searching for something to warm my mixes and U87 up, and the solo 610 did just that, on vocals its a hit, and i was even more blown away by what it did to my motif, I heard the violins, and bass guitar like I never have before, its truly amazing and definately opens up many options that i never had before, If you like that warm round tuby sound add this to your studio, r and b producers i think would particularly love this pre.

  • from July 29, 2006Music Background:
    recording hobbyist

    solo 610 is awesome bang for the buck

    I recently purchased a Neumann M147 used, wasn't liking the sound. I wanted more of a vintage rock sound ala KISS vocals. Saw the Solo 610 and thought it was a good price for a class A tube pre amp. Well, Now I love my set up. Neumann sounds like it should more like A U47. A classic warm rock vocal. Sits nice in the mix now too. Very pleased.

  • from Memphis April 11, 2012Music Background:
    Producer/Engineer

    Just the umph my kicks needed!!

    This pre lives on my audio out #1(Kick drum) of my MPC. This pre really makes anything sound big and full. I can't wait to try it on vocals! Highly recommended!

  • from ohio March 10, 2009Music Background:
    pro--performance, education. home studio owner

    Great Sound

    this makes a huge difference on all of my high end guitar and bass amps--with just a shure sm57! i thought i would never get a good live electric guitar sound without spending major dollars. this is the answer. even the bass amp sounded great using the 57! you can imagine what this will do for more expensive mics.

  • from April 6, 2007

    Agree with the others

    This is a very nice pre, and has a great characteristic to it. I run my AKG C414 mic into this and get great results with that combo for vocals! The 414 mic has a nice presence and the Solo 610 fattens it up more and provides some warmth and body.

    I also like the fact that this ISN'T rackable! I can move this around easily into my vocal booth and have it on a table next to me for easy access to it's controls while recording vocals. Much easier than running in and out of the vocal booth to tweak controls on your rack gear, or than carrying your entire rack set up into the vocal booth with you!

    Highly recommended.

  • from Brentwood, CA March 4, 2012Music Background:
    Musician, Engineer.

    I'm Pleased.

    Great flexibility with the seperate input and output gain stages. Can tame the harshest vocal/microphone. I track vox through this with a Mojave 201 and it sounds killer. The only thing I wish they would add would be either compression or basic eq like the 2-610.
    Great build quality though. If you can find a deal on these they are absolutely worth it. I got two of them for about $1300.

  • from elizabeth nj January 30, 2009Music Background:
    recording hobbyst ,pro musician, song writter.

    decent

    i brought this one with a grace 101 for different applications , it is great for bass, and guitar, now if you want really clean vocals i would reccomend the grace 101, that one rocks for clean vocals, but it is a little too transparent for guitar, the solo works much better that the grace for cymbals (it sounds just smoking good) now if youre not into a smoker sound dont get it, it indeed sounds a little dirty no matter what.

Questions about the Universal Audio SOLO/610?

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