The Steinberg UR28M is German-designed, with two sets of headphone outs, input and output monitoring, source switching, ultra clean pres, and digital I/O. I love that you can run multiple sets of monitors and switch between them from this box.
I have used this interface side by side with a Duet 2 for two years now. On my desk, I use the Duet 2 (only Mac) for stereo work and the Steinberg UR28M for surround work. I use Logic and find the UR28M to be a super efficient solution for 5.1, which in my case runs 5 Adam monitors and an M-Audio subwoofer. The only compromise is that I cannot control separate volumes between front and surround monitors from the interface, but I am fine with that.
I started with the old Logic and switched to Pro Tools with a Digidesign 002 over a decade ago, but switched to Apogee a year later to go back to the new Logic Apple had acquired. This enabled me to drop the Digidesign's use of proprietary interfaces. I jumped to Mac Pro and Apogee 16s, Rosetta 200 and later the Duet 2. I could say I am a fan of Apogee products, but nothing beats the functionality and quality I get in the UR28M, for the money. My next choice would be the Apogee Quartet (because of surround mixing capabilities), but I could buy three UR28M interfaces plus all monitor cables for that money. I am about to sell my Duet 2 to simplify my desk and record/mix all, Stereo or Surround through the UR28M. Great interface.
From personal experience, if you are thinking of buying, I highly recommend Sweetwater and their excellent service.
Great sound and functionality for the price, you will not be disappointed.
I have mine working with Cubase 7.5 and a pair of JBL monitors. AMAZING!
Great equipment and software
Hardware and software are a plus for music composing.
For Very Few of Us
I bought this interface under the impression that I would be able to run four channels of outboard gear, with leaving the first two outputs available for monitors.
Unfortunately, you cannot. You can only use two outputs at a time for outboard. Also, you have to switch between a ton of controls on the front of it. On top of it all, its mixer matrix is an absolute pain to deal with and get to work with Logic Pro X. I spent about five hours worth of time dealing with technical support, and I returned this.
I bought a Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6. With it, it just works.
To be fair, it sounded alright, though. The conversion was clear. But if you don't have a sets of monitors that you want to switch between constantly and probably have some difficulty doing so, you don't need this interface. Go for something else.
Great Unit, Nothing Like It!!!
About a year ago, I bought this unit. Before I bought the unit, I was frustrated in the selection of desktop monitoring interfaces. All I wanted was a nice little unit that had a big knob for my main volume, headphone output, 2 preamps, and a 1/4'' input for hooking up my phone for casual listening. I also wanted the ability to switch monitors as well.
It took me awhile to finally find this unit, and when I did, I was stoked! It had everything I wanted and more. This was literally the unit I had dreamed up in my head, I had no clue anyone made anything like it!!!
A year later I am still pleased with it! I do not use it for professional purposes, I just use it to casually listen to music, get scratch vocals for friends, etc.
I do strictly live work, so I cannot comment on how it works in the studio, but I have loved it on my desk!
Amazing Deal! Same League as the Duet 2 and Mbox 3 Pro
I am not a Cubase user. I work with Logic since 1997 and Pro Tools since 1999.
I was very skeptical about purchasing this unit but I decided to give it a try.
My primary goal was to get a decent mic preamps with impeccable conversion for vocals and guitars up to 96 + DSP FX for zero latency and multi monitoring system. A big challenge on a budget under $500.
First, I have used for at least a month the following:
Apogee Duet 2: Excellent, great pres and immaculate conversion, but no DSP FX and no multi monitoring option, single headphone out for $600.
Mbox 3 Pro: As good as the Duet 2 in pres and conversion and perfect if you need more channels. Decent DSP FX for zero latency. But almost twice the price of the UR28M.
Focusrite Saphire 24 DSP: Poor preamps, poor conversion, horrible dsp software.
Now, for the Steinberg UR28M I was completely blown away. Preamps are on the same league as the Duet II and Mbox 3 Pro. Conversion is smooth and transparent. Same league as the other two units. Monitoring control is excellent for 3 sets of monitors. I have two: A KRK V8 and Adam AX3.
The DSP FX is very intuitive and user friendly. FX Quality for monitoring is excellent. Way better than the Mbox 3 Pro. Unit is very well built. Not as sturdy as the Mbox 3 Pro but way better than the Saphire 24 DSP.
I am vey happy with it. For $399 this is a no brainer.
There is nothing under $500 that will get even close to the quality of this unit.
Give it a try. You will not be disappointed. If you do, Sweetwater return policy will get you covered.
Really great interface!
So I've had my UR28M for about a month now and I can say I'm very happy with it. The installation and usage has been flawless with Windows 7 64-bit. After upgrading to Cubase Elements 6 I have just about everything I need in a DAW.
Sound: It sounds terrific to my ears. The conversion is great. Very detailed. The mic pres are nice and warm. Very comparable to my old I88X.
Features: I love the desktop form-factor. It's really what drew me to this unit. Often times, with units in this price range there's a lot of limitations in I/O mixing options etc. For me, this unit has the right set of features. The controls all feel very high quality and are very intuitive to use.
Let me preface this by telling you about my PC. It's a 2006 DELL Optiplex E510. It has a Pentium D (3.6GHz) Dual Core processor with 4 GB of RAM. Clearly not a state-of-the-art PC by today's standards. My processor supports 64-bit, so I decided to switch from Windows XP SP3 to Windows 7 64-bit. So why am I mentioning this? Well, I have read that folks have experienced higher latency with the UR28M. Steinberg has released an updated driver that makes some noticeable performance improvements. But the real impact on performance has to do with running older 32-bit plugins in a 64-bit Cubase environment. I started researching this after noticing a performance drop when running certain plugins that performed fine for me in the past. I quickly realized that in order to make 32-bit plugins compatible with 64-bit Cubase, Steinberg wrote an application that is called VST Bridge which is launched every time a 32-bit plugin is invoked. That's all great and everything works fine, but when you're running on an old machine like I am and you need to eek out every bit of performance this becomes an issue. For whatever reason, VST Bridge is a performance hog with a huge memory footprint (maybe Steinberg will address this as their 64-bit platforms mature or maybe it's just the nature of the beast). My ASIO load would go up to roughly 60% when invoking a 32-bit plugin. Once I switched to 64-bit, the meter would drop to next to nothing. This led me to upgrade my plugins to 64-bit versions or just use the native Cubase plugins (which are great by the way) instead to improve performance. So is it a huge deal? I guess it depends on what you're doing and what you're doing it on. But I just wanted to share this in case folks read about the performance issues and were subsequently scared off by it. Bottom-line is, don't be scared off. The performance is fine, you just need the latest drivers/patches and if you're using Cubase 6, bear in mind the 32-bit/64-bit thing and all will be great.