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Microphone Month 2

Sound Devices USBPre 2 Reviews

4.5 stars based on 19 customer reviews
Questions about the Sound Devices USBPre 2?

Questions about the Sound Devices USBPre 2?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    The Sound Devices USBPre 2 gives you the best quality from outside in and from bottom to top. I've had very high-end customers compare this unit to convertors four times the price! No hype, no problems.

  • from Portland, ME December 26, 2014Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Broadcast Producer / Engineer Field & Studio

    Meticulously Phenomenal

    Nothing compares! I went through a slew of different mic preamps trying to get decent clean gain over the years (I'm super fond of the Sure SM7b and the RE 20 both of which are very low in output level). Everything stopped when I encountered the Sound Devices pre-amps. They have a lot of gain and are not only clean but also precise. There is no added coloration. Their equipment is built to beyond-military grade standards and I have never had an issue with anything from them. I work in radio and have a budget of zero but these are worth every penny of the price.

  • from June 10, 2014Music Background:
    Recording and live engineer

    Holly Cow!

    This is a PRO piece of gear with all you need for on field and studio works. Maybe the best preamps on the market, with no artificial flavours, you get the sound of your mic and nothing else. Level meters are well calibrated. All ins and outs are very usefull and matche all configurations.
    Even if you need only a very good stand alone stereo preamp with limiter it's worth the deal.
    Thanks to Sweetwater for perfect organization

  • from West Orange, NJ February 19, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician/Vocalist

    Love this unit

    I use this unit for everything. Live I use it to add two piano mics to my mixer. I've also used it to output soft synths from my laptop (huge improvement over the built-in headphone outputs). Can even use it as a DI for keyboards to the sound man. I've used it for remote recording/songwriting sessions, as well as remote voice over auditions with a Neumann KMS 105 microphone. All these applications have left me feeling giddy with pleasure at the quality and versatility of this unit. Even makes my itunes library sound good when I'm away from home.

    What I love:

    Most portable high quality product I could find.

    No software, menus, drivers, etc. True quality, simple hardware device.

    Love the build quality.

    Love the size and portability. Easily fits in a laptop bag.

    Love the metering.

    Love the headphone output and the fact that you can use two sets of phones simultaneously. (Although one is 1/8 and one is 1/4, you can still do it.)

    Sounds great. For my purposes, I like the cleanliness of the sound.

    Very, very happy

  • from saint louis mo January 5, 2013Music Background:
    Full time Voice Over Artist

    Usbpre 2 review

    I just recently purchased this product. I am a voice over talent and strictly use this for spoken word. I have used several other usb preamps in the past, none come close to this product. It is more expensive for a reason. I have a AKG C414 XLII as well as EV RE 20 dynamic mic and it works great with both. The annoying hum.....URRRR..... I always had issues with my cheaper preamps. This one is nice a clean. It doesn't have a lot of color. But that's why I like it. This thing has no drivers. So it can be used on any recording software. I can't compare it for musicians. I am not one. If you are voice over artist and ready to invest, get this preamp! I can't stress it enough! Gives you the nice clean gain, so you have that great full sound that clients are wanting. My sales tech didn't recommend this preamp. Another voice over artist told me he uses it, so I bought it for myself.

    You get what you pay for. You pay $250-300 for a preamp, you get what you pay for. I was sooooo sick of stupid drivers that cause me headache, this preamp doesn't come with any drivers! Simplicity!

  • from Texarkana Tx January 4, 2013Music Background:
    Home Studio owner, producer, engineer, artist.

    The Best I've ever worked with.

    I've had mine for maybe 3 years, not long since they came out and love it so much. Its simple and serious and doesn't have any 'gimmick' styling or features, just good solid functionality and sound. I really dig the metal case and tough knobs and switches, it reminds me of military style equipment. The sound is top notch in my book and I've had RME Fireface 800, Digidesign 003, Lucid 2496, etc.... I studied the dip switches and then set them for how I work and its all good. If you record live drums you may need a larger interface but I don't miss the Fireface 800 one bit or the 003 or 2496. I use mine with a Mac Pro and Pro Tools 10 so it never gets moved but it would be a great portable unit for someone who travels. I realize Apogee is a great company but the duet design seems weak to me (along with Babyface, Forte and other table top interfaces). Check it out and you just may agree with me...

  • from May 6, 2012

    Solid unit

    Interms of build quality,it is perfect and works well with field usage. I own rme babyface as well. It's great but as build quality goes - usbpre2 has an edge. Though rme babyface has a bit more musical than this, this also sounds good. You won't regret getting this.

  • from nashville, tn March 16, 2012Music Background:
    Guitarist, Writer, Producer

    Buy It.

    I cannot stress enough the improvement this device will make to your desktop both for recording and general music playback enjoyment. I have mine connected to a vinyl record player, a dedicated mic preamp (Grace M-101), and my powered monitors. Anything sounds great through this. The USBPre2 is incredibly user-friendly and extremely rugged in its design. The dip switches on the back provide amazing functionality. If you don't need more than 2 XLR / Line inputs, this is it.

  • from Fredericksburg, VA February 27, 2012Music Background:
    Professional Classical Musician, Label owner and recording engineer

    Killer Mobile Unit

    After having a friend show me and let me listen to the quality of his SD 702 recorder, I was blown away with the sound quality. Since I already have plenty of "bit buckets" (Korg MR-1000, MR-1, MicroTrackII, etc.), I didn't need the recording interface. However, I was intrigued by the quality of the preamps and the conversion.

    My normal on-location classical rig consists of multiple banks of True Systems P-8 preamps, Dangerous Audio Summing, RME FF800s and a computer. For small recordings, it's a pain to lug out all of this (600lbs) of gear. I'd been looking for something that would do a great job on a very portable size and the Sound Devices stuff seemed to be a good fit.

    I ordered the USBPre2 after chatting with the guys at Sweetwater and at Sound Devices and being assured that the preamps and converters were just as good as the 700 series (same pres and converters apparently). I ran the USBPre2 in stand alone mode (not hooked up to a computer) using a Zagg Sparq 2 to power it (which, BTW, will power this unit for over 10 hours) and fed a Royer SF12 into it with the outputs going to the Korg MR1000 at line level recorded into 2x DSD format.

    The results were simply stunning! The sound was amazing. The pres matched great with my Royer - in fact, they paired beautifully. The recording is warm and full without the "roll-off" present from lower impedance preamps. There's a sense of space and depth that I get from my higher end pres - truly, there seems to be no compromise!

    It's not the most "transparent" preamp, but it is a preamp that sounds delicious. I use it on orchestral material and haven't found it to be a hinderance at all!

    Perhaps the best thing of all was that I was able to get the mic, cables, device, recording unit and stand all inside in one trip while hand carrying everything without even a hint of strain!

    Short version of this story -
    It sounds great
    It's ultra-portable
    It's built like a tank
    It will let me live 20 years longer versus dragging around hundreds of pounds of gear!

  • from Chicago July 28, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Outstanding Customer Support

    You probably won't have any issues with the new 2 but if you do the Sound Device tech support department is terrific! They're smart, helpful, and friendly. So what if they're Packer fans!

  • from NY, USA June 21, 2011Music Background:
    Live Sound Engineer

    Great unit

    The preamps sound fantastic.
    Not needing any drivers or having to mess with control panels is a welcome plus.

  • from Covington, WA May 28, 2011Music Background:
    Hybrid audiophile hobbyist.

    USBPre 2

    I just received this today and I have been very excited. Expectations have been met and then some. The clarity of this interface blows my old pci soundcard out of the water. I have been searching for years to replace my old gear and it finally paid off. Though this is a pricey unit, it is everybit quality defined. The dynamic range is incredible, paired with high quality XLR cables I can now listen to my music the way it was intended by the mixing engineer. Stereo separation is more defined and bass is more rich (although not colored). The process for updating firmware and ASIO driver were very easy. I look forward to years of enjoyment!

  • from Nashville, TN January 19, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    USBPre 2

    I don't get a lot of five star pieces of equipment but this gets it hands down. I purchased it to record with my iPad. AKG C24, iPad with Multitrack DAW, and USBPre2 equals a cool little setup. It works great to mix through with my HD rig and really fun to check mixes with. It is a really nice piece of professional audio equipment. I was not disappointed in the least.

  • from Charleston SC November 8, 2010Music Background:
    Pro musician

    USBPRE 2

    Just got mine from Sweetwater.
    Works beautifully with my MacBook Pro as an audio interface. No drivers needed to install. Clean preamps, much better them my M-Audio and Zoom stuff a used... Gives you total control and connectability. Small, handy but very well built peace of professional equipment.
    Love it!

  • from Los Angeles January 5, 2016

    Very solid, top quality, not quite as simplistic as original

    I recently upgraded my computer from windows XP to windows 10. That's a big jump. For over 10 years I used the USBPre for broadcast voice over jobs. It was the best. After finding out that the USBPre was not compatible with windows 10, I decided to purchase it's predecessor the USBPre 2. Overall, the USBPre 2 is of extremely high quality. I would say that it actually packs more of a punch with the robust sound it provides. For sure, you're getting the top of the line sound that sound devices is known for. It's approximately the same size as the original and just as tank like. Should hold up for years. The nobs are nice as easy to turn. I had no problem setting up the pre with my computer...plug and play as advertised.

    All that being said, there are some things I don't like about the USBPre 2. First, the dip switches. In order to get phantom power to work, you have to flip one of the dip switches. There are also other dip switches that do other things. While the functions are welcomed, the small and not so easy to access dip switches make activating these functions a bit harder then expected. If anything I would have liked to have seen the phantom power button on the front like the original. The good news is that while you have to deal with them initially, once you select your settings, you can basically forget about them unless you wanna change something. Second, the headphone jack is not as quiet as the original USBpre's jack. The original one was so silent it was like you were floating in space. With this one, there is a slight but noticeable airy frequency noise when the volume is turned up. And we voice talent like to turn our cans up. Not good for the ears...but it's how a lot of us do it. It does not affect the recording at all...but it's somewhat bothersome to me. Though, some people might not notice it and still it's very quiet when side by side with other preamps. Another thing I'm not a fan of is the little latch you push when pulling out your mic cable. The original had the latch on the top of the port which is much easier to access.

    Overall the USBPre 2 is just not quite as simplistic and easy to use as the original which was more or less dummy proof. BUT don't let my honest, very picky complaints turn you off...In the end this is still a top of the line preamp suitable for the most demanding users, engineers, and clients. Easily one of the best out there. And when it comes down to it, the sound quality is just as good if not better then the original which should be reason enough to replace your old USBpre with the 2. I highly recommend it, but I slightly prefer the original to this one just because of ease of use. I am now using the USBpre 2 for most of my work and it is a great pre.

  • from Israel December 7, 2012Music Background:
    Musician since time began.

    A keeper

    Rich, detailed, lush, deep, balanced, analytical, clean, articulate,complex, fabulous sound....and thats just the headphone out.
    Amazing little swiss army knife of a box......stunning......Mp3s sound like 16bit, and 16bit sounds like 24/96....and your songs will never sound better then through this box.. = no hype = buy this.

  • from Philadelphia, PA July 23, 2012Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Swiss Army Knife of Recording Interfaces

    Small, light, versatile, easy to use, good price point. Full range metering of input or output. Includes all possible inputs/outputs including digital. Selectable up to 192KHz/24 bit. Also works as stand-alone DAC or head-phone amplifier without computer. Good Sound Devices mic preamps. Love the channel 2 loop feature that I use with FuzzMeasure Pro for room acoustic measurements. The only negative comments are that two of the five knobs on the front felt "loose" with a little play (pop-out volume knobs) though the knobs are on securely as confirmed with Allen wrench and does not affect function. One input selection button was a little stuck with first use but loosened up to work fine. I am very happy with this product.

  • from June 4, 2012

    Wonderfull piece of audio

    This USB sound card is top class and this is why I've made my choice on it. It's the kind of equipment that every guy in the business must have.
    I'm using it everyday with my Asus laptop running Cubase 6 and Shure SRH940 headphones and with Smaart 7 from a Digico SD8 on live gig. Great and powerfull.
    One thing: it's made to be plugged on USB 2.0 port. Don't use it on USB 3.0 !
    I'm sure that SOund Devices will release a version suitable for both USB 2.0 and 3.0. And that version will be 4 channels. Alleluia!

  • from pittsburgh February 9, 2013

    To get this or not????

    I reviewed it previously wit 5 start. After SOUND devices increase the price, i would like to share few of my thought.

    I have RME babyface ($749) and Sound devices ($649 previously). As i said previously, As far as build goes, Sound devices is great. But for sound, not really as compared to BF.

    RME babyface:
    --------------------
    Pros: - Exceptional sound which is definitely musical.
    - ADAT expansion
    - Standalone Mic pre (new functionality with FW upgrade)
    - IPAD support (new functionality with FW upgrade)
    Cons: - Build quality is good, but what about durability over year?
    - Did not like breakout cable much. Now Apogee offers breakout box which is great, but RME guys noy planing for such thing.

    USBPre2:
    -------------
    Pros: Exceptional build quality
    Nice connection interfacing
    Standalone Mic pre, Ipad support
    Good sound
    Cons: - Not great for studio musical recording (in opinion)
    - Has sterile sound (lifeless if i want to compare with BF)
    - DIP switches, i think their main goal is for field recording and to make safe for accidental changes/access to the setting. But this is not convenient especially for phantom power selection as always need to look for pick like instrument.
    - PRICE increase on this item make this more isolate from BF for studio recordings.

    Overall, if you are concerned with studio recording (not field recording) REM Babyface is great compared to this guy.

    If you are into filed recording, you have no choice to try with USBpre2 though the price increase is not justifiable (you can to really do anything unless you want to look for other brand). Adding few more month of warranty on USBpre2 for this price increase is a joke.

  • from Midwest May 27, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    Great sound, small, light weight

    I purchased a USBPre2 for on-location recording when a simple 2-channel set up is all that's needed. I'm generally happy with the unit. It seems to be built well and the pre-amps and converters sound good. However it's not perfect. I use it with a current generation Mac PowerBook running Logic Pro.

    I've had no problems with recording, although I do get occasional "clicks" using the USBPre2 as the output monitoring device during recording. I's annoying enough that I now use it as an input device only and use the computer's headphone output for monitoring. I've tried changing buffer settings and other suggestions from Sound Devices Support, but nothing has eliminated the occasional digital click.

    Pros:
    >Excellent level LED metering - very clear and visible
    >Flexible configuration
    >Fully USB powered - no external power supply needed
    Good sounding pre-amps. Not as quiet as a Grace M 101, but will work with most low-output mics
    >Decent sounding A/D converters although not as clean as the Apogee Ensemble ADCs
    >Seemingly rugged construction
    >Small
    >Lightweight
    >Cost effective

    Cons:
    >Playback through DAC generates occasional "clicks"
    >No front panel phantom power switch
    This is a major issue for me. I use the USBPre2 with some very expensive microphones and I always insist on removing phantom power from the mic inputs before connecting or disconnecting the mics.
    Phantom power on the USBPre2 can only be switched via the two rows of DIP switches on the back panel under a rubber cover (which is very inconvenient). Before connecting or disconnecting my mics, I must shut down the whole USBPre2 by disconnecting the USB cable. Recconecting the USBPre2 usually means restarting LogicPro so the device is recognized, all in all a real pain.It would be much better if the device had a front panel phantom power switch.

Questions about the Sound Devices USBPre 2?

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