The Dream is Real
The ULN-2 Expanded is the result of a dream to create a piece of audio gear that provides unbelievable audio quality while at the same time offering a degree of mobility and convenience that until very recently was simply not possible. The successful integration of world-class analog stages, excellent A/D/A conversion, and the amazing digital mixing, routing and FireWire connectivity that has already made the Mobile I/O line famous, places the ULN-2 in a unique position among computer audio interfaces.
The ULN-2 Expanded is a portable, high–quality, modular FireWire–based multi-format audio converter, interface, and processor for professional audio applications. The ULN-2 is equipped with two balanced analog inputs on Neutrik™ combo connectors, two channels of Digital I/O (AES/EBU and S/PDIF), eight channels of ADAT optical I/O with switchable TOSLINK support, two balanced analog outputs (1/4" TRS), two balanced monitor outputs for connecting directly to power amps and self powered monitors, as well as wordclock in/out and 2 IEEE 1394 FireWire connectors that support 400 Mbs operation.
The Best Mic Pres Available
ULN stands for Ultra Low Noise and the Mic Pres in ULN-2 live up to the name. Providing massive gain (up to 72 dB) with an EIN of -130.5 dBu, fantastic detail and an ultra-fast slew rate, the ULN Mic pres are up to the most demanding recording situations you can throw at them.
And of course it has the same FireWire connectivity, amazing A/D/A converters and powerful onboard DSP as its older sibling – the Mobile I/O 2882.
Balanced Analog Sends and Returns
The ULN-2 also features balanced analog inserts for each input. This lets you use ULN-2 as a standalone analog Mic pre/direct box; use the sends as an active splitter to drive a backup recorder, or even patch in analog dynamics processing between the Mic Pre and the integrated 24bit/96kHz A/D converters.
Flexible Powering Options
The 4-pin XLR power port on the ULN-2 allows you to power the unit with a variety of readily available broadcast battery systems. The 4-pin power port is compatible with power sources having the following characteristics: 9-30V DC, Pin 4 Hot, 15 Watts.
| Key Features
- 2 Mic/Line/Instrument analog inputs on Neutrik Combo connectors
- Balanced TRS analog sends and returns for analog inputs
- 2 analog outputs on balanced TRS connectors
- 24bit/96k converters on all channels
- Headphone amp with front panel volume knob
- Balanced stereo master control room monitor output with front panel volume control
- AES-S/PDIF Digital I/O with selectable SRC
- 8 channels all new ADAT I/O with switchable TOSLINK support
- v.5 Configurable mixer for near-zero latency mixing and routing
- Metric Halo’s unique instantiable +DSP processing
- 4-pin XLR power port for compatibility with most location battery systems
- 10 front panel preset system/routing memories for stand-alone operation
- FireWire Connectivity
- Compact, light, and bus-powerable
- Total recall with MIO Console
- OS X drivers with multi-box support
At Home in Any Situation
ULN-2 is the perfect tool for capturing audio wherever inspiration hits, in the studio or on the road. Well suited to any recording situation, the ULN mic preamps provide allow you to work how you want, and not have your work style dictated by your tools.
Equally suited to all sources, from condenser mics to the lowest-output ribbon mics, you can choose your mic and your placement with no concern about the performance of the preamp.
Coupled with Metric Halo’s exclusive Character processing, the ULN preamps are literally the most flexible and best sounding pres available today. You can transition from a wire-with-gain to a gooey tube pre with one click of the mouse, and every input can have the right character for the material you are recording.
Fully balanced analog inserts on TRS connectors allow outboard analog dynamics processing to be introduced between the mic pres and the A/D converters. Wordclock I/O and 4-pin XLR power port (for use with typical broadcast camera batteries) complete the rear panel connections of this highly portable device.
The ULN-2 Expanded is the only unit in its class with an on-board processing engine that supports fully instantiable processing, allowing you to use Metric Halo’s world-renowned signal processing effects without sacrificing your computer’s processing power or introducing any additional latency in your monitor path. From MIOStrip to HaloVerb, the ULN-2 Expanded comes with all the basic production processing you need. And remember, this one rack space audio interface has the ability to run entirely from the FireWire bus of a laptop computer or from any DC power source (9V-30V), making it truly and completely mobile.
A unique feature of the Mobile I/O system is that MIO’s work well individually or as a group. Mix and match 2882 and ULN-2 units to create a system that meets your needs for track count and preamp power. Adding a unit to the system organically increases the DSP power of the system, so that your DSP always scales with your I/O. Break your system up for small gigs when playing out or add the units of your mates to build a huge system when required. By standardizing on Mobile I/O, each member of the band can have ultimate quality while working alone, and the band can have huge track counts when playing together. You can’t lose!
Flexible signal routing and sophisticated patch and preset management systems are also featured in the ULN-2 Expanded, including a front panel, ten-preset register for standalone operation. ULN-2’s front-panel recall system allows the unit to function equally as well as a stand-alone Mic Pre/Converter system. In standalone mode, the ULN-2 operates with the converters directly routed to and from the AES/SPDIF I/O, ADAT or TOSLINK.
As a standalone converter, the ULN-2 provides a 24bit/96kHz stereo front-end with ultra-low noise mic pres for any recording system. It also functions seamlessly as a digital monitor controller, making it ideal as digital headphone amp and studio monitor controller.
The ULN-2 Expanded supports a variety of applications. For studio recording, it provides a very high quality interface to a DAW, offering sound processing or simple file transfer between workstations. Its exceptional sound quality is the perfect complement to the studio’s existing analog to digital conversion chain. Songwriters and engineers can use the ULN-2 Expanded to record and edit on the road, in the hotel, while traveling, or anywhere that inspiration strikes.
The ULN-2 Expanded is suitable for broadcast applications, too. It offers instant playback of two individual stereo sends for music cues or sound effects. The compact package and portable power features mean that the unit can go anywhere users need to work, and make on-site fixes or edit location recordings without the need to send files back to the studio, saving valuable time before air.
In the live performance arena, in addition to operating as a remote recorder for archiving performances or to play out backing tracks and musical cues, the ULN-2 Expanded can operate as a soft-synth mixer and I/O interface. The ULN-2 Expanded is also a great addition to a live sound engineer’s setup, providing a simple and efficient tool for analysis and system venue tuning with SpectraFoo.
Introducing the Jensen Transformer option for ULN-2
Since its release in 2002, the ULN-2 has enjoyed a legendary reputation for its pristine, wire-like gain, and has established itself as one of the best values in the professional audio industry.
The ULN-2 possesses virtually every characteristic that is coveted in a Mic Preamp: exceptionally low noise at all gains, exceptionally high gain, excellent common mode and RFI rejection, incredibly flat frequency response, and ultra-low distortion. It simply increases the level of what you put into it without having to consider the nature of the source: Dynamic Mics, Phantom Powered Mics, Ribbon Mics, Instrument or line level signals are all handled with equal ease and quality.
So why change it?
The ULN-2 is an incredibly good Mic Pre, but sometimes you want something that isn’t quite "so pristine". It is well known that a certain amount of low-order harmonic distortion has a way of adding “depth” and “sheen” to everything — which explains the high regard for classic transformer coupled preamps.
Enter the Jensen Option
With the transformer option installed, the ULN-2 acquires that classic character. A few years ago, we fitted a prototype ULN-2 with a pair Jensen JT16-A's just for fun. We found that there were some very nice benefits to transformer coupling the input stage of the ULN-2. The Transformers impart a more "glossy", "smoothed" sound than the capacitively coupled ULN-2, which simply faithfully passes the source. Sonically, it's kind of like the difference between images shot on film and images shot in HD.
Enjoy complete isolation
A second benefit is that the transformer completely electrically isolates the preamp from the source – raising the common mode rejection above its already excellent performance, and providing a measure of confidence when dealing with the unknowns of location sound.
How to get it
The transformer option requires factory installation; we have to remove the cap coupling from your existing ULN-2 and carefully add the Jensen transformers to the signal path. When you order your upgrade, we will issue an RMA for you to send your unit into the Custom Shop and our technicians will install the option for you. Turn around time is typically 1 week from date of receipt of the unit.
If you simply want to order a new ULN-2 with the transformer option pre-installed at the factory, you can do that as well; this version of the ULN-2 is available directly from Metric Halo via Metric Halo Direct or from your dealer.
The transformer option is also available for the ULN-2+DSP.