Caveman (Skyharbour Studios) Reviews the Metric Halo ULN-8 Print

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"Would highly recommend [the Metric Halo ULN-8] to anyone looking to buy their very first serious interface!"

"Bravo & Five Stars!!"

 

VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA - MARCH 2020: Stephen [Stephen Falk | Tom Lee Music | WatchmanStudios] and I sat down in our mastering suite and did an A/B shootout between the following converters : Symphony I/O vs ULN-8 & Apollo x8p vs ULN-8. The Symphony I/O and ULN-8 are both incredible units in their own category, making the choice between them rather subjective and completely up to taste.

 

Symphony I/O vs ULN-8

The ULN-8 packs some seriously impressive lower-mid punch that hits you right in the gut. The trade-off is that it possesses an overall softer, more mellow tone as a result...great for cranking up to extremely high SPL levels without having to worry about the sound getting overbearing. What I found most impressive is that the soundstage stays consistent when playing back at both loud and quiet volume extremes.

In subjective comparison (to my ears), where the Symphony I/O lacked in lower-mid punch, it made up for in soundstage. There was more depth and space, more separation in the elements due to it's signature "clean and smooth" sound. Though the stereo image on the Symphony I/O seemed to "jump" outside of the speakers more and possess a more extended frequency response, I found myself lusting to have the ULN-8 "thump/thud" back. I was also alot more careful with the overall SPL levels as I couldn't push it as hard as the UL8-N. The stereo image of the Symphony also "shifts" based on the playback volume (both good and bad), but this is something I have grown accustomed to over the years.

 

Apollo x8p vs ULN-8

The Apollo does not even hold a flame to the UL8N. It lacked everything that a mastering engineer would be looking for in an interface. Narrow stereo image, grainy mids, sibilant tops, a massive "hole" in the lower mids and severe bandwidth limitations in the frequency spectrum. Needless to say, I was very disappointed in the Apollo. The tone of the Apollo is all over the place and is very messy (lots of masking going on in all the wrong places). Everything that the Apollo did, the ULN-8 did better with no drawbacks.

The ULN-8 had a more extended frequency response (both ways) without sibilance, hardness/knots in the midrange, or harsh frequencies. It had the most punch/kick of the 3 converters without the upper mids receding or becoming thin. Sub frequencies did not "tuck in" whenever a big transient hits/kicks in.

 

Wrapping it Up

Overall, I would say that the ULN-8's sound signature reminds me very much of Prism Sound converters I used extensively back in the day. I would describe the overall character of the UL8-N as "loud and proud" with an extremely strong center-image that holds up like a pillar of Olympus.

I can definitely see the ULN-8 in virtually any setup, including mastering facilities (depending on genre). But then again, I am not naive to think the Symphony I/O doesn't have it's own drawbacks. The ULN-8 revealed short-comings in the Symphony I/O that I was not expecting and I am thoroughly impressed with this product. Would highly recommend to anyone looking to buy their very first serious interface!

Bravo & Five Stars!!

 

Eugene (CAVEMAN) Chong
CEO, Chief Engineer
SKYHARBOUR STUDIOS
https://linktr.ee/skyharbour
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Questions?

Please contact Stephen Falk (Tom Lee Music | WatchmanStudios) to learn more about the latest Metric Halo technology:

Stephen Falk 
Tom Lee Music
728 Granville Street
Vancouver BC V6Z 1E4
Canada
Tel: (604) 685-8471
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Outside Canada?

Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or your local Metric Halo Authorized Reseller for in-foo about Metric Halo’s #FutureProof product line.

 

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