We hook up the new Steinberg UR-RT4 interface to see how the bigger brother performs…
Price £468 (street)
Contact Steinberg | www.steinberg.net
UR-RT4 key features:
- 24-bit/192 kHz USB 2.0 6 input 4 output audio and MIDI interface
- Four switchable RND transformers
- Four Class-A D-PRE mic preamps supporting +48 V phantom power
- Four XLR/TRS combo inputs (Hi-Z on inputs 1 & 2)
- 2 additional TRS line ins
- 4 line outs plus 2 main outs and 2 headphone outs
- Software bundle includes Cubase AI (Mac and PC) and Cubasis LE (iOS) DAWs
We looked at the younger sibling of the UR-RT4, the UR-RT2 (read the review here), a couple of months ago, and a jolly fine interface that is. Steinberg’s UR range is distinctive because its models include Rupert Neve Design transformers which add a proper slice of audio sparkle to whatever you are recording.
In the UR-RT4’s you can apply this on four of the input channels, those being the combo XLR/TRS sockets you can see on the front. The effect can be subtle – a creamy colouration best used on acoustic guitars and vocals – but it does raise the quality stakes. And if you don’t employ it, the Yamaha D-PRE mic pres deliver pristine quality anyway, so it’s your choice: subtle colour or beautiful and clean.
What really strikes us about the UR-RT4 over the RT2 is its routing flexibility. Suddenly you can draft in more of your studio hardware, and with more people owning one or two pieces of choice hardware, this larger UR will appeal to many. The extra outputs, for example, can be routed out to your outboard, and back in again. Or you can simply add a keyboard to vocals or guitar on the inputs, so suddenly this is an interface that a band might enjoy using.
Like the UR-RT2, you can plug in your iPad with an optional camera connection kit and the excellent Cubasis LE is included for that (as is Cubase AI for desktop).
Thanks to the RND extras, the interface is heavy and not exactly portable. However, this also makes it very rugged in feel and, to be honest, once you sit it on your desktop and start employing those extra features and routing flexibility, you probably won’t want to shift it anyway.
Steinberg’s UR-RT4 is a lovely interface, pure and simple. We criticised the RT2 for having an issue with Logic where you had to reboot, and that still occurs here. However, we forgive it as the extra sonic flexibility on the ins and outs more than makes up for it. This is a great-sounding and highly flexible older sibling of the RT range and deserves an extra mark for that routing clout. And at just £170-odd quid extra, we think this is definitely the one to go for.