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. This particular model features two Jensen Mods (it does not come with the +DSP option).
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.
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.
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.