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Steinberg UR12 Review – USB Audio Interface

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Steinberg UR12 Review - USB Audio Interface

If you’re looking for an affordable USB audio interface, the Steinberg UR12 might have caught your eye.

Often highlighted as a budget-friendly option, the UR12 promises reliable performance without breaking the bank. However, its low price point may raise doubts about its quality compared to pricier alternatives.

This Steinberg UR12 review will help you determine if the Steinberg UR12 meets your needs, especially if you’re a beginner looking for a durable and straightforward audio interface. Read on to discover whether this device is the right fit for your recording setup.

Key Takeaways

  • 💰 Budget-Friendly and Durable: The Steinberg UR12 offers solid performance and durability, making it a great choice for beginners on a budget.
  • 🎛️ Simple and User-Friendly: Designed with a straightforward interface, the UR12 is easy to navigate, perfect for those new to audio recording.
  • 🎤 Basic Yet Sufficient Features: While lacking advanced features, the UR12 includes essential functions like 48V phantom power and native iOS support for mobile recording.z
  • ⚖️ Competitors Offer More: Comparable interfaces like the Focusrite Scarlett Solo and Behringer UMC204HD may provide better performance and features at similar or lower prices.


The Steinberg UR12’s best quality is its affordability, and it performs quite well based on what you are paying for it.

It is also quite durable, an aspect of interfaces that many people seem to overlook. There is no point in investing in a device like this if it is going to fall apart after a few months of use.

The main issue with this interface is when you compare it to other audio interfaces for podcasting that you can find in the same price range.

This interface starts to look less impressive when you see others at a similar or even lower price, which can easily outperform it, though they are slightly less durable.

If you want more details about specific aspects of the Steinberg UR12, keep reading as we review each category!

I/O And Controlling

If you look at the front section of the Steinberg UR12, you can recognize two main inputs: one for XLRs and one for TRS, which is ¼ inches.

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Both XLRs and TRS separate inputs have their own gain controls right next to them and also have an LED light each, which shows if there is any clipping present in their signal.

The XLR input has 48V phantom power, which is activated by a switch on the back of the interface.

Right next to the inputs, you will find the control dial for the output, a quarter-inch output for headphones, and a switch for direct monitoring.

If you turn to the rear panel, you will also find a 5V DC socket, a USB 2.0 socket, and the main power switch.

steinberg UR12 features

It is worth noting that the device has 2 unbalanced RCA outputs instead of the preferable balanced TRS.

This will likely not affect any beginners too much, but you will likely notice the difference if you are more experienced or picky about your audio quality.

Finally, there is also another switch that you use for engaging phantom power, which was mentioned previously.

Recording Quality

The quality of the recording done on this interface is excellent. The device has an AD resolution of 24-bit depth, and its maximum sample rate is 192 kHz.

The Steinberg UR12 also has its dynamic rate at 101 dB when A-weighted. This amount of headroom is sufficient in most situations. However, you can find units in a similar price range that will score much better in this category.


When looking at the Steinberg UR12’s XLR input, it is specified to be a Class A D PRE preamp for microphones.

This preamp, in particular, has inverted Darlington circuits, which give it a more neutral and transparent performance than others.

When looking at the XLR input, it specifically has its gain range between +10 dB and +54 dB.

Again, this is not the best you will find within the Steinberg UR12’s price range, but it is sufficient for most situations.

Using In A Home Studio

As mentioned a couple of times, this unit is perfect for beginners and great for working in a smaller recording space.

As was previously noted, the device is quite small and has a high build quality, so if you tend to be clumsy when handling your interface, you will not have to worry about this one breaking.

Steinberg has designed the UR12 with a simple, sleek look that is easy to navigate. Thus, it should not pose too much of an issue for beginners who may struggle to find their way around devices like these.

So, while this means it does lack a few functions, it is perfect for those who do not need or want every bell and whistle.

It is worth noting that the Steinberg UR12 is designed with a loopback feature. This feature merges the signal from your input to the DAW output, and then this merged signal goes back to your computer with no latency.

This feature is perfect if you plan to use the interface for podcasts or gaming streams.

Like some other interfaces, the Steinberg UR12 automatically sends channels one to the left and two to the right. If you prefer the channels to come out of both speakers instead, you must ensure that you have set the input setting to mono.

Using For Mobile Recording

As previously mentioned, the Steinberg UR12 is lightweight and compact, so moving it around is very simple. This makes it a good fit for recording on mobile devices.

The device’s native iOS support is an impressive feature. So, if versatility and the ability to record on the go are priorities, this is a good option for you!

Build Quality And Durability

As has been mentioned a couple of times, the Steinberg UR12’s build is very durable. If you are clumsy and tend to drop your equipment, this is not a piece you will have to worry about.

Of course, do not go testing how much battering this can take, but you do not have to worry about it being frail.

Bundles With Software

While this is a cheaper choice, this interface comes with bundled software, with access to Cubase AI being one of the best inclusions available.

This software allows you to record 32 separate tracks of audio or, alternatively, 48 tracks of MIDI.

While this is not the full version of Cubase, which is Cubase advanced, it is a great option if you want something more meaty than a free trial.

However, Cubase AI does not have all the features some alternate DAWs will offer, but if you want some software that is a good starting point, this is going to be one of the better offers.

Compared With Competitors

In this review, we have mentioned a few times that the Steinberg UR12 does not compare that amazingly to some of its competitors. Let’s look at more specific examples by comparing it to cheaper audio interfaces.

Against the Focusrite Scarlett Solo

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo outperforms the Steinberg UR12 in most categories, offering superior preamps and a user-friendly interface.

With features like 48V phantom power and a direct monitor switch, the Solo is ideal for users seeking higher audio quality and reliability.

Against the Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD

The Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD is another strong competitor. It includes MIDAS preamps, which are renowned for their clarity, and balanced TRS outputs, making it a more versatile option.

Additionally, it is often more affordable than the UR12, offering better value for budget-conscious users.

Against the Yamaha AG06

The Yamaha AG06 provides excellent versatility with its six-channel design, loopback functionality, and comprehensive audio processing features.

It’s particularly beneficial for musicians and content creators who need robust and flexible audio solutions. The AG06’s built-in DSP effects and compatibility with Cubase AI make it a powerful alternative to the UR12.

Against the M-Audio M-Track 2X2 C-Series

The M-Audio M-Track 2X2 C-Series combines durability with high-quality audio features, including 24-bit/192 kHz recording and versatile connectivity options.

Its MIDI I/O capabilities and bundled software make it a compelling choice for seamlessly integrating various audio devices.

Who Will Love The Steinberg UR12?

As has been inferred a few times, you will get the best use out of the Steinberg UR12 if you are a beginner.

We have docked points for some missing features in this interface, but this can also be seen as a plus if you are a beginner who does not want to deal with too many features that make the interface difficult to navigate.

Our pain pros for this device are that it is affordable and the sound quality is decent. However, it is held back as a viable option because so many competitors outperform it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Steinberg UR12 be used with iOS devices?

Yes, the Steinberg UR12 is compatible with iOS devices. You can use it with an iPad or iPhone by connecting it through a compatible adapter, allowing for mobile recording and easy integration with various iOS apps.

Does the Steinberg UR12 come with any bundled software?

The Steinberg UR12 comes with Cubase AI, a comprehensive digital audio workstation (DAW) that allows you to record, edit, and mix your audio projects. This software is a great addition, especially for beginners who are just starting with recording and producing music.

What is the build quality of the Steinberg UR12 like?

The Steinberg UR12 features a durable metal chassis that ensures longevity and resilience against wear and tear. Its compact design makes it portable and reliable for both studio and on-the-go recording sessions.

Final Thoughts

The main issue with the Steinberg UR12 is that it only fills a very specific niche, and only temporarily.

This is a device that starters will quickly outgrow, and with better options being cheaper, only get this if you can get a good deal.

Matt Brook

With a background in Journalism and years of experience in the industry, Matt brings a wealth of knowledge to the WiredClip team.

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