Universal Audio

Universal Audio’s name is synonymous with heritage and craftsmanship. Founded in 1958 by recording pioneer Bill Putnam Sr., Universal Audio was a natural extension of his success as a recording engineer, studio designer, and inventor. Putnam was a favorite engineer of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and many other music icons of the time.

Putnam started three audio product companies during his career: Universal Audio, Studio Electronics, and UREI. All three built products that remain widely used decades after their introduction, including the ubiquitous LA-2A and 1176 compressors, and the 610 tube mic preamp and EQ — used to record everyone from Sinatra to the Beach Boys to Van Halen I.

In 1999, Bill Putnam Jr. and James Putnam re-launched Universal Audio with two main goals:

  • Faithfully reproduce classic analog recording equipment designed by their father and his colleagues
  • Research and design new recording tools in the spirit of vintage analog technology

Today, Universal Audio is fulfilling that goal, bridging the worlds of vintage analog and DSP technology in a creative environment near Santa Cruz, California — where musicians, analog designers, and DSP engineers exchange ideas every day. Digital or analog, UA remains committed to the “hand assembled” ideal that has been forgotten by many other audio manufacturers.

Now recognized as a worldwide leader, Universal Audio products like the LA-2A and 1176 compressors, the Apollo audio interfaces, and award-winning UAD plug-ins are winning the hearts and ears of producers and engineers worldwide, as they have for more than 50 years.