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FutureStarrUA CEO Bill Putnam Jr Recalls 60 Years Leading The Music Pro
Universal Audio (UA) is a leader in audio production tools, such as Apollo and Volt audio interfaces, UAD plug-ins, UAFX guitar pedals and the new LUNA recording system. Headquartered in Scotts Valley, California, UA offers professional-quality tools to audio content creators so they can record, mix and master music with confidence.
Since its founding, UA has faithfully reproduced classic analog gear like the LA-2A and 1176 compressors. Furthermore, they've pioneered ways of bringing that warm, analog sound into the digital age.
Putnam was born in Danville, Illinois and raised in Chicago. While in high school he worked part time at a radio shop, developing his interest in music and the recording business. Ultimately he sold it for $700 to pursue broadcast engineering at Valparaiso Technical Institute. As an audio engineer, Putnam went on to found Universal Recording Studios which quickly became a destination studio for major recording artists.
He achieved success as both a songwriter and producer, penning songs for Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Ray Charles - earning him the title of one of the "fathers of modern recording".
His legacy of innovation is legendary, from the first commercial use of artificial reverberation and multi-band audio equalizer to creating groundbreaking audio compressors like the LA-2A. Additionally, he designed the 610 tub microphone preamp which revolutionized mixing boards and became a go-to choice for recording artists such as Beach Boys or Van Halen.
In 1999, Bill and James Putnam revived Universal Audio to honor their father's legacy of reproducing classic analog recording gear from the 1960s. As technology advanced throughout the 2000s, Universal Audio expanded into digital recording tools.
UA's future lies in the decentralization of audio recording. With the rise of podcasts, TikTok and YouTube videos, demand for UA audio hardware has multiplied exponentially. This presents UA with an incredible opportunity to help music creators produce professional quality sound from home or on-the-go.
Today, Universal Audio offers an ever-expanding portfolio of music-oriented hardware and software products that are built upon their decades long heritage of innovation and superior quality. From Apollo and Volt computer audio interfaces to UA microphones, guitar effects pedals, and increasingly popular plug-ins, the company continues to produce top-notch products at the cutting edge of audio technology.
As the world transitions away from large professional studios to smaller home and bedroom settings, UA is ready to bridge the gap between high-end equipment and accessible recording tools. Their latest UA Apollo and Volt audio interfaces are certified plug-and-play for PC, Mac and iPhone - giving producers the same unique recording processes they have come to expect from UA.
Established in 1958 by Bill Putnam Sr, Universal Audio was one of the earliest manufacturers of professional audio recording equipment. Many of its early designs remain in production today - from classic tube consoles to groundbreaking analog processors.
In addition to classic studio equipment, UA has also created revolutionary software and plugins that let musicians recreate the sound of their favorite gear in the studio. From faithful recreations of tube 610s and 1176 consoles to legendary Urei Time Align monitors, these plug-ins bring these legendary instruments alive within your music production workflow.
With a history of innovation spanning 60 years, this company is widely acknowledged as the most widely used brand in pro audio. As such, they have earned recognition as some of the industry's most influential innovators and driving forces behind advancements in digital music creation.
Audio recordings began as purely mechanical processes until the 1920s when electrical recorders entered the marketplace. This marked an important turning point in audio history and marked the introduction of multitrack recording techniques.
Multitrack recordings allowed musicians to record multiple instruments and vocals on one disc, creating a fuller-sounding track that was easier to mix and master than individual tracks.
Another key development in sound recording was tape recording, which became the primary format for commercial audio production during the 1940s. This technology was built upon the K1 Magnetophon, a modified German recorder further improved by American engineer John Mullin with backing from Bing Crosby Enterprises during that era.
This technology was later applied to create the CD, a compact disc which became the standard consumer recording medium. This marked an enormous advance for audio professionals as it introduced high-fidelity recording into wide consumption.
Over the years, UA has continued to revolutionize audio recording with some of the top converters and Unison-enabled mic pres available on the market. Furthermore, UA's software enables Apollo users to seamlessly integrate hardware-software emulation for an authentic analog-style workflow.
As UA continues to expand, the company strives to push itself further. From launching new products to adopting cutting-edge technologies, UA strives to make an impact on both its consumers and industry alike.
One of UA's premier innovation initiatives is the UA Center for Innovation, established in 2003 and now Arizona's longest-running business incubator program. Its purpose is to assist early-stage companies by offering hands-on assistance with developing and commercializing technology.
The center is situated within UA Tech Park, one of the region's largest employment hubs and managed by Tech Parks Arizona. Spread across 18,000 square feet, this facility features offices, wet and dry labs, video conference rooms, secure computer server rooms and meeting spaces for up to 200 people.
In addition to the center, UA is actively encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation through various programs and events. From its annual Tech Transfer Day to a new initiative designed to aid UA research gain traction, the University is dedicated to nurturing local and regional innovation ecosystems.
UA Finance has long been a leader in the financial services sector. For nearly two decades, they have pioneered an array of ground-breaking creative loan services that continue to attract new customers and remain competitive globally.
As UA strives to stay abreast of the rapidly transforming financial services sector, it is committed to adopting disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), big data, blockchain and cognitive/machine learning for its next-generation creative loan solutions. Furthermore, they have built a secure technology foundation which will offer an adaptable and resilient platform for continued application development and cloud transformation.
By teaming up with VMware, UA is well-positioned to achieve their ambitious goal. Utilizing an integrated solution comprised of VMware's SDDC Platform, VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Integrated Edition and VMware Hyperconverged Infrastructure, UA can simplify applications and cloud operations while providing purpose-built features and enterprise-ready Kubernetes runtime that accelerate time to market and enhance agility across development and operations teams.
Universal Audio (UA) is a premier global provider of hardware and software for music professionals, such as Grammy-winning producers, professional and aspiring musicians, home studio owners and bedroom beatmakers. For over six decades, UA has revolutionized audio recording technology - shaping the sounds of A-list artists such as Adele, Lizzo and Doja Cat.
UA continues to build upon its legacy of innovation with products renowned for their sonic authenticity. This has been the key factor in UA's success in today's digital music production era.
UAD's Apollo and Volt computer audio interfaces, UAFX guitar effects pedals and plug-in software are used by an increasing number of top tier artists worldwide. Furthermore, their new subscription service UAD Spark is becoming incredibly popular with professional and aspiring musicians looking to hone their music making abilities.
Many of today's most successful and influential music creators began with UA equipment. For instance, the legendary UA CL 1B optical compressor remains a favorite of recording engineers and guitarists, while the UA X Series of analog-style studio interfaces is widely regarded as some of the finest and most reliable gear ever manufactured.
These are just a few examples of UA's impressive legacy and reputation that has grown over the past six decades. To mark their 60th year as music pro pioneers, UA is introducing two new lines of hardware and software that will further solidify their position as an elite manufacturer of high-end audio equipment.
UA's hardware and software future looks bright, with an expanding portfolio of high-end audio products and a thriving music production business. To replicate the performance of an authentic analog studio, they're launching their LUNA recording and production software - powered by Thunderbolt technology and featuring a suite of renowned analog-inspired plug-ins to help you achieve the ideal mix.
The company is also bringing back the Apollo X line of analog-style interfaces with special plug-in bundles to provide users with a comprehensive UA audio production experience. These limited editions boast near-zero latency tracking and Unison technology, so users can use these plug-ins in real time without compromising quality.