Slate Digital is known for great software emulations such as the Virtual Tape Machines, Virtual Console Collection, and Virtual Bus Compressors. The company has gained an even stronger reputation with hardware after releasing the ML-1 microphones last year. This year at NAMM 2017, Steven Slate introduced the new audio interface from Slate Digital that drew a lot of attention.

Slate Digital VRS-8’s Audio Quality

Obviously, the most important aspect when talking about a new interface is the actual sound quality. Slate Digital seemed to spare no cost when entering the audio interface market by incorporating:

· 8 Ultra Linear microphone preamps: the flattest and most linear sounding preamps available giving you a blank canvas to emulate microphones with the Slate virtual microphone plug-insƒ
· Mastering grade A/D and D/A converters: uses AK5578 converters which are the most transparent chips currently available with 124 db dynamic range on all 8 inputs
· High-End circuit design featuring boutique op-amps: OPA1612 chips used on all inputs and outputs
· WIMA capacitors: for the audio path
· Discrete headphone amplifiers: two high-quality headphone outputs for headphone mixing quality

On paper alone, the VRS-8 out-specs nearly all audio interfaces until you spend exponentially more money. The latency is also the lowest of any native solution with it down to 0.7 ms at 96k, which is quite impressive. There are also a few awesome bonus studio features that you don’t normally see in audio interfaces at this level, like not relying on a DSP interface to take the heavy lifting of the processor but instead introducing a new format called LLN (Low-Latency Native). LLN features a custom hard-wired chipset that has no firmware or software slowing the process down so the driver to audio is direct.

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As a point of reference for the sound quality, Slate Digital has released a comparison of the VRS-8 with Slate Digital emulations against the Universal Audio 8p with UAD emulations. You can download the audio files here: https://d2e52c39l1rggp.cloudfront.net/Slate-Uad-Eq-Comparison.zip

As a point of reference for the sound quality, Slate Digital has released a comparison of the VRS-8 with Slate Digital emulations against the Universal Audio 8p with UAD emulations. You can download the audio files here: https://d2e52c39l1rggp.cloudfront.net/Slate-Uad-Eq-Comparison.zip

The emulations sound incredibly similar with both the Slate Digital and Universal Audio interfaces, but the new LLN format allows the VRS-8 to handle much higher processing. The Slate Digital VRS-8 will also come with a year of the Everything Bundle for free!

The release date for the Slate Digital VRS-8 is to be announced, but it will be available starting at $1999 USD.