Founded in 1958 by M.T. "Bill" Putnam Sr., the Universal Audio name and company have been synonymous with innovative recording products for more than 50 years. A favorite engineer of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles and more, the late Bill Putnam Sr. was a passionate innovator who is widely regarding as the father of modern recording — with many of his legendary studio and equipment designs still in use today.
Specifically, Putnam was the inventor of the modern recording console, the multi-band audio equalizer, and the vocal booth, and he was the first engineer to use artificial reverberation in commercial recording. Alongside his friend Les Paul, Putnam was also involved in the early development of stereophonic recording.
Putnam, a natural entrepreneur, started three audio product companies during his long career: Universal Audio, Studio Electronics, and UREI. All three companies built equipment that remains widely used decades after their introduction, including the ubiquitous LA-2A and 1176 compressors, and the 610 tube recording console. The 610 console in particular stands as one of the most beloved designs in audio history, used to record everyone from Sinatra to the Beach Boys to Van Halen I.
Putnam passed away in 1989. In 2000, he received a posthumous Technical Achievement Grammy award for his contribution to the music industry.
Universal Audio Inc. was re-founded in 1999 by Bill's sons, James Putnam and Bill Putnam Jr., with two main goals: to faithfully reproduce classic analog recording equipment in the tradition of their father; and to design new digital recording tools in with the sound and spirit of vintage analog technology.
Now with nearly 80 employees and legions of new customers worldwide, UA is headquartered near the Silicon Valley, in Scotts Valley, California — where our classic analog gear is still hand-built, one unit at a time. The lengths they go to deliver the exact sound and performance of classic analog audio gear is unparalleled; in fact, the goal is for UA's modern units perform identically to well-maintianed units built decades ago.
Software or hardware, every UA product is backed by a 50-year legacy of innovation, superlative quality, and technical passion.