UAD-2 QUAD PCIe opinions

Discussion in 'DAW Pro Audio' started by bigtree, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. bigtree

    bigtree Has Studio Services

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    How do you like the UAD-2 QUAD? Whats it all about?
    What DAW are you using it with and does it work well?
    I see you get some plugins with this, What are your most used / favourite? How is the Realverb Pro
    UAD-2 QUAD DSP Accelerator Package | Universal Audio
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Moderator

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    I have a duo and a quad and may have to plunk down for another quad soon. (They have historically had a big sale in November or December.) The UAD plugs are some of my favorites and I have been using them more and more. With the last upgrade that gave full RTAS versions they work much better with ProTools. You should talk to someone running them with Sequoia/64 bit. They are still at 32 and I hear the 32/64 bridge. Since PT and UAD are both at 32 at this point I can't report on that.

    Favorite Plugins: The compressor collection in general is great. I don't have all of them yet, but I love the LA2A. The 1176 and Fairchild are next. All dead simple to operate of course - like the analog units they are trying to emulate. I assume they are not exactly like their hardware ancestors, but I have one of them on every track and bus. It's not like I can ever dream of affording an analog collection like that. I don't have the Fatso or the dbx 160.

    The Manley massive is the best EQ plug I have ever used. DSP hog so you can't use on on every track, but it's great.

    [corretions added] The reverbs are maybe the highlight of the unit. (Of course, they are cpu hogs, so pushing that function to a DSP card can be a good idea. One way to think of the UAD is as a cheap substitute for a Bricasti.) The Realverb Pro is their [free with the card] "natural" or modern reverb. [They have a $149 upgraded unit called the "Dreamverb.] I have not played with it the Realverb much. When I first tried it out it seemed to have the same aims as the Sonnox Reverb that I own, and since I already knew how to get what I wanted out of the Sonnox I didn't explore further. The two premium reverbs that I own are the EMT 140 plate and the Lexicon 244. The 140 is the best plate plugin that I have heard. Sounds very real to me. The Lexicon is a very good emulation - instant '80's. I've been setting up three Reverb buses on most songs: a small room (Sonnox), a plate (140), and a wash (Lexicon). I use them in varying combinations on all sources.

    I also have the Studer Tape emulation. I has a very nice effect on all tracks and really provides a unifying sound. Problem is that when you use in on all tracks you use up a quad card pretty quickly and don't have enough DSP for using all of the other plugs. They have a new Ampex emulation which is supposed to sound better across the two bus. (The Studer is OK across the two bus, but sounds better on individual tracks in my tests.)

    Of course when you get the card you get all of the plugs to try as 14 day demos, and they renew the demos each time you buy a new plug. It's like handing out free samples of crack. The plugins are that good.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  3. bigtree

    bigtree Has Studio Services

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    Hey thanks Bob, much appreciated!

    I see how this system is similar to Pro Tools mix cards and HD systems. UA has taken the closed Avid system and hybrid it to the world of DAW's. Very smart.

    I see why people are adding more and more cards then. My next question is PCIe slots and available card slots. Is this what the Satellite is all about or how to you get around this when you need 2, 3, 4 more card slots?
  4. bigtree

    bigtree Has Studio Services

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    P.S.
    You are using Pro Tools 9 correct? Just to bring me up to date on Avid specifically... Are the plugin options you get from Avid (or don't get) inferior or limited, why do the Digi generation choose the UAD route?

    Going from past Digi experience, owning the once "industry standard, world renowned Pro Tools 24 Mix plus systems on Mac: I could impressively run 48 tracks with more than enough plug-ins and ample automation and never crash. My system was rock solid on PT 5.1. However, to use a well descriptive phase, Alsihad sounded like "ass".

    My question here is: Is this still the case with the newer Pro Tools plug-ins too? Why are people spending all this money on turn key Pro Tools rigs and then spending even more money on the UAD system?

    To qualify, I'm not questioning the UAD. I think UA has hit the mark so spot on and why I am looking at this for my ITB rig now. I'm baffled on where Avid is going at this point. Long term thinking... It could only be as a software company. Thoughts?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2011
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Moderator

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    Yes. The options for adding extra outboard PCIe slots are pretty expensive, and the Satellite addresses the problem. It's also usable with a laptop mobile system. There is still an upper limit on the number of cards/satellites but maybe that will change when they move to 64 bits. (Just guessing.) I never see any complaints about anyone needing more than four quads over at the UAD board, so it may not be a problem even for the guys running crazy track counts.
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Moderator

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    Yes, PT9. I like the basic plugin offerings from PT, but I think of them as fairly vanilla. They fix problems but don't add their own character. I have another post up about EQs, and as I say in there I think the basic PT EQ plugs are very good, and I've stuck with them even after comparing them to the Sonnox and the UAD Cambridge (both like the Digi basic 1-3-5-7 band EQs with lots of controls of parameters and curves). But I just use it to fix problems. If I want to add color I'll go with one of the UAD analog style EQs (Neve 1073, Pultex, Manley).

    In compressors the Digi compressor is good, transparent, and has a lot of control over parameters...but it's just too vanilla. I used to use the Digi Bomb Factoy compressor for color, but I've liked all of the UAD compressors better whenever I've compared.

    I could go on but it's pretty much the same story. I can't think of a Digi plugin that I really hate, most of them are quite good, but there's basically always something better out there. I think plugins are a market where you can get a small company working very hard on a specific problem and beat the big boy in one area.
  7. chavernac

    chavernac

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    You guys should watch this free mixing video series:
    Gearfest 2011: Mixing 1/4 Setting Up - PUREMIX
    Gearfest 2011: Mixing 2/4 Vocal - PUREMIX
    Gearfest 2011: Mixing 3/4 Bass/Reverbs/Guitar - PUREMIX
    Gearfest 2011: Mixing 4/4 Drums/Violin/MixBus - PUREMIX

    It s ALL done with UA plugins.

    I believe that you can do anything you want with this suite of plugins... from something super transparent to something super colored.
    Really versatile.
    Although I gotta say that PT compressors and EQs are great and very transparent too.
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