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UAD-2 Questions

Discussion in 'Recording' started by BobRogers, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I know there are a few of you out there who have UAD cards. The studio where my daughter interned has one and she raves about the Fairchild compressor plugin (among others). With ADC in PT9 this seems a more viable option for me. Questions I'd like to throw out to those of you who own them:

    1. How quickly do you use up the dsp power? Is this UAD chart a good guide to how many instances of the various plugins I can run on a given card?

    2. Any advice on the solo vs. duo vs. quad. Looks to me that I can buy the solo, see if I really love the plugins and then buy another card if I find I'm using them a lot. I sthat a good strategy?

    3. What plugins do you like? Do you feel the system is a good value?
  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    I've heard lots of kids in the studio going on about the Fairchild compressor in their colleges which I presume must be the UAD one as I doubt the local comp has a $30k compressor. I just assumed it was kids namedropping and ignored it. Be interesting to find out its actually that good. Don't use them; we ended up with Sonnox and Waves; but interested to know how you get along.
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Well Alice wasn't name dropping. She couldn't remember the name. It was just a plugin she liked based on an expensive old analog compressor. Had to look up the name Fairchild. It's interesting. But she goes right for the vintage style compressor plugs. I had always like working with the numbers - dialing in exact parameters. I think I'm starting to come around to her side.

    Beyond the PT plugs only ones I have now are the Waves Silver and the Sonnox Reverb. I'm going to go with Alice's recommendation and get the UAD-2 Duo. It will come with the LA-2A and LA-3A levelers, 1176LN/SE limiting amps, Pultec's EQ, Fairchild 670 Compressor, RealVerb Pro room modeler and CS-1 channel strip plug-ins. It also provides full demos of all the other plugins, so I'll be doing some experimenting over Thanksgiving week. I'll be able to report how these interact with PT9 as well.
  4. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    I cannot vouch for UADs on ProTools ( should not come as a surprise to many..lol..), but I work with UADs for many years, now.
    I also own Waves Mercury and PowerCore, along with a multitude of other respectable plugs, but I always come back to UAD for its superior sound.

    The UAD1 was exhausted easily, but with the UAD 2 Duo, I also use side by side with a Quad, has enough power to get along well with most project.
    As to what plugins to purchase: It would be easier to name a few that I own, but didn't find them too useful for myself. This is but a handful of all ~ 50 plug they
    offer, atm, and it does not mean they aren't any good, I just like others better.
    UA is a very generous and cooperative company and currently offers a huge discount as well as 25 $ bonus..and that happens regualarly to the advantage of their customers.
    Their drivers are rock solid and update is always free and uncomplicated. And that is what you want: when in the middle of a project you still can update UAD plugs without having to fear that it is messing with your projects running ( on Nuendo, at least...).
    Latest member is the Manley Massive Passive EQ, which is really as close to the original as it gets.. and worth every penny. The Hardware is about 5000 Euro and you have only 1 instance.
    Best to watch UAD videoclips on their homepage... To put it in a popular expression: UAD rulez...

    PT9 user, of course, will have to deal with Alsihad's ridiculous ADC.... there might be a bottleneck with most more demanding plugs or cards...
  5. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I was talking to my local sales rep about UAD and Protools 9. Apparently there are still some glitches to work out. UAD becoming an official RTAS developer should change things. I've noticed that there is noticeable cpu usage increase in ProTools with any of the UAD plugins in use. This is probably due to the fact that there is a VST to RTAS wrapper involved. Hopefully they will sort this out in the next driver update. It would be nice if they could port the plugins to RTAS instead of using the wrapper. That would probably eliminate the cpu usage issue. I almost bought PT9 until we discussed this but until they fix that issue it's not worth it for me. I have two other DAWs that work just fine with UAD and no additional CPU usage.

    Edit. The saleperson is using a UAD 2 solo and noticed the cpu usage. I have a UAD-1e.
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the comments. I got the UAD-2 Duo at noon today. Installed very easily. Integration with PT9 is easy, but you have to use 1024 buffer size (at least on everything I tried). And latency and cpu usage were pretty large. The PT9 ADC worked fine with 2-3 plugs on a track. There are comments on the uadio board saying that they are working on the RTAS plugins and once the wrapper is gone things will be better.

    I just tried out plugs on existing songs and did not do anything extreme like piling up plugs that I would not usually use. I liked all of the plugs in the standard packages (including the "special"). This gives a nice pallet of four compressors, a good modern style digital reverb (very competitive with the Sonnox - have to listen more) and a very nice sounding Pultec EQ. We turned on the demos of several other plugs. I have a credit to get a few more. Definitely going with the plate reverb. VERY real sounding. The Manley Massive Passive is great, but chews up DSP. If I buy it I'm probably committing myself to a quad card in the future.

    Anyway, I shouldn't give any more opinions tonight. The Hokies beat the 'Canes. (The Virginia Tech Hokies beat the University of Miami Hurricanes in American College Football for the uninitiated.) Everything sounds good right now.
  7. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Youp, the Manley uses a fair chunck of power, but I don't use it on single tracks that often, anyway. I actually use it mostly on the master channel to tweak the summed audio.
    For many instruments the old Pultec and others are good enough... and the Massive Passive is the icing on the cake..lol...
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I agree. That's how I used it playing around this afternoon. Just put it across the master fader or across the drum bus. Very nice. Hard to make it sound bad. As you say, the Pultec is actually a very nice sounding EQ and you can load up a lot of instances of that. I'm going to spend some time comparing the other EQs and probably get one and throw in the Manley as well. While I'm saving my pennies for a quad card I can always bounce the drums down to stereo. I usually do essentially that - once I have the drums mixed to my satisfaction I don't constantly tweak them. So I could bounce a stereo drum track using the Manley on the bus and then have plenty of room left for other instruments.
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You guys are gonna coerce me into spending more money that I don't have!!!
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    John- It could be worse. You could be paying a lot of money to send your daughter to a school where she learns about things that you want to spend more money on. Talk about a bad positive feedback loop.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    True. Terribly true. On the other hand, when she gets out of school and hires you in repayment for putting her through school, you can double your purchase power!
  12. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Uh, right. But I probably should keep my day job for the time being.
  13. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    I use my hardware massive passive pretty much solely on the 2-bus, half because its nice to have it there and mix into it, and half because its a pig to route out and back into it track by track. I'm exclusively VST although my engineers use pro tools, you've definitely got me very interested in this now; I was about to lay some money down on a hardware reverb which is something I really should have done a long time ago, but now I am seriously considering this instead for bang for buck.
  14. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Well, it's worth a listen for the plate reverb alone. A real plate is so much money and space that it's a couple of orders of magnitude different investment. Another point: the UAD card is a hardware reverb (or whatever). It's just on a card rather than in a box.

    It has been a busy few days and I have not really explored the other reverbs. But as I think I said, my quick impression of the EMT 250 simulation was that it didn't blow me away in comparison to other modern style plugin reverbs. Now Cucco's Bricasti... True, it was a short demo on material that showed it off really well - but it was really nice. I'll report back when I've had a chance to explore some more.

    If you give the UAD-2 a try I'd love to have your comparison of their Manley plug with the hardware Manley.
  15. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Just in case anyone missed it, here's a video demo of the Massive Passive from UA:

  16. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    So I've been mixing a lot and experimenting. All of the plugins are loaded into your machine and you get to try them in an unrestricted 14 day demo that you can activate plug-by-plug. I really like the quality. The sound is great. I haven't found one of them that I felt just sounded like crap. A couple of minor quibbles. (1) They go too far in trying to imitate the analog units: you have to move your mouse mimicking the turn of the virtual knob. (2) When you are working on the plug, the keyboard controls on PT are disabled. You have to click in the PT screen to reactivate them.

    I'll try to give some first impressions of some of the individual plugs. (I've marked the plugs that come with the standard package with a star * and the ones that come with the "special sale" with two **)

    As you can see, there's a nice list of compressors that come with the standard package - enough that I didn't bother to demo the Neve or DBX compressors. I've listed the compressors from what I feel is the slowest, mushiest, smoothest to the most aggressive. They all sound good in their own way. It has been very interesting playing around with this pallet and matching the character of the compressor with the instrument and song.

    LA-2A*. Slow and smooth. Great character. Gentle compression on ballad vocals. Nice on mando.

    Fairchild 670**. Great on my old school, p-bass with flats tracks. Very smooth.

    1176LN*. I used the 1176LN and LA-3A pretty interchangeably on drums, guitars, and more aggressive vocals. They are different, but I don't really have a feel for the differences.



    Pultec EQP-1A* and Pultec-Pro**. The Pultec-Pro is a combination of the Pultec MEQ-5 Midrange Equalizer and the Pultec EQP-1A. Very nice sounding. Smooth. Hard to make it sound bad. Some of the controls are not that intuitive. No overall gain adjustment.

    Neve 1073. Love it. I ended up using this the most. I used the standard graphic EQ that comes with PT if I want to "fix" something, but this is the one I ended up going to if I just wanted to enhance a track. The controls are easy to use and figure out but they go the "wrong" way. What is it with you Brits? Does driving on the wrong side of the road affect your brains?

    Manley Massive Passive BEST FRICKIN EQ EVER. If it didn't soak up so much power I'd use it on every track. You just cant make anything sound bad with this. Smooth, subtle, versatile, powerful, easy to use. Saving my pennies for a quad card.

    Cambridge. This is their standard parametric EQ. It has a few little features that I like better than the standard PT plug, but not enough that I considered buying it.


    RealVerb Pro*. Modern, full-featured reverb. Similar to the Sonnox, but with a few added features like choice of surface materials.

    EMT-140 Plate. I've talked about this above. Love it. Used it on all of the country songs I mixed yesterday. Bought it.

    EMT-250. Meh. I think I can get similar sounds from the Sonnox or the RealVerb. Nice, but it didn't float my boat. YMMV.


    Fatso Jr/Sr. Another "Meh." Couldn't get it to do anything interesting.
  17. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Don't forget the SPL Transient designer, Neve 33609, Neve & SSL channels trips, Harrison 32c, the precision group...
    What do you say aboutthe EMT 250 chorus & delay, I like it quite a bit....
    Little Box IBP phase alignment tool was safeing my day the last week. A stereo recording of an acoustic instrument could be fixed and substantially improved.

    The controls can be switched to adopt to the DAW settings. It is not necessary to always rotate the knobs. The disabled KB is a PT problem...
    I would love to be able to change the size of those GUIs. They take up a lot of screen realestate and could be smaller without causing problems.
  18. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tip about the control knobs. I'll check that out.

    I checked out the Harrison briefly. With a full featured multiband EQ I like an EQ curve if only because it helps me remember the settings I've used. (I realize the danger of mixing with my eyes rather than with my ears.) That kind of plugin is one of the nicer ones in the PT collection, so I didn't want to pay much for a similar plugin to one I already like. I'll give it a more serious look down the line - especially if I add another card.

    I don't know what I have against channel strips, but something about those big GUIs taking up half a screen just puts me off. I just don't like working with them for some reason. I never even bothered to activate the demos. I'll give them a try later.

    I never thought about playing with the chorus on the EMT-250. I don't use plugin effects that much. But there is one song I'm working with where I've used a Leslie sim on a guitar. I'll give it a try on that.

    Since I just got a bunch of new compressors, I decided not to look at the 33609.

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