Review: UAD Ampex ATR-102 Plugin
BEST sounding UAD plugin I own
Simply works magic on the 2-buss bringing life, clarity, depth, glue to your mix
A great amount of options and controls allows you to really customize your sound
Expensive (but I personally think its worth it)
I personally find the GUI a bit distracting
I think Universal Audio must have had wizards working on this one, because this plugin is simply MAGIC!! Full disclosure, I’ve never worked with a real Ampex ATR-102, or any tape machine other than ADAT and Cassette for that matter, so I do not know how this plugin compares to the real deal. However, I do know what it does to my mixes, and it simply enhances them like no other plugin I’ve ever tried.
I personally mix my song first, and then when I think its good, I add the ATR-102 on my master. I dont know how it does it, but it seems to add tightness, depth and glue to the mix, and even can help expand the stereo image, and overall makes the mix even that much better sounding. Like I said, its simply like magic for me, and one of the few plugins that I can add to a mix and actually go “wow, that sounds amazing!” I also love the EQ section, as it can obviously really help shape the mix and sound you’re after. In essence, this plugin is like an EQ, compressor, and mix saturator all in one, and when you think of it that way, its really a good deal!
Though I mainly use it on my master buss, it also can be used on individual tracks, and is capable of some very cool tape delay effects, distortion effects, etc. One stereo instance only take 29% of a single DSP chip, which given that the Fatso takes 40% and the Manley Massive Passive takes 60%, is not bad at all, so dont limit yourself to using it only on the master – though I must admit I’ve so far only really used it on the master buss as described above. 🙂
The only negative is that it is not cheap. It lists for $350, and only recently have I seen it on sale for $279, which is still a large chunk of change. Thankfully for me I bought my apollo during one of their promotion and actually got this plugin for FREE! Either way, given what its capable of doing to enhance your mixes, I feel its well worth the investment, even at the $350 price. Try the demo and see for yourself, though I recommend having the cash already set aside before demoing, as once you hear what this plugin can do, you will buy it.