Review: UAD EX-1 EQ & Compressor module plugin
Comes FREE with a purchase of any UAD card or Apollo
Great sounding, quick and easy clean EQ & compression with VERY low DSP hit
Can be used on most sources with great results
GUI is a bit dated
Universal Audio’s EX-1 takes the EQ & Compressor section from their CS-1 Channel strip plugin and puts them in their own plugin, saving you DSP resources. While you could run 15 stereo CS-1’s on a single DSP chip, with the EX-1 you can run up to 43 stereo instances – a pretty dramatic increase! http://www.uaudio.com/support/uad/compatibility/instance-chart.html Though the manual states that these numbers are true if you’re using the full CS-1, I’ve run my own test and found that running a CS-1 uses 6.4% DSP regardless of if you bypass the other modules, while running a EX-1 uses 2.3% DSP, so the savings are noticeable. But the real benefit of having just this module separated is that you can use the EQ & Compression in any order you choose, unlike the CS-1 Channel strip who’s order is fixed.
The EX-1 plugin comes FREE with every UAD purchase. Yes, you heard me correctly, FREE!! Though it does not model any specific analog gear like UA’s other compressor and EQ offerings, it does seem to have its own character, which can be clean when its uses lightly, but also breaks up nicely when pushed. I actually find it works quite well if you are not looking for the exact sound of “X” model gear, and just want to apply some quick EQ and compression with nice tight controls. In fact, to me, that its main strength – quickness & control. If I’m in a rush, I’ll reach for this plugin first just because its so quick to dial in the sound I want. The 5 band EQ gives you tons of shaping options, and each ones starting frequencies are tuned quite well, which is again great when working quickly. In fact, I really think if this plugin simply got a GUI update to look as good as UA’s other plugins, more people would comment on how good it really is!
Is the EX-1 the greatest EQ/compressor ever. No. Is it a good EQ/compressor. Yes. While I was using this plugin all the time when I first got my UAD card, I must admit now that I have the AMAZING Manley Massive Passive UAD plugin and some of their numerous great compressors, I find myself reaching for it less and less. However, I want to make it perfectly clear, though its GUI is very dated compared to the latest UAD offerings, its still a VERY functional plugin, and one I recommend you learn and use before deciding how to upgrade with other UAD purchase plunges.