Positives:Best sounding plugins on the market today! No CPU load.
Negatives:Plugins are EXPENSIVE!!!!
Universal Audio first released the UAD platform over 10 years ago. There have been a few other players in the field of DSP processors but none have come close to the quality (and quantity) of the UAD plugin platform. The newest version of the UAD platform (the UAD2) leaps over its predecessor in power exponentially. Available in single, dual, quad and now 8 cores and found as both PCIe cards and Firewire boxes UAD has a solution for just about every computer setup scenario!
The cards (and boxes which kind of just have the cards in them) have a single job: run plugins! “So, what?” you say, “my computer has plenty of CPU and RAM to run what I need”. Ok, maybe you’re right, but the thing your computer CAN’T do is run the UAD plugins, without the hardware, and if you think a plugin is a plugin is a plugin, you’re SORELY mistaken. The UAD plugins are top of the mark. The emulations are unarguably the best, most accurate plugins ever made. Who better to emu an 1176 than the company that MAKES the 1176!? If you think your waves plugs do a good job, you haven’t heard anything! Recently UAD has moved off of just great emulation plugins, and has brought in some really cool modeling plugins (a trio of guitar/bass plugs, and the newest (as of the time of this review) Ocean Way Studio room modeling plugin). Their emulations of products from industry giants such as Neve, SSL, dBx, Lexicon, EMT, Roland, Fairchild, Emperical Labs, Studer etc etc, will leave you wondering what toys your were playing with previously. The perfection in these emulations will instantly bring your mixes to not a new level, but a whole new dimension (theres a pun about their Roland Dimension D emulation in there somewhere!). Prices to get into the UAD universe start at an easy $299 for a solo card (which has way more power than the old UAD1 card) and skys the limit after that.
The down side. The plugins themselves are sometimes quite expensive. (some more than the price of the card itself). But when you weigh the price of being able to run multiple Lexicon reverbs, vs purchasing MULTIPLE lexicon reverbs, the price immediately justifies itself (in most cases). Some plugins are one trick ponies, that while they only do one thing, they do it really really well, but the price is just a little out of the range of practicality. Overall though, as expensive as some of the plugs are, the sound is just above and beyond what most people think plugins are capable of. When you throw on one of the 1176 emulations on and can’t tell the difference between that and the hardware that is sitting right in front of you, you have a real winner!!!
Videos and sound demos are available on the UA site (uaudio.com). All plugins come with a fully functional 14 day trial that you can start when ever you’d like if you’re considering buying certain plugs, which is a great way to get to use the plugin and see if it’s right for you before spending your cash on it!