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Old 25-08-2016, 03:37 AM   #1
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Universal audio

I was wondering if anyone here uses UAD hardware (UAD satellite or Apollo) and whether you think the DSP capabilities are worth it to you. I am asking as I have come to appreciate the DSP capabilities of my MOTU and something like the UAD-2 Octo seems pricey, but potentially very, very capable.

The plugs seem to be rated very high and some of them I know to be of really good quality.

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Old 27-10-2016, 08:52 PM   #2
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Re: Universal audio

My problem with UAD is when i buy premium hardware i like to think in 20 years time i can still use it but thats not the case with UAD.

I started with UAD over 10 years ago, i bought 3 x UAD-1 cards and plenty of plugins which i thought was great.

Then one day Universal audio announced they would no longer support then UAD-1.

So i had 1200 worth of cards that overnight lost value and within a short period of time became useless.

I actually ended up giving my 3 cards away to friends, then i went out and bought a UAD-2 Quad for 1200 just so i could run the plugins i already had, no gain just a wallet emptier.

One day my UAD-2 stopped working, so all my projects grinded to a hault, it was then i realised how much i had started depending on this system.

Anyway UA replaced my broken card with a new one, however that won't happen again as now my warranty has run out.

So now i have decided to keep using my UAD-2 and plugins for as long as possible but not to buy any new plugins, then the day they announce UAD-3 and give up support for UAD-2 i'll just wash my hands of UA and put it all down to a bad learning curve.

Don't get me wrong the plugins are great but i don't like the idea of how much money you can put into it for UA to just pull the plug when they feel like it.

I know you are asking about Apollo but its the same thing, sometime in the future you'll have this expensive sound card that works perfectly well but you won't be able to use it because UA will of given up support.

So as long as your prepared for that, then yes they are superb sound cards and plugins.

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Old 31-10-2016, 11:17 AM   #3
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Re: Universal audio

I see. That doesn't sound good. I think I'll continue to build hardware capabilities. The one thing I liked was the idea of reducing the drain on CPU power. There is other ways around that. Thanks that was very helpful!

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Old 01-11-2016, 12:59 PM   #4
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Re: Universal audio

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I see. That doesn't sound good. I think I'll continue to build hardware capabilities. The one thing I liked was the idea of reducing the drain on CPU power. There is other ways around that. Thanks that was very helpful!
The otherside of the coin is there are thousands of users Outhere who will swear by UAD.

However the UAD plugins are not better than native plugins they are on par, this is proven by a lot of native plugins now available on the UAD platform.
Lets face it UAD plugins are made on a computer before they are ported over to the card format, so anything on UAD can be made native.

and yes reducing the drain on CPU power is good, But you can buy a powerful PC for less than a UAD Quad card which i find rather odd, with todays powerful computers i think the card is a glorified dongle.

Again these are all my personal views after 10 years of using UAD, but there plenty of fanboys outhere who would happily put me in my place.

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Old 02-11-2016, 07:23 PM   #5
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Re: Universal audio

I agree with Cane about 98% but im perfectly happy with my uad system.

My experience is slightly different though as I took advantage of UA's time limited trade in offer when uad-1 support ended and got my first uad-2 cheap with a few extra plugins thrown in. I also fell lucky with a promotion and got a quad for 560 and again got another selection of nice plugins for free too. So I'm in way less than Cane is which is a bit shit really as he was a way bigger customer than I am and should have been looked after better.

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Old 25-03-2017, 07:16 PM   #6
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Re: Universal audio

Now's the time to buy an Quad or an Octo. They've slashed about 400 off the Octo until the end of the month. Really wish I could afford one right now!

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Old 07-07-2017, 09:15 PM   #7
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Re: Universal audio

this was too helpful, reading this post. in fact it kinda killed my uad boner i had going for Reason 9.5 and those nice manely, pultec, shadow hills plugins i wanted... and now having serious second thoughts.

I can use any plug in but wanted the hardware in replicate. IF UA shafts their customers this way, i cannot see it feasible to spend 1-2 thousand dollars just to see it gone one day... makes me sad.

Theres no point in me getting mastering hardware as I am not a mastering engineer.
nor do I really know what Im doing,

This really puts me in a pickle... Im not sure why they wouldnt let you upgrade for free.... on the plugin side, if you buy the upgraded hardware, I could see that maybe, acceptable, with a reduced price....

fuck.
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:52 PM   #8
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Re: Universal audio

There are all kinds of great sounding VSTs these days. Waves. FabFilter. U He. Brainworx.

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Old 08-07-2017, 10:19 AM   #9
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Re: Universal audio

The real benefit is really the added DSP power. I'm thinking that I'll look for a deal on a Mac Pro once an updated version is announced. Six cores and 128 GB RAM should go quite a way.

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Old 08-07-2017, 10:22 PM   #10
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Re: Universal audio

For that money I'd probably buy the Soundtoys Suite.

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Old 10-07-2017, 12:25 AM   #11
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Re: Universal audio

yea not really sure yet... i got plenty of time to research and find out though before I have the cash in hand but its coming... I may still get the plugins, but if uad 3 is coming soon or idk wtf how they do... lol maybe i wait for the new upgraded stuffs first... and get other stuff now... shit happens.
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Old 10-07-2017, 01:34 AM   #12
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Re: Universal audio

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yea not really sure yet... i got plenty of time to research and find out though before I have the cash in hand but its coming... I may still get the plugins, but if uad 3 is coming soon or idk wtf how they do... lol maybe i wait for the new upgraded stuffs first... and get other stuff now... shit happens.
I've only briefly played with UAD at the home of an aquantence a few times. The stuff sounded good, undoubtedly. But none of the plug ins she owned neccisarily sounded better than the higher quality stuff I've aquired over the last two years.

I've been using U-he Satin and Presswerk for quite a while--if you want tape color or a compressor than can do vintage emulations I'd say these are both well worth your money. And I can run 8-10 instances total of the two VSTs w/o getting into drop out territory.

Also Satin is a very good sounding tape delay. Depending on what FXs you are looking for from UAD ask around about other options first. Waves has stupid good sales constantly and now with their cloud system you don't even need an iLok (fuck that dongle noise)

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Old 16-07-2017, 06:21 PM   #13
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Re: Universal audio

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I've only briefly played with UAD at the home of an aquantence a few times. The stuff sounded good, undoubtedly. But none of the plug ins she owned neccisarily sounded better than the higher quality stuff I've aquired over the last two years.

I've been using U-he Satin and Presswerk for quite a while--if you want tape color or a compressor than can do vintage emulations I'd say these are both well worth your money. And I can run 8-10 instances total of the two VSTs w/o getting into drop out territory.

Also Satin is a very good sounding tape delay. Depending on what FXs you are looking for from UAD ask around about other options first. Waves has stupid good sales constantly and now with their cloud system you don't even need an iLok (fuck that dongle noise)
Thanks for your input. After some more research and talking with the local studio Ive decided to get them... but not just yet... first is the midi controller for the ssl mixer and the remaining 703 I need to get MY studio finished, then I can start my recent projects final processing...

After talking with Rick, the studio owner, he informed me, yes, UA did change their program from uad 1 to uad 2, and yes the support stopped, but that doesnt mean the devices cannot be used... as the few posts I read insinuated. Im okay with loosing the updated versions as long as the previous still work with my OS which I will never update... at least not on my DAW machine.

Im sure there are many plugins that work better or as good, but manley, shadow hills, pul-tec... I want the hardware replication being i cannot afford the hardware.
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Old 16-07-2017, 10:16 PM   #14
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Re: Universal audio

The only bothersome aspect is the designed obsolescence of the very pricey hardware UAD requires, whether that a Satellite, UAD Octo, or an Apollo audio interface. Consider the need to update your DAW eventually, which may at that time require you to update the OS, which puts you into the predicament mentioned. Now 8 SHARC processors can give you a lot of processing power. To me, it makes a little more sense to invest in a more beefy computer. That said, one way or another you'll face the same problem of obsolete hardware with a computer, too. Not so much with a well built analog hardware synth.

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Old 16-07-2017, 11:29 PM   #15
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Re: Universal audio

I've had the Apollo Twin Duo for about 6 months now and it does seem like a solid unit. Then again I came from a Roland UA-25. I have not owned any other audio interfaces so I can't really make a proper comparison to other premium units.

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Old 16-07-2017, 11:50 PM   #16
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Re: Universal audio

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Originally Posted by liquid_air View Post
The only bothersome aspect is the designed obsolescence of the very pricey hardware UAD requires, whether that a Satellite, UAD Octo, or an Apollo audio interface .... To me, it makes a little more sense to invest in a more beefy computer.
Yeah, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Outboard DSP made a lot of sense when plugin power was outstripping available compute. That's really not the case these days, and the dedicated DSP chips are starting to look slower and slower by comparison to even moderate laptop cpus. I think UAD hardware had its day in the sun and while it'll have its adherents and converts like anything else, I expect more and more people will move off it sooner than later.

Somewhat anecdotally, a guy I collaborate with sometimes had UAD hard and soft and really loved it. I didn't because he regularly had to bounce all his work to stems to send to me because I couldn't use any of the UAD stuff. I'll also say he never once sent me something where the audio quality just blew me away over the options I had - as much as I've been exposed to and occasionally used UAD, I can't buy into the woo because I've never heard it. They're not bad, but they're not redefining the plugin landscape either. He hit the obsolesce point about a year ago and moved over to more standard stuff - Antelope hardware and the usual plugin suspects. His output hasn't suffered for it at all.

So I dunno, maybe I'm biased or just don't see the appeal, but UAD stuff just looks like really expensive dongles for not a lot of upside that can't be had elsewhere for less cost and more flexiblity.
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Old 17-07-2017, 06:38 AM   #17
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Re: Universal audio

I remember all those UA videos of famous producers sat in their studios A/B'ing UA plugins with their real Hardware counterparts and saying they can't tell the difference........

.....Then years later UA release version 2 of their plugins because version ones actually didn't sound like the real thing after all.

The hype and the great looking GUI's win people over, Softube, Waves, Soundtoys are in the same league without the expensive DSP dongle.

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Old 18-07-2017, 12:00 AM   #18
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Re: Universal audio

You know, most VSTs have a free demo option too.... lots of hardware emulations that you can demo and see if you like them.

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