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Thread: Plugins Reviews/breakdown

  1. #1
    Experienced UAD User
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    Dec 2012

    Plugins Reviews/breakdown


    Im a long time UAD user, well actually pretty much only use UAD+real hardware now.. but I thought I'd share this with you..
    Its only a share, not factual, and its my personal choices, and what I share may not be good for you...

    I will list the ones I own and have used MANY times and how/what on/where etc.. :-


    Harrison 32C

    This has been my GOTO plugin for Drums & vocals, the Mid crossover on this EQ is flawless, and great to "beef" up a snare or kick, and brilliant to remove some sizzle from Overheads, really no other EQ comes close to this when mixing drums... I just grab, and go, always works, never fails.

    For vocals, its great to add air, and remove any "nasal" mids, I find this EQ is best for Corrective EQ here, and not creative.. (I'll explain a different EQ i use for that later) - but 10/10 I always start with this, for any Vocal.

    Cambridge EQ

    Well its OK. for some thin Q sculpting, works great for those harsh mids sometimes caught with elec guitars on max overdrive sort of scenario's..but I don't like the high end on this, it thins it out too much, so I just use it for a subtractive "fixing" EQ.

    Massive Passive EQ

    Disappointing by this, I have a real Massive Passive and have done so many A/B tests, but the warmth or tube strength is not there. - I brought it due to the massive is such a lush EQ that having that available on more places would be fantastic.. but sadly not.. so Now I don't use it at all. (Don't get me wrong, its still great, but because I own the real H/W I know the difference, and I simply wont settle for 2nd best if I have real vs software) if you never used the H/WQ then don't stop, its still fantastic..


    Terrible on Drums, but amazing on Bass and guitars.. wow, slam these across your guitar buses for a instant warmup and extra clarity, I use these strictly for, well actually the color and making the tracks im working on either more close or further away in the mix.. great at that!. always use AFTER Comp, never before.

    Also my Vocal EQ Spice.. I cant explain it, but it does something to the transients.. (odd for a EQ I know) but makes them smooth and the vocals thank you for that!. really great vocal sweeter.



    Well run of the Mill really, UA did a fab job on this to make it sound like the real deal.. I don't own the originals, but have used them many times, and these really do give the Punch on things like the H/W big brothers.

    Love these on all things Punch.. so I use them on Drums/ in Comp mode, and then again for Limit mode on Buss. - great on Vocals too, due to the variable speeds of these, be wary how you use them, try not to put too much through one at a time, else you start to loose the point of them and therefor loose the punch.


    My Perfect Bass companions.. really drives the bass guitars hard.. and gives it some edge, (if that's what you like), and personally I do. so I use them here all the time.. I prefer the LA2A for Drums and Vocals, and this on things like Bass and Keys.. its good for Full range and bass range instruments, at least that's what I found..


    These fattys are amazing really, I use these all the time, and recently prefer them on my Mixbuss rather than my hardware API2500, Love the richness of the sound, they caught the analogue vibe well on this for sure, I don't think you can make anything sound bad with this on anywhere!...I typically use it for Parallel drum/vocal mixes.

    Neve 33609

    Never is known for its color, but this is not it!.. I think they just modeled the accuracy of the unit but didn't include the anolouge circuitry? - But its very transparent to me, in fact incredibly so. Bit of a complex beast to get right.. but once you get used to it its great for a submix buss or the mixdown buss. (automate the gain levels for some extra juice going into choruses)


    Studer A800

    Well This is always first & last on my mixbuss, I experiment with different tapes...for varied flavors... but its random the results, sometimes its "wow" other times it can break a mix. depends on lots of equations within the rest of the mix obviously.. but this is always there regardless, and sometimes as I sad can take time to get right..
    (i will cheat here and say that I use Slates VCC on every track aswell)

    Cooper Time Cube

    I was after some FAT delay, mostly for slapback things and a bit of guitar delays to mix in that offers the subtle warmth of older gear. and this was it.. - most delys I use are great on there own, but too sterile most of the time.. but the cooper has that true vibe feeling.

    Ocean Way

    Well I had massive high Hopes for this.. as sometimes as a mix engineer (and as you all know) we get send some god awful tracks sometimes.. that you often think.. damm why didn't they just do..... well this was my answer to that. but sadly, never actually been impressed with anything so far... - had decent results once on a drum buss, using it to add extra "room" to them.. by adding it in parallel and blending to taste, but just gave massive comb filtering no matter what you did.. so ended up knocking it off, and I try to get into it, but never seem too.. everything always just seems too far away, despite setting the mics closest including the time align features..I wont knock is all the way down just yet, but I think its way overpriced for what it is.. that I think some good IR's can do better with a bit of EQ tweaking to help...

    SPL Transient Designer

    Great, and brilliant for Kick drums.. to bring out soem sustained boom, that you dont want to compress and can be interesting to use it in a arty way too. - i.e Let the attack be negative so there is barely any transients, then over compress with your fav comp, and hear some interesting results. - then clamp it down again with more transient imaging, and you can have some cool effects....just a good fund plugin, I use it for Kicks and acoustic guitars.

    SPL TwinTube

    Ok this is amazing also, but it can also be destructive, if used subtly, it can have quite an impact of bringing out the vocal (especially male) - gives it some grit, without the need of pushing it further away or closer in the mix. - so a lil harmonic values can really change the "figure" of the voice, but ONLY in a positive way. as the old saying goes.. a little goes a long way.. this is true here!

    Typical Scenario...

    Track: KICK - Plugins in order. :-

    Slate VCC
    Harrison EQ (control rumble, if this fails then Cambridge)
    LA2A give some Squeeze and peak control
    SPL Trans (if applicable)
    Harrison EQ (making it sound sweet)

    Track: VOCAL :-

    Slate VCC
    Cambridge/Harrison EQ (Corrective)
    LA2A (Peak and level control)
    Pultec EQ (Give some sheen/shine)
    SPL TwinTube (give a lil air and fidelity)

    Track: BASS

    Slate VCC
    Cambridge EQ (corrective)
    1176 (Bring it all together GLUE)
    Harrison/Pultec EQ (Making it work)
    SPL Trans (if applicable)
    Pultec (Automation EQ only) to Automate the amount of bass in diff parts)


    Struder A800
    Fatso's (Only subtle, controlling only)
    Neve 33609, (For automation of Gain/levels) and subtle Comp.
    Cambridge (Final EQ, corrective only, Small amounts)
    Struder A800 (Set to final sound before Print)

    ---> this then goes to 2buss, where
    Massive Passive
    Api2500 live for final Mixdown
    (using a Neve 8816 btw)

    So, as long winded as this post is.. but is UA worth it.. YES and NO!.. whilst they supply great characters of equipment, but There is just too much of this in today's market.. with software and the pinnacle of todays engineering, time to be creative I think and do something new and unique...

    I don't have the full range of UAD2 Plugs like some of you do, but I'd never want them either. there will be too much choice, and in my world if you have too much then you try to use it all, and rather than getting to REALLY know your equipment you end up going round in circles, and your mix will suffer.

    Hope this has helped anyone thinking to get any of these plugins.

    Thought I'd share
    now Be well.


    EDIT: Updated, added TwinTube
    Last edited by stereospace; 24th July 2013 at 09:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Master of the UADiverse Matt Hepworth's Avatar
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    May 2005
    UT, USA
    This is a great post!
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  3. #3
    Practically a UAD Expert
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Yep. It was indeed!

    Get some channel strips to talk about!

    BTW, are you reviewing MKI or II for the comps?

  4. #4
    Experienced UAD User
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    Dec 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by mpayne0 View Post
    Yep. It was indeed!

    Get some channel strips to talk about!

    BTW, are you reviewing MKI or II for the comps?
    Im guessing they are MkII's as I purchased them 6 months ago.. (at the time it had the "new" label on them)

  5. #5
    Experienced UAD User
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    Jul 2013
    Thanks for this. Very thoughtful reviews.

  6. #6
    Up and Comer
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    May 2013
    Another good plug in is the dbx 160. I have the vu h/w to compare and really dig the plug on kick, snare and bass. just touch the meters with level and feel the attack. i also love the emt 140.
    Apollo Quad
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    OSX 10.8.4

  7. #7
    Up and Comer
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    Dec 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by LowWatt View Post
    Thanks for this. Very thoughtful reviews.
    Really helpful. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and conclusions.

  8. #8
    Moderator DanButsu's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Montreal, Canada
    Awesome read. Thanks for sharing!
    Apollo QUAD [Original and awesome Classic Vintage Silverface!!!] | FW Satellite QUAD | UAD v9.2 | Mac mini 2011 i7 Quad Sever | OS X 10.8.5 | Pro Tools 12.5.2 | Studio One 3.5 Pro | Harrison Mixbus 32C v4 | Sample of my work: dansoundsmith - Soundcloud

  9. #9
    Practically a UAD Expert masque's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    great post! thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on all those plugs and how you use them!

  10. #10
    Up and Comer
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    Jul 2012
    los ángeles
    nice post my man. and i agree with your view of too many choices with plugins.

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