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Distortions in Powered Plugin Compressor devices


New Member
Has anyone noticed any audible distortions introduced by ANY UAD Plugin compression devices when inserted into previously clean audio streams? I was using a simple VST host running the plugins inline with an audio stream (an insert as opposed to a effect send) from a sampler and noticed definite distortions being incurred to the signal when A/B'ing the compressed signal as opposed to the \"clean\" one. I havent tried this with my production DAW yet but I was wondering if anyone has noticed this phenomenon before? Im using the latest version of UAD PPI's. At first I thought it was something happening with signal levels running too hot but I tried lowering the levels in the entire signal stream to just enough to register on metering and could still hear the same types of distortions in the now lowered level signals. Then I thought it might be embedded in the sample set I was using with the sampler but I get CLEAN signal out of the sampler when taking the UAD compression device OUT of the signal chain. I then tried latency settings from very large to very small and it didnt seem to make a difference.

I should also point out that this system is an established working system with previous versions of plugins anyway...


Active Member
in a word, using nuendo NO

I don't notice that at all, I use the LA-2A or 1176 on a lot of tracks in my mixes, they are good plugins, the best comps I can find so far

Fairchild is also amazing................


New Member
Be advised that the distortions Im hearing are Very subtle, not glaring, but seem to be there nonetheless in every which way I have attempted to listen to this.


Active Member
It is not clear what you mean by distortion. Jitter, Aliasing, digital clipping, odd or even harmonics, are all distortion.

If you define distortion loosely then compressors ALL distort sound.

If you run the 1176 with a fairly deep GR and especially with a fast release or 'all in' mode you will get something that we usually think of when we say 'distortion' in regards to audio. In this case Odd order I think. And possibly quite a bit.

Fairchild also produces odd order, and the LA2A does too with a little even order thrown in for good measure. ;)

Many other compressor plug ins produce little harmonic distotion. The EX1 comp is pretty clean enven when driven, at least when it comes to this sort of distortion.



Active Member
FWIW this distortion is part of the reason these plugins sound good.


New Member
cAPSLOCK said:
FWIW this distortion is part of the reason these plugins sound good.
Maybe the native distortion is what Im hearing. I dont hear the stuff when using a Waves COMP or other VST comp... Its strange maybe I just never listened THAT closely to it before... Mostly what Im hearing is like a bit of harshness (i.e. analog overload distortion) on high velocity content like a pounding fender-rhodes or a hot Vibraphone/Orchestral Bells. However the signal as the system is percieveing it is NOT overloaded or producing digital overs. Everything is "way in the green" as far as signal levels go. Maybe Im making a mountian out a molehill...


It might very well be the character of the compressors you are hearing. The plugins are 'digital models' of analog gear with each its own character. Other compressors may have a cleaner signal, but often it is the character of the compressor, as well as the compression effect itself, one wants.

As always, use your own ears to judge what you like/dislike soundwise 8)

Dan Duskin

Established Member
when level jumps up and down quickly it can sound like a mild distortion.

for example: 1176 in all-buttons-in mode with a high input

you would not likely notice such distortion with any of the other uad plugs... but the 1176 in all-buttons-in mode can cause somewhat unpredictable peak reductions which can sound like distortion.

i cannot imagine hearing anything like this with the la2a, regardless of the amount of input/peak-reduction, and regardless whether it's in compress or limit mode.

i have not found a way to make audible distortion in the fairchild, but then again, i haven't tried.

the precision limiter can surely create distortion if the release time is quick enough and the input gain is high enough.

but remember, none of these are digital hard clipping.


Active Member
I have the distortion problem. It's very subtle poping sound and NOT something that's native to 1176 or LA2As. You may need to check with headphones to hear it.


Active Member
Does resetting the audio driver or changing sample buffer sizes in your host audio application correct the issue? Also, does the distortion print to file during an offline file export?


Active Member
Nope. Resetting doesn't help. And I don't think they are being printed when exporting. That's why I am not bitching much about it. 8)
I wonder if this is the same problem other users have reported after upgrading to the latest drivers? I guess not everyone is experiencing this, but it makes me nervous enough to hold off until they figure it out ;)
at any rate, try loading earlier drivers and see if it still does it.
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