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Seeking a new channel strip plug


Christmas cash is burning a hole in my pocket and I want to invest in a new channel strip during the current UAD sale. My needs are simple. I'm a hobbyist, mostly producing backing tracks for 70's rock and singer/songwriter cover songs that my buddies and I can jam along with while we drink wine. In particular, I love using the UAD console to add real-time processing while jamming live without the signal ever going into the DAW. Of principal importance to me:

- Simple: I like the convenience of single-plug channel strips vs. chaining separate EQ & compressors together. As I get older (and *blinder*), I find myself gravitating towards simpler plugs that are quick and easy to read and simple to operate. An LA-2A is an ideal amount of complexity for me. If I can twist two knobs and hear everything a plugin can do for me, I'm golden.

- DSP Efficient: I have an Apollo Twin USB, so processing power is at a premium. The only UAD channel strip I have is Precision Channel, which feels super dated but is *extremely* low DSP-usage. I don't have the power to insert a UAD instance onto every channel in my mixes, so I'll often use on busses. Example, I'll use a low-cost DAW plug for gentle filtering and sculpting on kick, snare, hats, toms and OH channels, then route them to a drum bus with an 1176 for some flavor.

- Mojo: I've been doing this for many years for fun but am not a golden-ears engineer. I tend to start with a reasonable preset and sweep the EQ bands a bit and briefly toy around with compression ratios and attack/release timing, and call it good. I prefer "dripping and obvious" to "clean and surgical" every time.

I see 3 options currently at $49 as of today, Jan 2.

- Century
- API Vision
- SSL 4000

Honestly, I expected the Century to be my first choice. It definitely fits the "simple" requirement and I like the clean, clear UI. I also expected DSP usage to be lower than the others, but it is not. It's over 52% for a stereo channel with all components engaged. The API is under 30% and the SSL over 70%.

Finally, I don't care about two being household names and the other generic. I have no one to impress (none of my buddies have ever heard of API or SSL, I assure you!). Plus I already have emulations of the API and SSL from Waves, but since I got my Apollo I almost never use them anymore.

I'd demo these myself but I did so when I got my Apollo last year and think my demo time has expired. Given the above considerations, is there one you'd recommend above the others for my use case?


Venerated Member
Century sounds great for what you want, if you have enough DSP to use it - it's essentially a 610 pre, 1073 EQ and an LA3A compressor. It's like an LA2A but sounds a bit nearer to an 1176, and works better on drums. It works on basically everything TBH. It also has auto make up gain, so it's one knob instead of two.

But it sounds like DSP might be your deciding factor. You may not have enough to use it. One thing you could do is buy the SSL and use the legacy version in console. It's not unison, but it can go in the insert slots below and it's only 11.6% DSP for stereo. That's probably what I'd do.


I went ahead and ponied up for the custom bundle 2. Ended up getting the Neve 88RS strip. It makes no sense to me how it costs $149 by itself but $99 buys it plus another plugin, but I'll take it. The $25 holiday promo code was even still available, so I got it and another plug for $74. Pretty happy.


Congratulations, the 88RS is a great strip too!

Was just about typing what you could expect from a Twin and came to:

6 x Century mono
2 x Century stereo
6 x API mono
4 x API stereo
8 x API legacy mono
6 x API legacy stereo
4 x SSL E mono
2 x SSL E stereo
26 x SSL E legacy mono
16 x SSL E legacy stereo

(without the extra dsp Console takes)

Out of the 88RS legacy you should get ~ 60 mono/21 stereo instances. Haven't used this in a long time (due to the non legacy version) and wondered how economical it is (as it just sounds great). The non-legacy will give you 4 in stereo as well as in mono. Crazy contrast actually 🙃
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