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Thread: Using UAD Plugins with VI Instruments

  1. #1
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    Using UAD Plugins with VI Instruments

    Home ITB Project Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist guy and over past couple years been building up substantial library of UAD plugins taking advantage of sales and promotions and tooled up with Twin Quad and Octo Satellite for inputs (dont need more than 2) and dsp with the idea I have an ITB version of what an analog studio enjoys.

    But slowly realizing that due to home situation relying in the end on VI for instruments - guitar and bass amp, keyboards and synths, drums - and only my voice is going into the mic pre.

    Again my thinking about building up the UAD library so I have I have tools to apply to sound but realizing the VI's themselves - Fender Amp, Ampeg's with unison and keyboards VI's and now Superior Drummer 3 have such fantastic sounds including mic chains and effects that have really been thought through that maybe my build of UAD plugins was not so necessary. The VI's effects chain on the gui from a workflow perspective are handy because as I develop songs I play with them while I am playing on keyboard/drum pad etc to develop sound and song shape.

    Maybe the sweet spot for UAD plugins are for those tracking and mixing with mic'd instruments and a almost total ITB less so? Maybe I need to learn to mic my vintage fender amp and acoustic guitar at low levels so I dont disturb my neighbors and family - they have to endure my singing

    My counter argument is well I have unison enabled amps, pre' and strips, pedals and now some effects and of course my voice through my mic takes advantage of a UAD chain. And then of course reverb/delay aux's, mix bus and mastering can benefit as well and good to have variety for aux, buss and mastering.

    Thoughts? - I would like to be wrong on this. And not a bad place to be in - I REALLY like Superior Drummer 3, UAD Fender and Ampeg Amps and my default keyboard/synth VI's.

    Are you guys turning off effect chains on your instrument emulations and just applying UAD plugins at the mix or are you mashing up the integrated effects with UAD effects?

  2. #2
    Master of the UADiverse Matt Hepworth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjgam View Post
    Maybe I need to learn to mic my vintage fender amp and acoustic guitar at low levels so I dont disturb my neighbors and family - they have to endure my singing
    You'll never regret learning how to do that. Maybe the new OX is for you too.

    And people have endured Bob Dylan's singing for decades.

    As to the rest, think of it this way. If you were sending these tracks off to be mixed by one of the greats they'd be using the same gear you have the UAD emulations of to do the mixing.

    You do have a lot less to do on the tracking side, and there's no doubt the newest virtual tools and instruments are amazing.

    You don't really NEED UAD to do it, but it sure makes it easier.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Hepworth View Post
    You'll never regret learning how to do that. Maybe the new OX is for you too.

    And people have endured Bob Dylan's singing for decades.

    As to the rest, think of it this way. If you were sending these tracks off to be mixed by one of the greats they'd be using the same gear you have the UAD emulations of to do the mixing.

    You do have a lot less to do on the tracking side, and there's no doubt the newest virtual tools and instruments are amazing.

    You don't really NEED UAD to do it, but it sure makes it easier.
    Nicely put - and also there is the option to take out the effects portion of third party VI's and apply only UAD to them. Here is my arguments for both sides:

    Argument for using UAD effects on VI's -

    1. Focus - you get to know the effects chain the best and what they do if you only focus on them and leave the VI's for just instrument emulation.

    2. Quality - One could also argue that level of sound quality is better given UAD's focus purely on outboard gear emulation.

    3. Workflow - perhaps simpler that you apply UAD effect chains to both audio and VI's and buss and aux tracks.

    Argument Against Using UAD for VI's

    1. Context - while UAD quality is there one could argue that the effect chains in VI's have been engineered for a sweetspot with that VI in mind

    2. Workflow - using effects in the VI while composing easier on the same gui.

    3. Commitment - get use to getting "the sound" and committing it to the track


    Perhaps another way to sum up the debate is simply if it sound good coming from the VI leave it alone and if you want to add some UAD spice then add it.
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    @sjgam said

    Maybe I need to learn to mic my vintage fender amp and acoustic guitar at low levels so I dont disturb my neighbors and family - they have to endure my singing
    If you are going to record a real guitar amp, you definitely need a reactive load box so you don't disturb neighbors and family. As Matt suggested, maybe OX is in your future.

    I am waiting to try one out before I make a decision about which load box to buy. Personally, I have about 80 UAD plugins, and see the potential that the digital features of the OX will be mostly duplicates of the UA plugins I already own. I also wish it had a line level input for re-amping purposes. Plus it would be nice if it could be integrated with Apollos and the Console app.

    On the other hand, OX appears to have some ease of use advantages over using Apollo and UA plugins during tracking. And I expect the reactive load box on the OX to be at least the equal, if not the best reactive load box available.

    So I am also looking at the Suhr Reactive Load ($399) and Two Notes Torpedo Reload ($850).
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    There is no cookie cutter approach to this and it is always a case of listening to the VI and making a judgment about how to process the sound. As a result I use a combination of VI effects and UAD, depending on the effects that come with the VI. For example, when I use BFD3, I use the room mic's that come with the package, which are excellent, and run these on a parallel bus. I then set up further parallel busses for the bass drum, snare and toms using a UA Manley variable mu on one channel and a UA Fatso on another. I would also parallel a UA reverb on the snare. If I use Reason drums, then it is UA plugin's all the way, as the Reason samples are quite clean.
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    I'm old enough that during the time I owned vintage Fender and Ampeg amps, they were new, and not yet vintage. I remember needing to really push the volume level to get the tone it wanted.

    If you want to use your amp at a respectable level without buying a reactive load box, you might want to build, or have built, a dense wooden box, lined with acoustic foam. It will need a fan and vent, but just enough to keep air moving. Make it wide enough to have a mic on a desk stand in front of the amp at a point you can experiment with mic placement.

    If you are not in an apartment, you could simply stick the amp into a clothes closet, and shut the door - assuming there is enough space under the closed door to have mic cords and a power cord (supposed to be different than power chords) run into the closet.

    Chase everybody out of the house when you record.

    Hmmmmm, or just buy a reactive load box. Never mind. I'll go back to my cave.

    - Don

    Just popped my head out of the cave for a moment and found this:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...SABEgKATvD_BwE

    Eric probably sells them too.

    But a reactive box won't give you that part of the sound created by the amplifier's speaker, nor the different sounds that come from changing the mic placement.
    Last edited by Don Schenk; 4 Days Ago at 03:10 PM. Reason: I just fixed a wonderful blueberry, peach, and strawberry smoothie. Yummm
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    Hey sjgam,

    I'm in the exact same boat as you. Although I sometimes engineer other bands and/or my own bands, I also do a lot of songwriting and composing of my own material where I play everything myself.

    My approach is to treat any VI that I use as though it's a real instrument. Unless I really love what it's doing already, I will usually strip away any of the built in effects once I'm ready to mix and bounce them to audio (if I'm sure all the MIDI editing is done). From there I basically just pretend like I'm an audio engineer who recorded a live band doing it all. For me this end up sounding more realistic and the end result I'm happier with that sounds less "in the box" since I'm not just using the presets from the VI manufacturers.

    For drums, I have a set of Roland V-Drums and play them into SD3. I will often use a preset just to play them in, then when I'm done I will take out all the SD3 effects (although the new one are sounding pretty good) and will bounce it to audio raw so it's like a real drum set recording. I have done this with real bands and had the drummer play my V-Drums instead of a real set also and it has worked well.

    I play real bass (using the Ampeg plugins) and my guitar I have a combination of my Kemper and my real amps going into a DI that comes into cabinet IRs. Myself, other than the Ampeg for bass, I'm not usually very happy with any of the amp sims for guitar. I think the new Engl Savage and Fuchs are very good however. I have tried the Fender, but it doesn't work for most of what I do. I prefer my real Deluxe Reverb going into IRs for anything Fender sounding.

    Acoustic instruments I mic up and use with unison preamps.

    For my voice I will record with a variety of mics going into Unison preamps.

    Then all keys, synths, strings, noises, boings and blips, I either use VI instruments or my real analog and digital synths.

    Not sure if that helps or not, but I like to take this hybrid studio approach as much as I can. That way everything I do translates back and forth to working with real bands and live instruments. The mixing approach stays the same regardless of the situation.

    J

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    I got myself an H&K Tubemeister 18 with built in power soak the other month. To be able to turn the amp down to 1 watt and still get a respectable tone when recording the cab is great. Yeah, it's not "just as good" as running at 18 watts but I really couldn't care less since running at 18 watts is just not as good as running through a 40 watt amp

    And by turning off the speaker altogether for making small demos in the middle of the night while my 5-year old is sleeping across the hall is great, running the Redbox out into the Apollo through the Train II's (with amp off) speaker emulations gets you very far. Very far indeed.

    And, it's fun!

    But that's off topic. I use a lot of UAD plugins together with VI's and outboard synths, running VI's with separate outputs (Addictive Drums, Spark, Kontakt or whatever) and stripping them from internal effects and replacing it outside the plugin with UAD (and other) plugins is great. And, it's fun as well!

    Yeah, I like to have fun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashford View Post
    There is no cookie cutter approach to this and it is always a case of listening to the VI and making a judgment about how to process the sound. As a result I use a combination of VI effects and UAD, depending on the effects that come with the VI. For example, when I use BFD3, I use the room mic's that come with the package, which are excellent, and run these on a parallel bus. I then set up further parallel busses for the bass drum, snare and toms using a UA Manley variable mu on one channel and a UA Fatso on another. I would also parallel a UA reverb on the snare. If I use Reason drums, then it is UA plugin's all the way, as the Reason samples are quite clean.
    Yeah agree certainly not a one size fits all and depends on the quality of the effects the individual VI's bring to the table. With your hybrid example with BFD3 and UAD one could argue you have the luxury of the best of both worlds. Thanks for example - gives me thoughts on how to hybrid for my stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Schenk View Post

    If you want to use your amp at a respectable level without buying a reactive load box, you might want to build, or have built, a dense wooden box, lined with acoustic foam. It will need a fan and vent, but just enough to keep air moving. Make it wide enough to have a mic on a desk stand in front of the amp at a point you can experiment with mic placement.

    If you are not in an apartment, you could simply stick the amp into a clothes closet, and shut the door - assuming there is enough space under the closed door to have mic cords and a power cord (supposed to be different than power chords) run into the closet.

    Chase everybody out of the house when you record.
    Yeah afraid this type of arrangement would get me locked out of the apartment - maybe the building...

    I am VERY pleased with the UAD Fender amp - feels responsive to my touch. Drag the amp out for small gigs and practices.

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