Where to Begin — 10 UAD Powered Plug-Ins Every New UAD-2 User Should Own

September 23, 2009 11:13:33 AM PDT

The Must-Have UAD Powered Plug-in Collection

With all of the compressors and limiters, EQs, special processors, chorus and delays, and reverbs available from UA’s Online Store, we know that many new users look at the vast array of UAD plug-ins available and think, "Which should I use? Where do I start?"

Without further ado…


EMT® 250 Classic Electronic Reverberator

Introduced in 1976, the EMT 250 is still regarded as one of the best-sounding hardware reverb units ever made. Its fan base includes studio legends like George Massenburg, Bruce Swedien, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, and Allen Sides. Its distinctive clear and open reverb sound has appeared on countless records, including Prince & The Revolution’s Purple Rain, Elvis Costello’s Spike, and The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Stadium Arcadium. Re-engineered by UA alongside original creator Dr. Barry Blesser, the EMT 250 plug- in goes far beyond emulation by using the very same algorithm found in these extremely rare hardware units.

  • Faithful recreation of the EMT 250, widely considered one of the best-sounding reverbs ever built
  • Very same algorithm found in the original, repurposed for plug-in use in conjunction with original EMT 250 designer Dr. Barry Blesser
  • Modeled from Allen Sides’ EMT 250 “golden unit” at Ocean Way Recording
  • EMT 250 delay and modulation effects also included: Delay, Phasing, Chorus, Echo, and Space
  • Fully endorsed by EMT Studiotechnik GmbH as the world’s only authentic emulation


FATSO Jr. / Sr. Analog Tape Simulator and Compressor

The FATSO's ingenious design and feature set gives users the warm and pleasing sound of magnetic recording tape, class A transformers, and tube circuits. Legendary artists and engineers including Paul McCartney, Trent Reznor, Ed Cherney and Al Schmitt have helped make the EL7 FATSO Jr. hardware a modern studio standard. Endorsed and scrutinized for accuracy by designer Dave Derr of Empirical Labs, UA painstakingly recreated the FATSO Jr. as a UAD-2 Powered Plug-In, capturing the sonic nuances of the original hardware. Additionally, Derr’s never-before-available original concept of the FATSO, the FATSO Sr., was simultaneously modeled and is included at no additional charge.

  • Recreates the warm, musical qualities of magnetic recording tape, tubes, and class A transformers
  • Licensed and endorsed by Empirical Labs, created by Universal Audio
  • Clipping, Warmth, Tranny and Compression Select allow for a wide variety of analog tonal shaping possibilities
  • An additional UAD Powered Plug-In exclusive, FATSO Sr., provides original concept developed by Empirical Labs’ Dave Derr
  • FATSO Sr. features include Tranny Saturation, Sidechain Filtering plus Threshold, Attack and Release
  • Stereo or Mono operation with independent Left/Right controls
  • Input Gain operates as processor threshold and allows for clipping distortion
  • Output Gain operates as makeup gain/gain reduction

UAD Neve 88RS

Neve® 88RS Channel Strip

In 2001, Neve® launched the 88 Series: A new, large-format analog console that represented the best of all Neve® designs that came before it. Many professionals in both the audio and film communities consider the 88RS the ultimate console for modern features and reliability. The 88RS has found a home in some of the finest rooms and scoring stages around the world, including Ocean Way, Abbey Road, AIR, The Village, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Skywalker Sound. UA’s Neve® 88RS Channel Strip plug-in captures the EQ and dynamics section from this flagship console, providing a rich palette of modern sound-sculpting tools.

  • EQ and dynamics section from Neve’s flagship large-format analog console
  • Exclusively Neve® licensed/UA modeled
  • Highly flexible Limiter/Compressor and Gate/Expander dynamics section
  • 12 dB per octave high and low cut filters
  • Four-band parametric EQ with high and low shelf filters
  • Ability to swap module order or to sidechain the EQ to the dynamics section
  • Neve tools for modern production and mixing techniques

UAD 1176LN

1176LN Limiting Amplifier

The 1176LN is the most-recognized studio compressor ever made. Originally designed and built during the 1960s, the 1176LN was the first to use a Field Effect Transistor (FET) as a voltage-controlled variable resistor, and that innovation was the key to the product's unique character. Primary uses include: kick, snare, drum overheads, vocals, bass guitar, anything that requires subtle compression to severe limiting with lots of added coloration.

  • The "Stratocaster" of compressors (a distinct sound, but versatile within that sound)
  • Input/Threshold are combined
  • A great tool for creating unique distortion
  • Supports the popular "All Buttons Mode," just like the original
  • Ultra-fast attack time
  • Program-dependent characteristics


LA-2A Leveling Amplifier

The LA-2A Leveling amplifier is practically the definition of vintage audio gear. This original opto-electrical attenuator circuit is responsible for the incredibly rich and magic sound embracing the tracks of countless classic recordings over the last 40 years. It’s as smooth and musical as tube compression gets.

  • Tube driven, classic compression
  • World famous for its transparency
  • Slower attack and release than 1176 or LA-3A
  • A "must-have" compressor for vocals and horns

UAD Roland RE-201

Roland® RE-201 Space Echo

In 1973, Roland created the Space Echo system, using multiple play heads to create warm, highly adjustable echo effects and add wonderful tape character and chaos to performances and recordings. The Space Echo can be heard on numerous recordings, from '70s space rock like Pink Floyd and David Bowie, to countless reggae and dub albums, to more recent bands like Portishead and Radiohead. Often set up as a buss, it’s great on guitars, keys, vocals, drums, anything really. This tape delay produces a distinct grunge and chaos that's often deemed highly musical.

  • Modeled primarily after RE-201, but adopts some characteristics of 301 (Talking Heads unit used as measurement unit)
  • Faithful to all the idiosyncrasies of the original
    • Low-headroom input distortion
    • Tape transport quirks:
      • Wow and flutter
      • Splice dropout and pitch shift
      • Circuit and tape noise
    • Tape delay decay characteristics
    • Repeat rate ramping (modeled after 301, faster than 201)
    • Self-oscillation mode a hybrid between 201 and 301 (301 had more distortion and chaos)
  • Great distortion tool, circuit, and self-oscillation


EMT® 140 Classic Plate Reverb

Universal Audio “steps up to the plate,” rendering another classic tool for the DAW: Introducing the EMT® 140 Plug-In. German company EMT® made a breakthrough in 1957 with the release of the EMT® 140, which utilized a resonating metal plate to create ambience. Nothing is quite like the wonderfully lush and distinctive tone of plate reverb, which still endures as part of the fabric of modern music. Endorsed by EMT® Studiotechnik GmbH, and painstakingly modeled by Universal Audio, this plug-in replicates the sonic signature of three uniquely different EMT® 140s installed at The Plant Studios in Sausalito, CA. Impractical or impossible in the past, UA again brings classic analog tools within the reach of everyone.

  • Based on three EMT 140 plates from The Plant Studios – each with a unique sound
  • Fully endorsed by EMT Studiotechnik GmbH
  • Highly prized smooth and natural plate sound
  • Decay, two-band EQ, Predelay, Width & Wet/Dry
  • Control modeled analog high pass filters: stock EMT 80 Hz and Martech
  • Reverb modulation with Depth and Rate control
  • Stereo Balance control

UAD Neve 1073

Neve 1073 Classic Console EQ

Originally designed by Neve in 1970, the Neve 1073 EQ is derived from revered Neve consoles such as the 8014. It’s perhaps the most recognized piece of hardware in the pro audio business, a unique and quirky EQ tool capable of subtle to severe tonal sculpting. The Universal Audio Neve 1073 EQ plug-in delivers the same sonic experience as its analog cousin.

  • Faithful to all the idiosyncrasies of original EQ module
  • Amazing broadband 12 kHz filter is masterful at adding "air"
  • 4x up-sampling preserves every airy detail, even at extreme boosts
  • Amazing results combining bass cut filter with bass band boost
  • Click band symbols for easy concentric ring cycling

UAD Precision Limiter

Precision Limiter

Once you’re done mixing, you’ll want to master your project! The Precision Limiter is therefore another must-have tool in your arsenal of UAD plug-ins. This single-band, look-ahead brick-wall limiter is made primarily for use with program material. The easy-to-use Precision Limiter achieves 100% attack within a 1.5ms look-ahead window, which prevents clipping and guarantees zero overshoot performance. Both the attack and release curves are optimized for professional mastering, which minimizes aliasing.

  • 1.5ms look-ahead, brick-wall, limiter with zero overshoot performance
  • Totally colorless; no up-sampling
  • High-Resolution RMS and peak metering
  • Four metering modes: Standard Peak/RMS, K-12, K-14, and K-20
  • User adjustable or intelligent auto release
  • Unique Contour Mode allows subtle attack shaping
  • A must for mastering

UAD Cambridge EQ

Cambridge EQ

The Cambridge EQ boasts textbook filters at their sonic and functional perfection. We’re talking a high-end, analog-console-style EQ boasting five bands of switchable parametric or shelving EQ and two comprehensive high and low pass filters. If you can’t get your EQ’ing done with this, you may be in the wrong game.

  • Wide array of cut filters, 6 dB per octave through elliptical
  • EQ Types:
    • Type 1-Fixed Q
    • Type 2-Variable boost Q
    • Type 3-Variable boost and cut Q
  • Precise-yet-musical sound of a modern, high-end analog console

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