Digging Into the FATSO™ Jr/Sr Analog Tape Simulator and Compressor

August 26, 2009 11:16:11 AM PDT
UAD FATSO Jr./Sr. Plug-Ins

This month we are taking an up-close and personal look at the UAD FATSO Jr./Sr. Recently released in version 5.4.0 of the UAD software and drivers, the FATSO is the most-anticipated UAD Powered Plug-In to date.

But even with all the hype (all customer generated, by the way) some people don’t really know the best way to use the FATSO. It is a pretty deep plug-in, especially the FATSO Sr., which adds Dave Derr's own custom mods to turn the original FATSO into an unbelievable tonal-shaping powerhouse. The FATSO Sr. offers a “Tranny” saturation control, sidechain filtering and deeper compression parameters including Threshold, Attack and Release. These special FATSO Sr. mods are only available with the UAD Powered Plug-In version of this essential studio tool. Many of the controls interact with each other, and you should get a sense of the sonic nuances of one of the FATSO’s audio processors before combining them to get the sound you want.

For example, the Tranny Level on the FATSO Sr. feeds the compressor and warmth processors. So if you have a great compression setting dialed in and then turn up the Tranny Level, suddenly the output goes down. This is because the compressor is clamping down more on the signal because more level is going into the compressor. Fortunately the FATSO Sr. features a compressor threshold, so you can adjust this in order to bring the gain reduction levels back in line with what you had before you turned up the Tranny. The same thing will happen to the Warmth, but all you need to do is pick a lower Warmth value.

Some people ask why the FATSO is not available for the UAD-1, and why didn’t we make an SE version. The answer is simply because there is not enough DSP power on the UAD-1 to run a single FATSO, and, given that the core sound of the FATSO comes from the components that take the most DSP to emulate, an SE version simply wouldn’t pass sonic muster.

Rather than carry on about the FATSO, I think I’ll just let you sit back and enjoy the videos. One is a broad overview of the controls while applying the FATSO Sr. to a full drum mix. The other video demonstrates the FATSO in use on drum overheads, guitar buss, full hip hop and mixes, and parallel drum compression. Dig in.

FATSO Plug-Ins Overview
FATSO Plug-Ins Demo Part 2

— Dave Crane