Since I have it, I never left a track without. I never had the chance to deal with the original gear, but I can say this plugin can turn any DAW into an absolutely high standard "virtual" console, bringing to new life every track. I unconditionally love its sound.
This is an excellent plug-in especially if you have the uad 2 quad core because you can put it on every track.
This channel strip is awesome! I loaded up a project which I have been working on, and put this bad boy on the drums, distorted guitars, and vocals. In every instance I was blown away by how full the sound was. This strips compressor and gate are also super easy to dial in. The EQ is smooth and musical, and the strip is great for adding some aggression into the sound. I can't comment on how close it is to the real thing, but it sounds so great that I just don't care.
I have compared it to a SSL XLogic Channel. I know, that Universal Audio modeled a different Hardware, but you still hear a difference in sound. The real hardware reacts much faster and better than the software. You just turn the knobs of the XLogic Channel slightly and you hear direct and clear, what you are doing. This is not possible with the UAD 4K. I really get sick of thinking, if I heard a difference or not.
The problem with all plugins is, that you have to choose extremer settings to hear a difference. The difference between the Neve 1081 or 88R and the UAD 4K is as big as you expect.
Why does'nt Universal audio make some new and exciting effects that does not exist in the real world? They could create a 20 band multi-band-compressor or something like the TC Fireworx instead of another EQs, that is only slightly different.
Wow, this is the perfect Channelstrip. Again i do not know how close it can get to the original one but the eq for example is much more "precise" and not as whoomy as the neve88RS. Also the Compressor section can be tuned in much more aggressive than 88RS. But that may depend on the music you make with it. For all electronic music lovers out there this is the Channel Strip to go. By the way, the WavesSSL Channelstrip doesn't even come close!