Welcome to Ocean Way Studios — the World’s First Dynamic Room Modeling Plug-In.
Imagine having access to one of the world’s premier recording studios, with full use of its vintage microphones, working alongside the man who has spent decades recording in its rooms, shaping your sounds in real time... with stunning results.
Developed by Universal Audio and Allen Sides, the Ocean Way Studios plug-in rewrites the book on what’s possible with acoustic space emulation. By combining elements of room, microphone, and source modeling, Ocean Way Studios moves far beyond standard impulse response players and reverbs — giving you an authentic replication of one of the world’s most famous recording studios.
The Legendary Rooms of Ocean Way
From the opening of Bill Putnam’s United Recording in 1957, to the annexing of neighboring Western Studio in 1961, to their reinvention as Ocean Way Recording under Allen Sides — the famed “Studio A” and “Studio B” at Ocean Way Studios have shaped the sound of countless classic records. From Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, the Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones, to Michael Jackson, U2, Tom Petty, Green Day, and Radiohead, music icons have sought out the sound of these beautifully balanced, performance-inspiring rooms for more than five decades.
Dynamic Room Modeling — an Audio Processing Breakthrough
Over three years in the making, Ocean Way Studios reinvents ambience processing with UA’s proprietary new Dynamic Room Modeling, an exclusive combination of signal processing and advanced measurement techniques. Eclipsing standard convolution reverbs — which can only provide a sonic snapshot — Dynamic Room Modeling opens up the full spectrum of a studio’s ambience possibilities.
Specifically, Dynamic Room Modeling provides the unique dispersion properties of various sources, as recorded through a selection of vintage microphones that can be positioned in each room — in real time — via a simple click-and-drag interface. This technology, with the guidance of Allen Sides, gives the Ocean Way Studios plug-in a shocking level of sonic realism.
An Unrivaled Microphone Collection Under Your Control
With virtual access to $250,000 of hand-picked, vintage microphones, Ocean Way’s microphone setups and Distance controls are the centerpiece of the plug-in. The setups capture the ideal microphone selections and placements for each room and source type — exactly as used to record some of the biggest acts of all time. Up to three vintage microphones pairs (Near, Mid, Far) are available in each setup, allowing for creative sonic blending. Click-and-drag the microphones to position them in the room, then EQ and filter their sound as desired — complete with mic bleed and proximity effects.
Ocean Way Studios offers two modes of operation: Reverb mode, using send/return paths to mix wet and dry signals; or Re-Mic mode, to fully immerse the original source audio within Ocean Way’s rooms. Re-Mic mode is by nature “fully wet,” and can be used to entirely replace your original room and microphone sounds with the fabled sound of Ocean Way.
What’s so unique about the Ocean Way Studios plug-in?
Ocean Way Studios (OWS) is the first ambience/reverb plug-in that focuses on a limited set of studios and exhaustively models multiple room positions, unique sound source dispersion patterns, and the studio’s vintage microphones simultaneously — giving you the comprehensive sound of that studio with incredible accuracy. OWS is the only tool that allows the user to dynamically position up to three mic pairs in the room, in this case with Allen Sides providing preset mic choices and their positions, based on his years of experience at Ocean Way Recording. Finally, OWS is sonically superior to convolution reverbs / IR players in terms of overall model accuracy and dynamic customization of the rooms.
My recordings were already made in a less-than-ideal room. How do I use Ocean Way Studios in this case?
Ocean Way Studios can be used in Reverb or Re-Mic mode. Either mode can be used on average-sounding source material, to make a big improvement on the sound of those recordings. For new recordings, the more “dry” a recording is, the better suited it will be for OWS, as the user will have maximum use of Ocean Way’s sound. However this is only a guideline; OWS is far more forgiving than you might think.
What happens when you move the Near / Mid / Far mic pairs within the plug-in?
As when moving physical microphones, the room gets “bigger” and less direct-sounding the farther the mics are from the source. Conversely, the room gets tighter and more direct-sounding the closer the mics are to the source. This proximity gain behavior is captured in the plug-in. So be aware the signal can get notably louder particularly with Near mics, which can be positioned as close as .5 feet.
What does the “Distance Delay” feature do?
Distance Delay allows time alignment of mic selections. By clicking the Distance encoders, OWS will instantly align any or all of its three mic pairs — similar to how you can bring a far room mic “closer” by slipping its DAW track ahead in the time domain. This provides the tonality of the mic being placed in its current location, but aligned with any other tracks in the song. This feature is also handy when using OWS with Apollo to minimize recording latency.
Depending on my source, sometimes the mics I select are too quiet or too loud, or the balance does not seem perfectly centered.
By nature, physical rooms are frequency-dependent, which can affect loudness and balance, which is furthered by the placement of the recording source and microphones in the room. The studios in Ocean Way are beautifully designed and tuned, but are naturally subject to the same principles. Gain and Balance controls are available for this very reason, and should provide more than enough practical (and creative) flexibility to give you the sound you’re after.
What are the differences between Re-Mic and Reverb Modes, and when should I use them?
In Re-Mic mode, the dry signal path is eliminated and the audio is processed as if it was recorded inside Ocean Way Recording. Re-Mic is then by nature “fully wet,” and includes the modeled direct path. It is therefore recommended mainly as a mixing tool — to entirely replace your previous room and microphones, or create new complimentary room sounds for your original sources. Predelay, Dry/Wet blend and Wet Solo are unavailable as parameters under Re-Mic Mode.
Reverb Mode is recommended for either live recording with Apollo interfaces, or as a mix processor when used as a send/return auxiliary effect. Under Reverb Mode,the plug-in behaves like most reverb plug-ins; the modeled direct signal component is not included, thus avoiding “stacking” or phasing with your unprocessed dry signal. In this case, the user sends signal from any channel in their session and may make adjustments to any parameter. Due to inherent nature of the Ocean Way Studios design, changes to the microphone Distance and Gain settings are less audible in Reverb mode than Re-Mic mode.
I’m still confused on the technical differences between Re-Mic and Reverb modes.
Whenever a sound source is recorded in a naturally reverberant space, there
are three primary sound components that are captured by the microphone:
1. The direct signal. This is the sound path that travels directly between the source and the microphone, without any reflected sounds from the walls, floor, ceiling, and objects.
2. The early reflections. These are the still-distinct individual reflections that are reflected off the walls, floor, ceiling, and objects before reaching the microphone.
3. The late field (aka reverb tail or ambience). This is the indistinct “wash” that decays over time, comprised of all reflections in the room. The tail is usually considered the main component of reverb.
If using OWS as a “Reverb” or as a Reverb insert, the user inherently wants to hear the original dry signal along with the Early Reflections and Reverb effects. The difficulty with the Direct component is that it would “stack” with the dry signal and likely cause phase problems. Fortunately, OWS has the ability to break the components of sound into discrete packages, allowing the user to independently disable “Direct,” which makes it practical to use OWS as a reverb or as a reverb insert. Using Reverb mode automatically defeats the “Direct” reverb component.
Use Re-Mic Mode when you want to fully replace your existing audio, utilizing all the sound components of Ocean Way. In this case, the original dry signal is not present and therefore has no chance of causing phase issues. If the user of Re-Mic mode is creating new audio to go alongside the original unprocessed sources, extra caution should be taken in checking for phase issues.
See the Chapter 28 of the UAD plugin manual for more information.
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*Microphone names are all trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Universal Audio or Ocean Way Recording. These microphone names, descriptions and images are provided for the sole purpose of identifying the specific microphones studied during Universal Audio’s sound model development and to describe certain microphone sound qualities and performance characteristics. Ocean Way Studios is a trademark used under license by Ocean Way Recording Inc.
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