UA Universe - This Month at Universal Audio
Hi, welcome to UA Universe. This is a monthly roundup of Universal Audio News including comments from reviews, forums, emails, and calls we receive from both our loyal UA users and people new to UA. You will also still find our Employee Feature here so you can get to know the folks at UA a little better. If you don't have time to keep on top of the media overload, this column is the fast track to what's being said on the street.
- This Month in UA Universe
Tim Prince- Founding Employee & Analog Guru
What brought you to Universal Audio?
About five years ago someone told me about this local "tube guy" who was supposed to be an expert and all that. I have a recording studio here in the Santa Cruz mountains (Ridgetop Sound) and I was thinking about getting some tube mic pres or maybe building some from old Ampex parts. Anyway, I asked around but nobody knew what the guy's name was though a few friends said "yea, I know who your talkin about..." Months passed and I forgot about Mr. Tube. Then one day, out of the blue, Bill Putnam calls me. Bill was re-starting Universal Audio, the company his father founded and later sold to Harmon/JBL as UREI. Bill got my number from Suz Howells who was helping Bill launch this whole thing. Suz and I worked together at E-mu Systems many years ago. So I came on board to set up and run the manufacturing department.
When Bill and I started building the first 1176 units there were about 3 or 4 of us in his basement.
So you've been in the industry a while?
I reckon. I joined E-mu almost 30 years ago. There were five of us then, building large modular systems with walnut cabinets. I've always had a problem with commitment, so all these years I've been juggling the artistic life (playing music, surfing, goofing off) with technical/career pursuits. When I look back, all those years playing music, recording music, building PA systems while simultaneously working in the electronics industry gave me a perfect background for this gig.
What do like most about working at UA?
THE GEAR! Access to this equipment and having it to use in my studio. Sorry, you asked about working...Well, being part of the product development team. To be a leader, push and pull at people and ideas. All the efforts that finally result in a great piece of audio equipment sitting in the rack. When Bill and I started building the first 1176 units there were about 3 or 4 of us in his basement. So much growth has happened and we have developed and refined processes that have allowed us to lower the prices of these products. That in turn creates higher sales volumes which again can lower prices. So the whole process of starting with the family legacy and the simple idea of making these classic products available once again, has been very rewarding.
What is your favorite piece of UA gear?
That's like asking someone which one of your children is your favorite. I love them all, even all the software stuff. That said, I am very stoked about the 2-1176. It looks cool. It is so practical & useful. I mean, having two 1176 units in the space of one with the ability to run a stereo drum mix with the flick of a button...man, that's the shit.
What do you do for fun?
Uh...all of the above.
UAD-1 OSX & v3.3 The Good News & The Not-So-Good (Bad) News
Fairchild 670 Plug-In
dont panic! As promised, the v3.3 Public Beta was delivered right before Thanksgiving and we are on track to get the final OSX
version of the UAD-1 drivers out before Christmas. We are working hard on adding core features to AU and have an ongoing dialog with the host software manufacturers (Steinberg, MOTU & Emagic) to ensure that UAD-1 support/testing is firmly on their agenda for OSX testing.
For a number of reasons, we have decided to delay the release of the Fairchild 670
and instead put that plug-in in the v3.4 release which is scheduled to be around the NAMM 2004 show (end of January/early February). This may disappoint those eager to purchase, but it allows us to focus all our efforts entirely on OSX right now and also to transition to our new servers and new UA web site which will have better UAD-1 product information, tech support info and the facility to easily order new plugs direct from UA with immediate authorization.
The previous launch of DreamVerb
and the fantastic response from users tested our registration/authorization and customer support systems to the limit, so having learned our lesson, we are waiting to install and test our improved system before we launch Fairchild. Our Fairchild 670 is a real component model of a golden 670, now fully working, complete with a few key improvements to the UI layout from the version we showed at AES. Oh and yes, we will also be including a special mono version for free- the 670M with its own UI based on the Fairchild 660 layout. We are deliberately choosing to not call it a 660 because even though the sound and circuit is very similar, it is derived from our reference 670 model.
The UA Fairchild 670/670M plug-in price remains unchanged at $149 making it even better value than before. The choice to delay the launch is purely a matter of ensuring the purchasing/support system is in a fully streamlined state due to the anticipated large amount of initial orders.
UA Is Hiring!
UA is rapidly expanding, and we are now posting a new jobs section on the website. Currently, we are looking for Mac/PC UAD-1 Product Specialists and will shortly announce more opportunities in both Engineering and Marketing. We are looking for highly motivated, like-minded audio enthusiasts to join the UA team in Santa Cruz, CA. Please check out or jobs section
of the web site.
These 1176s are Still Working After a Studio Fire
We like to think that UA gear is built to last, but rarely do customers put this so brutally to the test! Three 1176s were sent in to UA from a fire-damaged studio for a complete overhaul to get them back to usability, and despite the obvious cosmetic damage from the inferno they all worked!!! Now thats what you expect from a real workhorse compressor! Now kids as they say on "Jackass", dont try this at home.
Guitar Center NORCAL Factory Visit & Sales Training Day
On a blustery Friday in November we had the privilege of hosting, at our new facilities, 11 Pro Audio Sales specialists from 5 of Guitar Centers Northern California stores (see list below) and Justin Warren, Guitar Centers Norcal Pro Audio Regional Department Manager. The day was designed by the UA sales and marketing team to provide a world according to Universal Audio indoctrination including factory tour, company history, and product training. The product training was divided into a classroom session and a hands-on recording session utilizing Will Shanks engineering and production skills along with his remote Airstream recording studio. The entire day and all of the various events were video taped by Kevin and Denise Monahan who will publish a DVD of the event.
The day was a huge success from both the UA and the GC perspectives. The Guitar Center guys were extremely pleased to have the opportunity to see where and how the legendary Universal Audio hardware is built and to hear, first hand, the history of the company and our family of world-renown audio gear. We, in turn, were grateful to have the opportunity to extract valuable market research from this group of knowledgeable sales people. Justin Warren expressed his pleasure with the event by saying, Ive been to tons of these kinds of events and this was the best by far. Of course Justins quote came after we had all adjourned to the Crows Nest for a delicious dinner and libations.
Thanks to the motley GC crew below, who traveled to Santa Cruz to see us:
Jesse Gibson Fresno
Zack Allen Fresno
Dustin Medeiros Fresno
Jorge Gonzalez Sacramento
Tim Pratt Sacramento
Quinn Davis Modesto
Pete Stanton Concord
Sean Wilburn Concord
Jamal Abdo San Francisco
Khyle Jones San Francisco
Atom Hannon San Francisco
WORD ON THE STREET TEC Award winning 6176 todays essential Channel Strip
Omar Hakim, all-round stellar drummer just back off tour with Marcus Miller and the reformed Chic is adding a 6176 channel strip and a UA Studio Pak of TDM plugs for ProTools to his extensive studio rig. For those that have never seen him play, Omar will be demoing his talents at drum clinic/demo for Pearl at the forthcoming NAMM show in LA. Read more about Omar at Apple.com
Jimmy Douglass, leading Hip-Hop/R&B Engineer/Mixer is also adding a couple of 6176s to his main work rig. See this months Analog Dialog on Jimmy who has an amazing list of credits including Missy Elliot, Jay-Z and TLC to name just a few of the major projects he has contributed to.
Questions or comments on this article?