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

10 UAD Plug-Ins You Should Own

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 Plug-In Library, 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…

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Galaxy Tape 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.

7. 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.

8. Neve 1073 Preamp and EQ Collection

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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

— Dan Becker

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