Our Top 10 Plug-Ins Revealed
A guide to UAD plug–ins you should own in 2022.
The UAD library features over 200 plug-ins, ranging from simple preamps and guitar effects to multi-knob EQs, channel strips, and mastering processors. It’s a lot to sift through. But if you want to narrow down your options, you’ve arrived at the right place.
Whether you’re brand new to recording and mixing, a seasoned studio vet, or just curious what your fellow audio peers have been buying, we tallied up our top-selling plug-ins and found the 10 that you should own in 2022.
1. Auto-Tune Realtime Advanced
Known for its unrivaled pitch correction technology and that ubiquitous T–Pain effect, Auto–Tune is a must–have vocal processing tool. And the UAD plug-in version, Auto–Tune Real Time Advanced, delivers added versatility. Get accurate, pitch–perfect vocals while mixing, or use Apollo’s built–in processing to record using Auto–Tune in real time, without latency.
2. API Vision Channel Strip Collection
The sound of API consoles is the stuff of legend. From Stevie Wonder and Fleetwood Mac to Radiohead, Taylor Swift, and Pharrell, API desks have added unmistakable punch and presence to hit albums for over 50 years.
The API® Vision Channel Strip plug–in delivers classic API sound with all the critical features of the original consoles, including the famed 212L preamp and 225L compressor, plus switchable EQ modules for even deeper audio tweakery — if that’s your thing.
3. Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor
The EL8 Distressor can be found in studios around the globe, and for good reason. A departure from classic compressors such as the LA–2A and 1176, the EL8 is known for its modern versatility, fast–grabbing nature, and colorful tone.
The UAD Empirical Labs® EL8 Distressor is consistently one of the best–selling compressors in the UAD library, and the only authentic Distressor plug-in endorsed by Empirical Labs.
4. Neve 1073 Preamp & EQ
Even non–gear–aficionados will recognize this coveted piece of recording history. First introduced in 1970, the Neve 1073 Channel Amplifier is easily the most revered preamp and EQ circuit ever designed, epitomizing the "Neve sound."
The Neve® 1073 Preamp & EQ Collection packages the flagship 1073 Preamp & EQ plug–in, plus the Legacy 1073 EQ and 1073SE (DSP–Lite) EQ plug–ins.
5. Manley VOXBOX Channel Strip
Made famous by Beck, Rick Rubin, U2, and more, the Manley VOXBOX is a sophisticated system of tubes and analog circuitry designed specifically for vocal processing.
The Manley® VOXBOX Channel Strip plug–in is an emulation of this premium channel strip, and features UA’s exclusive Unison™ technology, which recreates the unique preamp characteristics of the original hardware.
6. Avalon VT-737 Tube Channel Strip
Commercial hip–hop, pop, and rock artists ranging from Jay–Z and Dr. Dre to Babyface, Beyonce, and Eric Clapton have relied on the hardware version of the VT–737 for its consistently polished sound.
Endorsed by Avalon Design, the Avalon® VT-737 Tube Channel Strip plug–in captures the full essence of this modern, hit–making tube channel strip.
7. API Preamp
API consoles have shaped era-defining albums for decades, so it’s no surprise that the API® Preamp plug–in cracked the top 10 list this year. It allows you to harness the sound of these proven hit‑making machines in a simple plug–in, and sounds good on just about anything.
8. Ampex ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder
Who doesn’t love the sound of tape? Quirky analog aesthetic, colorful frequency response, rich saturation — it’s all fully captured in the UAD Ampex® ATR–102 Mastering Tape Recorder plug–in and LUNA Extension.
A celebrated mastering tool, the ATR-102 shines equally on stereo buses and instrument tracks, and adds instant warmth and cohesion to drums, keyboards, synths, guitars, bass, and more.
9. Capitol Chambers
Where traditional reverb plug–ins are concerned, Capitol Chambers bucks all the trends. An emulation of the actual reverb chambers beneath the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles, this mighty room emulation plug–in sounds like 1956 in all the best ways.
10. SSL 4000 E Channel Strip Collection
Introduced in 1979, the SSL 4000 E console brought modern sound to the world, powering more Grammy–winning rock, pop, and hip–hop records than any other.
It’s no surprise that the UAD plug–in version of these esteemed mixing desks remains a best–seller. Capturing all the boldness and dynamics of the original consoles, the SSL 4000 E Channel Strip Collection puts platinum SSL sound at your fingertips.
Try Before you Buy
Do you own an Apollo interface or UAD hardware? You can demo these plug-ins and more free for 14 days.
And here’s a pro tip: each time you purchase a UAD plug-in in the online store, all your plug-in demos reset. So what are you waiting for? Go try (and buy) some new plug–ins!
– McCoy Tyler
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