Best UAD Plug-Ins
The UAD plug-in library features over 200 titles, ranging from simple preamps and guitar effects to EQs, channel strips, and mastering plug-ins. 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 rounded up our best-selling UAD plug-ins and found the 10 that you should own in 2023.
1. Auto-Tune Realtime Advanced
A must-have for the modern producer’s toolkit, Auto–Tune Realtime Advanced was perfected for Apollo audio interfaces. This revolutionary effect allows you to pitch correct vocals and other solo instruments during mixdown, or in realtime if you record with an Apollo audio interface.
2. Neve 1073 Preamp & EQ
Available Versions: UAD Spark, Apollo Realtime
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 and 1073SE EQs.
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 Distressor is known for its modern versatility, fast-grabbing nature, and colorful tone.
The Empirical Labs® EL8 Distressor is consistently one of the best-selling UAD plug-ins, and the only authentic Distressor emulation endorsed by Empirical Labs.
4. API Vision Channel Strip Collection
Available Versions: UAD Native, Apollo Realtime
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 features of the original consoles, including the famed 212L preamp and 225L compressor. Plus you get switchable EQ modules for even deeper audio tweakery, if that’s your thing.
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 is an authentic emulation of this premium channel strip, and features UA’s exclusive Unison™ technology, which captures 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 Avalon VT-737 for its consistently polished sound.
Fully 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. C-Suite C-Vox Noise & Ambience Reduction
Do you record in a bedroom, garage, or rehearsal space? Certain rooms simply weren’t made to capture a masterpiece. Enter C-Vox™ Noise & Ambience Reduction.
Beyond a noise gate, C‑Vox easily reduces static room sounds in your signal, leaving you with clear, focused vocal recordings that sound as if they were captured in a professional space.
8. Ampex ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder
Who doesn’t love the sound of tape? Quirky analog aesthetic, colorful sonics, and rich saturation — it’s all fully captured in the Ampex® ATR–102 Mastering Tape Recorder plug–in and LUNA Extension.
A celebrated mastering tool, this popular tape plug-in 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
Capitol Chambers is an emulation of the actual reverb chambers beneath the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles. This celebrated reverb 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.
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 many more for free at the link below.
– McCoy Tyler
How to Record Auto-Tune without Latency
Learn how to get the sound of modern pop and hip-hop vocals with near-zero latency using Auto-Tune with Apollo interfaces.
The Best Compressor Plug-Ins
Learn the best compressor plug-ins for each element of your mix, with insight from the industry’s top producers and engineers.
How to Record Vocals
In this article, learn essential techniques for capturing professional vocals and how Apollo interfaces and UAD plug-ins can lift your vocal recordings to new heights.