Support Report: UAD-1 to UAD-1e Crossgrade Policy Conversation
by Mike Barnes & a UAD user
The following is an actual email conversation between one loyal user who misunderstood our UAD-1 to UAD-1e crossgrade policy, and our VP of Marketing, Mike Barnes, who helped clear up the confusion.
Subject: Switch out UAD-1 Pak to PCIe version...
I have been a registered user of your Studio pack for Mac OS X and the UAD-1 for several years; however, I have upgraded my G5 to a Quad, which as you know only comes with PCIe slots. I need to swap out my card for the PCIe version ASAP. I know you have listed a "policy" with regards to this, but there are MANY users and their attorneys who feel this to be unfair and, in fact, unlawful, regarded as gouging and/or price fixing. I'm sure that we can come to a reasonable solution, however, instead of going that route. So, I am going to put the ball in your court---you will decide what happens at this point...do you continue to promote an "upgrade" policy which is nothing more than a "migration", yet charge the user essentially full price, with a token "store credit"? As you know, computers of course do eventually become obsolete WHEN the essential technology improves; however, that is NOT the case here, where the UAD-1 card is EXACTLY the same piece of hardware with a new interface to allow for PCIe use. IF I were getting, say 4 times more processing power, and double the plugins, etc., I would probably not get too bent out of shape...THIS is a different story...
I'm sure you have been reading the forums, not just on your own website, but on others..there are MANY MANY disgruntled, alienated, and downright pi#@ed off, formerly loyal UAD users out there...step up to the plate and make the change to improve these rapidly deteriorating conditions.
What will be your answer? Do what is right...
Thanks for your UAD support and feedback. PCI and PCIe products will continue to co-exist for some time to come and we have structured our UAD cross-grade to cover several different kinds of users including those that wish to get the latest machines, those that no longer need their old PCI cards, and those that wish to keep their old cards. Every customer setup and investment is unique so we cannot address everyone perfectly, but we'd like to explain our position clearly so there is no misperception.
The UAD cards already offer the lowest price of entry and lowest cost flexible expansion of any competing product on the market. As we develop new UAD platforms, we will always listen to and offer incentives to our existing customers to protect their UAD plug-in investment and cross-grade to the latest hardware, but the audio industry is extremely small and in order for us to stay in business and continue to develop the best sounding plug-ins bar none, we (and our dealers) have to be profitable. Contrary to your opinion, our pricing is carefully considered and is amongst the fairest in the industry especially given the quality and performance vs price.
Compared to the many hundreds or even multiple thousands of dollars other DSP systems cost to upgrade, we feel the UAD-1 to UAD-1e cost of transition is extremely modest and has been priced as attractively as we can realistically afford to make it. If there is any cheaper alternative, we would definitely like to hear about it but I am sure you are already aware of the substantial cost of cross-grades from other manufacturers if they actually offer one.
Our cross-grade policy is both legal and fair and in fact is designed to minimize your out of pocket expenses and protect your total UAD plug-in investment as outlined below:
UAD-1 to UAD-1e X-GRADE EXAMPLE:
Basically if you follow this path, we help you get back to a UAD-1e "Studio PAK" equivalent on your new system and keep mixing for between $0 and $200 out of pocket and we get to minimally cover our development costs!! We are offering UAD-1e precisely to address the needs of early adopters who want to change computers now and be able to move all their existing projects and mixes and it is not being pitched as some "major upgrade". That is not at all the intention. However, the choice to upgrade or not or sell your card or not is of course entirely yours.
Apple will likely release brand new Mac/Intel desktop machines after the developer conference in August and there will no doubt be NO cross-grade at all for Quadcore customers like yourself and the old machines will be price-dropped far more than a few hundred dollars! Few manufacturers offer any incentives to move from the last generation product to the new one. UA is at least offering a cost-effective hardware solution, continuing to develop stellar plug-ins at very fair prices and we truly hope that you'll stay with our platform into the future.
VP of Marketing
Recording Academy, ASCAP Member
Analog Ears | Digital Minds
Wow! I didn't expect such a well-written, expedient reply from you. I am and will always be a UAD supporter, and I appreciate you taking the time to explain to your customers what your company's thoughts are on the matter. Obviously, it is in our mutual best- interest that UAD be a long-term survivor. I think there is one flaw in your argument, however...there is virtually NO market on Ebay or elsewhere for a "blank" UAD-1 PCI card. Search on Ebay and you will find the same. UAD-1 cards SOLD WITH PLUG-INS may sell for 250-$400 used, but NONE sell without them, and this is the major reason why I feel my investment doesn't equal a Digi Accel/Mix card, etc... They sell EASILY to people who already have the software...
Thanks again for the succinct explanation. When the UAD-1 PCIe comes out I will be first in line to take my licks...
All UAD-1 products have a base-set of "free" plugs just like the Project Pak
When you transfer your plugs to UAD-1e, this base set is still left intact so you can legitimately sell your UAD-1 product as a Project PAK and these plugs will automatically be authorized for a new user. There is no concept of a completely "bare" card. All UAD-1's will always run the base set of plugs - we actually can't disable that even if we wanted to since these plugs were never designed to be specifically copy-protected!
Wow, again. that is certainly better (and much more palatable) news...
Thanks again for the conversation. As I said before, I'll be first in line for the new cards when available...
It might help to post an open letter on the front page of your website similar to what you wrote to me to show UAD cares. There is are a lot of hurt feelings out there over this issue...