Plug-In Power: Marcus Wuest, Mastering with UAD-1 plug-ins
By David Crane
This month, "Plug-In Power" takes a look at using the UAD-1 plug-ins to master a stereo track-but with a different approach to mastering. Recording, mixing and mastering engineer Marcus Wuest, of Mannheim, Germany, is a longtime UAD-1 user. His latest project is Irish songstress Wallis Bird, and the single "Blossoms" from that project debuted at number 2 on SWR3, one of Germany's most popular radio stations. He recorded, mixed and mastered with UAD-1 plug-ins, and tracked a few instruments through an LA-610, at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Popakademie in Mannheim, a unique school that features music and recording classes, as well as classes in music business. Marcus shared his technique for mastering with UAD-1 plug-ins with me recently.
Recording, mixing and mastering engineer Marcus Wuest
"My goal was to apply parallel (upward) compression in two different ways to raise the density of the program material without affecting the transients that 'normal' downward compression has a tendency to do," Marcus explained.
This was achieved by copying the stereo track to three separate tracks and applying a different process to two of them, which were then mixed underneath the main unprocessed track. All three tracks were then run through four UAD-1 plug-ins on the master output.
One of the additional tracks is processed through an 1176SE set to all-button mode and heavy compression to provide a bit grit, which is mixed in slightly. Marcus chose the 1176SE over the 1176LN because the LN provides more of the distorted effect in all-button mode, and that was just a bit much for the effect he was going for. "The LN sounded better when soloing, but when listening to the whole matrix the signal was more upfront with the SE," Marcus said.
The second additional track has a Cambridge EQ to cut some low frequencies and a Fairchild set to Lat-Vert mode, heavily compressing the mid and slightly compressing the vert signals. Marcus explained this step: "By mixing this in you get more spatiality that's often missed by mixing ITB without really affecting mono compatibility too much."
The plug-in chain on the master fader starts with a Pultec, which is set flat-just to get the subtle sound that the Pultec imparts. From there it goes into the Precision Multiband compressor. Although the Multiband is a compressor, Marcus set it up in a way that makes the signal more dynamic, so "it gets more bounce." From there the Precision EQ adds some subtle sweetening, and the Precision Limiter adds some volume.
In the movie, each track is soloed, and then each plug-in on the soloed track is disabled to illustrate the effect. Then the track is unsoloed and again the plug-in is disabled so you can hear its effect on the overall process. Finally, all the UAD-1 plug-ins are disabled at once (via the UAD-1 Performance Meter) to illustrate the affect the UAD-1 plug-ins have as a whole on the project.
You may also download the plug-in settings used in this session as presets, below.