Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by forumuser934245 »

I have an Apollo Firewire QUAD has been working great for quite sometime. I use the plug-ins included with the interface and have purchased 1 or 2 afterwards. All my other plugins are from 3rd parties and are not tied to the Apollo.
Their plugins are nice, but there are a lot of developers that offer better plugins in my opinion. Besides, a lot of the plugins that have been integrated in the UAD market are also available on Plugin Alliance for cheaper and not tied to the Apollo. So if I want to dump the interface on eBay I can and sell it and my UAD Plug-ins and be done with UAD (if I choose to do so).
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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by CS70 »

uselessoldman wrote:I think people must be COMPLETELY BONKERS to buy into their products. They remind me so much of the Apple marketing model, you buy our stuff cos we are who we are and we know u love us. To say you FORCED to pay a premium price for both their hardware and software is a massive UNDERSTATEMENT, its not exactly unique, but I use the word forced specifically cos as I said you have to be bonkers !!

Well, yes and no. For UAD , the UAD brand carries a bit of premium, no doubt... but it does because its products are still uniquely very good, not the other way around.

The reasons are simple: for one, UAD is very close, obviously to, UA. UA is damn good at what they do and has been good at it for a very long time. The changes in analogue audio happen at a far lower pace than in software (heck, we're still looking at kit from the 1950s as holy grails) so UA is still very much at the top of its game.

That has several consequences: one, when doing the software you have people available who has designed the analogue circuit; or, you have people that can understand it pretty well; when you have designed something, you have available people that can tell you very quickly how it compares to the "real thing"; you have available a number of "real things", or the financial muscle and connections to get or loan more (if I as a small company were to make a Fairchild plugin today, just getting hold of a real Fairchild for testing would require considerable funding and work).

Two, reproducing analogue behavior in software is not a trivial skill. Reproducing is so that it mimics the actual analogue hardware, it's much worse - because (unlike computing) the specific hardware platform makes a significant difference to the result of the "computation" - i.e. the processing of the signal.

It takes years for a group of people to get good at it, and the head start that the fellas at UAD have by now, give them an incredible advantage (same goes for Line6, for example and others). The combination of all that makes so that UAD plugin sound as they sound - for reproducing classic hardware, there's very other companies that have the same edge.

The analogy with Apple is not totally appropriate: computers, in the end of the day, do all exactly the same thing. Also then skills are fairly translatable. It's not _harder_ or different to code something on an Apple platform than it is anywhere else (it was way harder on, say, an Atari 2600.. but I digress). A Turing-equivalent computation is a computation and it really matters not which specific hardware is running it, so long the hardware is not faulty.

Thingsd like the looks, and how thin the machine is, suddenly get attention and are more important, because it's hard to differentiate on the computation (you can, a little, on speed, but again, it's largely a non-problem for most users these days). And of course the specific system software, and the various ios and macos have their fans, as it should be. And the amount of software running on the system.

Finally, branding and exclusivity (including artificially higher prices, that give an aura of wealth to people carrying them) play also a huge role.

With UAD, not so. The proprietary hardware, even if useful, these days is really just a protection dongle... but what you pay, you pay for as accurate a reproduction of an analogue item as it can be done nowadays by anybody.

Then of course, there's always the guy whos finds it very hard to buy large amounts of money for stuff that can't be touched.. and that's ok.
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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by Favedave »

I understand the OP's frustration. I've been using UAD stuff from PCI slot days to my current Thunderbolt 3 setup with 2 Octos and an Apollo Twin.

I had about 20 plugins, but was a casual user. This past year with lockdown, I was spending a LOT of time increasing my mixing/recording skills. I have a high end Mac (iMac Pro, 10 core, 764 gigs RAM), so I thought I could go big with the Native Plugins. I tried with all the stock Logic plugins (some are good), and many others. Bit I found I kept going back to my basic UAD plugins for mixes -- the LA 2A, the Neve 88RS Channel Strip, 1176, etc. Over time, it seemed like these were best for me, that they warmed up all my VI tracks. I had always planned to keep the plugins limited, but as I tried more and more of them -- and watched the 5 minute tutorials -- the more I realized I could get results on them that I couldn't get otherwise. Is it because they're just better or they simply fit my style or I just learned to use them better than others? I dunno.

So I went all in. Another reason was because even my high end Mac choked on certain demanding Native plugins. I went from an Apollo Twin to adding two Octos and going up to 95 UAD plugins. When I added all the money I spent and divided by the number of plugins, each plugin cost $52! That's cheap! Of course, I used their sales periods and bundles and Octo extras. But it wasn't any effort. If you include the cost of the hardware, it comes to around $85 per plugin.

I'm very happy with the results and I mix better and faster now. Now my workflow is writing and tracking on Logic, then exporting stems to mix on Luna -- which gets an amazing creamy analog sound not available without external analog processors. (Because of the Summing and Channel extensions in Luna.)

I think that wanting something for a 4 year old piece of hardware is just unreasonable. 4 years old is a long time in computer years. Perhaps there was a voltage spike in your area or brownouts or other uncontrollable factors. UA cannot be responsible for 4 year old hardware -- they would soon be out of business.

Are there frustrations with UA? Sure. But few companies have such pristine processing and delightful results. My other go to plugins are Altiverb, Revoice Pro, Melodyne, and Speakerphone. All of those together cost around $1600. But they do what no other plugins do. And they save me time and money. I value time the most.
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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by MOF »

I found a noticeable difference in sound quality between the silver core duo and the X4. I love UAD plugins, I have a lot of them now.
I also like PA’s Focusrite Console and a few of the Waves plugins such as Abbey Road ADT. I paid to upgrade them to version 12, not exactly cheap, a little over a year ago and now find that the second licences won’t work on my laptop, whereas the UAD plugins work with any computer because the interface and/or satellite acts as the dongle.
When I started out on this home studio journey I paid hundreds of pounds for one piece of outboard, so I consider the ability to have all this high-end virtual gear a major plus.
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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by Rene Asologuitar »

chachithefonz wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:14 pm Something to consider:

I recently bought the UAD Volt 2/76 interface, and very happy with the product.

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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by Arpangel »

My 828 has long gone, new OS, driver issues, would not work with my new Mac.
I was talking to a chap who I trust, about UAD interfaces, he has an Apollo, and loves the sound, also, a lot of people who’s music I like use them too, not that that has much to do with anything, but it’s interesting.
So I’m thinking about getting an Apollo too, just wondering about peoples experiences, regarding sound quality, let’s leave out the plug-in's for now, did you notice a substantial difference in sound quality, if you moved from using something else?
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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by Bob Bickerton »

I’m on my second Apollo and have been well pleased with them. I had a FireWire version with two preamps and upgraded that to a thunderbolt Apollo 8p with 8 preamps. The preamps are very good and clean, but you can also use the UAD preamp plug ins, which apparently interact with the onboard preamps to provide ‘vintage’ options. Having said that I prefer to track clean.

I still have a couple of Focusrite isa preamps, which I enjoy, but really there’s very little in it. If I was starting afresh today (and assuming I wasn’t invested in UAD plugins) the Apollo would still be at the top of my list, perhaps with RME.

The UAD Control software is fine and allows you to insert and monitor or even track with UAD plugs. It’s quite something using a Lexicon 224 as a comfort reverb!

Reliability wise, I’ve never had a problem with UAD gear and have been using it for getting on 18 years.

With UAD now offering native versions of their plug ins, you don’t need to load up on internal dsp so much.

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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by Arpangel »

Bob Bickerton wrote: Mon Apr 25, 2022 12:09 pm I’m on my second Apollo and have been well pleased with them. I had a FireWire version with two preamps and upgraded that to a thunderbolt Apollo 8p with 8 preamps. The preamps are very good and clean, but you can also use the UAD preamp plug ins, which apparently interact with the onboard preamps to provide ‘vintage’ options. Having said that I prefer to track clean.

I still have a couple of Focusrite isa preamps, which I enjoy, but really there’s very little in it. If I was starting afresh today (and assuming I wasn’t invested in UAD plugins) the Apollo would still be at the top of my list, perhaps with RME.

The UAD Control software is fine and allows you to insert and monitor or even track with UAD plugs. It’s quite something using a Lexicon 224 as a comfort reverb!

Reliability wise, I’ve never had a problem with UAD gear and have been using it for getting on 18 years.

With UAD now offering native versions of their plug ins, you don’t need to load up on internal dsp so much.

Bob

Thanks Bob, I don’t need mic amps, just a lot of line inputs, I don’t like the idea of DB connectors, but if I have to have them, so be it.
I’d like 16 line inputs, the plugs sound great, just the 224 is worth it!
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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by Bob Bickerton »

You’re probably looking at the Apollo 16 https://www.uaudio.com/audio-interfaces/apollo-x16.html but the line inputs are on DB connectors.

Not cheap though!

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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by Arpangel »

Bob Bickerton wrote: Tue Apr 26, 2022 11:34 am You’re probably looking at the Apollo 16 https://www.uaudio.com/audio-interfaces/apollo-x16.html but the line inputs are on DB connectors.

Not cheap though!

Bob

Thanks Bob, that’s fine, but I resent paying extra for the connectors!
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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by James Perrett »

Arpangel wrote: Tue Apr 26, 2022 9:33 pm
Thanks Bob, that’s fine, but I resent paying extra for the connectors!

I find DB25 connectors really handy when you are using large numbers of connections and the cables I use are only £25. That's the equivalent of £3.12 per cable if you were buying separate cables.
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Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post by Arpangel »

James Perrett wrote: Tue Apr 26, 2022 11:47 pm
Arpangel wrote: Tue Apr 26, 2022 9:33 pm
Thanks Bob, that’s fine, but I resent paying extra for the connectors!

I find DB25 connectors really handy when you are using large numbers of connections and the cables I use are only £25. That's the equivalent of £3.12 per cable if you were buying separate cables.

What I’m thinking about is if you’ve got stuff that’s in different places in the control room, that need to be plugged into the interface, a DB25 breakout probably won’t reach, and I’ll have to use loads of adaptor leads.
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