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R/E/P => Mastering Dynamics => Topic started by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 20, 2011, 06:58:42 AM

Title: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 20, 2011, 06:58:42 AM
I am am in the market for some more high quality DSP and have decide to go native as opposed to UAD. Anyone have any strong opinions on UAD's merits.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Cass Anawaty on July 20, 2011, 10:38:19 AM
I am am in the market for some more high quality DSP and have decide to go native as opposed to UAD. Anyone have any strong opinions on UAD's merits.
Yes, but you've made up your mind.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 20, 2011, 11:03:09 AM
It is true but I may be blinkered and not considered all sides.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Roger Morris on July 20, 2011, 11:54:17 AM
There are a couple of different things to possibly look at.

One is the quality of the plugs, and the other is the fact that, regardless of what type of computer platform you're using, you need to think about the integration of the UAD hardware to your platform.
It's not difficult, but may not be quite as easy as UAD portrays it to be.

For example, if you use a laptop as your primary platform, be aware that the new UAD hardware doesn't run reliably on the same firewire bus as any other piece of gear........like perhaps your firewire AD/DA convertor.
On a desktop PC or Mac, do you have the slots?.........if your slots are full and you default to an external UAD solution, you still need a seperate firewire bus if you're using the one you've got for anything.

There are a few hardware questions to be self-asked, and self-answered before investing in the UAD hardware.

As for the plugs themselves, I own many of them, and have long felt that they're at the top of the pile in terms of quality. Some of the newer ones like the Massive Passive and Studer tape emulation are simply excellent.
Some of the older ones, like the Neve package, Pultec, and UAD Mastering Bundle are also extremely high quality plugs.........I use them all the time.

The CPU load on your platform is drastically reduced when using something like the UAD hardware, which may not be as important in something like 2-ch mastering compared to multi-channel mixing........although there are a few UAD plugs that can consume massive amounts of CPU on a single instantiation.

Overall, I'd not be without the UAD option.
I use 17" MacBook Pro's, and have gone through the 3 different iterations of UAD interfaces for that platform.
Because I use a Prism Orpheus for AD/DA, I have to use a Sonnet Firewire card to get the second firewire bus.........which has been problem free.
There are some nice native plugs out there, and I do use some Waves SSL and API plugs just as often as I use some of my main UAD plugs...........but in complete honesty, and with no affiliation to UAD other than as an end user, I'd feel I'd be missing out on some extremely useable plugs (some not duplicated by any other manufacturer) if I didn't have the UAD as well.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 20, 2011, 12:17:23 PM
Thanks for well balanced view. I think you are right in that realistically it is nice to have it all.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: KAyo on July 20, 2011, 05:07:40 PM
Having used natives for donkey’s years and having moved to DSP incarnations of UAD/ SSL and Powercore, I can assure you my personal opinion is tilted towards DSP in a blink compared to native counterparts. Period…

I mean one could keep having long drawn out debates, regarding which is better blah blah blah .. But, to me the DSP plugs sound so much better. Saying that, so many of the new natives sound great and are commendable at their approach and overall quality etc.. But somehow, the sheen and class seem to always tilt me towards DSP power for critical or crucial work.

My favourite is offcourse the legendary TC MD3. Absolutely unbeatable! The latest UAD stuff is also jaw dropping and the SSL DSP version sound different than their native counterparts. I am aware many say they shouldn’t, but, to me they do …

My suggestion to you .. DSP, DSP and DSP.
Goodluck with your choice.

Ciao’
KAyo
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 21, 2011, 09:55:24 AM
One very unfortunate position is that with UAD you cannot demo without the dongle. And let's face it, it is a dongle.

I cannot think of why UAD should sound better. It is all DSP.

Maybe they have simply written better sounding software.

What is swaying me is that I did not like the Massive Passive in real life so if I had of liked it that would have sealed the deal so to speak, but hanging in for the Studer and a few other things makes it a much less attractive proposition. There is awesomeness being created by other higher end developers right now and I have difficulty being swayed. You do not have the overhead of the outdated cards lingering in your mouth either. Though it has to be said that new generations of CPU are NEVER what you think they are going to be power increase wise simply because many software developers do not even make their code more efficient or even optimize it for any newly given CPU architecture.

I appreciate the views as it all helps with better balanced decision making.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Roger Morris on July 21, 2011, 11:56:26 AM
I think UAD's resources at the R&D level are somewhat deeper than a lot of other small plug-in development shops. This alone may speak to a higher quality product............but as it's subjective, it may not resonate with all end users the same way.

I also think that the "dongle" is what keeps the forum buzz on UAD a lot lower than it otherwise would be.
The internet posters that go on endlessly (and therefore fill up online forums with specific product chat) about various native plugs tend not to dwell on the UAD stuff. Perhaps it's because they can't "sample" the product as they freely "sample" other native products.

As always though, it's really about what works for individual end users......and where your own priorities wind up in terms of targeting your dollars at companies that release products that you feel will benefit your mastering work.

Possibly the best thing is that you can't be "wrong" in whichever direction you choose to go  :)
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 21, 2011, 01:17:31 PM
Quote
R&D level are somewhat deeper than a lot of other small plug-in development shops.

Thats as maybe, but I make judgements with my ears so unfortunately it's something I cannot do with UAD without UAD dongles. : :(  There are smaller not so well known companies who have produced nothing less than magnificent products, though I do not know how deep their research was. Literally making products that I know improve my end results.

It is great fun listening and there are lots of goodies about that I can see being of great use.

There may be some kind of compromise to be had in fact, considering I know the MP is not for me that has saved me some money already. (in a weird sort of way).

Thanks for the input I think it might have actually have helped me think about the middle ground, maybe just a solo card will do the job.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: ggidluck on July 22, 2011, 12:01:30 PM
Barry,
It depends upon what your needs are. From what I have read on forums... a single instance of Massive Passive takes about 60% of one SHARC processor.

I have been a bit hesitant to get on the UAD platform mainly because of the dependency on the hardware. But it seems evident that UAD is committed to keeping their customer base by giving them an upgrade path from UAD1 to UAD2 and also licensing is transferable if someone sells their card. I think it's a good bet that if UAD did go native with their plugins that they would give their customers a way to run them natively without incurring a fee.

Native seems to be the way things are going. With ProTools 9 now and also I think SSL is offering Duende native. I guess this wins them additional customers .
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 22, 2011, 12:19:15 PM
My needs are owning the best software capable of a range of tasks I perceive need to be performed. I cannot hear any UAD software.TBH the only thing that is of interest is the Studer A800 emulation and that is meant to be used on tracks ideally, £500.00 to find out it is not currently an attractive proposition. I am leaning away from UAD again, no rush I like to stew on these things a while. Heard some top notch demo's since I bothered getting an Ilok. I think my wallet will soon be lighter. :P
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Cass Anawaty on July 22, 2011, 01:54:38 PM
It's been this way from the very beginning.  People hemming and hawing about dsp vs. native, the platform is going to be defunct in a year, etc. etc.  The rest of us have just enjoyed the benefits of having some (and I'd say mostly "all") of the best software emulations available to use however we like.

All I know is that the platform has served me well since buying a mackie card, and survived the journey from serious hobbyist to pro.  Hands down the best thing I ever bought for my studio.

And as far as auditioning, if you don't have a friend with a studio and a UAD card, you need to get out more.   ;)
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 22, 2011, 04:02:57 PM
Hi again, I have some engineering friends both with respectable production set ups but alas they do not own UAD cards. Maybe that tells me something..

1)They did not hear the UAD either for the same reason I cannot or they did not like what they heard. I will ask in fact.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Cass Anawaty on July 22, 2011, 04:10:53 PM
Hi again, I have some engineering friends both with respectable production set ups but alas they do not own UAD cards. Maybe that tells me something..

1)They did not hear the UAD either for the same reason I cannot or they did not like what they heard. I will ask in fact.
There are plenty of videos on their site you could download and take into a higher res listening environment to hear what they do.  Not perfect quality, but "good enough".
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 23, 2011, 05:13:29 AM
Good call, will check them out, thanks. Though my DAW is not internet enabled. Headphones on an EMU 0202 will have to do the trick on my online PC.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Cass Anawaty on July 23, 2011, 10:17:44 AM
Good call, will check them out, thanks. Though my DAW is not internet enabled. Headphones on an EMU 0202 will have to do the trick on my online PC.
Mine isn't either--I just download them and move them to the studio.  I think you can download as an option on their site, or just use Orbit or another capture program.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: ggidluck on July 25, 2011, 04:57:03 PM
Which UAD plugins are you guys using?
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Ben F on July 25, 2011, 09:22:05 PM
UAD in my opinion and many other experienced mix engineers that come into the studio are the only company to really nail analogue emulation.

Their plug-ins actually have a unique 'vibe' about them much like analogue does. Great company to deal with as well.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: mcsnare on July 26, 2011, 12:49:20 AM
I've been using the UAD stuff for mastering and I have to say it's very good. A lot of the plugs actually have vibe.

Dave
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: DOMC on July 26, 2011, 02:13:31 AM
I use the Massive Passive - the limiter and a few of the others at times.  Every now and then the maximiser and precision enhancers rear their heads as well....and the Studer :D
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: dietrich on July 26, 2011, 07:54:34 AM
Love surgical cuts on the Cambridge EQ and subtle boosts on the Prec EQ. Prec Limiter in use all day long
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 26, 2011, 11:05:21 AM
Well I had a listen to some native demo's at the weekend and I am very pleased with what I heard, in fact I had a little spend already ; )

I will be checking out some UAD website video/audio soon, shame I cannot really try them on actual material, but thats how they roll.

I am not quite as concerned about nailing analogue vibe right now, I have some nice kit in the rack, and I have software that already provides this somewhat subjective quality. What I am interested in is new and unique sound capability and I have found some nice products. I think I will be in line for some UAD at some point whatever happens right now.

Found a few highly rated products not meeting my expectations or needs, odd that when something is hyped to hell and yet when you hear it yourself it's not cutting mustard.
(Thats my UAD worry too, so I go with what I can try and hear for now.)

It's immense fun, but I find my ears get tired much quicker when testing plugs/equipment out
than actually mastering with things I love know and trust.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: dietrich on July 26, 2011, 11:54:38 AM
Barry-can any of your computers use a UAD1 PCI card? These can be had for  $100 often over here... its good way to 'demo' all the UAD plugs for jumping in for a UAD2
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 26, 2011, 12:21:43 PM
Thats a good call, yes I ensured my new i7 machine had both PCI and PCIe, damn it's even got an IDE controller so I can still get some more out of an IDE plextor 712A drive that is still doing 0.2 C1's in my old machine.

I will have a little look about on ebay and the likes, I am doubtful it could run a studer emulation though that must take quite a bit of juice. Will investigate thanks for the tip.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: ggidluck on July 26, 2011, 12:39:00 PM
Thanks for the responses. I ordered a UAD2 Flexi on Friday and hope to get it soon. I was wanting to get the heads up on what's hot. Massive Passive was definitely on the list. Good to hear some positives on the other eq's as well. All input is greatly appreciated!

Any opinions on the implementation of the SSL channel strip?
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Blackwing13 on July 26, 2011, 01:59:38 PM
Thanks for the responses. I ordered a UAD2 Flexi on Friday and hope to get it soon. I was wanting to get the heads up on what's hot. Massive Passive was definitely on the list. Good to hear some positives on the other eq's as well. All input is greatly appreciated!

Any opinions on the implementation of the SSL channel strip?

What UAD2 card you'll be getting? A Solo, Duo, or Quad? For Solo, I would recommend getting the modulations and the reverbs (things that you'll likely put in auxes). UAD2 Dimension D is one of the best chorus unit I've heard, EMT Plate 140 is THE smoothest plate reverb I've heard, and their new Lexicon 224 kept my jaw open. I wouldn't recommend Fatso, Massive Passive, or Studer for Solo cards because you'll get a very few instance of UAD2 plugins in the session.

As for SSL channel strip, if you use console-style-mixing (put every SSL plugins on every channel) you might consider getting a Quad card. I use a Duo card, and 25-30 mono channels of UAD2's SSL strip in 48000hz brought the Duo on its knee. The UAD2's Neve 88RS channel strip, on the other hand is very generous on power. Compared to the Waves version, the UAD2 version is much cleaner. I would call Waves version is 'grainy' while this UAD2 version is like a refined version of Waves'.

Well I could write all day about UAD2, since I'm working daily in a studio with complete UAD2 plugins. Ask me if there's anything you would like to know.

Gabriel
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: ggidluck on July 26, 2011, 03:24:05 PM
Just the solo for now. My main focus will be mastering so I don't foresee running a lot of instances of plugins. If my needs change I can always swap in a quad card later.

I'm looking for something that can add a bit of color if needed and maybe some nice air to a mix. I have the Samplitude plugins for eq now which are really quite good, just looking for something with a bit of "vibe" as Dave put it.

Down the road I think an analog loop/compressor/eq will be in the works but I'm taking the cheap route for now and adding some UAD2 plugins to give me more options than I currently have.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Blackwing13 on July 27, 2011, 11:11:01 AM
Then I would recommend Massive Passive, Fatso or Studer. But if you fancy another digital EQ, then you should demo/grab their Cambridge EQ. It does something I've never heard on other digital EQs.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: ggidluck on July 27, 2011, 12:48:47 PM
Thanks Gabriel. I definitely will checkout the demo.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on July 27, 2011, 03:49:48 PM
Hmm... had a listen to the MP and Studer demo's, very difficult to glean anything from it to be honest. Studer when gain matched was fairly subtle (narrowing of image, slightly softened).

As I gather a solo can run 1 x MP emulation so an old card won't be much use for testing the more juicy plug ins that I wanted to try out.

Based on this and what I have been able to hear from other manufacturers I have decided to give UAD a miss this time round.

As always will re-assess the situation later on but for now I must go and have a nice little spend up with other developers products. 8)

Thanks for the info and assistance it helped me out.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: SafeandSoundMastering on August 03, 2011, 12:29:12 PM
After whittling it all down and having some great fun which is still ongoing, I think there may well be a chance of getting a solo card afterall. (no rush)

Had some very good fun here of late.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Randyman... on August 06, 2011, 08:24:01 PM
While this is more of a mastering forum, what is the latency penalty of the UAD series for "Through the DAW" tracking duties, etc?  Just curious how much additional latency one should expect by running such DSP cards in a tracking environment...

 8)
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Cass Anawaty on August 07, 2011, 08:06:10 PM
While this is more of a mastering forum, what is the latency penalty of the UAD series for "Through the DAW" tracking duties, etc?  Just curious how much additional latency one should expect by running such DSP cards in a tracking environment...

 8)
Can't give an exact figure, but me and the artist are always aware when I've left a UA plug on the rough, lol.  It's not workable as real-time.
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Randyman... on August 07, 2011, 08:27:22 PM
Can't give an exact figure, but me and the artist are always aware when I've left a UA plug on the rough, lol.  It's not workable as real-time.

That's what I was figuring - I'll stick with native DSP on modern i7 CPU's and keep the talent happy :)  Thanks for the reply...
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: KAyo on August 11, 2011, 10:49:58 PM
Keen to know what plugs are being run, native or DSP while tracking?
Never done it.. would like to try it some time.

KAyo
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Randyman... on August 12, 2011, 09:21:00 PM
OT, but the question was posed.  I'm certainly not a top level pro (if you are even asking me  :o ), but I use a good deal of VST plug-ins in the playback mixer in Cubase/Nuendo to give the talent a more finished sounding mix.  I find it makes their takes fit "in context" better than monitoring a completely dry signal when you know the final mix will have all kinds of dynamics and effects the artist isn't hearing while tracking...

I use stuff like modeling/character dynamics, delays and reverb, and even L3's on the master HP outputs to keep things under control.  I'm always aware of the current plugin delay compensation offsets, and I NEVER track with any plugs that have a latency higher than 32-64 samples.  Linear-Phase EQ's and most stuff with a lengthy lookahead is out of the question as round-trip latency will sufer, and we are talking about realtime talent monitoring "through the DAW".

To clarify - I'm not printing the VST effects as they are in the "Track Mixer" portion of the DAW.  I do have a few choice DIY Hardware compressors that I also track with.  I generally do a "dry print" straight off the mic pre and a "parallel compression print" (mult'ed off the Mic Pre to the Compressor Input) to 2 separate AD inputs to use true analog parallel compression "in the digital mix".  Eats up 2 channels for 1 track, but the flexibility is a godsend (and I have oodles of I/O at my disposal).

With a fast i7 PC and a good soundcard (RME HDSPe MADI runs @ 32-Samples of ASIO over here), the latency is un-noticeable, and the HP mixes (up to 8 discrete HP mixes - each with their own master section) sound GREAT!  I couldn't fathom working any other way unless I had a high-dollar $$$,$$$ console that cost more than all of my gear put together and some more outboard gear as well.  That's not going to happen, and my current workflow suits me perfectly.

I don't think I'd have such flexibility with a DSP card due to the additional latency.  Then with my setup, it's just so convenient to have your "wet" HP monitor mixes and main mix all come up with the main project IMO.  No manual recalls on an analog console and outboard gear, etc.  Launch, arm, and go.  Fast!

If you weren't asking me directly - forget everything I posted  :'(

 8)
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: KAyo on August 16, 2011, 01:34:06 AM
Thanks for the set-up run, Randy.
So, no plugs being used live while tracking. For example Comps, or limiters etc.. ? I thought you were tracking live with plugs, thus, the earlier question.

Ciao'
KAyo
Title: Re: UAD Vs Native
Post by: Randyman... on August 19, 2011, 09:51:40 PM
"Monitoring through" the plug-ins while tracking?  Absolutely.  But these plug-ins are NOT actually "printed" with the tracks (I insert them in the channel/track mixer for monitoring, not in the input mixer which would then get printed to disk along with the “dry” take).  The talent is indeed hearing all of the VST's "wet" in the headphones, thus my latency concerns are indeed valid for the artist  ;)  No "Direct Monitoring" or any of that crap - The artist hears themselves and the mix "wet" through the DAW with VST's and all.  No complaints yet, but I'm not exactly "Big Time" at this juncture  ;D

I even print the "real" hardware compressors to their own track so I can still get true analog parallel compression "in the digital mix" - however the "dry" mic signal and the "parallel compressed" signal were both captured from the 1st generation analog domain (before any AD/DA conversion) - the results are digitized to 2 individual tracks so I'm not having to use a DA/AD I/O insert loop (and associated conversion artifacts, etc) to do my parallel compression "in the digital mix".  Eats up more inputs while tracking, but it's well worth it IMO (also makes the headphone mixes sound that much better when you have parallel compression options from the get-go!)

Marriage of hardware and VST processors for tracking and monitoring - works incredibly well for my workflow.  The headphone mixes sound great and offer endless flexibility.  Latency is not a concern with a fast system and a good I/O card assuming you stay away from highly latent plug-ins like Linear Phase EQ’s and limiters with a lengthy lookahead delay, etc…

Back to mastering before I get kicked outta here!

 8)