so..anybody up on the new UAD-2?

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mwingerski
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Post by mwingerski » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:25 am

I have to say the UAD-2 card is a game changer for recording for me.
It's scary what that card can do and the stuff that UA is planning to do with it.

Full disclosure: I produced the song on the product demo video trailer with matt boudreau who engineered. It was my first time seeing the card in action and my first time working directly with UAD plug ins.

We tracked a 5 piece band with it and had to mix the song in 4 hours. Matt works a lot with UAD-1 so he was pretty familiar with it. The only catch was the RTAS support wasn't fully coded yet at the time we made the demo so we had to work in cubase for the mix.

OK so on to the UAD2
We had about 28 tracks I think. We used 37 plug ins on the UAD2 quad card at 57% of its capacity. Not simple plug ins either... LA2A, pultecs, Neves, it all sounded really really good and it put an HD accel card to shame.

I love the UAD plug ins. They sound better than most of the plug ins you can use in Pro Tools, in my opinion. The 1176 is amazing. The pultec is great and puts bombfactory version to shame, the plate verb is great and much quieter than the real Bill putnam plate we have in the closet. The Neve 88Rs is just bad ass and has some great very useful presets to get started with super punchy kick and snares.... And the SPL transient designer is so useful it's phenomenal. I haven't really messed around with the precision eq or other things since my interest in their plugs so far is mostly with the vintage emulations.

My current HD system is PCI based so now if I want to use the new card, I'd have to buy a new MacPro AND a new HD rig. That could cost as much as 10k in the current math. That's WAY too much money for me.

Cubase / Nuendo is starting to look really tempting though. Digidesign had better come up with a response to this really quickly (ie drop their pricing for top end products significantly) or else I'll end up buying a new DAW software, MacPro computer and UAD card for about the price of a core HD system with no plug ins. Hmm. Other than spending a month learning a new workflow, that sounds pretty damn tempting.

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Post by T-rex » Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:10 pm

That's great to hear. Yeah the UAD stuff really changed everything for me. I just had no idea how great plugs could really sound. I hear the same about the Sonnox stuff but haven't tried it.

I haven't played around with a real 1176 or Pultec (maybe a little at Studio G once) so I can't compare the emulations to the real thing, but the plugs sound amazing to me and do amazing things to the audio so I don't care how they compare. Also, the more I start to play with them, the more I start to recognize sounds from classic albums I like. So they must have done something right.

BTW I can't say enough good things about Cubase/Nuendo.
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Post by b3groover » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:17 pm

Thanks for the very informative post, mwingerski. I think I might have to invest in one of these. I've been waiting to buy a UAD-1 until I did more mixing, but I have a really nice project I'm mixing right now.

Which UAD-2 were you using? The quad core?
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Post by Slider » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:49 pm

mwingerski wrote:I have to say the UAD-2 card is a game changer for recording for me.
It's scary what that card can do and the stuff that UA is planning to do with it.

Full disclosure: I produced the song on the product demo video trailer with matt boudreau who engineered. It was my first time seeing the card in action and my first time working directly with UAD plug ins.

We tracked a 5 piece band with it and had to mix the song in 4 hours. Matt works a lot with UAD-1 so he was pretty familiar with it. The only catch was the RTAS support wasn't fully coded yet at the time we made the demo so we had to work in cubase for the mix.

OK so on to the UAD2
We had about 28 tracks I think. We used 37 plug ins on the UAD2 quad card at 57% of its capacity. Not simple plug ins either... LA2A, pultecs, Neves, it all sounded really really good and it put an HD accel card to shame.
Now you have me interested for sure. What's the best option if you want mostly compressors (FC,1176,LA2A,33906, Buss comp)? They should have a compressor pack Quad that's really what I want.

Your studio is in the old Coast building!!? I spent many months in there way back when. Love that room. Are the two Neve's still there?

+1 for cubase\nuendo. Love em.

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Post by b3groover » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:42 pm

From an interview on the Universal Audio website with Bourdeau:
I understand that you switched to Cubase for this project, in order to use the UAD-2. Were you apprehensive about using Cubase?

No, not at all. I actually had started playing with Cubase a few weeks earlier, because I did some tests with another record I was working on, and to my surprise, found that the summing bus in Cubase just sounded better than Pro Tools. It was smoother in the top end. And I've been using Pro Tools for over ten years. That's why we tracked in it, because I'm more comfortable tracking in Pro Tools. So going over to Cubase for this was not an experiment, it was just a decision based on sound. It sounded better. It sounded smoother, more open.
Do you agree with this, Mike? I don't have enough experience with ProTools to know, but I have been using Cubase for the past five years and it sounds very good to my ears.
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Post by mwingerski » Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:24 pm

b3groover wrote:From an interview on the Universal Audio website with Bourdeau:
I understand that you switched to Cubase for this project, in order to use the UAD-2. Were you apprehensive about using Cubase?

No, not at all. I actually had started playing with Cubase a few weeks earlier, because I did some tests with another record I was working on, and to my surprise, found that the summing bus in Cubase just sounded better than Pro Tools. It was smoother in the top end. And I've been using Pro Tools for over ten years. That's why we tracked in it, because I'm more comfortable tracking in Pro Tools. So going over to Cubase for this was not an experiment, it was just a decision based on sound. It sounded better. It sounded smoother, more open.
Do you agree with this, Mike? I don't have enough experience with ProTools to know, but I have been using Cubase for the past five years and it sounds very good to my ears.
I definitely think Cubase sounds every bit as good as HD. I haven't done enough of my own mixes on it to really come to a definitive conclusion. The main issue really is the mix bus. The Pro Tools HD mix bus sounds uses 48 bit fixed point math, which as I understand it, means it has a limited amount of headroom.

The Cubase / Nuendo mix bus is 64 bit floating point which means that it's practically impossible to clip (again from people who claim to know better than me).

I don't have hands on enough experience with this yet other than to say that the Cubase top end sounds smoother and less grating than pro tools HD which again, would support the theory that the mix bus has more headroom. I still think HD sounds really good. I'm going to spend some more time with cubase in October after AES. (which I'll be missing because I"m getting married...)

But I said earlier, the UAD-2 does change the game completely though and I think Digi should be really afraid of what this is going to do to shake up the marketplace. As far as I know, there is nothing that even comes close to this kind of non-native processing power. And at that price point, it really does make them a serious competitor to HD.

Besides that, the plug-ins just kick ass. And the people making them really really care about the sound. Universal Audio is a small company and they actually do make the whole product in California, which is unheard of in the computer parts world. And for 1600 bucks or something (for a UAD2 Quad), all of that adds up to something that just makes me take a second look at my next upgrade investment and wonder if I really want to give a shit ton of money to a corporation that has used its market share to deny engineers the choice to do something as simple as export an mp3 without forking over a hundred bucks or more.

Digidesign abuses its position in the marketplace over and over. Closed systems are becoming a thing of the past, and for good reason.

Like Matt, I've been a big Pro Tools fan for a long time and I love it as far as workflow and compatibility from studio to studio. But when it comes time to upgrade to a new mac (which is coming soon), I'm also really torn about how deeply do I want to invest in some hardware that is quickly losing its value in terms of power. I'm sure as hell not going to spend more than the bare minimum with Digi to get a core card and then run all my other stuff native on an 8 core mac pro (16 core probably by the end of the month) which has as much processing power as an HD3 accel anyway...

If you don't own an HD system, the UAD2 certainly doesn't give anyone a huge incentive to jump on board now.

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Post by mwingerski » Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:26 pm

BTW
we were using a quad core UAD 2

And the neve desks are out... the one in the middle room was taken out about 5 years ago to make room for the mastering rooms.

The big one in the back was taken out when Matt moved in and re-oriented the control room 90 degrees to make it less claustrophobic and sound better...

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Post by b3groover » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:13 pm

I hear what you're saying. It seems like with the UAD-2 and a good set of converters from Apogee or SSL, you could put together a killer DAW that would probably sound better than an HD rig, for much, much less.

Exciting times!
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Post by gabe real » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:43 pm

i think this seals the deal for me too.

the UAD plug ins are by far my favorite....

i have tried the re-release of the 1176(in form of 6176)

i didnt like it as much as the VST. i got rid of the 6176 and just road out the UAD for the last 4 years.

now there is some talk that the 6176 dosnt have a good enough power supply to run both compressor and preamp. so i might not have a fair comparison.
(and this was 4 years ago, so things could have changed)


either way, its hard for me to spend $1500-2500 on one channel of compression.
not to say i would not love to have one though :)

pro tools HD is completely out of the question now.
with one reason being its too damn much to just get started.
$3000 used for JUST a HD core card, and then you need converters.

there are so many choices for DAWs and converters now its hard to feel like
you have to be stuck with pro tools.


looks like im rebuilding my PC soon.
good bye pci, hello pci express.

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Post by b3groover » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:49 pm

Luckily when I built my computer a few years ago I chose a board with 2 PCI express slots on it, even though I had nothing that used them.

Woo!

I have nothing against ProTools, but there are so many more options now and the new UAD-2 throws the doors wide open. Very exciting!
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Post by gabe real » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:26 pm

my computer is 4 years old too.
still running a AMD single core 64 bit.
3400 i think, with 512 cache :)

so needless to say, its time for a upgrade.

i have nothing against protools either, i just dont think its fair to have to pay so much for delay compensation and more than 32 tracks. oh and 18 i/o limit.
(well, with that comment, i guess i do)

LE is just, well LE (light edition)
protools is a must in some form due to the mind state that was created that you have to have protools to be PRO.

this trickles down to the consumer / prosumer market.
so, people send me PT files i export using digitranslator as OMF and open in sonar.
done deal.

i get 64 bit engine, delay compensation, more features, unlimited tracks, etc.
sonar also seems to have a better sound stage.
i wider stereo spread and a little bit clearer.

i would use protools more if it was not so limited.
i feel like i have to pay too much for slight upgrades to get what
i get out of sonar.

im doing a complete overhaul of my studio right now.
should be a pretty penny after im done.
still less than buying just HD though.

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Post by gabe real » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:28 pm

sorry, im a little off topic.

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Post by b3groover » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:30 pm

No, I'm in the same boat. I'm saving up for new converters (probably SSL Alpha-Link) but luckily my computer is still not too old to handle current hardware. I don't do a lot of mixing; in fact, my mantra is to capture sound as best as possible and then take it to the pro studio here in town with the killer outboard gear and 40+ years of experience to mix it. But the UAD-2 is very tempting. If I can get things 90% there and THEN take it to the pro studio for that last 10%, I'll be ahead of the game.
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Post by touched1 » Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:19 am

Put my UAD-2 Nevana 64 on order yesterday!

I'm throwing it in a slightly less than year old 3Ghz 8 core Mac Pro.

I have a great sound card, speakers, and pretty much all the instruments I need.
I believe I will officially be out of excuses....

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Post by T-rex » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:39 pm

I just did a quick mix to test out the Quad. It ran great right out of the box and the instalation was cake.

Man, so nice having all that power. I set up three plates, two tape delays (space echos on my UAD-1) and slapped a 1073 on every channel (24). I normally wouldn't do that, but I was just testing it out. Man mixing was so easy with that set up. I didn't even need as much compression as I would normally use to make everything sit well. I used a crap load of plugs over all and never got above 47% on the Quad. Very happy with the purchase.

Anyone want to buy my extra PCIe UAD-1 card? :D
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