AF’s Weblog

April 20, 2009

Universal Audio – Moog Multimode Filter: The Test

Mojo Filter
Universal Audio – Moog Multimode Filter: The Test

While there is a huge choice of filter effects available on the market today, it could be argued that many of them lack the character and warmth of some of their hardware counterparts and while some claim to capture the sound of vintage hardware, the reality is few have come close. It’s just possible that all this is about to change though, as one of Universal Audio’s latest offerings for the UAD platform is the Moog multimode filter. With a well respected pedigree in emulating prized vintage hardware, Universal Audio are perhaps the best people to attempt the recreation of the classic Moog sound.

MIDI Learn CC

Most of us are accustomed with multi mode filters and have used them in our productions at one time or another. Obviously some genres call for these tools more than others but its safe to say that many of us see them as an integral part of our production arsenal.

For those of you that aren’t so familiar with multimode filters, they are simply filters that allow various modes or models to be set by the user. For example a typical plug-in will present the choice of low pass, high pass and band pass filter models, as opposed to a hard wired low pass filter, seen in some filters and synthesizers.

Some filter plug-ins not only offer this multimode flexibility but additional features such as resonance, overdrive and modulation capabilities are not uncommon and offer the user the ability to create diverse effects.

Gearing Up

Of course one issue some people will have with any Universal audio plug-in from the offset, is the fact that they only run on the UAD1 platform and lack any kind of native support. In the platforms defense, the UAD1 and newer UAD2 are now extremely popular amongst all levels of engineers and musicians alike and the entry level cards are extremely affordable making the plug-ins a realistic option for most budgets

As is the case with all of the UAD plug-ins, the Moog Multimode supports VST, Audio Units and RTAS formats, so most DAW users can join the party. Installation is a breeze as the plug-in will already have been installed with your UAD software. If you don’t see it in your plug-in list fly over to the Universal Audio site and grab the latest UAD driver release.

Once the appropriate UAD software is installed you can enjoy a nice feature supplied by the UAD folks and that’s the full 14 day demos that come as standard. Every plug-in you haven’t yet purchased is available to preview and this is a nice way to try the processors out in your projects before you lay down your hard earned cash.

Now let’s take a closer look…

Conclusion

This is hands down the best software filter I have ever come across. It sounds truly analog and it has an interface that even a beginner would find accessible. It is slightly CPU hungry but considering Universal Audio has recently released the all powerful UAD2 range of DSP cards and that a light SE version of the plug-in is bundled with the full version, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for most users. If you are in the market for a filter plug-in and own one of the UAD DSP cards this is certainly a must have. It is so good it is even worth considering buying a card just to run it, as a hardware filter of this quality would cost an arm and a leg.

Stunning emulated analog filter effects
Warm, fat and fuzzy drive input circuit
Easy to understand, well laid out interface
Cost effective

Possibly slightly too CPU hungry for UAD1 owners
Might not contain enough routing for some power users

To read the full detail article see:  Universal Audio – Moog Multimode Filter Test

February 16, 2009

Review: Universal Audio UAD-2

Filed under: Hardware — Tags: , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 8:39 am
WMD: Weapon of Mass DSPs
Universal Audio UAD-2: The Test

Universal Audio continues its arms race against other DSP card manufacturers, like TC Electronic (PowerCore) and SSL (Duende), by releasing the UAD-2, which comes in three models that dwarf the original in power. We tested the most powerful of all: the UAD-2 Quad.

UAD-2

In the world of computing, multicore processors and multithreading are booming industries. Manufacturers have realized that the future of our dear microprocessors will no longer be in increasing frequency, but in multiplying cores and/or processors. Universal Audio has understood the lesson and offers its DSP card in three models: the first, known as Solo, has, like its predecessor, one processor, the second, Duo, features 2, and the third, Quad, has no less than 4 processors! Knowing that the new processor is, according to the manufacturer, 2.5 times faster than the UAD-1, the Quad is therefore 10 times (2.5 x 4 processors) faster than its predecessor! The first UAD suddenly looks old. If you add to this the ability to chain together up to 4 UAD-2 cards in the same system (40 times the power of the original UAD), you start to grasp the enormous power potential of these cards.

Out of the box

As you take the card out of the box, you see the first new feature: the UAD now uses a 1x PCI Express bus, faster than the old PCI. You should definitely check to see if your motherboard has an available bus. Note that the card is also compatible with PCI Express 16x, which is normally reserved for video cards. It was on the latter that the card was tested by yours truly, the only available 1x PCIe bus was already being used by an RME Multiface …

Once the card is inserted into an appropriate slot, you have to startup Windows and run the .exe found on the supplied CD or downloadable from their site. It’s probably better to download the latest version which includes new plug-ins (like the UAD Equalizer Harrison 32C and the UAD phase aligner Little Labs IBP) and the latest version of the driver which is more stable and RTAS compatible. Once you’ve installed everything, you have to create an account on Universal Audio’s website, download a small file to authorize plug-ins and drag it onto the UAD-2’s configuration window. It’s simple, fast and efficient. Now you can start using the card!

Let’s take a closer look at the control panel …

Conclusion

While not surprising, Universal Audio has updated its range of DSP cards with brio by largely increasing their power plus retaining backwards compatibility and an already pretty strong plug-in selection . The UAD is still “the solution” for those who want to integrate a set of quality plug-ins without hampering their computer’s performance. The quality of the plug-ins from Universal Audio’s catalog is well established and one is sure to find things they like. Lastly, the price remains relatively reasonable in view of their quality.

The gain in power compared to the UAD-1
Compatibility with existing UAD plug-ins
Interesting new plug-ins
Possibility of chaining multiple cards
Low latency mode: LiveTrack
Interesting bundles

Not a lot of new plug-ins
CPU usage in low latency

To read, the full detailed article see:  Universal Audio UAD-2

January 30, 2009

NAMM 2009: Video Demo New Products from Universal Audio

Filed under: Computer music reviews, namm 2009, Official Announcements — Tags: , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 10:02 am

Dave Crane from Universal Audio tells us about the new UAD2-related products, including the UAD2 laptop solo Xpress card.

To watch all NAMM 2009 video demos visit us on Audiofanzine NAMM 2009.

December 22, 2008

Gifts for Music Lovers

Christmas Shopping

Are you tired of receiving boxes of chocolate every Christmas? You can’t take another hand-knitted sweater from your aunt and you’d like the bottom of the tree to look a little more…musical? Here’s a selection of gift ideas for your loved ones who may lack inspiration …

For Home Studios

The ultimate audio interface?
Prominently listed among the highlights of this year, TC Electronic’s Studio Konnekt 48 is a Firewire audio interface that features 24 inputs including 4 preamplifiers, 22 outputs, 12 simultaneous analog channels and world class DSP effects. Supplied with a remote control for around $1200, it’s one of the select few able to overshadow RME’s FireFace which, despite its numerous qualities, took a serious blow …

ProTools to go!
ProTools on a USB key; who would have imagined it? They did. Of course, the audio interface is ultra basic but thanks to the MBox 2 Micro, you can work your ProTools session on any computer, for a little less than $250. And since Transfuser currently comes with the package …

Little Adam
Halfway between a multimedia speaker and a near-field monitor, the Adam A5 is somewhat unique … There is the famous ribbon tweeter for which the brand is famous, guaranteeing quality highs, and bass response, which, given the size of the speaker, is no joke and makes it a worthy sibling of the famous A7, for a little less than $440 each. The ideal monitors for working in your apartment without disturbing the neighbors?

A half-legend?
Walking in the footsteps of the illustrious C414, the C214 is meant to be a more accessible version of the classic AKG mic. Featuring only one polar pattern but having the essential of what made the reputation of the large membrane microphone for under $600.

Night terror
It’s small, cute, inexpensive and it works like a charm. For less than $150, the Novation Nocturne will let you control your DAW and plug-ins while tasting the comfort of Automap technology.

26+26=2626
M-Audio’s high-end Profire 2626 has it all for those home studio owners who need a lot of inputs/outputs. Its preamps and converters meet our expectations and the price is around $700; did someone request a great deal?

Deus in machina
Widely used by the pros, the UAD-1 DSP card was nevertheless beginning to get old. So imagine our joy when we saw the UAD-2 arrive with a cornucopia of new plugins each as attractive as the next. And with prices that are not so “pro”, because between the small Solo to the big Quad, prices range from $500 to $1800.

Big Groove
The reference in virtual drummers is back! With 10 full kits and 55 GB of sounds and above all a complete mixer with a great effects section, Fxpansion’s BFD2 is a must for just under $400.

U47 USB?
If you’re looking for a simple way to connect a microphone (static or dynamic) to your computer, know that MXL has created the Mic Mate, an XLR to USB “adapter” incorporating a mic preamp and phantom power. It works without drivers, at the very reasonable price of around $50!

Multimedia Killers
Of course, with their 4″ boomers the Studiophile AV40 won’t do as studio monitors. Still, we’ve rarely come across such good multimedia speakers, with surprising lows for the size of the speakers, highs that’s aren’t bad at all, and great balance … The latest speakers from M-Audio have struck a strong blow to the competitors who offer roughly the same thing for much more, like Creative Labs, Logitech or Altec Lansing. At $150, the AV40 is probably one of the best options you can find for a traveling setup …

What if you changed sequencers…
We’ve got a thing for Reaper, a customizable sequencer, extremely stable, only a few MB, and costs, for non professional usage, fifty dollars. Where’s the catch? Why the discrepancy in prices? Well, we’re beginning to wonder …

Swiss army knife?
A recording studio in your pocket? It’s possible with the Boss Micro BR, a genuine Swiss Army knife that combines 4 tracks, a multi-effects processor, 300 rhythmic patterns and basic editing functions. It’s MP3 compatible, stores on SD cards, has a tuner, and an integrated microphone. What more do you need to know? The price? Around $200.

What a sound!
They look good, and work great, and what a sound. These tube and/or transistor preamps from Universal Audio give the best of both worlds …

Still haven’t found what you were looking for?  For more ideas read the full Gifts for Music Lovers article.

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