Win 1 of 4 Softube TubeTech Classic Channel plug-ins in our May/June giveaway!
All you have to do is write a review of any pro audio gear (hardware or software) between now and the end of June. Gearslutz' very own Jules will choose the best four reviews after the closing date and those four lucky writers will each receive a TubeTech Classic Channel license from our friends at Softube. Already have this awesome plugin? No problem - Softube will let you swap it for other plug-ins of your choice (up to a $489 value).
The boring stuff: the contest closes June 30, 2013. You can do as many reviews as you like but remember they are being judged on quality, and you can only win once! An iLok is required to use the plug-in. Winners will be notified via Gearslutz PM or email. The judge's decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the outcome.
I think that what I think of this plug-in can be summed into two sentences:
1.I bought before my 14 days trial have ended.
2.I bought the plugin without any promotion.
Now, for the review. The Best Vst I own by far. I think that it’s maybe the only vst that can make my say Wow in only few seconds after placing it in my mix. It adds some sonically magic that I can’t really describe. Well , I actually can, third harmonic, saturation and etc. but what does it do to your mix ? pure magic. I know that maybe some of you folks who are reading this review will think that I’m from uad team, but I’m not.
I’m just one happy producer who has the ability to use Ampex on his mixes. I know that it’s frustrating that one without UAD cannot demo it, but it really worth it.
I’m not a long time producer who record mixes back in the 70’s who can still remember working with tape. Just a modern electronic producer who use this plug. My way of use, since my history of tape machine is none, is to find the preset that suits the most, then minor adjustments and the mix is fantastic. Have not mastered a mix without it since it came.
Oh, and before I will forget, I did a/b with other tape emulation, don’t bother….
This has become my favourite UAD plugin. It’s on the mix bus for every project I work on and almost magically makes everything sound better. Better as in tighter, more focused, clearer while at the same time “glued” together – it can make mixes that have been completely comprised of digital sources sound like an analog record.
I love the EQ parameters, they're just so fantastic for opening up the sound of my mixes and providing much needed “air”. This plugin is completely superior to using traditional compression and EQ, there’s just no comparison.
What’s really fun is opening up a project, putting this on the mix bus as usual, then loading up tracks by your favourite artists, and then doing some instant re-mastering. For example, I’m not a fan of the muddy way the new Bon Iver record was produced–– but putting the tracks through this plugin breathed new life into them, particularly improving vocal presence and percussive transients. This can also be done for records that are already well produced – I found a setting that makes Radiohead’s Kid A sound warmer and even more phenomenal.
The $350 price tag may put some UAD users off this plugin, but actually it’s fantastic value when you consider the price and inconvenience of the original unit. A game-changing plugin – haven’t heard anything that enhances the stereo image of a track like this.
Being a drummer, I absolutely love the sound of hi-end reel-to-reel tape machines.
I was amongst the first ones to be completely shocked by the horrible sound of Steinbergs "Magneto" over a decade ago, had an eye on tape emus ever since and after I got the UAD Studer A800 I couldn´t help but putting it on every mix from then on.
The UAD Ampex ATR-102 sounded great on UA´s Ampex trailer.
But the mix they sent through it, was so tight and analog sounding - that I was completely blown away when I first hit the UAD Ampex with my own mixes.
Some of my clients don´t hear much difference when I play them their mixes with and without the Studer A800 plugin.
This may be, because I like to hit it conservatively and select forgiving tape kinds (250, 456) most of the time.
You don´t have to hit the Ampex hard to make everyone hear a difference - it´s got a big sweet spot.
You can put it on a mix that already sounds great and doesn´t seem to lack anything - when you toggle it off again, you´ll be missing it.
First of all, I can´t live without the 3D-effect it provides - it´s almost crazy how a mix seems to loose depth when you swith the plugin off.
I love how it rounds out the kick drum, the way it tightens the midrange and smoothes the hi-end.
This was before I had discovered Stephan Smith´s "Ultralinear" presets.
I recommend trying these presets if the mastering EQ is already set up perfectly.
If you wan´t to experiment more, feel free to check out the artist presets - most of which use the ATR-102 uncalibrated (or freely calibrated) to change the sound more drastically...
Sound Quality: 10
Ease Of Use: 8
Come on UA: Your plugins have the most straightforwd user interface with the circular mouse mode, the GUIs are beautiful - BUT:
Why do we have to compensate output gain for the input setting?
It would be the most natural thing if we could just dial in the right amount of tape saturation without having to fiddle around with the output gain.
This can also be used as tape delay and doppler (chorus) effect and both sound great.
The range of tape speeds, track widths and tape kinds (different selection for every speed) is extremely versatile.
Bang for buck: 10
Not all might share my opinion because you need the UAD-2 - but think of the cost for the tapes needed on the real machines!
I took great benefit out of UA´s promo deals - so in my case the Bfb was clearly 11 ...
I really love this recreation, I did right from the moment I heard it. I demo'd it a while back and dropped it in on the master buss of a track I was working on and it blew me away. I read somewhere a quote "sounds like a record" and I can honestly vouch for that.
One of the 'out the box' presets sounded perfect on the track I was working on at the time. It made the track sound like a record by smoothing the mix out a little and making it somewhat bigger sounding and very pleasant on the ears (I use NS10's). Giving a written definition of 'sounds like a record' is probably easy, although meaningless as everyone who reads this post will have their own idea of a definition for 'sounds like a record'. With this on the master buss, preview it and then bypass it & you should be able to see what I mean.
Steve Kitch @ Audiomaster does all my mastering for me and after I demo'd it, I insisted he buy it and use it on all my tracks - I like sending tracks to Steve with nothing at all on the master buss. I have since sucumb to my desire for the Ampex and just had to buy it, couldn't resist the temptation.
I've had great results every time I've used this and it works really well on strings and synths and pretty much anything you put through it - the small EQ pots let you dabble further with the sound and I'm finding that as long as you have the sound in your head that you're looking for, then you can pretty much guarantee that this should help you achieve getting that sound.
I have also used it on the master buss of a mix I mastered for my mate's band ( As standard, I don't like to master my own tracks but do enjoy helping friends as I can remain independent to the sound). The mix is below - I thought I would share it as I reckon it sounds cracking. I used the preset 'MIX RD-Type 900 15IPS and took a screenshot of the master buss, for all those people wondering what was on the master buss of the mix.
Discussions on the resemblance or difference between this plug in and the real thing miss one point from the point of view of the artist: when I was in a band in the mid '90's that made a record in an expensive studio with an old analog tape machine, I never gave a thought as to what the engineer and producer were doing with it. (Other than thinking that splicing tape with a razor blade to make edits looked really hard! And that the tape whooshing sounds as they moved the tape back and forth manually sounded like they should be sampled.)
The amount of time it would have taken for them to teach me about how to use an Ampex or Studer as a creative instrument would have been so expensive that it never would have happened. I could hear they added an incredible amount to the record vs stuff I had done on 4-track or in cheaper studios. But I had no idea how.
It might seem expensive to buy this plug in, but not if you consider that you get the opportunity to practice working with the controls on this instrument like an instrument without thinking about being on the clock in a studio that charges 1K+ per day. Maybe if you're an engineer you get that opportunity as part of your training, but not if you're in a band.
I had no idea that you could use machines like this to achieve sounds like the ones you get from using the Wobbly Chorus preset, for example. There's one track I'm working on where the delay does something magic to the ride cymbals. It totally changes the character of the song to the point where now I can't imagine it w/o it. As I learn more about the various controls, I can't wait to make more such discoveries. It kinda reminds me of when I was first learning to play guitar or drums and had to really keep at it to learn the ropes. It's nice to be challenged that way again.
Highly recommended. Have your cake and eat it too.
PS - one of the above reviews recommended Stephen Smith's additional presets for the Ampex. In the new UAD newsletter, there's a feature on his new presets for the Studer A8000 as well, which you can download.
Thanks for the download tip X Lo Fi - I've just downloaded the Stephen Smith presets for both the Studer and the Ampex.....quite liking the 'Maximum Extension & Linearity' Ampex preset on a project I'm currently putting together....cheers again