UAD-2 Quad DSP Card Review
UAD-2 Quad DSP Card Review
As a home-based enthusiast, most of what I do with respect to audio engineering is for my own satisfaction and one thing I’ve had a hard time doing is spending the money it takes to get great sound. I don’t make an income creating music and so justifying the expense is difficult. Through circumstance, I was able to acquire a UAD-2 Quad PCIe card for my Mac this past year and I’ve never had my audio sound so good. I now realize that the reason my music didn’t have the clear, airy and spacious quality that the commercially produced music has is because I didn’t have the tools to get it there. I understand that your entire audio chain, musicianship and the space you record in all have a dramatic effect on the end result, but now with the UAD-2 PCIe card and their unmatched plugins I am that much closer to the coveted professional sound we are all looking to achieve in our recordings. When placing the plugins on my channels for the first time I had an ear-to-ear grin… ear candy! The LA-2A and 1176 compressors are unmatched classics that are distinct and proven tools for high-end studio sound.
The processing power of the UAD-2 Quad card is absolutely awesome. Off-loading all that strain from your PC's CPU and letting the card's advanced technology do the work helps free your computer to do other things. This lowers latency and speeds up every aspect of your ITB engineering. The number of simultaneous plug-ins you can run during one session is out of this world. The ability to have so many instances of so many world-class plug-ins magically transforming your tracks at the same time opens up unmatched possibilities for carving and tweaking your sound.
The first plug-in I purchased aside from the basic offerings that came with the UAD-2 accelerator card was the Cambridge EQ. A 5-Band switchable Parametric or shelf EQ that sounds as good as it looks. Outward appearance isn’t everything and the Cambridge EQ has both inner out outward beauty. It’s not just useful, but fun to play around with - finding it to be a really transparent surgical tool that if used correctly, can do amazing things to your audio tracks. At a cost of $149 and the ability to place so many instances of the EQ across your mix (or any of their untouchable plugins for that matter), it is far more economical to obtain the Quad PCIe card than it is to purchase and maintain dozens of hardware versions. I believe that is where the advantage lies with ITB recording. When you have a company like UAD that can so accurately reproduce the analog gear in the digital realm, you save big bucks and acquire the same professional sound as those with racks of gear that cost more than your house. Would you rather own $500,000 in gear and a transport truck to carry it all or a PC under your arm with everything you need inside at a very small fraction of the cost? When you look at your finances and come to realize that you can achieve the same high quality sound as those with bus-loads of equipment, and do it with a budget of less than $1,500 plus a couple additional plug-ins from UAD, in the box with UAD is the only logical choice. It’s an investment you’ll never regret if you’re serious about how your music sounds.