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Why are UAD Plugins sounding that much better? A serious question
Old 6th August 2020
  #361
Gear Nut
There is renewed interest in the Avalon VT-737 because of the UA version release. I think people underestimate the power of marketing and the influence of suggestion on their subconcious. There is alot one has to do internally to justify that level of financial investment and copy protection, especially when Native CPUs have left those Sharc DSPs so far behind.

That being said, it is good quality software with accompanying hardware being equally good. They outlived Soundscape and TC Electronic, Antelope has not managed to gain any traction against them.

They are Rolex and Ferrari good, at branding. The skill of the engineer and the artist will determine what sounds the best, not the manufacturer of the plug in.
Old 7th August 2020
  #362
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arksun View Post
It's not that UAD plugins are clearly better than native ones. There are native plugins that sound every bit as good as UAD plugins. What makes UAD plugins special is that they're consistently good across the range
This may be the best quote on how to sum up the polarized UAD debate.

UA hires amazing coders. Their hit to miss ratio is very strong. The price of buying external DSP and the high cost for the plugins themselves piss people off who can’t justify the price of entry. They are very overpriced plugins... yes. But damn do they sound good!!!!

But for the record, I love that extra DSP handles UAD plugins. More power for native plugins. More complex mixes.
Old 7th August 2020
  #363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maniac 7777 View Post
There is alot one has to do internally to justify that level of financial investment and copy protection, especially when Native CPUs have left those Sharc DSPs so far behind.
A lot of the chatter comes down to this versus that, when it really isn't a case of software being exclusive.
I bought my Apollo interface because it fitted my needs at the time.
I have a few UAD plug-ins, but I probably use more (and more frequently) Waves, Fabfilter and Native Instruments.
There is no point in me buying native 1073 or Api emulations, because the UAD versions are great, but I have a slew of 'native' plug-ins that are just EQs, compressors, delays and reverbs which aren't trying to be a classic piece of outboard
Old 7th August 2020
  #364
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flippy Floppy View Post
They are very overpriced plugins... yes. But damn do they sound good!!!!

But for the record, I love that extra DSP handles UAD plugins. More power for native plugins. More complex mixes.
I actually think that that's what makes them not overpriced. Of course it's an individual's opinion to a degree.
Old 7th August 2020
  #365
Gear Guru
UA is a great company and doesn’t come on here to hype their products, ever.

They also partner with the gear they emulate. No cute work around on naming. That’s important when you look at authentic reproduction.

UA is also one of the few companies that makes hardware also.... a complete solution. Not a bad thing!
Old 9th August 2020
  #366
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
UA is a great company and doesn’t come on here to hype their products, ever.

They also partner with the gear they emulate. No cute work around on naming. That’s important when you look at authentic reproduction.

UA is also one of the few companies that makes hardware also.... a complete solution. Not a bad thing!
They are a great company that I personally rely on a daily basis.
Old 9th August 2020
  #367
Lives for gear
 
Crazy4Jazz's Avatar
 

Why? Great company been in the business from jump.
Old 10th August 2020
  #368
Gear Addict
 
icebox's Avatar
 

UAD is awesome stuff. My go-to always.
Old 12th August 2020
  #369
Gear Nut
The problems are aging DSP technology, poor processing power per dollar, closed system, plug-in transfer policies, and dependency upon company health to support it. A sale of a RME interface is a cut and dry physical hardware sale. UAD requires account transfer.

Also far too bound to Apple. If PC is an afterthought for a company, like with Luna, I cannot deal with that. My Macbook Pro is worthless. If it were a PC I would have a current operating system on there. Apple just sold a number of their customers $40,000 workstations with no multitouch support, and now are announcing a switch to ARM processors which will cause software companies to stop supporting those $40,000 workstations.
Old 12th August 2020
  #370
Lives for gear
 
miqer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maniac 7777 View Post
The problems are aging DSP technology, poor processing power per dollar, closed system, plug-in transfer policies, and dependency upon company health to support it. A sale of a RME interface is a cut and dry physical hardware sale. UAD requires account transfer.

Also far too bound to Apple. If PC is an afterthought for a company, like with Luna, I cannot deal with that. My Macbook Pro is worthless. If it were a PC I would have a current operating system on there. Apple just sold a number of their customers $40,000 workstations with no multitouch support, and now are announcing a switch to ARM processors which will cause software companies to stop supporting those $40,000 workstations.
Yeah agree... 100%...
I got some of the plugin alliance plugs native... And I can run 100+ instances on all my 3 computers :0
Old 12th August 2020
  #371
Gear Addict
 
eagle007's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by miqer View Post
Yeah agree... 100%...
I got some of the plugin alliance plugs native... And I can run 100+ instances on all my 3 computers :0
The UAD DSP's might be underpowered, but I have an octo and can load dozens of plugins on it. I know for sure that what I load on it will run without a glitch and definitely sounds good. Are there other plugins that also sound good? Yes sure.

I tested the IK tapes and some other newer analog modeling plugins that do oversampling. And guess what? The IK tape plugins use about 50% of a physical i9 9900k core at 5Ghz.

WTF?!? Yes, you read that correctly. And a lot of these newer oversampling analog modeling plugins are very CPU hungry. So in that respect, UAD still holds some value.

At the moment I'm looking for serious competitors to the UAD platform. Not that I don't like the quality, but latency on the PCIe card is a thing, bouncing is slow as there is little to no overhead on the card. And in bigger sessions I can run out of DSP.

But finding alternatives to UAD is a bit harder than I expected it to be, despite some of the comment I read. A lot of the plugin companies have plugins that are good, but with UAD I know that all of them are just good, no second guessing.

For example I like the VLA-3 which I tested from BRA, but the VLA-2 not so much, and their FET even less. The Waves compressors miss some character/3D to me compared to my mk2 UAD's. And with vintage emulations, I like GUI's that remind me of the gear used. I know it's bull**** sound wise, but still. Some of the BRA plugins look like toys to me, and unconsciously this effects the way I perceive them.

Nebula is a pain in the ass to work with and eats CPU for breakfast. Some of the IK T-Racks 5 plugins I like, but definitely not all of their emulations, and their naming (due to licensing for sure) is rather cryptic to me.

From PA I have some console emulations I would gladly use in place of the UAD's, which is also why I got them. But there is no LA-2 or LA-3 there, and no pultec. I tested their Purple MC77 as 1176 alternative, but find it to aggressive. Miss the smoothness. Their Opto is nice, but not an LA

There are also native plugins which do not have a UAD counterpart and are very good. Like for example Soothe. The FabFilter stuff and SoundToys are one every of my mixes.

In general, I find I have a definite go to with UAD stuff, which doesn't need any additional consideration of my end other than "do I still have DSP left". With native plugins, my experience so far is I need to do a lot of testing, comparing and shopping to get my tools together in the same ballpark of usability and sound quality.
Old 12th August 2020
  #372
AB3
Lives for gear
Latency and number of plugins is an issue with UAD. Can they go to a M.2 SSD hard drive somehow and still have some code or something to assure that it is not being "pirated?" I would think an M.2 SSD would last a long time, as there would not be writes, just reads. Sorry - I am not an expert on this - but I am assuming that the SSD may have less latency then trying to go through PCI-E.

Others may have better ideas. But it is time for UAD to go to the next level.
Old 12th August 2020
  #373
Gear Addict
 
eagle007's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
Latency and number of plugins is an issue with UAD. Can they go to a M.2 SSD hard drive somehow and still have some code or something to assure that it is not being "pirated?" I would think an M.2 SSD would last a long time, as there would not be writes, just reads. Sorry - I am not an expert on this - but I am assuming that the SSD may have less latency then trying to go through PCI-E.

Others may have better ideas. But it is time for UAD to go to the next level.
It's very simple to use the card as a dongle if they would run part of the UI code on the DSP and let the core run native. I have even taken the time to write that to them as an idea, but got a stupid reply back that sales cannot accommodate with technical stuff and they could not forward it to the people who could. And they take no feature requests.

But given how much processing time some of the decent native oversampled analog modeling plugins take, I would be very curious to wether or not it would be beneficial.
Old 12th August 2020
  #374
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
Latency and number of plugins is an issue with UAD.
For some people. It really depends on what a person wants to do with the technology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
Can they go to a M.2 SSD hard drive somehow and still have some code or something to assure that it is not being "pirated?" I would think an M.2 SSD would last a long time, as there would not be writes, just reads. Sorry - I am not an expert on this - but I am assuming that the SSD may have less latency then trying to go through PCI-E.
I think that m.2 is pretty much stuck at being used for storage, not as versatile as PCI-e slots are. I think latency would be about the same since both PCI-e cards and m.2 drives (NVME or SATA) all go through PCI-e lanes anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
But it is time for UAD to go to the next level.
Meh... we're in a recession. Any new tech that they come out with has to compete with old tech. Seems like a terrible time to bring out something new in terms of setting prices.

Last edited by mattiasnyc; 12th August 2020 at 07:58 PM.. Reason: incorrect terminology
Old 12th August 2020
  #375
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maniac 7777 View Post
The problems are aging DSP technology, poor processing power per dollar,
The thing is though that it's a package of several things, not just DSP. It's DSP + Specific plugins.

So as I mentioned earlier - some people are always claiming they need the latest and greatest CPU because they are running out of processing. So at some point offloading the native system with DSP actually helps, regardless of whether or not a person thinks the UAD-2 products are overpriced.

Imagine you have your VST instruments and a bunch of plugins and you've maxed out your system. Now what? Every 3 years you upgrade to the latest CPU and you still max out because new software take more cycles. If you get a couple of Octo core cards you've spent a bunch of money of course, but you're now able to do what you couldn't before.

So from that standpoint 'it is what it is'. Yeah, you could get a system from Antelope and if those plugins integrate as well and sound as good and are cheaper then that's an alternative. And there's Pro Tools (speaking of price)...

I agree with the rest though.
Old 12th August 2020
  #376
AB3
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
. . .

Meh... we're in a recession. Any new tech that they come out with has to compete with old tech. Seems like a terrible time to bring out something new in terms of setting prices.
I respectfully disagreed. I just got an announcement from several dealers about a new UAD product yesterday. Now is the time to be innovative. They already have a bunch of users that love them. They can make more money by coming up with a lower latency product that handles more plugins at one time - and replaces the current pci-e cards.

As far as the M.2 idea versus their current cards, I would like more information on that. I have read just enough to be confused on that issue. But apparently not all M.2s are alike in how they access the motherboard, and that can make a difference, and I suspect it can be done with lower latency than the current UAD Pci-e card.
Old 12th August 2020
  #377
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
Latency and number of plugins is an issue with UAD. Can they go to a M.2 SSD hard drive somehow and still have some code or something to assure that it is not being "pirated?" I would think an M.2 SSD would last a long time, as there would not be writes, just reads. Sorry - I am not an expert on this - but I am assuming that the SSD may have less latency then trying to go through PCI-E.

Others may have better ideas. But it is time for UAD to go to the next level.
I believe M.2 is a storage interface that runs on top of PCIe, so there's no way that introducing a M.2 device into the equation is going to make anything faster.
Old 12th August 2020
  #378
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
I respectfully disagreed. I just got an announcement from several dealers about a new UAD product yesterday. Now is the time to be innovative. They already have a bunch of users that love them. They can make more money by coming up with a lower latency product that handles more plugins at one time - and replaces the current pci-e cards.
Hey, we all want more for less, so if that's what they end up doing then great. I was mainly speculating that it doesn't necessarily seem like the best time to do that - unless of course the new product sits "on top of" the existing stack which might mean that the power:price ratio won't be "better".

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
As far as the M.2 idea versus their current cards, I would like more information on that. I have read just enough to be confused on that issue. But apparently not all M.2s are alike in how they access the motherboard, and that can make a difference, and I suspect it can be done with lower latency than the current UAD Pci-e card.
But when people are talking about latency are they talking about the roundtrip for processing or for conversion with or without processing?

Every schematic I've seen to date has the m.2 NVME and SATA drives in a slot that connects using PCI-e. So the bus connection itself won't be a benefit since the cards are already on PCI-e. If you've seen a difference then I'm guessing you saw the difference between PCI-e 3.0 and 4.0, and between NVME and SATA.

Additionally, we have to keep in mind the size of the chips. You don't fit many decent size chips on a single NVME card, and there's of course more than just chips to consider. So a solution like that would most likely be underpowered compared to one that can fit more chips on a PCIe card instead.
Old 12th August 2020
  #379
AB3
Lives for gear
I am not an expert in this. But I have read some materials that indicates that some M.2 connections can go to sata and not use pci-e. Someone else can explain it better than me.
Old 12th August 2020
  #380
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
I am not an expert in this. But I have read some materials that indicates that some M.2 connections can go to sata and not use pci-e. Someone else can explain it better than me.
Your average board with an m.2 slot would support either SATA or NVME SSD drives in there. They connect to either the chipset of straight to the CPU using 4 PCI-e lanes, either v3.0 or v4.0 (new Ryzen). As far as I can tell the connection between the slot and chipset/CPU is physical, i.e. not optional.

Perhaps you were thinking about them using SATA instead of NVME?
Old 12th August 2020
  #381
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
They can make more money by coming up with ...
I too have a number of ideas for how companies can make "more money". These are great ideas, and it is just a coincidence that they happen to be things that I personally would want.

Sadly Ferrari has not gotten back to me on my idea for cutting their prices by 90% and more than making up in "volume".

Nor has Yamaha moved forward on my idea of making drums that instead of being perfectly round, are shaped like the letter "Q". Not only are there plenty of people whose names begin with "Q", but "Q" is a very hip letter - that people might want just because it looks cool.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc
Hey, we all want more for less
No that's just a coincidence. I am really trying to help them make more money.
Old 12th August 2020
  #382
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
No that's just a coincidence. I am really trying to help them make more money.
Your altruism is to be commended...
Old 12th August 2020
  #383
AB3
Lives for gear
Ok - you are right. Because of the ferrari example, there is no way UAD can make more money. I will unsubscribe and spend my energy elsewhere. Enjoy.
Old 12th August 2020
  #384
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
Ok - you are right. Because of the ferrari example, there is no way UAD can make more money. I will unsubscribe and spend my energy elsewhere. Enjoy.
No, please stay.

UAD has fired all their market researchers, their MBAs, and their accountants. They are now relying entirely on suggestions from people on audio forums for their future business decisions.
Old 13th August 2020
  #385
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
The thing is though that it's a package of several things, not just DSP. It's DSP + Specific plugins.

So as I mentioned earlier - some people are always claiming they need the latest and greatest CPU because they are running out of processing. So at some point offloading the native system with DSP actually helps, regardless of whether or not a person thinks the UAD-2 products are overpriced.

Imagine you have your VST instruments and a bunch of plugins and you've maxed out your system. Now what? Every 3 years you upgrade to the latest CPU and you still max out because new software take more cycles. If you get a couple of Octo core cards you've spent a bunch of money of course, but you're now able to do what you couldn't before.

So from that standpoint 'it is what it is'. Yeah, you could get a system from Antelope and if those plugins integrate as well and sound as good and are cheaper then that's an alternative. And there's Pro Tools (speaking of price)...

I agree with the rest though.
No, not Antelope! Give me UAD, it's actually stable and they actually have enough market share to develop their plugins. The only gear I want form Antelope is the Satori monitor controller. I have no doubt UAD sounds good and works well, it is just an expensive option. If I made money from producing music I would buy all of it. I like to flip all my gear, find a good deal and sell when I want to try something else, so it doesn't work for me at this time. My Universal Audio 6176 I only paid 1899(Way below retail) for a new one because Chick from Atlanta Pro Audio used to drink beer with me and refused to make a profit off of me. I used it for 3 or 4 years and sold it for 1799. Can't do that as easily with an Apollo. But I trust UAD, they outlived TC Helicon, Soundscape, and SSL Duende for certain. They are the champions.
Old 13th August 2020
  #386
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
I respectfully disagreed. I just got an announcement from several dealers about a new UAD product yesterday. Now is the time to be innovative. They already have a bunch of users that love them. They can make more money by coming up with a lower latency product that handles more plugins at one time - and replaces the current pci-e cards.
I hope the new UAD-2 Solo Apollo wasn't the product you were talking about. It's neither innovative nor "next level".
Old 13th August 2020
  #387
HSi
Lives for gear
 
HSi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle007 View Post
I tested the IK tapes and some other newer analog modeling plugins that do oversampling. And guess what? The IK tape plugins use about 50% of a physical i9 9900k core at 5Ghz.

.
No they don't. How did you measure that? On what meter and at what sample rate? Or what oversampled rate?

If they used 50% of your DAW buffer that's not 50% of the CPU.


_______________________________________________________________________

I've been mulling it over for years. Now my set up is just right so I can just use them for sound design (while not composing) or mixing bounced audio. So I'll probably go for a Quad Satellite. So I should be able to run just enough API visions with some left over.
Old 13th August 2020
  #388
Gear Addict
 
eagle007's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSi View Post
No they don't. How did you measure that? On what meter and at what sample rate? Or what oversampled rate?

If they used 50% of your DAW buffer that's not 50% of the CPU.
I did not day they take 50% of the CPU, but 50% of a CPU core.
Old 13th August 2020
  #389
HSi
Lives for gear
 
HSi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle007 View Post
I did not day they take 50% of the CPU, but 50% of a CPU core.
In that case, my mistake.
Old 13th August 2020
  #390
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle007 View Post
The UAD DSP's might be underpowered, but I have an octo and can load dozens of plugins on it. I know for sure that what I load on it will run without a glitch and definitely sounds good. Are there other plugins that also sound good? Yes sure.

I tested the IK tapes and some other newer analog modeling plugins that do oversampling. And guess what? The IK tape plugins use about 50% of a physical i9 9900k core at 5Ghz.

WTF?!? Yes, you read that correctly. And a lot of these newer oversampling analog modeling plugins are very CPU hungry. So in that respect, UAD still holds some value.

At the moment I'm looking for serious competitors to the UAD platform. Not that I don't like the quality, but latency on the PCIe card is a thing, bouncing is slow as there is little to no overhead on the card. And in bigger sessions I can run out of DSP.

But finding alternatives to UAD is a bit harder than I expected it to be, despite some of the comment I read. A lot of the plugin companies have plugins that are good, but with UAD I know that all of them are just good, no second guessing.

For example I like the VLA-3 which I tested from BRA, but the VLA-2 not so much, and their FET even less. The Waves compressors miss some character/3D to me compared to my mk2 UAD's. And with vintage emulations, I like GUI's that remind me of the gear used. I know it's bull**** sound wise, but still. Some of the BRA plugins look like toys to me, and unconsciously this effects the way I perceive them.

Nebula is a pain in the ass to work with and eats CPU for breakfast. Some of the IK T-Racks 5 plugins I like, but definitely not all of their emulations, and their naming (due to licensing for sure) is rather cryptic to me.

From PA I have some console emulations I would gladly use in place of the UAD's, which is also why I got them. But there is no LA-2 or LA-3 there, and no pultec. I tested their Purple MC77 as 1176 alternative, but find it to aggressive. Miss the smoothness. Their Opto is nice, but not an LA

There are also native plugins which do not have a UAD counterpart and are very good. Like for example Soothe. The FabFilter stuff and SoundToys are one every of my mixes.

In general, I find I have a definite go to with UAD stuff, which doesn't need any additional consideration of my end other than "do I still have DSP left". With native plugins, my experience so far is I need to do a lot of testing, comparing and shopping to get my tools together in the same ballpark of usability and sound quality.
You might want to try Acqua. Painless for me and I’m non technical. Great sound and they run sales...
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