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UAD Ampex® ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder Plug-In
Old 14th September 2011
  #241
Today I finally demoed the plug-in. I gotta say that I can't get it to sound like it does in that drum video. In the video there is a pumping effect that doesn't sound like tape, and it's not doing that for me, which is good! The plug sounds much better here in my studio than it does in that demo. I suspect that the audio in that video underwent some kind of compression after the ATR plug was applied and the head bump in the bottom end made it pump...

'Did a quick, unscientific listening comparison against my hardware ATR 102 and it's pretty similar, but with a more exaggerated effect. The bottom and top sound more hyped with the plug than with the machine. The imaging is nicely enhanced, with a 3D effect. Impressive. I didn't think they'd nail that part, but they did. The main difference I hear so far is that the "texture" of the tape can't be heard as much with the plug-in, if you know what I mean. Still, a very nice emulation. And the delay effects are cool! I'll probably end up buying it for those if nothing else.

Cheers!

J~
Old 14th September 2011
  #242
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grooveminister's Avatar
I think the error is on my side:
When I did the video, I wasn´t aware of the fact that ANY single preset is set to output 0.7 to 1 dB louder than the input actually is.
I had the finalizer in the end after the ATR-102 plugin and when it´s driven 1dB harder by dense low and hi-end this is what you get.

In the mean time I matched the output gains of the most interesting presets to NOT boost the level to be able to really A/B them to the bypassed sound.
I think the ATR-102 emulation not being represented at it´s best in my video is just about the correct amount of punishment for UA ALWAYS doing those slightly-higher-level tricks.

If you don´t want to boost the brightness in the way the nashville-artist presets do: The Stephen Smith "ultralinear" presets in UA´s additional preset folder (bottom left of the plug) are the best.
Old 14th September 2011
  #243
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PMoshay's Avatar
 

From what i heard, this is fantastic.
Comparing a plug in to a real piece of analog hardware is fairly nuts. Being a person that has worked with tons of analog gear over the years, there is SO MUCH DIFFERENCE SOMETIMES in the analog world....... things not being calibrated correctly, gear age, faulty parts, aging parts and lets not forget version revisions that sometimes were way different when they were released.

Debate it all you want, but i and many others don't have (and don't choose to find & buy) a pristine Ampex machine, so be it the differences, this is a really nice tool if your'e smart enough to figure out how to use it.
Old 15th September 2011
  #244
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Mr. Wilson's Avatar
 

Update to my previous post about this new plug. I have found a setting or two but especially one that is really very nice on the 2 buss after my 2 faves the UAD Fatso set on "in the pocket" followed by the Precision Multiband with the "Punch and Clarity" setting and then the ATR using the Steven Smith Mastering "Clean Acoustic Mastering" preset. I love the first 2 and I own them with the Fatso getting the most usage since the Precisions have huge latency thus making them only a Mix/Mastering ITB solution. The ATR is at the end of this chain asnd it brings a great deal of high mid definition and detail. I record mostly electric rock guitar instrumentals and I can see this being a great finalizing plug for my needs. I tried it on about 4 pieces and it seemed to work on them all. What do you know it seems to be good plugin crack after all =
Old 15th September 2011
  #245
Update to MY previous post: I had a mastering session yesterday with music containing lots of intense hard-panned acoustic guitar strumming and loud drums. It was a great opportunity to compare the plug-in to the HW ATR. I ended up using the HW, but the Plug was almost as nice. The HW had more smoothness in the highs and upper mids, the plug-in was a little more brittle and slightly harsher. The depth of field was slightly better with the HW. Basically, the plug still sounds more "digital" than the real tape, but for a plug-in I think it's pretty great. I'd say it's about 90% there. If I didn't have the HW I wouldn't hesitate to use this plug-in. If I had this plug-in 10 years ago I might not have dropped the cash on the HW. Wait, who am I kidding - I still would have!

Enjoy!

J~
Old 15th September 2011
  #246
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
Update to MY previous post: I had a mastering session yesterday with music containing lots of intense hard-panned acoustic guitar strumming and loud drums. It was a great opportunity to compare the plug-in to the HW ATR.
I presume calibration settings and tape formula/brand were identical betw hw and sw?
Old 15th September 2011
  #247
Quote:
Originally Posted by pat38 View Post
I presume calibration settings and tape formula/brand were identical betw hw and sw?
HW aligned for ATR 1/2" tape, 15 IPS, +6/185. 'Tried that and a few other settings on the plug.

One nice side benefit, if you have a HW unit, is that you can learn about different set-ups very conveniently by tweaking with the plug-in. I'm learning new things about my machine by exploring the emulation!

J~
Old 16th September 2011
  #248
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hugol's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
Update to MY previous post: I had a mastering session yesterday with music containing lots of intense hard-panned acoustic guitar strumming and loud drums. It was a great opportunity to compare the plug-in to the HW ATR. I ended up using the HW, but the Plug was almost as nice. The HW had more smoothness in the highs and upper mids, the plug-in was a little more brittle and slightly harsher. The depth of field was slightly better with the HW. Basically, the plug still sounds more "digital" than the real tape, but for a plug-in I think it's pretty great. I'd say it's about 90% there. If I didn't have the HW I wouldn't hesitate to use this plug-in. If I had this plug-in 10 years ago I might not have dropped the cash on the HW. Wait, who am I kidding - I still would have!

Enjoy!

J~
Awesome! Fair play for being refreshingly objective and posting back that you think the SW is pretty damn good despite not being perfect.
Old 16th September 2011
  #249
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Animus's Avatar
 

Damn demo ran out this evening and I promptly had to go buy it. Fantastic plugin for sure.
Old 16th September 2011
  #250
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Arksun's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grahamdwc View Post
The hardware version in that video around 2:20 still sounded better, particuarly in the high frequencies. Way smoother and more natural, with the plugin sounding more hyped and a bit harsher. But still very good effort indeed, the 3D enhancing aspect was of particular note.
Old 18th September 2011
  #251
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grooveminister's Avatar
I don´t think that the hardware sound significantly better* on the top end - the plugins just hast more of it while the original ampex has a tad more lo-mids and less "air".
*(Of course it sounds better - it´s the original!)
To me thats really small differencies that don´t really matter to much and that you can easily tweak!
Try the ultralinear presets - they sound way smoother than the artists presets and the autoCAL @ 15 & 7,5 IPS.
I think UA has just hyped the presets (and autoCAL) a bit on the top-end so the plugin doesn´t sound to subtle to the broad public.

But there is one thing that - to me - is really very noticeable:
The vocals sound like ****.
I never heard such a thin sound with such an annoying silbilance in a long time - in all 3 expamples: Bypass, UAD and Ampex.
Even the distortion on the vocals is very annoying to me.
Old 18th September 2011
  #252
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
I'm learning new things about my machine by exploring the emulation!
Very cool. I like your attitude. I would totally hire you. Not being sarcastic.

- c
Old 19th September 2011
  #253
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CaliTone's Avatar
 

I just purchased a UAD-Quad and have another on the way to take advantage of the free plugins. I demo'd this plugin yesterday, and I have to say that just slapping this on an already mixed recording, I heard a HUGE difference and it was for the better. I'm definitely getting this plugin even though I already have the Eddie Kramer one from Waves. Great job UAD!!
Old 20th September 2011
  #254
Here for the gear
 

My 2 week demo is up and I'm not jumping for the buy-now option like I though I might. I'm not convinced this plug is that great...maybe it's because the Studer, which blew me away the first time I used it, is seriously outperforming the Ampex for me...even as a mastering tool. I understand the difference between multitrack and 2 track tape machines but at the end of the day we are talking about plug-ins here not real tape and using the Studer as a plug-in mastering tool is working way better than the Ampex for me.

As someone earlier posted the most interesting thing about this plug is the delay fx you can get...

Maybe I didn't demo it enough but I'm not going to buy it now. Will wait for my next 2 week demo to see if I have a change of heart!
Old 20th September 2011
  #255
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Steab's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
Very cool. I like your attitude. I would totally hire you. Not being sarcastic.

- c
Hey Sony, I'd totally hire you too! Cheers.
Old 20th September 2011
  #256
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YOHAMI's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steab View Post
Hey Sony, I'd totally hire you too! Cheers.
No no. I would hire all of you.
Old 20th September 2011
  #257
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beatsmith View Post
Yeah, i think i should have demo'd the waves more before i bought it - i think i got caught up in the excitement. It just sounds a bit harsh and i can't understand why everyone can't see this. The noise/hiss is nice though.
Regretted the purchase for the same reason.
Old 20th September 2011
  #258
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noiseflaw's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by YOHAMI View Post
No no. I would hire all of you.
I'm feelin' the lurve.

Group hug?...


Quote:
Yeah, i think i should have demo'd the waves more before i bought it - i think i got caught up in the excitement. It just sounds a bit harsh and i can't understand why everyone can't see this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeProducer View Post
Regretted the purchase for the same reason.
Maybe it's just me, I thought I could just whack the Kramer MPX on the master bus and get some nice softness, compression and saturation fx?...

But No! you had to faff about with low imput etc etc and just tickle the blasted thing - be sensitive with it. Seriously was it not all about 'hitting tape hard' and having fun. I still don't understand why the Soft Clean Compression setting on that Kramer introduced such a significant lift in the upper register...

Can anyone who has that Ampex machine verify that is what is added when you push into it?
Old 20th September 2011
  #259
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slammy80's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTone View Post
I'm definitely getting this plugin even though I already have the Eddie Kramer one from Waves. Great job UAD!!
Two totally, completely, and obscenely different machines that the UAD and Waves are emulating. Sort of like comparing an old tube guitar amp with a brand new solid-state.

Good that you have both, though.
Old 20th September 2011
  #260
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CaliTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slammy80 View Post
Two totally, completely, and obscenely different machines that the UAD and Waves are emulating. Sort of like comparing an old tube guitar amp with a brand new solid-state.

Good that you have both, though.
I thought they were both modeled after an Ampex two track. My bad!

In either case, I think the UAD put a bigger smile on my face. I'm just glad I didn't pay $349 for the Waves Kramer Master Tape. heh
Old 20th September 2011
  #261
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Dizzi45Z's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grooveminister View Post
I think the error is on my side:
When I did the video, I wasn´t aware of the fact that ANY single preset is set to output 0.7 to 1 dB louder than the input actually is.
I had the finalizer in the end after the ATR-102 plugin and when it´s driven 1dB harder by dense low and hi-end this is what you get.

In the mean time I matched the output gains of the most interesting presets to NOT boost the level to be able to really A/B them to the bypassed sound.
I think the ATR-102 emulation not being represented at it´s best in my video is just about the correct amount of punishment for UA ALWAYS doing those slightly-higher-level tricks.

If you don´t want to boost the brightness in the way the nashville-artist presets do: The Stephen Smith "ultralinear" presets in UA´s additional preset folder (bottom left of the plug) are the best.

Wow! Great Drumming! Great feel! Did you make the track? Drums also sound great.
Old 20th September 2011
  #262
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grooveminister's Avatar
Thansalot! Hehe - yes I did.
I played all the instruments myself - this is why the guitar part had too be looped. ;-)
At least theres no single multisampled sound in the tune (which I dont like) - it´s just Logic´s virtual intruments (mostly ES2), the guitar loops from my strat and realtime bass & drums.
Old 20th September 2011
  #263
I recently tried the UAD AMPEX plug, and ended up using it all over the place on the most recent project I have been working on. I thought it was great! if you have this UAD tech connected to your box. Me, I don't - so I rather like my WAVES MPX, for what it does and is, and of course having some options is nice, because as an engineer I am working on a lot of different things at once and need to be able to adjust on the fly with my flavors. True, there is plenty of material that won't work or be "optimized", or "treated" and sound worse, or bad or whatever, from these plugs, but I feel they are great to have in the arsenal, for what they are anyway. Like anything, it may take some work to figure out the best moves in your mixes and tracks.
Old 21st September 2011
  #264
Quote:
Originally Posted by grooveminister View Post
Try the ultralinear presets - they sound way smoother than the artists presets
wow, what a big difference!
the ultralinear-presents sounds great.
thank you for the tip!
Old 22nd September 2011
  #265
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dasoundjunkie's Avatar
 

Just tarted messing with the demo and I like what I hear. Gives a different flavor than the Studer (to be expected) but they complement each other very nicely. Lots of options so you gotta really dig into it to get the max out of it but on a first cursory check I already feel my wallet bitching at me
It may not sound exactly like the original but it does sound very,very nice. Oh well, let's see if by the end of the demo I still like itheh
Old 23rd September 2011
  #266
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Arichlsss's Avatar
Wish UA would do a 24 hr or 14 day demo cause I always get an hour with the plug on one project and then my demo time runs out. I liked it but need more time that works with my schedule !!

Sorry I'm just griping cause I thought i was gonna buy this one and 2 weeks flew buy and I didnt get a chance to properly audition it
Old 23rd September 2011
  #267
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Lenzo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arichlsss View Post
Wish UA would do a 24 hr or 14 day demo cause I always get an hour with the plug on one project and then my demo time runs out. I liked it but need more time that works with my schedule !!

Sorry I'm just griping cause I thought i was gonna buy this one and 2 weeks flew buy and I didnt get a chance to properly audition it
No problem...I played with it every day for two weeks. Just go ahead and buy it...
L.
Old 23rd September 2011
  #268
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arichlsss View Post
Wish UA would do a 24 hr or 14 day demo cause I always get an hour with the plug on one project and then my demo time runs out. I liked it but need more time that works with my schedule !!

Sorry I'm just griping cause I thought i was gonna buy this one and 2 weeks flew buy and I didnt get a chance to properly audition it
I'm afraid that one's on you buddy. You're the one who clicked the "Demo" button after all.

If it helps, IME when you buy any UAD plug they renew all of the demos over again, so if there's any UAD plug you want, just buy it and restart your ATR demo again.

Or just buy it now because you know you will anyway slut heh

J~
Old 23rd September 2011
  #269
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dasoundjunkie's Avatar
 

AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaarrrrrgh!!! Ok tantrum over I really shouldn't have demoed it yet as it has fallen directly on the indispensable list, now I HAVE to buy it before I meant to, meaning the instant the demo runs out. Great stuff
Old 24th September 2011
  #270
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rynugz007's Avatar
 

so, how is everyone using the Ampex so far? Are you puting it on the mix buss and mixing into it or slapping it on the mixbus when the mix is close to done? Or using it in the mastering stage?

I believe the plugin is made for all of the above uses but I'm curious if anyone is noticing it being better suited to one inparticular.

ryan
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