Kush Audio UBK-1 by soundrick
I bought the UBK-1 the day it was officially released. Being the proud owner of a UBK Fatso, I couldn't resist to see what Greg did ITB.
I'm glad I jumped on board, this is one of the most colorful and interesting sounding plugins I've heard. Well, not probably, it IS.
I'm a little hesitant to write a review on this, after seeing UBK's videos and reading his adjective-laden descriptive poetry. But, I'll just speak on my own experiences with it, in use.
I always start with the headroom control, especially on sharp transient material like drums. Once the little green light is flickering with the transients, I go to work.
For the first section, the Saturation, I go ahead and dial it in pretty heavy, often going past the 12 oclock mark. This is one is fun to go over the top on, then dial the mix back. In general, I either rail the amount knob and put a pretty low wet-dry ratio, or ease in the amount with a higher wet ratio. Depends on how "colorful" you need.
On the compression section, I generally use the "Glue" comp, or I've found "Splat" is pretty sweet for drums. I feel the same about the Fatso, normally hovering on the "Glue". Don't know if that's coincidence or if they are the same/similar comps. I assume the latter.
The compressor I feel is just a little bit unpredictable/wily. It seems to get up and go pretty quick out of the gate. With the headroom control properly set, I find myself very seldom going past the 10 oclock mark on the comp, and that is usually compressing pretty good. I put all the comps through their paces and I feel the same way about all of them, they seem to compress pretty quick, some quicker than others. "Squish" and "Crush" obviously take off REALLY fast.
The HP filter is a nice touch and very useful, especially on drums. I have a feeling there were a lot of drums going through this thing when it was being designed. Like UBK illustrated in his video, you can give drums a completely different feeling of movement with the compressors.
Like the Saturation, I usually find myself using a combination of more compression and lower wet/dry ratio, or vice versa. I hardly EVER have used the comp 100% wet.
The "Density" control is the one I have not even come close to mastering yet. It's a very strange control. It kind of sounds like a frequency dependent EQ, or like a de-esser with really wide bandwidth. But even those examples don't really do it justice, because it doesn't really "duck" the material hitting it's threshold (or whatever detector it uses). I have experimented with different sources through it, both "top" and "mids" and I haven't found anything that just can't live without it.
All that being said, the combination of all 3 processors is something to hear. Even though I'm not sure WHAT the Density control is doing, I'm sure it IS doing something, LOL. I always dial in the first two, then add a little Density at the end (I rarely push it beyond 9/10 oclock), and when I start to toggle the different sections on and off, I never want to hear it turned off.
My personal favorite application for the UBK-1 is on keys and synths. It has increased the "vibe" and "mojo" of my Rhodes and Organ tracks TEN FOLD. Whether I'm using VIs or my keys through a DI, I always strap this plug on them and instant magic happens.
On the album I'm currently working on, there was a running theme of "hmmmm.....this needs "something".............Oh, I know, the UBK-1". That is the highest praise I could give any audio tool. When I want something just to sound "cooler", I throw the UBK-1 on it. Easy as pie.
Sound Quality- 10
It would have been higher, if I had an option. Like I said, the UBK-1 makes things sound cooler, everytime. That's the kind of tool I want.
Ease of Use- 10
A button per function, few functions, and 3 big knobs for "less" or "more". Doesn't get any easier.
I give it an 9 only because I'm sure there are plenty of instances where some deeper control might be nice, like the compressor section for instance. But, it has the "right" features to make cool sounds, so it couldn't possible get any lower a score IMO.
Bang for Buck- 8
I felt it was fairly priced when I bought it, especially after using it. It's paid for itself a few times with awesome. But, in a relatively short period of time, it was offered at half the price I paid. What does that mean? I'm not complaining, Kush even offered a voucher for "early adopters", so that's fine. So, "Bang for Buck" for me, an 8. For anyone buying it now, probably 10, it's a no-brainer/can't live without, IMO.
I will admit that I definitely need to spend more time with the Density control and the compressors, for that matter, but I pretty much started getting results right away, so I assume with a deeper understanding and more experience with it, the sky is the limit for this plug.
Thanks UBK, this is another classic!