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UA hardware - Good or bad?
Old 10th November 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 

UA hardware - Good or bad?

Reading these pages I get the impression that most of the outboard gear from Universal Audio isn't worth the money. Everyone makes a point of the fact that they are not as good as the originals. And the mc77 is sooo much better than the reissue 1176... and cheaper. You get the picture.

Does anyone have any real experience with this? Are we paying too much for the UA brand or is it real quality there?


I'm not trying too make UA look bad. I love my LA-610 but after reading many threads here I'm not sure about getting an 1176 or a LA-2A. After all there are many other cool and cheaper options.
Old 10th November 2009
  #2
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Storyville's Avatar
I am almost always disappointed with UAD hardware. The words "not bad" seem to keep popping out of my mouth.
Old 10th November 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 

What you are experiencing is the efforts of boutique gear dealers trying to carve out some space for themselves vs. Guitar Center and Sweetwater. Some of these boutique dealers (current and former) developed a flair for writing online posts that used colorful language to disparage perfectly good equipment for sale at the big boxes. They attracted followings who, trying to look as savvy, would parrot back these conclusions in the absence of a proper controlled A/B comparison in their own studios. This built on itself until...

You get bizarre comments like "UA gear all sucks."

There is a funny thread over on the mastering forum where everyone starts by accepting that the UA 2192 converter is too colored for use in mastering, and then someone comes up with an oversampled RMS test and reveals that the UA actually outperformed all the other high-end contestants in accuracy!

I have no idea man, try it out, it has never failed me...yes it's my local produce but I don't have anything more than distant acquaintances at the company. I can verify that the products are absolutely high-end and credible. On the digital side the UAD plugins speak for themselves.

And yes I happily buy stuff from GC Pro, Sweetwater as well as the boutique dealers alike. Different, not necessarily better.
Old 10th November 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
musicbydesign's Avatar
 

My LA-3A does what it should and does it well. Looks like
GS bias struck again. Some products are fashionable to slam
and UA is one of 'em. Just like the infamous 737, you will find
alot of fans as well as non-fans. In case you haven't seen it,
check this funny thread about a newby's view of GS. This explains
it all...

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-mu...tz-newbie.html

Daniel
Old 10th November 2009
  #5
Gear Nut
 

I love my LA610
Old 10th November 2009
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
AmongstTheLiving's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicbydesign View Post
My LA-3A does what it should and does it well. Looks like
GS bias struck again. Some products are fashionable to slam
and UA is one of 'em. Just like the infamous 737, you will find
alot of fans as well as non-fans. In case you haven't seen it,
check this funny thread about a newby's view of GS. This explains
it all...

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-mu...tz-newbie.html

Daniel
That thread rules. Haha.

Anyway, I sold my UA 6176 because I wasn't too stoked on the pre. I liked the compressor for a lot of things, but in my personal experiences I have had much better mixes using Distressors. Distressors are cheaper than reissue 1176's and I like them more, so for me in my situation it made sense to get rid of it. Also to make up the difference in price you could get a more versatile pre to pair with a distressor. I only used the pre on kick in and bass. I used the comp on vox and bass, and kick. For comparison I have a Pendulum Quartet that I will not hesitate to use on absolutely everything. Granted its a lot more expensive, but I like versatility.

I initially sold the 6176 to buy a distressor. I do not have a distressor, but I do have a Midas Venice 240, 2 ART PRO MPA's, a DBX160, a redco patchbay and cables now. Point being I only spent less than $1k in addition to selling the 6176, and look at all the versatility now. heh

UA doesn't suck by any means. And the purple power lights are pretty.
Old 10th November 2009
  #7
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larry b's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by musicbydesign View Post
My LA-3A does what it should and does it well. Looks like
GS bias struck again. Some products are fashionable to slam
and UA is one of 'em.
x2

If you're "cool" you gotta make sure you knock UA gear because you gotta keep up appearances, and heaven-forbid that you use anything that is sold at big-box stores such as GC.

Eyeroll

In reality, i've been very pleased with all of the modern UA gear i have used. I own an LA-610 and i've used the reissue 1176 and LA-2A a number of times. I really don't find them to be far off enough from the originals to even get into a debate about which ones are better.

In fact, i love the reissue 1176, and i plan on adding one to my collection of studio gear at some point in the future.

One thing about UA that i am happy to knock is the manuals. They suck. I don't need 5 pages of Bill Putnam history, a lesson on compressor theory, and then 1 page about how to actually operate the LA-610. I'd much prefer 6 pages about operating the LA-610 and zero information about Bill Putman. I mean, sure he was the man and all, but i already know the story.

But the gear itself... thumbsupthumbsup
Old 10th November 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Yeah, the manual for the LA-610 is pretty stupid. It seems like they mention the LA-2A twice as often as they mention the LA-610 itself. It's feels almost like they are desperately trying to make the LA-610 look like it's a cheaper LA-2A ripoff... and and obviously is, but it's not very clever to point it out all the time in the manual!

But I still love my LA-610, absolutely fantastic for DI bass and very nice for many other things as well!
Old 10th November 2009
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
AmongstTheLiving's Avatar
 

What's the manual for? heh

I just turn everything up to ten.

And I forgot to mention my utter disgust for Avalon 737's.

fuuck737fuuck
Old 10th November 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Storyville's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by larry b View Post
x2

If you're "cool" you gotta make sure you knock UA gear because you gotta keep up appearances, and heaven-forbid that you use anything that is sold at big-box stores such as GC.

Eyeroll

In reality, i've been very pleased with all of the modern UA gear i have used. I own an LA-610 and i've used the reissue 1176 and LA-2A a number of times. I really don't find them to be far off enough from the originals to even get into a debate about which ones are better.

In fact, i love the reissue 1176, and i plan on adding one to my collection of studio gear at some point in the future.

One thing about UA that i am happy to knock is the manuals. They suck. I don't need 5 pages of Bill Putnam history, a lesson on compressor theory, and then 1 page about how to actually operate the LA-610. I'd much prefer 6 pages about operating the LA-610 and zero information about Bill Putman. I mean, sure he was the man and all, but i already know the story.

But the gear itself... thumbsupthumbsup
I'm not cool. But I haven't been happy with solo 610, LN6176, and the UA1176s at the studio I work at are directly underneath the purple mc77s. I like the purple ones better. I do like the UAD software though. Never used the LA-610 or the UA LA-3A. I attempted to use the UA LA-2As on upright bass once, and I couldn't get it to work properly. I thought it was broken, but I was informed I was using it wrong - which is weird since I've never had a problem with any other compressor.

So, I'm not really into UA hardware. It never seems to do what I want it to do. Perhaps I'm just using it wrong. But there's plenty of other pieces of hardware that do exactly what I want them to do, so I doubt how much time I'll take to learn how to use them correctly.
Old 10th November 2009
  #11
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larry b's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storyville View Post
I'm not cool. But I haven't been happy with solo 610, LN6176, and the UA1176s at the studio I work at are directly underneath the purple mc77s. I like the purple ones better. I do like the UAD software though. Never used the LA-610 or the UA LA-3A. I attempted to use the UA LA-2As on upright bass once, and I couldn't get it to work properly. I thought it was broken, but I was informed I was using it wrong - which is weird since I've never had a problem with any other compressor.

So, I'm not really into UA hardware. It never seems to do what I want it to do. Perhaps I'm just using it wrong. But there's plenty of other pieces of hardware that do exactly what I want them to do, so I doubt how much time I'll take to learn how to use them correctly.
Hey whatever floats your boat man. You also didnt KNOCK the UA gear. You simply stated your experiences.

My post was more directed at those that truly bash the stuff.
Old 10th November 2009
  #12
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Storyville's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by larry b View Post
Hey whatever floats your boat man. You also didnt KNOCK the UA gear. You simply stated your experiences.

My post was more directed at those that truly bash the stuff.
True. And I know enough people who love it to say it just never worked out right for me.
Old 10th November 2009
  #13
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hazelmossobrien's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storyville View Post
I'm not cool. But I haven't been happy with solo 610, LN6176, and the UA1176s at the studio I work at are directly underneath the purple mc77s. I like the purple ones better. I do like the UAD software though. Never used the LA-610 or the UA LA-3A. I attempted to use the UA LA-2As on upright bass once, and I couldn't get it to work properly. I thought it was broken, but I was informed I was using it wrong - which is weird since I've never had a problem with any other compressor.

So, I'm not really into UA hardware. It never seems to do what I want it to do. Perhaps I'm just using it wrong. But there's plenty of other pieces of hardware that do exactly what I want them to do, so I doubt how much time I'll take to learn how to use them correctly.
I feel UA hardware can be difficult to set just right sometimes, for instance the 610 preamps, especially the LA-610.

However I have never had an easier to use compressor than my 1176LN, and such depth it delivers!

I find the LA-2A to be practically a plug and play box. Everything that goes in comes out sounding better regardless of how its used.

but thats just lil ol' me!
Old 10th November 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 
BOWIE's Avatar
It's true that it's fashionable to bash the UA stuff because it's one of the big boys on the block. Just like Neumann gets ragged on and so do a few of the other leaders. Being able to talk to the guy that designed (or even hand-built) your gear is a special feeling and many people will support the botique manufacturers for that reason. There are friendships and loyalties that are created.

Personally, I have had wonderful luck with UA pieces (LA-2A, 1176, 610) over the last several years. Of all the gear that has come and gone in my rack, the UA stuff is the least transitory.

One more reason you'll hear more instances of people having problems w/ UA units is that they have sold a ton of units, so there are simply more out there.
Old 10th November 2009
  #15
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

I think UA stuff is awesome and I don't think the Purple 1176 is better then the UA ri. I have a pair of 1176's and a pair of La3a's and a La2a and 2-1176 in my studio in Texas. Don't believe everything you read anywhere. UA gear is in damn near every studio on planet earth.
Old 10th November 2009
  #16
byk
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by spicemix View Post
What you are experiencing is the efforts of boutique gear dealers trying to carve out some space for themselves vs. Guitar Center and Sweetwater. Some of these boutique dealers (current and former) developed a flair for writing online posts that used colorful language to disparage perfectly good equipment for sale at the big boxes. They attracted followings who, trying to look as savvy, would parrot back these conclusions in the absence of a proper controlled A/B comparison in their own studios. This built on itself until...

You get bizarre comments like "UA gear all sucks."

There is a funny thread over on the mastering forum where everyone starts by accepting that the UA 2192 converter is too colored for use in mastering, and then someone comes up with an oversampled RMS test and reveals that the UA actually outperformed all the other high-end contestants in accuracy!

I have no idea man, try it out, it has never failed me...yes it's my local produce but I don't have anything more than distant acquaintances at the company. I can verify that the products are absolutely high-end and credible. On the digital side the UAD plugins speak for themselves.

And yes I happily buy stuff from GC Pro, Sweetwater as well as the boutique dealers alike. Different, not necessarily better.
+1 thumbsup

I own a LA2A and I think it is great.
Old 10th November 2009
  #17
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by S.F.Sorrow View Post
Reading these pages I get the impression that most of the outboard gear from Universal Audio isn't worth the money. Everyone makes a point of the fact that they are not as good as the originals.
And I bet one hard Swiss franc that the majority of 'everyone' hasn't really used the gear in question.

I use the 2192, 6176, LA-3A as well as two 2108s. I hope to get at least one more LA-3A and 2108 at some point.

.
Old 10th November 2009
  #18
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

I won't contribute to this thread other than to say that I love that someone used the phrase "UAD hardware."

Golden age we're living in.

- c
Old 10th November 2009
  #19
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I won't contribute to this thread other than to say that I love that someone used the phrase "UAD hardware."

Golden age we're living in.

- c
Hehe.....good point!
Old 10th November 2009
  #20
Gear Addict
 

I currently own a 2192, 2108, 2-1176, 2 LA3As, 1176AE, a 4110 and an M610. I used to own a 2-610 but didn't use it for much as I favored a Neve 1073 for those stereo recording applications. So I sold to help finance an SSL4000e...

I'm very happy with the UA gear; it sounds great (which of course is subjective), it never breaks and it looks cool in the rack.

I believe the following: most of the people that are the most opinionated never got closer to UA gear than at a rack at Guitar Center.
And just came to the conclusion that if GS is selling it must be crap.
Take a peek in the racks of legendary recording engineers; what's always there? LA2A, 1176s, LA3A...

When Waves did the Chris Lord-Alge bundle they did the three main work horse compressors; LA2A, 1176s, LA3A...

All the people dissing the new UA gear haven't a clue as to what the old hardware really sounded like and felt like in a real world situation.

C'mon flame me all you like!


Mrten
Old 10th November 2009
  #21
Lives for gear
 

UA = good quality
Old 10th November 2009
  #22
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larry b's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I won't contribute to this thread other than to say that I love that someone used the phrase "UAD hardware."

Golden age we're living in.

- c
Hahaha UAD hardware. Yeah, and a recording console is 'pro tools, but in physical form' LOL

i love it

thumbsupthumbsup
Old 10th November 2009
  #23
Lives for gear
 
DONNX's Avatar
 

UA is good stuff and even better when you mod them.
I hope one day that UA comes out with a 175 or 176 limiter again and an authentic blue stripe limiter.
And some tube eqs...
Old 11th November 2009
  #24
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larry b's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DONNX View Post
UA is good stuff and even better when you mod them.
I hope one day that UA comes out with a 175 or 176 limiter again and an authentic blue stripe limiter.
And some tube eqs...
Are you listening UA??

I hope so...

thumbsupthumbsup
Old 11th November 2009
  #25
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GYMusic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DONNX View Post
UA is good stuff and even better when you mod them.
I hope one day that UA comes out with a 175 or 176 limiter again and an authentic blue stripe limiter.
And some tube eqs...
Amen to a 175/176 reissue. You could do a DIY if you had the tranny.
Old 11th November 2009
  #26
Gear Head
 
velopop's Avatar
 

Some of the first high-end pieces I purchased were the 2-610, 2-1176 and a bit later the LA-2A. I think they are central to any studio which uses outboard gear.

I love 'em...they'll always be used, most every session. So yeah, UA gear=all good!
Old 11th November 2009
  #27
I feel that my UA-gear is just great, really reliable
Old 11th November 2009
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
seagleson's Avatar
 

UA rules thumbsup
Old 11th November 2009
  #29
Here for the gear
 

i think that a lot of the bashers of ua and other high end stuff either resent that they cant afford it, havn't tried it or there just isn't enough flashing lights and nobs on it to peek their interest. i think whats notable to say about alot of this gear is that there isn't anything on it that doesn't need to be there. and if your buying this stuff the companies assume that you already know how what a compressor, limiter ect is. i'm in the fortunent posission to pretty much have my pick of units to borrow. true that some of it is pricy and probly wont find it's way into my rack but more often then not i'm impressed with most of it. it is how and what you use it for and not every peice of gear will work for every thing. that's why god invented bigger racks. companys like UA, NEVE, TOFT, SSL and all the rest didn't get where they are by smoke and mirrors. the gear speaks for it'self... especially for those fortunant enough to be able to a/b it. i for one wish i had two of every peice of gear ever made. and i'm not ashamed to admit that the people who are lucky enough to have used it all have my deepest admirataion as well as envy
Old 11th November 2009
  #30
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
What I don't understand is why UA discontinued the 2108 preamp, I absolutely love that box!
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