Product Review: Page (1) of 4 - 02/25/03 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

Audio Powerhouse

Version 3 of Universal Audio's UAD-1 works in multi-card configuration and has DirectX support By Frank Moldstad
The UAD-1 is a PCI card for Mac and PC that offers an impressive rack of high-quality digital audio effects and processing plug-ins. Engineered by Universal Audio and distributed by Mackie Designs, the UAD-1 handles all of its processing with a powerful on-card chip that permits multiple instances of reverbs, EQs, compressors, limiters and more. This leaves your computer's CPU free to handle recording and playback without being hindered by the demands of effects processing.

Released last year, the card has just received a major software upgrade that has several significant benefits. First, Version 3 adds multi-card support for PCs, meaning you can add up to four UAD-1 cards in one computer (multicard support for the Mac is coming soon, and OS X support is due later in the year).

What's New in Version 3
• Multicard support. You can now add multiple UAD-1 cards in a single PC for added power and plug-in functionality.
• DirectX support for Cakewalk SONAR, Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro, Magix Samplitude and Sonic Foundry Sound Forge.
• Enhancements to existing plug-ins through several new features including:
– Text entry for parameter editing;
– Adjustable CPU load limiting to eliminate system overloads;
– Selectable mouse control modes.
• A set of mono-only plug-ins (primarily for Emagic Logic Audio users).
• Cambridge EQ
Second, DirectX support has been added, enabling applications such as SONAR and Sound Forge to be used as the host. Previously, the card only worked with VST programs such as Nuendo and Logic Audio, or with MAS applications for the Mac such as Digital Performer.

Third, Version 3 introduces a major new EQ plug-in called Cambridge, a five-band fully parametric EQ developed in-house by Universal Audio that will be sold separately for $149 -- the first plug-in that Universal Audio is selling independently of the card. A limited demo version of Cambridge comes with the version 3 software, timing out after five minutes of use.

Pultec, LA-2A and 1176LN
But the Powered Plug-Ins that come with the UAD-1 are ample, so even if you don't want
1176LN interface (click image to see screen shot of 1176LN being used with Cubase).
to ante up for the Cambridge EQ, there's plenty to choose from. They include two digitally modeled reproductions from UA's own stable of legendary analog processors: the Teletronix LA-2A Compressor and 1176LN Limiting Amplifier. Also included is the modeled plug-in of another analog hardware legend, the Pultec EQP-1A Equalizer. For many users, these three plug-ins alone could justify a UAD-1 purchase. A quick check of eBay recently showed an original Pultec EQP-1A going for $2,500, a Universal Audio 1176LN reissue going for $1,100 and an original Teletronix LA-2A going for $2,300. Compare that total to the UAD-1's street price below $600, and you'll see why many people are excited about this card.

Pultec EQ interface (click image to see screen shot of Pultec being used in SONAR).
Whether or not the UAD-1's LA-2A, 1176N and Pultec plug-ins rival the originals, they sound fantastic. This is a PCI card? Some who are familiar with both the hardware and these plug-ins say the UAD-1 versions are astonishingly close to the real thing. Don't expect to see large recording studios dumping their outboard classics anytime soon, but the UAD-1 represents a great leap forward in quality digital effects -- and a sonic boon for professional DAW recording.

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Related Keywords:UAD-1, Version 3, audio, effects, processing, plug-ins, reverbs, EQs, compressors, limiters, Mackie, Universal Audio

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