Universal Audio

Self Oscillation

Analogue tape-based Echo units (or delays) had the unique ability to achieve self oscillation, where the looped signal would sum on the internal tape and feedback on itself. So cool, especially in classic Dub. For Christmas I bought myself a digital version of such a machine; the UA EP-34. Guess what? They have managed to get this bunch of algorithms to achieve self oscillation just like the analogue unit. Amazing! This is by no means an expensive processor so if you're running the UAD-2 platform run the demo on this incredible triumph in circuit modelling. The EP-34 will no doubt be present in my mixes, alongside my other great delay, the Timeless2 from Fab-Filter.

Universal Audio - Ocean Way

Finally afforded the purchase of Universal Audio's OCEAN WAY room emulation and dynamic-modelling plug for the UAD-2 series. With the ability to add to or replace my room sounds with the sonic depth of either Studio A or B from one of the world's best designed recording spaces, this plugin heralds a new chapter in architecture. These are not merely Impulse Responses but rather Dynamic models, that allow the manipulation of the space and the microphone position (and type!) to be altered. A step forward in digital modelling, yet again by one of the oldest companies involved in audio engineering. I have a jazz/rock project to mix and will no doubt be utilising the ambience of Ocean Way's wonderful rooms. For those of you running the UAD-2 platform in any one of it's incarnations I highly recommend this addition to your collection. Wonderful. 

UAD & Parallel Compression

Parallel Compression is certainly not a new concept. With analogue mixers for decades this has been the signal path to seriously kickin' drums. As I always suggest, not one stage of compression in an attempt to cover all aspects, but several stages, each with their own musical focus. Those of you with the UAD library available I recommend trying this:

(1) UAD 1176 on Pump Mode, Fast In & a little less Fast Out Drive the input pretty hard so Kicks and Snares receive about 6db of peak reduction; (2) UAD Pultec EQ1 with serious boosts on 3k & 60Hz thereby overdriving the output stage of the EQ. This is beautiful analogue distortion on the hardware. The UAD digital version has the same characteristics; (3) UAD EL7 FATSO as a final buss compressor, also sporting some serious bottom-end transformer-saturation. Attack time 1ms with release around 10ms.

Now that just gets it kickin'.

UAD "DreamVerb" Room Modeler

So you want a Reverb processor that sounds natural and unobtrusive, without having to dedicate 4 TDM chips to run it? Seriously, if you want to step up ALL of your sounds the Universal Audio Digital series can't be overlooked. Now available in an external FW800 processor as well as the PCIe card systems, the dedicated hardware runs UA's emulations of many beloved hardware units - the difference is they sound the same as the hardware - I'm not kidding and I stated to my Sound Production students "Digital has finally arrived." Check out my review of the "DreamVerb" modeler - you can hear it in any one of my mixes since June 2011.


P.S. No, I don't own shares in UAD - but I wish I did!

Universal Audio LA Series

Had the pleasure to use the Universal Audio (Teletronix) LA2A and the solid-state later version LA3A at Woodstock Studios back in the 90's. I've just pulled up the modelled plug-ins from UAD and put them up against some old audio files printed through the original hardware - OMG!

Universal Audio's Digital arm has produced a series of hardware emulations that are quite frankly, unbelievable. In A-B tests I can't tell the difference. Digital has finally arrived!


The mixing of the Pearl project is well underway although the initial deadline for completion has been altered as Marcia Howard & Rose Bygrave are still finishing off the recording of tracks. Tomorrow sees the arrival of Steve Cooney from Ireland to perform guitar on a couple of songs. I haven't played with Steve for over twenty years since he left the Great Southern Land for the island of Ireland, where he has established himself as one of the most significant members of the Irish music industry. I am very excited.

We will be tracking acoustic guitars using the following signal path: Peluso P12 Valve-Condenser (modified by Ross Giles), Harrison 3232 Pre-amp/EQ, Avalon 737 Compression/EQ, Empirical Labs FATSO compressor/tape simulator. This signal path is absolutely wonderful and gives me immense control over Gain structure, EQ, Compression and tonal quality. If you're interested check out the FATSO here: www.empiricallabs.com/fatdes.html