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Label Worx Recommends Universal Audio Hardware & Plugins.
Posted By : Alex Powell
|
Posted Date : December 3rd, 2018
Founded in 1958 by Bill Putnam Sr., Universal Audio has been synonymous with innovative recording products since its inception. A favourite engineer of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles and more, UA was re-founded in 1999 with two main goals: to faithfully reproduce classic analogue recording equipment in the tradition of their father; and to design new digital recording tools in with the sound and spirit of vintage analogue technology. As a result, UA has become a go-to manufacturer of both analogue hardware & premium quality plugins used in electronic music production, with their range boasting some of the most authentic analogue emulation plug-ins in the industry.

As Label Worx's in-house engineers, Matt Abbott and Alex Powell are long-time devotees of Universal Audio's extensive range of production kit. Here, they share their thoughts on what makes them the stand-out choice for producers, regardless of experience.

Who are Universal Audio?

Universal Audio are legendary. They have been producing some of the finest compressors, pre amps and other bits of amazing gear since the 60's. Most professional studios have pieces of their equipment as they have made so many timeless classics like the 1176 compressor. In the last 10 years they have shifted a lot of their focus in to making DSP based plugins that run from hardware processors. We have built the Label Worx studio around the UAD platform ever since we shifted from Creamware years ago.

What makes them stand-out?

UAD plugins are arguably some of the most accurate reproductions of very expensive, vintage & new hardware. A lot of other companies have attempted to capture the flavour from old gear and not quite got it as good as Universal Audio with their UAD plugins. The fact that their plugins run seamlessly from hardware DSP processors also frees up memory on your machine. Even using the latest Mac Pro with nothing but onboard plugins can be tasking on the CPU. The UAD system allows you to free up a lot of the power on your machine, while giving you the best sounding plugins you can buy.

What UA kit do you currently use?

Currently and for the last three or four years, our whole mastering chain is built up with UAD plugins with the Apollo audio interface & a UAD Satellite at the heart of it all. We use a mixture of the more clinical, precision plugins with some vintage classics to add the colour and tone of analogue mastering while maintaining a noise free signal path, using only UAD plugins.

What are some of your favourite plugins?

Pultec EQ's - These are the best sounding models we have ever heard. We use this in the mixdown stage to add colour to the track. There is something super silky about the Pultec EQ which makes this our favourite EQ for adding weight to something. The Pultec also works differently than any other EQ. You can boost & cut the same frequency which gives you this insane laminated sound. If you're not using it, you should be.

Ocean Ways Studios - This is absolutely insane for bringing vocals to life: perfect modelling of the recording setup with mic emulation at Ocean Ways Studios. You can use this as a reverb or just for adding spatial texture to a vocal. Flat, dull vocals all of a sudden have this incredible space and depth. We actually tried this out by accident and now it is one of our favourite plugins.

Oxford Dynamic EQ - For when multiband compression is just not right, multiband EQ with a threshold. Perfect for tidying up and taming tracks or parts that are a little messy. It is a super clinical EQ that can also add a great level of lamination to your sounds. We use this in mixdowns and mastering.

Everything SSL or Neve - To put it simply, anything Neve or SSL is the bomb. Both very different colours to work with but as powerful as each other. From compression to EQ. .These are the most powerful tools you can use in a mixdown (in our opinion).

EL-8 Labs Distressor - We previously used a real pair of these on a some projects a few years back and couldn't get over how good they are if used as a parallel compressor on drums, bass and even a full mix, providing you have a super clean mixdown. UAD have made the only perfect software replica we have ever heard and we're so pleased we can now use this in our setup, without paying a fortune for a real pair. Hand on heart we think this is the best modelled UAD plugin they have ever created.

Which tracks have you worked on that use UA gear?

All of our Label Worx Mixdowns & Masters are done using UAD plugins and hardware. We have mixed records down that have been released on Sony, Warner, Universal and some of the world's biggest dance music labels including Do Not Sleep, Toolroom, CUFF, Revealed, Spinnin and a whole lot more. Every order that leaves our studio is jam packed with UAD goodness.

Who would you recommend UA to? Beginners, experienced pros, etc?

I would recommend UAD plugins and hardware to everyone. Get on board and learn each plugin you buy inside out. Each plugin comes with a comprehensive manual that gives you a little history on the plugin and the best ways to use it, how to set it up and yield the best results. I never read such intuitive instruction to ever come with a plugin. UAD plugins are the closest thing you can get to having a studio worth hundreds of thousands of pounds but at a fraction of the price. Some of the worlds best mix engineers use UAD because they are so close to the real thing, and you can't take racks of gear on the road with you.

Interested in finding out more about Universal Audio products? Head to their home page.

For more information on Label Worx Mixing & Mastering. Check out our website.

 

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