UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
jochicago
KVRian
804 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:26 pm

> make a Casio sound like ...
As a piano player I started as a kid on something similar to a $100 Casio that opened the doors for me, so this is an analogy that is dear to my heart. But it is disingenuous here talking about UAD.

The real comparison of UAD vs anything is not great vs cheap-sounding.

When it comes to the plugins nobody here can OBJECTIVELY make the case that the UAD 1176 or 1073 or their digital channel strip sound clearly superior to any of the other dozen plugin makers that have comparable products. You might personally prefer a sound, just like I might personally prefer another.

As an interface, can anyone objectively make the case that an Apollo is better than a Clarett? I don't think that's clearly demonstrable in the tech specs nor by sound.

The UAD processing power is also not objectively better than other choices (Waves, or going native with a monster CPU, etc).

So what are we talking about here? We are getting sidetracked about how top gear in top hands makes for top results, which on its own is clearly true. But what are we saying about UAD, that UAD is top stuff while everything else is a $100 Casio for kids to learn on? I don't think so.

I think UAD is a safe bet, good quality option for anyone that doesn't want to explore their options and has the budget. But just as easily you can choose alternatives, get the same type of quality, and probably spend less.

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Tronam
KVRAF
1656 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from Seattle, WA - USA

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:54 pm

Apparently it's not okay to like UAD hardware and plugins anymore because cheaper alternatives can be found elsewhere. I need validation for my audio purchases, so I should probably sell mine as soon as possible and be back in the good graces of the KvR faithful. I don't even need any of this stuff anyway. I'll just stick with my DAW's stock plugins and rigorously scrutinize my budget around audio software, only making the most sensible financial investments because it's not okay to buy things because I want or like them. My talent and creativity is the only thing that matters.

Scotty
KVRAF
2015 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:26 pm

Tronam wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:54 pm
Apparently it's not okay to like UAD hardware and plugins anymore because cheaper alternatives can be found elsewhere. I need validation for my audio purchases, so I should probably sell mine as soon as possible and be back in the good graces of the KvR faithful. I don't even need any of this stuff anyway. I'll just stick with my DAW's stock plugins and rigorously scrutinize my budget around audio software, only making the most sensible financial investments because it's not okay to buy things because I want or like them. My talent and creativity is the only thing that matters.
The OP asked for honest feedback and you've heard the good, the bad and the ugly. They are saying based on experience (some of us with almost two decades on the platform) that you can get as good or better results in many (not all) cases with alternatives that are often more affordable. I am not planning on selling my UAD-2 cards or interface and I couldn't care less what someone thinks of that one way or another. I am just buying less of their stuff over time as the competition has improved. I just demo'd the 7373Sp and will likely buy it . It is excellent. If you have the budget this stuff won't let you down. The point is if you don't have the budget you can get there with more affordable options. No one needs to ask permission to like their gear. You can expect an argument if you claim your choices or your mixes are inherently superior given the UA badge. It ain't necessarily so but don't let that stop you. Your money, your choice. T'was ever thus.

Passing Bye
KVRian
1169 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:10 pm

Tronam wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:54 pm
My talent and creativity is the only thing that matters.
That's the real truth in the end of the day, if you can't use your tools to make something worthy, it's you who suck.

burnt circuit
Banned
142 posts since 15 Jan, 2020

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:54 pm

V0RT3X wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:03 pm

Ok I fully agree with the artistry involved in making a good song, but a part of the "great sound" can be definitely captured with decent gear.

The thought that UAD-2 has no place anymore is a bit much when there are plenty of people who make absolutely great records with their stuff.

I also agree with the argument that UAD is overpriced when there are other native plugins that sound equally as good or better such as stuff from Cytomic, U-he etc.

But UAD-2 does have a place.

The idea you can have all your plugins on one DSP powered platform is kind of attractive.


Sure there is the DSP power argument where modern CPUS have eclipsed the design of the sharc. But then again the DSP system also works differently too.

I'll use a video game analogy here, but if you know anything about video game emulation then you'll find tons of software emulations. Thing is many of these emulations are super super inaccurate and in order for them to be cycle accurate it requires a LOT of processing power from a regular computer.

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2011/08/ ... -emulator/

However if you run them in a FPGA based design which is also (underpowered) in comparison to a PC processor, you can get the system to run cycle accurate because of how the FPGA can emulate the various parallel processes with ease.

It could be that the SHARC design they use works in a similar way. I could of course be very very off base and I'm sure there are DSP experts who actually coded for UAD-2 who could explain.

Anyways
Today's technologies with CPUs, cheap memory and low cost SSDs only makes their usefulness even less. As future technologies progress, you will find less and less need for external DSP, unless you are running a LAN based system. Which makes the Waves SoundGrid system perfect for future-proofing your system. It opens a lot of doors to the way music will be made and shared in the future.

This is most likely the reason why UAD has now branched off into the DAW making business...
It's not the quality of audio, it's the quality of production that matters.

Scotty
KVRAF
2015 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:19 pm

Deleted. I started to get in over my head. Better let someone with more expertise or firsthand knowledge tackle the FPGA analogy.

SoftSynthLover99
KVRist
72 posts since 27 Jun, 2019

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:20 pm

UAD is worth it for me as someone who works professionally as a songwriter/producer. The saying you get what you pay for is what I’ve found to be true with UAD. I’m not talking about plugins exclusively, I mean the quality of the preamps/converters vs the competition. I understand burnt circuits perspective but it’s not the only way to look at it.

I’ve made quite a few popular records using a $200 guitar and cheap bass when I started, but the first chance I got to actually by a vintage strat or tele, or an actual Moog/Roland synth, I’ll never go back to recording that way with an Mbox, 49 key midi and amp sims EVER again. It’s a journey and you should use what you have, but acquiring better gear can lead to increased creativity and productivity. A Ford Focus will get you to the same place a Mercedes AMG can, but the experience is NOT the same.

Gear DOES matter guys/girls! And recording consoles are NOT on the way out. I literally am in the process of purchasing an API console for my studio.

UAD also has better future proof compatibility than most other companies in my experience. UAD still supports the FireWire Apollo’s and nearly all other companies have dropped support for their FW interfaces. That’s something to consider as well.

SoftSynthLover99
KVRist
72 posts since 27 Jun, 2019

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:33 pm

Understand some people can afford a Mercedes while others may only can afford a Ford Focus. Does that mean the Ford Focus owner should go around telling everyone that anyone who buys a Mercedes is wasting money on overpriced crap? Should he try to make everyone try and only buy a Ford Focus just because it’s what he can afford?

I make music for a living so I always look at it this way, if I can record just 1 song that makes the purchase of gear XYZ worth it, then my money is well spent. End of discussion! The gear will pay itself off over and over through royalties. Sometimes we have to look at the big picture.

V0RT3X
KVRAF
8183 posts since 4 Jul, 2012 from Alesia

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:40 pm

SoftSynthLover99 wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:20 pm

Gear DOES matter guys/girls! And recording consoles are NOT on the way out. I literally am in the process of purchasing an API console for my studio.
What API Console are you going to be getting?

burnt circuit
Banned
142 posts since 15 Jan, 2020

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:28 pm

SoftSynthLover99 wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:33 pm
Understand some people can afford a Mercedes while others may only can afford a Ford Focus. Does that mean the Ford Focus owner should go around telling everyone that anyone who buys a Mercedes is wasting money on overpriced crap? Should he try to make everyone try and only buy a Ford Focus just because it’s what he can afford?

I make music for a living so I always look at it this way, if I can record just 1 song that makes the purchase of gear XYZ worth it, then my money is well spent. End of discussion! The gear will pay itself off over and over through royalties. Sometimes we have to look at the big picture.
UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly
Because the OP asked a question, that obviously makes a lot of people butt hurt when they realize they've just wasted a lot of money.
It's not the quality of audio, it's the quality of production that matters.

jochicago
KVRian
804 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:27 pm

some people can afford a Mercedes while others may only afford a Ford Focus
I'm repeating myself (and it's the last time I will do it as not to derail). But when it comes to UAD this is a FALSE ARGUMENT on this thread.

If a $2k UAD Apollo DSP processing power is a Mercedes, then a $2k latest-gen Xeon processor is a godamn spaceship. The Apollo can't hold a candle to that type of native raw power.

People here talking about UAD being superior in quality and performance like that's settled. I haven't seen a single person try to support that statement with any evidence. It's like you are repeating it off a marketing brochure. Please post a link that demonstrates that UAD is better at plugins or CPU or DAC than any other same-price brand.

For instance, the $2,700 Apollo 8 has a noise floor at -129db. The new $230 SSL 2 has it at -130.5db. The Apollo 8 max gain is 65db. The new $300 Presonus iostation c24 can do 80db of clean gain. What are we talking about? "Cheap Casio... Ford..." Seriously. Why are you guys going on about the Apollo outclassing anything? It outclasses nothing in its price range. Plugins, interface, CPU juice, it doesn't even outclass things that are significantly cheaper.

And don't get me started on the plugins. What on Earth can UAD do to hold a candle to FF Pro Q3? Nothing in its catalog is even trying.

Put down the coolaid for a moment and look at this objectively. I'm not hating on the Apollo, it has its place and it is a good tool (price aside). But why are we pretending it's head and shoulders BETTER than everything, where is that coming from?

bill45
KVRAF
2455 posts since 15 Jun, 2006

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:33 pm

Thinking of getting a uad-2.So I can use my UAD-1 plugins on Windows 10.
And try this.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oJZx5fpoi4

bill45
KVRAF
2455 posts since 15 Jun, 2006

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:37 pm

Is there a native equivalent to uad fatso?
Does waves HLS 69 come close to uad Helios 69?
The uad 224 xls has a unique sound.

musicdoc
KVRist
187 posts since 8 May, 2010 from US-Washington

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:54 pm

UAD owner from Mackie pci card days. This topic has been extremely well covered here. My quick synopsis:

1. At the time, these were the most realistic and best sounding plugins out there when computer processing power was a premium.

2. Nowadays I still use but much of that is because of extreme familiarity.

3. If you are in the music business and need the compatibility and have a larger budget then go for it, can’t go wrong.

4. If you’re more of a hobbyist or don’t want/can’t spend the big bucks there are many just about equal alternatives available. Fabfilter and Softube come to mind. UAD by Brainworx are even available in native.

5. If my studio burned down tomorrow and the insurance company reimbursed me for the loss, I’m not sure I would buy into the UAD system again.

6. Biggest argument against UAD is the latency and inability to sell single plugins. If you are playing vsti’s you kind of have to wait until the end to start using uad stuff because of latency - yes I know there are workarounds but still not elegant or as quick as native.

7. LUNA? If you like to experiment it’s interesting. As for me, I’ll wait and see where it’s at in a few years. Why do free beta testing when there are platforms with multiple decades of experience.

burnt circuit
Banned
142 posts since 15 Jan, 2020

Re: UAD apollo and plugins owners......is it worth it ? HOnestly

Post Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:02 am

musicdoc wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:54 pm
7. LUNA? If you like to experiment it’s interesting. As for me, I’ll wait and see where it’s at in a few years. Why do free beta testing when there are platforms with multiple decades of experience.

And why do you think UAD has now diversified into the DAW making business?

Do you think it has anything to do with their predictions of future (needs) of external DSP?
It's not the quality of audio, it's the quality of production that matters.

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