Softube VS UAD - what's the quality like??

Discussion in 'Software' started by Strangedays, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Strangedays

    Strangedays Newbie

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    Hi My first post after being on other forums for years I decided to come here as there are some interesting topics. I mainly make EDM pop music but have produced professionally rock bands in a studio and had a good time ion the past musically. One thing that always makes me wonder though is this:


    I've always been slightly put of by the UAD stuff mainly as I don't want more hardware to carry around with me and I like to be portable.

    That being said UAD stuff is highly regarded by many as the best plugins.

    But I noticed that Softube appears to have been making plugins for UAD, and others are sneaking in like Antares. there is also no reason for UAD stuff to sound better other than good coding, as processes these days are far more powerful than the chips they put into the UAD hardware.

    So really, engineers always seem to be driving into he UAD stuff at some point. I guess they make the best 1176 emulation??

    So what are your thoughts, is UAD a waste of money? Or are they the only ones who can code to that level? I use the Waves stuff, plus a pick of other plugins (Arousor for example). I also try to buy the main plugins I use, to support the company somewhat but also to keep it easy. UAD has one big spanner in the works for someone like me. I grew up using cracked plugins and then bought the ones that I found I needed. An example of the negative aspects of piracy turning out to actually be positive. Of course with UAD there is no way to try the plugins other than on someone else's system. So I guess it makes the concept of their products remain in the dark.

    And if Softube are coding stuff that UAD feel is up there on their level then it certainly makes no sense for me to buy an Apollo or something when I am very happy with the RME Babyface Pro.

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. mercurysoto

    mercurysoto Audiosexual

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    I've said this before: I'm a happy UAD user, no turning back. However, if I had to start all over again, I'd consider other options out there that weren't so widely available in 2014 when I bought my Apollo Twin.

    UAD plugins are just what the promo says. Period. No Chris Lord Algie being interviewed by David Pensado to boost the rep of a plugin. Moreover, despite the hefty price tag that scares away a lot of people, conscious buying will get you plugins for as little as nada to 90% off in some of their plugins. Some UAD plugins are not offered by anyone else, and when so, the offer has always been a little (or a lot) below the mark, for instance, Waves SSL bus comp, Disto, or U-He Satin. Their UAD counterparts are better sounding. Then you have exclusive plugins like the Culture Vulture or the Fatso. As for the Antares offering, it's Autotune in real time with no latency. Any similar offering is in the price range of Pro Tools TDM. In short:

    UAD Pros
    • Some exclusive and uncrackable content
    • UNISON preamps with matching plugins (input impedance changes the way real hardware does)
    • Real-time, print-to-tape recording (processing before recording)
    • Really interesting discounts and sales (well below market prices of similar competition)
    • The stock plugins (without the bells and whistles) are Waves quality without shelling out any more cash than the cost of the hardware
    • Really good hardware
    UAD Cons
    • Equally good-sounding plugins by other manufacturers (Acustica Audio, for instance) for comparable or less price without depending on an interface (big dongle?)
    • Equally good hardware for a comparable price (RME, Apogee)
    • Dependence on hardware to use plugins
    • Behind-the-times SHARC processors
    Buying into UAD is like getting married. You are commited to it. Is UAD a good wife? Hell yes, but some of us aren't meant for that kind of commitment and we want the bachelor[ette] feeling of dongle-less, manufacturer-free use of audio plugins.
     
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  4. 11Fletcher

    11Fletcher Ultrasonic

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    I own an Apollo, butthe Bass Amp Room is the only Softube I own in normal version and UAD version, I remember trying some A/B comparison when I got the UAD (I had it for free) and didn't notice any difference. I also have some Brainworx plugin in UAD and "regular" version, and it sounds the same too.
    The difference is in the soundcard processor, as with UAD version you will have almost 0 latency, which is really nice to record or having a complete master chain when producing. Also the UAD console is nice too, to put effect on the headphone without recording it.
    It's possible with other soundcard of course, but the UAD soundcard help to free the processor for other stuff.

    The UAD legacy plugins sounds good too, I'm not a big fan of the "all analog" emulation trend, and I don't own original hardware to compare, but as it's their own stuff, maybe they emulate them better. For stuff like the 1176 I prefer the UAD version over the Waves one (CLA-76) or the IK T-Racks version. I like the NI version too (VC 76), can't really say which one is closer to the original, just the UAD and the NI seems to sounds better for what I look for (but it's just a matter of taste).

    So yeah, all UAD plugin have an equivalent or even the same plugin in other brand, the real "thing" is the 0 latency with the soundcard, and maybe their emulation, but here there are other great brand too, like Acustica Audio (I use more often their stuff when I want that "analog" feel, or add some color). But if I had to change my soundcard now, I would stay with UAD, not because of the plugin I own, but just because I like the workflow with it, and their plug sounds nice anyway (and for the price, they always give you some 25/50$ coupon or do some big sales every 6 month).
     
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  5. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Softube makes awesome plugins. Right now I am in love with their Summit Audio TLA-100A Compressor. I have never been more happy with a plugin in my vocal or acoustic chain. I also have been using one on a reverb send and as part of the mix buss chain.
     
  6. playtime

    playtime Kapellmeister

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    UAD's third-party developer plugins (Softube, Brainworx...) sound the same as UAD versions. The rest of of UAD plugins sound, behave and have same advantages/disantvanges as @mercurysoto and @11Fletcher wrote above.

    On my side, Neve 1073 Unison preamp, SSL and API replaced my hardware so I'm pretty happy with it. Still can't get rid of the hardware, though :mad:
     
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  7. SquareDjay

    SquareDjay Platinum Record

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    I think UAD will finish to carry(I don't know if it's the good term) their plugins to native because the power of computers is increasing everyday.
    I read somewhere that the power of computers is doubled every 10 years.
    In the future DSP cards will be useless.
    Otherwise Brainworx make plugins for UA too.
    I'm convinced that editors which make their plugins "crackable" take a better marketting strategy than others with iLok USB dongle,with that people know more their products.

    @Strangedays you are not alone doing this,people are not all "pirates"!
     
  8. SquareDjay

    SquareDjay Platinum Record

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    @superliquidsunshine which reverb do you use from Softube please?
     
  9. TW

    TW Rock Star

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    The only plugin I miss from my UAD times is Ocean way studio. There is no native plugin like it. Every other plugin I could replace with equal quality.
    In my opinion, the UAD Processing capabilities are way too underpowered for the money.
     
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  10. Strangedays

    Strangedays Newbie

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    Cheers for the replies - I like it round here nobody being too full of ego like on other forums.

    Some great feedback as well thank you. I can see a big advantage is the practically 0 latency you get. That's one of the aspects that seems like a big turn on hardware wise.

    I guess for me to turn around and do that now would be a bit of a challenge, I would have to sell my Babyface Pro (such a good interface) and possibly consider selling a few of my plugs that would be better on the Sharc processors - is swap the Arousor for the FATSO or Distressed plugins.

    I know their is a UAD version that is bus powered, but it is one of the things I love about the Babyface Pro is the portability and rock solid drivers. I would be one of those tempted if I was going to go UAD is going all out UAD and get a Quad and know that my laptop won't be the deciding factor in the performance.

    The other consideration is that the Apollo has been out for some time and I get this feeling a new one is not far around the corner. If they released a new line and the ability to run the amount the quad supports on say a solo became available I would certainly be even more serious in considering it now.

    However I see that there are offering opinions on what's worth getting.

    Oh if only all that money I had a few years ago didn't just go on drink and women lol! (not entirely true I bought Ableton, an SM7b, a Neumann U87 etc etc lol!)
     
  11. mercurysoto

    mercurysoto Audiosexual

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    Enjoy your stay here with our (dysfunctional) family. :mates:

    A few years back before USB 3/Thunderbolt, it was unthinkable to go almost zero latency, and UAD was the sensible thing to do for cheap-ish TDM capacity.

    The newest Universal Audio interface is the Arrow, which is the Apollo without the 10 output capacity and fully bus-powered. The apollo was marketed as the first Apollo to be portable. However, its wallwart power supply, bulkiness, and weight proved it more of a desktop control for rack-mounted Apollos. The Arrow is truly a portable device however expensive it might be for just a 2x2 interface with a SHARC processor.

    I feel you. Everybody complains about the processing capacity of UAD SHARC processors. However, in truth, I'd hate to see my Apollo become a dynasour because they change processors.
     
  12. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Tsar is
    Tsar is fine.
     
  13. Olymoon

    Olymoon Impossible is not a fact. It is an opinion. Staff Member

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    Title says Softube vs USD ... LOL ... I'm correcting it.
     
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  14. artwerkski

    artwerkski Rock Star

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    I have not done a blind test, yet. But UAD kicks ass. I own an older Apollo (firewire) and got a ton of plugs when I got it, second hand.
    And really never looked back. Since I run a hybrid setup, where I run signals through a desk into a dedicated MBP hooked to an Apogee Quartet which is basically always in record mode. On that box I use the Softube plugs a lot, Passive EQ, CL1B, Trident. Both sound extraordinary. Their Tonelux Tilt is an absolute gem! Yet I have to find a plug that beats the UAD 1073 emulation.
    Although I think Arturia has done a really good job with the pre's, especially the Trident. I haven't put them through the ringers but already they're becoming my goto's.
    So, in conclusion; hard to say. Both UAD and Softube are truly dedicated to audio and quality, both their softs as their hards. Both are really good value for money, I think. :wink:
     
  15. Talmi

    Talmi Audiosexual

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    I was pretty enthusiastic regarding softubes plugins. Until I started using Acustica Audio plugins. Those are miles away, imo.

    I've never tried the UAD products. A few friends whose opinion I value swear by it, but I'm very happy with my RME and AA stuffs.
     
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  16. mild pump milk

    mild pump milk Russian Milk Drunkard

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    UAD plugins and their native counterparts are the same. Just the same code. UAD is just a DSP card with plugins protected by this card, also this card is just extra CPU with their plugins. No extra analogness is added from this card. Music processed by plugins with amd pc will be same as one did with intel pc. Same with Antelope audio, tc electronic etc
    If full UAD was also native vst, they would be same as card.
    Card is protection, extra cpu and other extra tiny pros and marketing. Not more.
     
  17. Strangedays

    Strangedays Newbie

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    Thanks for correcting my post error - that's the problem with using your phone - too much auto correcting lol!

    I can see a lot of you love the UAD despite its processors being week. I also understand that it would be slightly offensive for UAD to launch new devices making everyone who owns one feel like their hardware is old.
     
  18. yabiss

    yabiss Platinum Record

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    I own 90% of UAD stuff. Been married a long time ago so i patiently waited for discounts, promos and the like to get to this point. There's no doubt whatsoever that UAD plugins are huge. Even with extreme modifications and this is where most Waves fall apart.

    Regarding Softtube, all those i own are great and those brainworx from pluginalliance are top notch too. Not to mention Slate, Kush audio and sly-fi.

    I own Flux too. Great stuff.

    A few years ago, i would have said UAD. Period.

    But if you are just stepping in. I would discard the UAD collectionist syndrom and be more picky about what i choose.
    Then i would consider Antelope too. A very nice option.

    The UAD card is totally underpowered. It's a joke to say the least. It began its career as a dongle of sorts and somehow helped you spare some CPU power but then it's become a total burden now as dongles DO NOT constrain you into using only the power onboard the card and leaving your CPU idle. Quite the contrary.

    At the moment, you pay top dollars for plugins restricted to the DSP power of the card which is basically a core 2 duo equivalent and i'm kind... Who has ever seen a 10 years old technology being presented as state of the art? Well in UAD world, this is true...:rofl:

    So i can't wait to have a REAL POWERFUL CARD. Like 10 times (at least) the power of the actual UAD2 or even better, to get rid of it entirely. But i don't think they've finished milking the cow yet so i would not count on it:dont:
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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  19. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    I thought by now that someone would have created a small box that would dedicate itself to hard and latency free crunching to take the burdon off of the computer prime. For those with the tech chops to understand the intricacies and subtleties of such an endeavor, why hasn't this as yet happened...or has it and I just am ignorant of it's passing into reality?
     
  20. Raddler777

    Raddler777 Ultrasonic

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    I'll tell you one thing. If you think that once you get UAD this whole chasing plugins will stop, think again.

    My thinking with impulsively buying 50% of the UAD plugins in my first year, was that if I get the best I won't need anything else and I will cease the chase. Not true. First of all, if you are like me, it's never enough, you will never find the best, because if you think you have, your mind will tell you there's something better.

    Secondly, never have I felt so sad than when I realized I was going to have to be forced to only use UAD plugins (which was the whole intent), but the truth is, I enjoy the chasing/testing/searching/experimenting with new plugins even more.

    Their plugins are great, but you really need to take the time to learn them and appreciate them, some are too subtle a noticeable sonic change for me.....Better than softube? some yes some no. For example, I lusted over the UA moog filter and EMT 140. They have been replaced by arturia mini v and soundtoys little plate.
     
  21. artwerkski

    artwerkski Rock Star

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    @superliquidsunshine Actually there is. There were the TC core thing, and of course the UAD kit. Now we have Waves Grid / Soundgrid.
    There's Focusrite Rednet but doesn't host plugs. And you can turn a spare box into a dedicated cruncher with Vienna Ensemble.
     
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