C6 software Vst DSP versus Hardware UAD DSP

HI , can some one pls explain , what is the difference , in quality here ??? not just the UAD DSP , all hardware based ones , why is the DSP card so expensive ??? i find the C6 effx real good , so how much better can they get ??? and how is the signal routed internally when u add a dsp card ???would be gr8 to hear some examples of the same sample , with software n hardware some thing like eq n compression … thanks s

I find the UAD plugins among the best on the market. I own and use almost all of them in my work (in C6 and WL7).
I, soundwise, of course, prefer the original hardware compared to the emulations, but UAD-2 is the second best, in my opinion.
Some of the Cubase plugins are OK, for instance the Reverence, but I hardly use any other.
You can listen to the UAD plugins in a lot of demo videos on the UAD website.


UAD sounds great, and uses own HW. So you can use your CPU power to an other effect, or VIs.

Not as big a deal as it once was with respect to CPU. Today’s computers do not need as much offloading any longer. If you are happy with what your software plugs provide soundwise, and your CPU can handle it, theere isn’t a huge need to go with a hardware based solution.

However, if you really like the sound of some of the UAD plugs and can justify the cost, go for it.


As a very happy UAD customer, I think the price is reasonable for what you get. I’m speculating here, but I think several factors contribute to the initial card cost.

First when compared with a mass consumer device like an iPad or a TV, the UAD cards have a tiny customer base. That means that instead of spreading the R&D costs across tens of millions of units it likely gets spread across tens of thousands of units. That certainly adds to the cost.

Also the UAD plugins are modestly priced - paying a few hundred bucks for a credible emulation of hardware that costs many thousands of dollars is a pretty good deal. I suspect that the hardware costs help subsidize the pricing model for the software, but that is totally speculation.

Lastly UAD treats their customers right, and that does incrementally increase operating costs a bit. Consider that they are currently dropping support for the old PCI based UAD-1 cards. Instead of abandoning their old customers like some companies (Tascam and Antares I’m talking 'bout you who will NEVER get another dime from me), UAD always offers an attractive upgrade path. I’m gonna trade in my 2 UAD-1 cards for a UAD-2 solo at no additional cost. I’ll end up with a current generation card with more power than what I’m trading in at no cost to me.

Now if only they’d try their hand at some VSTi’s :wink:

How are you managing that? According to UAD you can only trade in one UAD-1 for a $200 discount on a solo. You can trade in two UAD-1’s for a $400 discount on a duo.

From UAD’s site:

One (1) UAD-1 card towards purchase of a new UAD-2 > SOLO> /DUO/QUAD or UAD-2 DUO/QUAD Satellite – $200 discount
(Includes UAD-2 Core/Flexi/Neve/Omni)
Up to two (2) UAD-1 cards towards purchase of a new > UAD-2 DUO/QUAD > or UAD-2 > DUO/QUAD > Satellite > – $400 discount
(Includes UAD-2 Core/Flexi/Neve/Omni)
Up to three (3) UAD-1 cards towards purchase of a UAD-2 QUAD or UAD-2 QUAD Satellite – $600 discount
(Includes UAD-2 Core/Flexi/Neve/Omni)


Hey Ron thanks for the heads up. I was basing it on a conversation I had with my sales guy at Sweetwater, which apparently is wrong. Coincidentally at the same time as you were writing this, I was looking at the different UAD-2 configs and thinking “Maybe I should go with a duo instead?” Even so it is still a good, if not spectacular, deal. Anyway my point was UAD does a good job of not just leaving their customers stranded.

Make sure you check out jrrshop. 15% discount when you enter “group” in the coupon at checkout. And it looks like they make it easy for the exchange. You don’t have to send your cards in first. You can do it after you receive the UAD-2’s.

samwax - sorry for hi-jacking your thread. I should know better.



samwax - sorry for hi-jacking your thread. I should know better.

Hey , every detail in this field is interrelated n i really appreciate all the info… … I also shall never buy Tascam again , they refuse to make a small win 7 driver , after i spent so many $$$ n hardly used it . no body actually answered just this … how good are the DSP Hardware effx compared to software in C6 , would appreciate anyones experience here … i think 2days CPU/s are good enough to handle a lot of processing together … so if UADs are superior in their quality , how does it compare to C6 software based effx … n by the way appreciate UAD for thier customer support … every one should make a list of the good compaines like these n post them around , might wake up the arrogant companies like Tascam etc…thnx again all s

Now if only they’d try their hand at some VSTi’s
just a questain , they UAD/s would use thier engines n hardware to process the current Vsti/s of C6 , Halion 4 etc…inside the PC right , so would they make the current Vsti/s sound better , due to thier dedicated hardware n thier processing ??? thnx s

One of the things that UAD is known for is modeling real hardware (LN1176, LA2A, etc). So if you are a person that is very familiar with certain hardware that UAD models, it makes the transition from outboard gear to in the box processing easier to get that sound you are after.

How well it really matches, I don’t really know. You would need to hear back from someone who has experience using both the real thing and the UAD plugs. But my understanding is they have done a pretty good job in that department.


i have 2 uad1s. i used to use the plugins a lot, but since going 64 bit, having to use jbridge means the plugins have been flaky and sometimes my projects crash when exporting if i have too many uad plagins active (even though the cards themselves are hardly being taxed in terms of memory/cpu). so i’ve been using them less and less. and with the new policy of ua to drop the uad1, i’ve decided not to to go for a uad2. overpriced for what it is i reckon. the plugins themselves are very good quality, but i also have very high stuff from lexicon,waves etc, and i bought a nomad factory bundle that has tons of excellent compressors and eqs. so when i stop using ua completely (?) it won’t be a big deal. also, the new plugins ua have simply don’t interest me. but if you go to the unofficial uad forum (google it) you’ll find the faithful there who will tell you how good the ua plugins are (my favourite one is the cambridge eq. would like to see a native version of it). i don’t think the card itself is relevant to the quality of effects. it really comes down to the experience/skill of te programmers. ua guys do know how to make nice sound… but so do some of the native plugin people.ed

I have a Hardware La2a, the UAD La2a and Waves take on the La2a, plus a few other La2a type soft compressors.

The closest to my hardware is the UADs, the overall sound and compressor behaviour is nigh on identical, given that the TB4 (optical component) of the hardware La2a is critical and every one is different! The Waves La2a is noticeably different, not in a bad way, just different. The attack is far faster and the release is not what you would expect and the sound is em… softer!!! (I think :laughing: ) not what I would expect from an La2a! The other La2a emulations don’t even come close!

I’m working on acquiring/building an 1176 but that’s some time in the future.

So there you go, I would say UAD have the edge on emulating the hardware accurately(ish), whether that’s worth the extra dosh only the user can decide!

The bundled effects & processors are just fine to get going with, and a lot of stuff gets done with them.
The Studio EQ is highly under rated - and far superior to the stock channel EQ.

Speaking as an owner of 2 UAD2 Quads and 95% of their plugs, all I can say is that the bundled tools do not even come close in terms of sound - UAD bring something unique to the table, and there is absolutely nothing at all in the bundled tools that comes close to the UAD Console EQ’s or their Compressors in terms of the sound they impart.
Their special tools are also superb - you will not get a Manley MP anywhere else for under £5,500 in the UK yet for $349 you get the standard version andthe mastering version - £11,000 worth in hardware. The EMT plates are stunning, the Lexicon awesome, I could go on & on (and often do).

The argument about “native is much better for power these days” is sophistry, as these plugs do not exist in native form & never will. Arguments to the contary are pointless. Would they run Native? Probably not in anywhere near the same counts - check out how CPU hungry plugins that do model nonlinearities are, such as the Slate FG-X (an awesome plug, but oh! so hungry for power).

If you want authentic versions of the 1073, the 1081, the 31102, the 88RS, the 33609 comps, the Helios EQ etc you have to go to UAD - and the recent 1176 upgrades are far superior to any native 1176 plugs.

Still, it is up to you - but be aware (and warned) that if you get a UAD card it is habit forming.

I got my first UAD2 card about a year ago… a UAD2 solo, with the intention of just using a few plugs on busses but was totally blown away by the difference between them and Cubases’ native plugs… the difference is NIGHT AND DAY!!!
After about a week i got that nagging, gnawing feeling that i NEED to be able to use certain plugs on many more tracks than the solo could handle so bit the bullet and bought a quad as well :blush:
Personal faves are the SSL 4K, never having owned a real 4K i couldn’t comment on its authenticity but it really DOES ‘FEEL’ and more importantly sound and react like a hardware channel… and its sound is instantly recognisable… it just has ‘THAT’ sound!
The Pultec Pro is stunning too! it’s pretty difficult to get anything to sound ‘bad’ with it.
The Neve 88RS strip is pretty cool too, very natural sounding and has a superb, if not slightly complex till you get to grips with it, gate and expander section.
To be honest i could easily bang on all day about them! lol… i’m really not the fanboy type either!
REALLY looking forward to the 64Bit upgrade later this year… INSANE performance! :smiley:

Their worst drawback though, as neilwilkes said, is they’re INCREDIBLY addictive! :wink:

gr8 going guys , makes me want to get one , but i have to budget , 4 now i shall use a hardware Roland 31 dual band eq i have n a beringer 24/96 compressor …to get that hardware level input … so how many songs are released professionally , with only C6 and its effx , where does it compare to broadcast quality … considering ur using an ok pre amp input ??? n what exactly is broadcast quality ??
thanks s

i agree GUI makes its better , easier to use , but not necessarily thats good effx !!!

gui is extremely important. i think voxengo plugins are fantastic but ugly. and have bad names. so even though i own a couple, i never think to open and use them as first choices. if the gui was slick, i’d go to them more often. on the other hand, i got some crysonic stuff on a no-brainer deal a while back. looked great. sounded poor to me and very unreliable and unpredictable. it’s hard to separate the eyes from the ears!
at least with UA, you know the stuff will be good, even if like me, you don’t find a need for things like cooper time cube! :slight_smile:

sorry 2 go on n on… wish some could pls answer this , and how many songs get released in todays times , or how many of u guys release songs only using software based VST / Vsti/s …does the professional engg , and the layman find a difference??? thanks s

The EMT140 plate is all over some of Adele’s stuff… http://www.uaudio.com/blog/artist-interview-paul-epworth/

The Chillis… http://www.uaudio.com/blog/artist-interview-andrew-scheps/
I suspect that many are used more often than people realise…