UA plugins, much better than Waves plugins?

I remastered my track with the Hitsville Mastering EQ from UA, I also used the LA-3A Audio Leveler and LA2 compressor. I think these plugins are far superior to Waves plugins. Maybe I was lucky but it sounds incredible I think, its airy, clear, fräsch, alot of punsch. I usually am not very happy with my mixing/mastering but this was really nice. I have a trial for the UA-plugins its just a few usd/month, I have not tested them all but also the synts are exciting. Its pro-gear, or what are your opinions?

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You’re just telling the obvious. At least to some of us.


UAD are of amazing quality and in that department I consider far superior.
But when It comes to waves they have a lot more Fx processing plugins so I would say for sound design Waves and for Mixing and mastering/making something sound amazing then UAD…Horses for courses :slight_smile:

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There’s gong to be a LOT of bias in this thread due to Update plans , forcing subscription and wars BUT
Waves ,i find are more TOOLs and very good tools at that , the Reverbs are brilliant as other spatial tools and that’s how they should be accepted (imo ).UAD superior ? Not at all , just a different flavour , the same as trying to compare two Compressor hardware units from the same Manufacture .

it’s all down to taste and what you personally fell better with . I sold my quad cards years ago as i felt UAD were personally lacking ,BUT we are all individuals with different taste so i wouldn’t call anything 'more superior

I mainly use Acustica for colour and compression , in my world NOTHING comes close but as i say ,would they be superior to someone that knows WAVES plugins inside and out ? probably not


Acustica…Wow. Literally the worst reputation in the entire industry with a CEO that threatened to cut off their own customers due to a private software team pirating and rebuilding their VST to show they lied when they said they couldn’t reduce the system load when they were just to lazy?..That acoustica?
…Is there another acoustica that isn’t a laughing stock of the industry I haven’t heard of or a we talking the same one? lol


i saw a comparison video of some waves,uad,and other emulated plugins and real UA hardware ,i think it was 1176 and LA2A, and the test by ear and scopes showed that waves actually behaved an sounded more like the hardware then the other plugins and they mentioned even then the uad plugin which made the tested hardware . it was a YT video

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Oh look , an internet grudge holder getting political instead of quality of sound . You loss no one elses and now back on topic …

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Great, I have not so much experience in mixing yet, has done that for about two years and there are so many brands and plugins to test. When i try CLA-plugins by Waves it often sounds “cheap”, I have really tried but i dont like them.

Just know that the way brands conduct themselves have huge ramifications. Waves tried to go subscription only. That says they need money. were willing to step on their customers to get it.
UAD take time and sometimes years to develop. Although they had issues with the ecosystem they have taken time to do a excellent port on more and more of their plugins.
Minimal audio did it with current and almost got destroyed.
If a brand has the ability to make a product sound better and be lighter on CPU + it takes hackers to show them and then they get angry at hackers for exposing them. That tells me your customers are not priority.
I would not assume the intentions behind your text. I understand the response to be defensive but please be impartial.

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Hype. Seriously. The plugins in Cubase are enough to create great mixes and masters. And don’t believe the extra hype regarding compressors. No listener out there gives a hoot about your fancy compressor. Just use the tools your have… on recordings that have been DONE WELL… and you can excel.

I wouldn’t use the envelope shaper on the MixConsole for any demanding task, though. That one needs an upgrade.

For 3rd party, get intelligent tools like Sonible SmartEQ, and Izotope Ozone, and SoundTheory Gullfoss… And when you want saturation, (and you do want saturation), just add saturation, don’t go buying every analog-modelled plugin that saturates well. What a rabbit hole. Buying plugins is all a rabbit hole, but especially analog-modelled ones with gorgeous interfaces, which is a big part of the business of both Waves and UA.

Hype. The companies want us to believe it, and we do. It gives us something to talk about, argue about. I love Waves’ MV2 because it’s simple. And I use their NX room modeling software, brilliant. The UA 1176 and plate verb are great. But the most important thing is the engineer. If Andrew Scheps could only use Cubase and the above plugins, and mix the Chili Peppers, he would still get a great mix, right?


+1 Gulfoss, Smart EQ4

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You are on my ignore list from now , you don’t like don’t use , end of , good bye

The important thing is to learn the tools.
To me, it’s the ease of use with the UAD plugins that makes a difference. It’s easy to achieve good results.

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Yes, I was chocked when I added my new UA Mastering EQ on to my track, I just turned a few knobs a little and all the boxiness was gone, the vocals clear, a lot punchier drums. It even sounded more beautiful. The work was done in 20 minutes. The LA2 compressor is the best compressor I have tried on my voice and again so simple, I use the preset Male Vocals. Its gold. I think the idéa that “stock plugs are enough” does not rhyme with my experience, it just don´t.

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I understand now that UA is more expensive, Waves less. Its Mercedes and Honda, and you get what you pay for, thats just a fact in most cases. Not always, but often.

Stuck on a desert island for 3 years, and we’d all find a way.

OR we’d all start realizing how great our music sounds already.

I’m not saying the Hitsville Mastering EQ, the LA-3A, and LA2 aren’t better… and that there are no 3rd party tools that are better, but that there are so many more important factors involved in creating a great mix and master. So yeah, use Hitsville, but how about Magneto with Frequency and the Tube Comp used on Adele’s raw tracks? 2 mixes, side by side, sure, people are still going to prefer your mix, done with the best plugins, but by how much? Well, if you’ve got golden ears and know exactly what you’re doing, by a lot. And that’s my point. You, the engineer, deserve most of the credit… Or Adele… or both… But not as much Hitsville. And that doesn’t make Waves plugins particularly inferior, or at all, IMHO. For me, the UA vs. Waves saga is hype.

EDIT: I’ll caveat, that I tend to prefer a less hi-fi sound in general, so this all does come down to preference in the end. But give me one gorgeous EQ that has that beautiful sheen in the high end, and that would be enough for me. And as for compressors, I still have yet to hear that much of a difference between the top brands. I think the dbx 160, regardless of the brand, is unique for drums. So I’d get one of those 3rd party plugs. Plus a nice parallel eq, like the Clariphonic. But can I not roll my own parallel eq with stock plugins that would at least come close enough? I’m not yet convinced I can’t. Again, especially given the right raw tracks to work with. All this hype make us chase our tail, I think.

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I agree it matters a lot how brands behave, I don’t agree Waves needed money, they probably just wanted to maximize profit. They did behave really poorly from what I can remember when they decided to switch to subscription services and I don’t really see how anyone would trust them moving forward.

Personally I left Waves behind years ago once they started with what I thought was a cumbersome ‘model’, both in terms of business and practically speaking. Also, I found that the older plugins I’d been using for a long time really didn’t do it for me any longer. There was simply no need to keep using their stuff over stock plugins. This was mainly in two rooms I managed, based on OSX and Pro Tools HD and later HDX.

There is “hype” over a lot of big brands, it goes with the territory. The way I understand the word “hype” doesn’t necessarily mean that something isn’t true, just that it’s ‘excessively’ promoted. So has UA been “hyped”? Sure. Doesn’t mean they’re not much better than alternatives though.

As for the idea that you can “create great mixes and masters” using “The plugins in Cubase” “on recordings that have been DONE WELL” that could be true but it also isn’t the whole picture. We don’t just pick tools that ‘work’ and leave it at that, there’s more to it.

Sure, the most important thing is the engineer. But I’ll tell you a quick story:

I was at Berklee College of Music studying audio engineering and we had a really big name engineer come through to show of his surround mixing skills. The entire clinic/seminar was pretty unimpressive as he struggled somewhat to get through it technically. Now, it just so happens that he’s engineered what I would consider to be classics in the music industry and nobody in their right mind would call him less than… let’s say “an important engineer”.

So why the difficulties? Because he was working on a mix console that he wasn’t familiar with and ended up not liking.

The point I’m getting at is that a good mix engineer won’t just choose tools that sound good but also do job X effectively and efficiently.

So when we’re talking about UA effects the point isn’t just that they have a certain type of sound, it’s a) that the sound is really close to a specific vintage piece of hardware* and b) that getting that sound in other ways takes more effort. In other words why would I bother with Cubendo stock reverbs + other plugins to get the sound of an AMS RMX 16 or EMT 250 if I can buy the UA version and basically nail it with much less time/effort? Or why use the stock compressor and try to get it to sound like the Fairchild or 33609?

But what’s the point of making that statement in a thread like this one? The thread wasn’t called “What’s the best investment: Spending more on UA instead of Waves or becoming a better engineer?” or whatever… right? That wasn’t the question. It was limited to is plugins by X better than Y. That’s all this was about.

As for “can the audience really tell the difference”…; I think that on the one hand they can if the difference is large enough, but then again they won’t because they will never be in a position to do a/b comparisons, so the question is sort of moot in that sense.

More importantly though - a) we make music as art for ourselves and our clients (musicians) and we need to make them happy and give them the best we can within reason, and b) a lot of people listen to garbage, so using them as a ‘standard’ for what’s “acceptable” is a recipe for mediocrity.


I have been using UA for years. It never dawned on me to try something else. Who is Waves?

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That’s well said. The OP did say “these plugins are far superior to Waves plugins.” And I personally don’t see it. I’m fully aware, though, that this may just be my own failing. And I’m sure it is.

I owned a UAD-1 device, with the legacy plugins, that have been upgraded to sound better in UAD2. But 20 years from now, we’ll look back and think UAD2 sounded inferior, won’t we? In 50 years? So, I need a tutorial on exactly why UAD sounds that much better, worth the hardware and $$ investment. I own an Avalon 737sp in hardware, and, frankly, the top end sounds worlds better to me than the UAD plugin version I’m using with my Apollo solo.

So when we get into a Waves vs. UAD debate, I find myself pondering the “why” of it all, and just how much chasing my tail I’ve done. If it all comes down to gradations of great, then is the pursuit even worth it? So, just buy the UAD plugs if you like them better and they suit your workflow, or use the Waves’ ones that may be of slightly less quality. It’s all good enough for now, to my ears, as far as software goes… Either way, I’m not getting that Avalon sound I truly love. But yes, I’m getting something I like enough, and can impress my clients with.

Again, it’s my opinion. I strain myself to try to care about the differences. I don’t have experience with the Hitsville EQ. Maybe it is the bomb. But somehow, when I slap on Gullfoss that does a little bit of magic to my track, I wonder what more do I need besides the plugins I already have and my own skills.

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