Which UAD plugins you should have

Hey everybody, thanks to the amazing courses of Danny I’m now looking closely on the UAD plugins. In order to complete my plugins collection with the Slate plugins, Fabfilter, Soundtoys and Waves - which I have -, which UAD do you recommend me to have ?

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Ampex ATR-102
Studer A800
EL7 Fatso
Manley Vari-Mu
Manley Massive Passive
Thermionic Culture Vulture

Others I also highly recommend but I know Waves and/or Slate do versions:
SSL 4000 E Series Channel Strip
1176 Collection
Pultec Collection
API 2500 Bus Compressor


The Manley Vari-Mu is on my wishlist :slight_smile: , the Fatso also. It’s so shameful that we cannot try them before.

You actually can, just press trial and you can try them for 14 days.


I know, I remember there was a deal when I bought a Twin-Finity and I got a solo. After demoing the plug-in, there was no giong back. Not sure if I would have bought a card at that time if it didn’t come free with my hardware.

You get a 14-day trial with all of the UAD plug-ins, which resets every time you buy a new plug-in.

I own nearly all of the UAD plug-ins so if you want any advice on anything before you buy, just give me a shout.

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Ok cool, thanks. First I have to buy an external DSP because I have right now a zen tour from Antelope audio.

The Manley’s and Fatso where on my first buy too and you don’t need to try these… They’re that good. Like Danny called it once, The Fatso is a secret weapon!

I would add the Shadow Hills, but that’s just my taste…

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Hmmm I’m seriously considering to take the external DSP Octo custom. With that I would already have inside these plugins :

  • UA 610-B
  • Fairchild 670 Legacy
  • Precision Enhancer Hz
  • UA 1176LN Legacy
  • UA 1176SE Legacy
  • Pultec EQP-1A Legacy
  • Pultec-Pro Legacy
  • Teletronix LA-2A Legacy
  • Precision Channel Strip (Precision Mix Rack Collection)
  • Precision Reflection Engine (Precision Mix Rack Collection)
  • Precision Delay Mod (Precision Mix Rack Collection)
  • Precision Delay Mod L (Precision Mix Rack Collection)
  • RealVerb Pro

I also can pick 3 more plugins (any plugins), my choice would be :

  • FATSO™ Jr./Sr. Tape Sim. & Compressor
  • Manley Variable Mu® Limiter Compressor
  • the 3rd I’m not sure what to choose, if it’s the Ampex® ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder (because I already have the Slate bundle), or the Culture Vulture (but it seems that it’s already on the Decapitator, or I’m wrong), or the Massive Passive

I already have the Elysia Alpha compressor in native, also the Sonnox Inflator native.

Does it worth it to pay 1’400 $ for all of that, knowing that I already have all these plugins I’ve mentioned ? the goal is to mix and master my own tracks professionally, so I would like to have the best :slight_smile:

I’ll take my time anyway to make a decision, no rush

These are my favorites, I can’t mix without:

  • Culture Vulture (best saturation - great on everything)

  • LA-2

  • ATR and Studer (studer on individual channels, ATR for mixbus)

  • Manley VoxBox - it is doing magic saturation

  • API Vision

  • Pultec

  • bx_tuner… LOL - i got in on sale for $5 or so… but use it a lot to tune my hw synths and guitar

Also love these plugins:

  • Shadow Hills Mastering compressor - I produce and mix into it. Then turn it off and take it out of master bus.
  • Echoplex Tape Echo
  • FairChild
  • of course 1176
  • new API 2500
  • Neve 1081 - my favorite musical EQ

You can get Octo of course - but all those free plugins - Precision and Legacy are not worth it…

I would get Quad and more plugins :sunglasses:


The Octo is only 300$ more than the Quad, so it worth it to buy the Octo, it’s only 1 plugin difference. The Quad custom and the Octo custom have the same integrated plugins, but the Octo doubles the DSP capacity, which is a huge difference.

Yeah - for $300 more it makes sense to get Octo… Just don’t rely on included legacy and precision series plugins. And time to time UAD runs Big Sale - everybody get plugins during that time period (usually one at the end of the year (black friday to Christmas) and another one in summer. You can save a lot.


This is why I have to be patient and keep an eye on their promo’s news. I thought there only was a promo period during the Black Friday, nice to hear there is one in summer

What do you use the VOXBOX on Mike?

Yeah, there is a big sale coming up in June, I am waiting until then to pick up all the ones I am after. If I can wait that long…

Bass bus, sometimes kick, tried in one or two tracks on master bus

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Cool, thanks Mike.

Yeah, I have used it on the master bus before, it had a very tight sound and adding some nice sheen, with the transfer in of course!

So many great suggestions here!
My personal favs are:
Studer, Massive Passive, ATR-102, API Vision, SSL Channel, API EQ Collection, Pultec, Fatso, 1176 Collection and LA-2A Collection, Inflator. Aalso like these, but a little more specialized - AKG BX 20, 610, Fairchild, Moog Filter, Studio D Chorus, VSM-3.
Out of all the UAD stuff I have the only stuff I don’t like are the Precision series… Early on I bought the Precision Buss Comp, Enhancer kHz and Hz. Kinda wish I never wasted money on them, they’re not anything particularly special…
Future wishlist includes VoxBox, API 2500, Brigade Chorus, MXR Flanger and Galaxy Echo…


There is no general answers for this - this depends from your personal workflow and the tasks you work with - but it is mainly independent from which music you work on/with.

There are many which tell you UAD2 systems are “expensive dongles”, because you get some of the plugs even on native intel / x86 too. This is far incorrect. The UAD2 systems are build on high performance DSP plus FPGA “stones”, allowing a much higher throughput of audio data through complex signal processing. This means: the UAD system is in his home area, where it can provide huge “processing power” by a plugin. Afaik any UAD plugins runs internally with 192 kHz (upsampling) - even if you use a plug which is available natively (i.e. brainworx/plugin alliance). This may lead to different results. This means, that UAD could play the most out with plugins which would require huge amounts of DSP power on native x86 systems.

There are not “must haves”, but some of the plugs are very widely used within the pro league att.:

  • Manley Massive Passive EQ
  • Neve Mastering Compressor
  • 1176 suite (the new)
  • LA2A suite (the new)
  • Pultec EQ Suite (the new)
  • AMPEG / Studer Tape (suite)

I would decide for ONE of the channel strips available (API, Neve, SSL). I started with the API Vision console, which brought me a very new way to CS mix - even if i use it only on some channels today. That beast sounds very musicial and nicely analog, but the handling is a bit “new” for first…

This should be a “complete” comfortable set for a UAD “beginner”. After that, try to use the demo period of plugs one by one (and hear the demos) you might be interested and/or read what others recommend for special tasks. You will know what tools you need further when you at a stage where it makes sense to buy it.

The most UAD can play out are plugs with very complex impulse responses from analog equipment, but UAD still has some very nice “emulations” (or “1to1” implementations of) well known studio gear - i.e. Reverbs, distortion/harmonics stuff etc…

For small studios the “Ocean Way” plug is very nice to bring the sound of a pro studio into the home or semi pro one. The Lexicon is a nice alternative to buying a hardware one.

There are even some plugs which seems not so near to the original and got some complains from several users (read the comments on the plugs in the store!) - i.e. the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor is very far from the “quality” of the Neve Mastering Comp. - but is still very musical to use (means: if you don’t look for a “software version” of the hardware…).

Use the demo period and try the stuff - do this early enough to get a plan what you want to buy when UAD has a harder short time sale (around end of the year) where you could get up to 70% discounts. Very new plugs usually seems lesser discounted for the first year.

There are even plugs which are so light onto CPU on x86 too that they are no “must have” on UAD, but could be a nice alternative if your PC / Mac is under heavy load. I prefer to buy that only when heavily discounted - the cheapest one (native or UAD).


I am into Hardstyle and Robotic sound design wherein Distortion and EQ/Filters are featured extensively. Slate Virtual Mix Bus and Stillwell Event Horizon are commonly used in multiple instances on my channel strips and the results have been thrilling.

I am curious to know: are there any UAD plugins one might consider to be invaluable for this type of extreme sound design?

I’m so excited, I receive my UAD satellite OCTO custom tomorrow :slight_smile: , but I still don’t know which plug to pick for the 3 first one. I’ll certainly extend to a bundle of 10 or maybe 6 later when there is a big sale.

For the 3 first one I should take the ATR tape (because I only have the Slate one, which doesn’t compete in the same category), then maybe the Fatso… and a Manley massive passive

I received my Octo, I tried yesterday a few plugins, here is my opinion about them :

  • ATR 102 : amazing
  • Culture Vulture : amazing (I like coupling it with decapitator)
  • Fatsor : amazing (you feel more)
  • Variable Mu : amazing (it enlarge the sound in a beautiful way)

I’ve taken a picture of every sales until last year, and I see that the actual offer (-70% for the 10 plugin bundle) is good. NO WAY I don’t take the bundle hehe. Here are the screenshots