Universal Audio introduced some newplug-ins for the UAD2 platform during2009, which are well worth coveringdue to their appropriateness for mixing.
TRIDENT A-RANGE EQ
This EQ is all about character. It emulatesthe inductor-based design of the original, including the quirky ability tocreate really unusual curves. Part of this isdue to the lowpass and high pass filters;there are buttons for three different cut off sper filter, but you can enable morethan one button at a time, which steepens the cutoff and changes the overallcharacter. Of the four main bands (highshelf, low shelf, and two bandpass),your choices are limited: four frequenciesper band, and a boost/cut slider(no Q)—but they can also interact ininteresting ways. The chosen Q is mild,so you can boost without the soundgetting “annoying;” the cut seems moredramatic than the boost.
I feel the A-Range EQ is at its bestwhen used subtly, as it can add characterwithout creating an obvious“EQed” sound. It’s not a replacementfor a “surgical” parametric EQ, butthere’s a reason why the Trident ARangeEQ is held in such high regardby mixdown engineers; in typical UAfashion, they’ve brought that analogquality to the digital word.
Fatso is one of those “magic wonderboxes” and again, UA has nailed whatthe original is all about—but also gonefurther, by including a “Fatso Sr.” versionwith additional controls for tweaking compression that aren’t inthe hardware version. Part satur at or and part compressor, Fatso can makedrums bigger, basses rounder, andvocals stronger
It’s important to compare thepeaks with bypassed and processedversions, as the effect can be subtlebut if the output control is up, you’llbe fooled into thinking it’s more exaggerated.Of course, you can makeFatso into a caricature of “fat” sounds,but to my ears it’s at its best whenused to add a few pounds rather thangoing the obesity route.
Fatso is quite complex, as there are multiple elements and they all interactto some degree—for example, theTranny (transformer) option adds anentirely different quality to whateverelse is dialed in. Fortunately, there’s asolid collection of presets that you canuse without even knowing how Fatsoworks “under the hood.”
To get into all of Fatso’s detailswould take a couple pages, so here’sthe bottom line: Anyone who’s a fan of“the analog sound” but uses digital because of cost and conveniencewill welcome what Fatso brings totracks. The careful control of distortion,tape saturation emulation,“transformer sound,” and a very“analog-like” compressor can bed own right magical for smoothing out any of digital’s rough edges.Granted this is Universal Audio’sforte, but even so, this is a veryimpressive plug-in.
The EMT 250 is the antidote tocrummy-sounding digital reverbs.It really does have that “plate/analogquality,” even though the originalwasn’t a mechanical plate, butan early digital reverb. When I firstcalled this up, waves of nostalgiakicked in—few digital reverbs trulycapture the wa...