I recently got my first look at the UAD2 DSP platform, you can watch the full review here. A couple of weeks ago, Universal Audio updated the platform to v 6.1 with a couple of new plugs - the MXR Flanger Doubler and the Little Labs VOG (Voice of God), the MXR is pretty self explanatory, being modeled on the now out of production, classic rack-mount Flanger from the 1980s. The VOG is a bass resonance tool, in hardware its 500 series rack format and is still being made, originally designed to give more body and weight to the voice. Process Assuming you already have the UAD2 platform - either as PCIe card, PCI Express card or Firewire unit, its just a simple matter of downloading the latest OS update and authorizations via the UAudio.com site. You’ll then be able to try out these, or any of the other plugs for a fully featured, 14 day trial. Warm Jets Fire up the MXR and you get a stereo, mono and mono to stereo option, this unit was only ever a mono device, so the first enhancement is obvious.
The second is the sync-able LFO speed - with a good slow start for really almost static flange effects. I set it to a fairly extreme setting and immediately a smile appeared - its THAT sound, a real jet-plane flanger if you want it - try it on a synth line and it sings. The MXR plugin comes with a number of presets tweaked by production names such as: Neil Dorfsman (Dire Straits, Paul McCartney), Vance Powell (The Raconteurs, Buddy Guy) and Chuck Zwicky (Prince, Jeff Beck).
There’s a great range effects in there, from subtle colour to massive, super heavy flange, plus some sweet 80’s doubling effects - which really do bring some stereo life to a mono signal.
CPU usage was around 16.5% of one DSP chip
VOG Originally designed to be used on weedy vocals to increase the weight and in some cases mic proximity effect for voice overs, the VOG is still in production. What this does is create a resonant EQ peak with the centre controlled by a combination of frequency range switches (40Hz, 100Hz and 200Hz) and a sweep control, plus an amplitude knob for the amount of gain. Its not just a simple EQ though, there’s also circuitry to add a 24dB High pass slope below the dialed in frequency, which helps to clear up any muddiness and give a pleasing result.
In practice, it can bring weight to a voice and add massive fundamental doof to a kick, or warmth to a bassline.
CPU usage is minimal (1.5% of one chip) so if you were so inclined you could run loads of them.
Summary The UAD2 platform certainly has a growing stable of unique and great sounding plugs, and these two new additions bring more booze to the party. If you already have the UAD2 platform, then I can recommend the MXR if you need THAT sound. The VOG plug also brings something a little different and specialist to the mix - especially on kicks, it can do some amazing damage.
If you don’t already own the platform, clearly its a significant investment just for either of these - especially if you are convinced that native processing has enough to offer. Where UAD2 scores is that they have several unique and exclusive devices that you just cant get anywhere else. Irrespective of the platform, they do a great job of modelling and these two new additions are perfect examples.
MXR Flanger/Doubler $199 Little Labs VOG $149 UAD2 systems start at £299/$399 for the SOLO PCI card.