Many of today’s Pro Tools users also happen to run plug-ins on Universal Audio’s UAD-2 Powered Plug-Ins platform. With the release of UAD Software v6.1 interface management software (a free download), Universal Audio has included “enhanced Pro Tools compatibility.” The enhanced integration between the two programs makes life much easier from a working point of view. Let’s take a look at some of the specifics inside this new offering.
The first thing that Pro Tools/UAD users will be glad to see is the removal of the FXpansion VST to RTAS adapter. While the processing itself still takes place UA’s cards, the plug-ins are now under the RTAS menu on HD rigs and the Plug-In menu on Pro Tools 9 or HD Native systems. Note that they are not TDM, and UA has no plans to release them that way. Also, they currently will not run as AudioSuite plug-ins, so there is no offline processing available.
Since all Pro Tools 9 and 10 versions have delay compensation, the latency issue that previously drove us all crazy is no longer a problem, no matter what system you run. Therefore, you’ll no longer see the Mellowmuse ATA compensation plug-in offered in the V6.1. However, there are a few plug-ins such as the Ampex ATR-102, etc. that exceed Pro Tools automatic delay compensation settings, so just use them on the Master Fader (the old work-around trick!).
UA recommends making a few settings changes in the UAD Meter and Control panel as well (it can be found in your Applications folder and/or on your dock). In the enclosed screenshot, you’ll notice in the User Interface section under the Configurations Tab, “Use host setting” is unchecked (vs. checked), “Control Mode” is set to Linear (vs. Circular or Relative Circular) and “Toggle initial value modifier” is set to Option (vs. Command). This simply lets the UAD plug-ins work in the same manner as the rest of your Pro Tools plug-ins.
Another useful aspect of the new release is that the UA plug-ins now show up in the proper Pro Tools categories (and not prefixed!). I like to have my plug-ins show up both by category and manufacturer. To do so, go to Setup>Preferences>Display. Within the Basics box, select Organize Plug-In Menus By>Category & Manufacturer. This way, when you go to select a plug-in, they will show up under EQ/Dynamic/Pitch Shift/ Reverb, etc., or alphabetically under Manufacturer.
As a side note, you can also have your favorite EQ and Dynamic plugin show up at the top of the plugins list whenever opening it. Under Setup>Preferences>Mixing, select Default EQ and Default Dynamics. I wish we could have more “Default” choices such as Delay, etc., but that’s an Avid issue! Either way, both of these above options can help make your production life much easier in the heat of a session, especially for those of you who don’t see so well!
It’s also great that UA has added custom layouts for all Pro Tools control surfaces including ICON D-Control ES and D-Command ES, C/24, Control 24, 002,003, Command 8, Pro Control, HUI and all the Artist Series Controllers. UA notes that surface support includes all layout types, includiang EQ, Dynamics, Custom Fader Plug-in view and Channel strip view. On my Command 8, I was easily able to map my favorite 4K Buss Compressor to the faders in a few seconds, and could easily make adjustments. It’s especially useful with critical settings such as the Threshold and Make-up, as it delivers a much more tactile feel than a mouse provides.
Automation is now fully supported as well, so the proper names and values display in the automation lanes (thank you!). Note that any automation data for discrete UAD plug-in parameters will be lost on the upgrade to V6.1. They also fixed a few quirks and things like the “Compare” button work properly, sessions are saved correctly when adjusting parameters, and the Pro Tools spacebar now works properly for Windows users. Note that session file compatibility between Windows and Mac OS users is not currently operational.
V6.1 software will run on the UAD-2 PCIe, UAD-2 Satellite, UAD- 2 Solo/Laptop and UAD-1 systems. So if you are a “multi-user” like myself that runs Pro Tools and UAD cards together, this update is a must-have.