When Universal Audio announces a new version of its UAD software, you can bet it will feature at least a couple of new plug-ins, and v9.9 does not disappoint. Debuting in this release are Capitol Chambers ($349), a complete emulation of the famous echo-chambers under Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, and Tube-Tech CL 1B mk II ($299), a complete remake of UAD's emulation of the CL 1B.
As with all UAD software updates, after you download and install it, the new plug-ins show up in your UAD Control Panel. You can opt to authorize any you don’t own as a 14-day, fully functional demo, but after that, you'll need to buy.
Capitol Chambers models four of the most popular echo chambers from Capitol Studios, Los Angeles (chambers 2, 4, 6 and 7, all designed by Les Paul!), and it lets you choose one of four different mic pairs to use in any of the chambers. These include Altec 21D small-diaphragm omni tube condensers, RCA 44 ribbon mics, Shure SM80 small-diaphragm omni condensers, and Sony C37A medium-diaphragm tube condensers, set to cardioid.
The interface is straightforward. You press one button to select a chamber and one to choose a mic type. If you want, you can drag the microphones to a new location in the chamber to alter the sound. The maximum decay time varies by chamber, but is anywhere from 5 to 9.5 seconds, which should be enough for any reverb treatment you want to dial in.
Universal Audio added some modern controls not available in the real-life chambers, including knobs for Pre Delay, Dry/Wet mix, and Decay. You also get EQ controls, a stereo Width knob and a Mix knob.
I've only had a chance to try out Capitol Chambers for a short time, but so far I’m quite impressed. These chambers sound awesome. I also like how straightforward the GUI is.
The UAD Tube-Tech CL 1B mk II was developed for Universal Audio by Softube, a company known for its modeling prowess. The new version is much larger and bluer than the original UAD CL 1B plug-in, thanks to its HD graphics.
More importantly, it uses more modern modeling technology than its predecessor, providing for a more realistic emulation of the original hardware, which was an opto tube compressor. I compared the older plug-in with the new one, and it really does sound significantly better.
The controls are the same as the original plug-in, except that the mk II adds a Parallel Processing knob, which is a mix control allowing you to combine processed and dry signal.