UAD Software v9.11 features several new plug-in releases, including the Avalon VT-737 Tube Channel Strip. The UA team went in the lab with a “golden hardware unit” and captured the essence of its transformers, filters, class-A tube amp section, high voltage discrete four-band EQ and LED-style optical compressor. It’s interesting to use the software unit in the comfort of your own studio, versus using the hardware unit at a commercial facility. When you’re in someone else’s space, you tend to quickly dial in the sound you need instead of really learning the unit on your time and your speakers—from the sweet spot. By digging further, I’ve come to realize that it’s even more powerful than I thought.
The first adjective I’d use is “butter,” because it sounds like you’re drenching your tracks in the stuff. The EQ is soft and polished yet musical, and the compression borders on invisible (but noticeable when removed). On drum loops, it adds thickness without mud, and the optical compression locks down stray bass notes with ease.
What makes it so flexible is that each function of the 737 can be used separately or combined into a channel strip. Just a note about the EQ: the Treble control is a passive shelving-type filter, switchable at 10 kHz, 15 kHz, 20 kHz and 32 kHz +/-20 dB. In addition, the Bass is a passive shelf filter with centered bands at 15 Hz, 30 Hz, 60 Hz and 150 Hz +/-24 dB. Between those two sit the Low and High Mid bands, and just turning the knobs brings creamy joy (and I don’t say that lightly).
Grammy Award-winning engineer Peter Moshay (Live From Daryl’s House, Hall & Oates, B.B. King) told me, “Having owned an Avalon 737 hardware unit since the first batch was shipped, I know it inside and out. I was floored by how UA got all the nuances of the pre, compression and EQ so perfectly. The EQ is so detailed and powerful, and even using the 32k to open up the ‘Air’ on a vocal can be done just like I do on my original unit.” To continue what we both agree on, he notes “It’s stunning.”
Universal Audio • www.uaudio.com