UNIVERSAL AUDIO UAD NEVE 88RS & LA-3A
UA is certainly talented at emulating awesome audio hardware devices. This year has been a veritable Neve-fest for the company, continuing on with the release of the 88RS channel strip. Coinciding with the UAD 4.7 software release is also the LA-3A Audio Leveler, which basically completes the emulation of the company’s hardware compressor line.
The 88RS channel strip isn’t a vintage emulation by any stretch, it’s an emulation of a console designed by AMS Neve in 2001. The 88RS analogue console has bucketloads of features, making it the board of choice for facilities like Abbey Road, AIR and Ocean Way. The newly emulated channel from this console, the UA 88RS plug-in, has an EQ section with two fully parametric mid bands, 12dB per-octave high- and low-cut filters plus high and low EQ bands featuring two fixed-Qs with bell and shelving options. The limiter and compressor section has fixed fast or slow attack times, with release times of 0.01 to 3s plus auto release and a ratio control that’s continuously variable. The Gate/Exp also provides 0.01 to 3s release times, fast or slow attack times plus Threshold, Range and Hysteresis for tailoring gate or expansion effects for all kinds of source material. The signal chain can be reordered to put the EQ pre the dynamics section with the ‘P-DYN’ button. Side-chain functionality for frequency-conscious compression such as de-essing is provided via the ‘SC-EQ’ button – reminiscent of the Waves SSL 4000 E-series channel strip but with a distinctive Neve sound. UAD fans are going to be happy (and relieved) that the plug-in is also relatively lean on the juice – 13 mono or nine stereo instances per card.
The LA-3A might be oveshadowed by the 88RS channel strip, but make no mistake, this is a different beast to the 1176 and LA-2A. The original LA-3A compressor is a solid-state device with an optical gain reduction circuit and faster attack/release controls than the tube LA-2A. The sound is nice and smacking on toms and snares and very impressive on electric guitars. The UAD card runs 15 mono or 13 stereo instances, so it too is relatively miserly on DSP. I’m gonna have to ask UA to just direct debit my account from now on I reckon! Two more ‘must haves’! – Calum Orr
Price: Neve 88RS: US$299; LA-3A US$149.
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