Editor's Note: This was sent to us as a press release by the folks at Universal Audio to promote their new plug-in for their UAD-2 DSP accelerator cards. It's an emulation of the Studer A800 24-track tape machine that's been a staple of top studios for so many years. We thought it contained such useful information that we decided to re-post it for you as a web-only how-to article. Yes, it's from a manufacturer, which is why we're telling you up front. Now, if you have a UAD card, go download the 14-day demo and get your analog on...
Hello UAD-2 Owners:
We're excited to see so many folks downloading Studer
A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder software for UAD-2, and activating
14-day demos. As many A800 users are quickly finding out, this plug-in
has the unique ability to "glue together" your mixes — providing a rare
combination warmth, air and punch — just like
recording to 2" analog tape.
However, to really hear what the A800 plug-in can do for your mixes, we've gathered a few helpful tips:
How to "audition" the Studer A800 plug-in
The best way to "hear" the A800 is to disable/remove everything you've
got on your tracks — EQs, compressors, reverbs, saturation plug-ins,
etc. Or better still, just start a new mix from scratch. Place the A800
plug-in as the first insert on every channel.
This is your new "starting point", so to speak. Then, you can slowly
add back your other plug-ins, adjusting them to match the new baseline
sound of the A800. You may find yourself using less EQ and compression,
for example. It's important to note that the
A800 plug-in is an authentic model of a Studer tape machine; so while
it can be used on busses or master fader for that "mixed to tape" sound,
it's arguably more powerful for its cumulative effect — stacking it as
the first insert on many individual channels.
The effect of creating full mix from scratch with the A800 plug-in can
How to saturate / overdrive the A800 plug-in
The Studer A800 was one of the "cleanest," best-engineered tape machines
ever built. A properly calibrated A800 machine would exhibit no
discernable tape wow or flutter, for example. But as engineers in the
80s and 90s found out, by over-biasing, you can deliberately
saturate the A800 — and get a smooth, pleasing overdriven tape sound.
On the plug-in, click the Studer badge to expose the secondary controls.
Turn the Bias control clockwise, then adjust Input and Output knobs to
suit your taste and the program material.
If things start to sound too dark, the HF Record EQ control can be used
to bring back some high-end. But go gentle; this filter is potent. Keep
in mind you are now running the machine "un-calibrated," but this can
be the road to some seriously non-linear tones
with lots of analog magic.
How to use the "Gang" control to tweak all instances at once
Once all desired instantiations of the A800 are in your session, click
the Studer badge to open its secondary controls. From there, engage the
"Gang Controls" feature. A red LED flashes, letting you know that you
are about to do something global, to ALL instances.
This is a handy time-saver when you want to make the same adjustments
like tape type and speed across all your tracks.
How and Why to Use "Auto Cal"
In Auto Cal mode, the plug-in automatically calibrates the tape as you
switch tape Speed, Formula and Emphasis EQ settings. This lets you try
different Speeds, Formulas, Emphasis EQs and Cal Levels until you've got
the sound you like. If you start tweaking
the secondary "under the hood" controls — including Bias, HF, LF, Hum
and Hiss — you'll no longer be running the plug-in as a calibrated
processor. However, if things go too haywire while tweaking these
secondary controls, just press the Auto Cal button to
How to disable the spinning tape reels on the plug-in
If the spinning reels become too distracting, you can click on the IPS text to disable them at any time.
We hope this helps you get off to a great start demoing and using the Studer A800 plug-in.
Want to chat with other users? Please visit the Studer A800 thread at the unofficial UAD Forums here:
The UA Team
Scotts Valley, CA