Grammy award winner Guy Massey has recently equipped his home studio with a Universal Audio UAD-2 Quad Satellite FireWire plug-in system.
Having cut his teeth working at London’s Abbey Road studios, Massey has worked on such high profile projects as The Beatles Remastered series and Radiohead’s The Bends. He has also worked with a number of other big-name acts, including The Coral, Spiritualized and The Bees.
Commenting on the UAD-2 Quad Satellite FireWire plug-in system, which provides external DSP power to run processor intensive emulations of classic studio equipment, Massey said: “I'm using the UAD constantly on my latest projects (mixing albums for Bill Fay and Ultrasound) - they're my go-to mixing plug-ins. I often run things through the Neve 1073 plug-in and it sounds a hell of a lot better, even if you're not using the EQ.
“On the mix I'm doing now I'm using a lot of compression especially on the drums and the bass: I'm using the UA LA-2A plug-in alongside the Softube Tube-Tech CL 1B. Sometimes I'll use the Precision Maximizer plug-in over a group, so I'll have both an uncompressed group and a compressed group and I'll use the Maximizer and accent it a bit. The Fairchild 670 plug-in is amazing used in that way on drums. It seems to work really nicely in a parallel arrangement like that.”
Massey is still happy working with tape when a project requires it, tracking the Bill Fay album onto a 2” Otari MX-80 at Snap Studios. When audio comes in for a project that hasn't been tracked to tape, Massey again opts for the UAD-2, which has emulations of both Studer A800 and an ATR-102 tape machines:
“The new tape plug-ins, especially the ATR, are plug-ins I'm using a lot. They're quite hungry plug-ins processing-wise, but I was mixing a track today with some Mellotron on it, and it didn’t sound quite ‘old and wobbly’ enough. So I put it through the ATR-102 plug-in, and used a preset on there called “Sunbaked Cassette” - it's really cool. I've tweaked that, and now it's turned a really good sample of a Mellotron into something that sounds like a real Mellotron to me.”
UA’s latest product announcement is for the new Apollo audio interface, which is designed to provide optimum UA mic preamps, A-D and D-A conversion and includes a built-in UAD-2 processor. Futhermore, Massey was also interested in the prospect of using the plug-ins during tracking. He commented: “Some engineers say that they wouldn't want to record through plug-ins, but since you're using them in mixing and because they sound good, there's no reason not to use them when recording too.
I suppose when you're recording you're more likely to have the original hardware available - and with budgets shrinking, money is being spent on the recording rather than the mix - but if the hardware wasn't to hand and I wanted an LA-2A or something I'd definitely try it out,” he concluded.