Ever since Universal Audio first came out with its original Apollo and Satellite hardware, many people who wanted the plugins have been asking, “Can I get these plugins without buying the hardware?” Of course the answer was always “No” because the UA plugins need a lot of hefty processing power that could only be provided by dedicated processing hardware. Those days are now in the past though, as computer hardware has gotten so powerful that those extra processors are no longer required. Finally, UA has launched what so many have been asking for in its new UAD Spark plugin subscription service.
Whats In It
UAD Spark puts a collection of UAD plugins and instruments from Neve, Moog, API, Lexicon, Teletronix, UA, and virtual instruments at any Mac user’s fingertips without having to buy the company’s expensive hardware first. The plugins run natively on a Mac, but a Windows version is coming in the Fall of 2022.
Spark includes the following plugins;
- Neve 1073 Preamp & EQ Channel Strip
- API Vision Channel Strip
- UA 1176 Classic Limiter Collection
- Teletronix LA-2A Leveler Collection
- Lexicon 224 Digital Reverb
- Studer A800 Tape Recorder
- API 2500 Bus Compressor
- Galaxy Tape Echo
- Pure Plate Reverb
The package also includes a number of virtual instruments as well. These are:
- Opal Morphing Synthesizer (only available from UAD Spark)
- Moog Minimoog D
- Ravel Grand Piano
- Waterfall B3 Organ (this is new)
There’s Still Room For Hardware
This doesn’t mean that the UA hardware is obsolete. Far from it, in fact. If you like to track with your plugins in the signal path and still have low latency, then having the extra hardware is the way to go. It’s also nice to have the extra horsepower during a plugin-heavy mix.
If you already own some of the plugins, the good news is that owners of perpetual UAD plugin licenses can receive corresponding UAD Spark licenses for free by downloading UA Connect (on the Spark site – see the link below) to get started.
UAD Spark costs $19.99 a month, but there’s also a free 14 day trial period so you can try out the plugins before you subscribe. You can do that, and find out more, here.