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Upgrade paths to consider

Right now I’m planning some plugin purchase and as soon as I started to research the different options I realised that this will be harder to decide than I imagined before.

Basically there are two paths here: DSP or Native. Within these I seriously consider the possibility to buy into a UAD card, but haven’t decided yet.

The hard part is that it seems like going with native I have more options with cheaper price and I’m able to select the best developers. With UAD, I have less choice, but certainly very high quality and the benefit of DSP processing.

DSP route

Right now if I would buy a UAD satellite quad, I would get 3 plugins as gift: Neve channel strip, EMT 140 and Ep34 tape echo. But for post work I would still need to buy a few more plugins. As I researched it, that would mean at least another 500$ or more.

The good thing is that with this route I could make bigger mixes even on a laptop. And as the satellite is mobile I can “carry” my plugins with me. UAD history suggest that they will continue to develop great plugins and will support their products for many years.

On the other hand I need to buy into a closed DSP product which is somewhat more music oriented and certainly not cheap. Not to mention the fact that many other fellows and facilities don’t have UAD, so in this case I’d need to print many things during the collaboration.

Native route

With this choice I’ll have more freedom as I can choose from a plethora of developers, and hand-pick the necessary plugins. To be honest, even a laptop can run many instances of different plugins, and bigger machines don’t have a problem even with hundreds of instances. The other big concern is, of course, the price difference and the lack of choice available with the UAD.

For less money than the UAD package, I can get the following:

  • Avid ProLimiter
  • McDSP ML4000
  • Exponential Audio R2
  • Audioease Speakerphone
  • Izotope RX

With these plugins, I’ll have almost everything I need right now. I know that UAD has many exceptionally fine plugins, but I’m still not convinced about that they can cover my needs as much as some well chosen native plugs can.

Hard choice

My main point is that I can see the benefits and drawbacks of both solutions, but haven’t, or rather couldn’t decided yet which would serve me better in the long run. I still have a little more time to decide, but if you have any experience or suggestion, please share it with me in email or in the comments. Thank you.


  1. It is a dilemma and a shame that the included plug-ins won’t be a great use to you. It would be nice is UAD did a post bundle, but what did it for me was when you listed what plug-ins you could get for the same money. As they are nearly all my bread and butter plug-ins I would buy the native plug-ins you need rather than a convenient DSP platform that still doesn’t deliver the plug-ins on your wish list.

  2. Thank you Mike! I’m leaning towards the native path right now as it seems more versatile for me. And you’re right, the native plugs I mentioned are my favourites too.

  3. Marco Bernardo

    Try the McDSP Fuzzbox to compare with Audioease Speakerphone, the automation is better than the Audioease, just my 2 cents.

    I’ve trade my HD3 PCIe system / Interface 192 for a HD Native Thunderbolt with HD Omni, I didn’t look back again.

    It’s faster in opening sessions, I can load bigger sessions with a lot of plugins without a problem. And it’s rock solid as the TDM was.



  4. Thank you Marco. I like the futzbox, but Speakerphone is deeper, and right now I need that. In the next round, futzbox will be in the list. It’s a great plugin, tested it myselft.


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