I’ve been paying particular attention to the UAD line of plug-ins in the course of my A-Z series and while they have broadened their offering a little recently, it would only take a cursory look at their product line-up so see that their core business is offering meticulously modelled plugin versions of classic studio gear running on their DSP platform.
The introduction of the AKG BX20 caught my attention as I’d not come across this “classic” piece of studio gear before. It made me think - we’ve covered all the obvious choices (many times over in the case of the very obvious choices - 1176 anyone?). What is there left to model? Is the rare vintage equipment which is yet to be modelled unmodelled because its a gem waiting to be rediscovered or because it wasn’t very good?
Are We At “Peak Plug-in”?
I had a think about this for a while and I came up with a few suggestions of gear UAD (or anyone else) might consider when thinking about what to cover next:
EAR 660 Compressor - Probably because of the name this is seen by some as a Fairchild clone but apparently it's an original design, certainly it does a similar job to the Fairchild. You might say the last thing we need is yet more compressor plug-ins but I think we’ll get more anyway and if you’re going to model a compressor, it might as well be one you definitely can’t afford!
Quad 8 Mic Preamps And EQ - While Neve, API and SSL get huge attention, rather fewer people are aware of Quad 8. For a period in the 70s this American company was up there with API but they don’t seem to have received the same attention since. People in the know seem to rate them up there with Neve and API.
Ibanez AD 230 - I said on a recent podcast that I love bucket brigade delay, and not just on guitar. There seemed to be relatively few studio BBD delays made, but this was as high end as BBD delays got. I’ve never used one of these units but If I saw one for sale at a sensible price I’d be tempted. The world needs more “bad” delay!
I’ve not mentioned a couple of high profile omissions I thought of, I’d be interested to hear what the community think. What is left to model? In a lot of cases there are good reasons why gear hasn't been modelled, or hasn't been modelled widely. There are lots of exclusive arrangements at play between hardware manufacturers and software developers here, but ignoring such restrictions what classic gear should plug-in manufacturers look to next or should they move on and stop looking back to the past?