In this Production Expert review, Pro Tools Expert Technical Editor James Ivey takes a look at two new preamp emulations from Universal Audio. In this video James tests the new Neve Pre and the Helios Type 69 on a track. Watch the video to hear the effects of both preamp emulations in a mix.
The Neve Preamp
The Neve mic preamp is an undisputed piece of audio history that enables you to add genuine Neve tone, richness, and thick musical detail to any signal that passes through it. The pinnacle of Neve preamp design is the classic 1073 module with EQ, but Neve also briefly produced the 1290 module which is a rare preamp-only version of the legendary 1073.
You can now get the clarity, grit, and harmonically rich class‑A saturation of this amazing mic preamplifier in a simple two-knob plug-in that’s perfect for UA Audio Interface owners as it can function as a Unison plug-in for tracking or in DAW sessions to add classic Neve sound to your mixes.
The Helios Type 69 Preamp
The Helios Type 69 could be found in many of the top studios around the world. Olympic in London, Musicland in Munich, or in the famed Rolling Stones mobile studio, the Helios Type 69 console was at the epicentre of hundreds of iconic albums from the golden age of rock.
From seminal albums by Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd, to Bob Marley and the Wailers, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, and AC/DC, the Type 69 delivered a fat, unmistakable attitude, with a punchy midrange and an assertive growl. It's distortion, but not as we know it.
The new Helios Type 69 Preamp and EQ plug-in for UAD-2 hardware and UA Audio Interfaces is a masterful, end-to-end circuit emulation of the rare hardware, going well beyond UA’s original Helios Type 69 plug-in.
Below are three audio examples of tracks James recorded for this review. The first track has no preamp emulation applied. You are hearing the basic track from Pro Tools hitting James' analogue console where gentle EQ and basic effects such as reverb are being applied.
The second track has the Neve Preamp emulation applied. James has simply put an instance of the Neve Preamp in the 2nd insert slot on every channel in Pro Tools. The inputs and outputs have been level matched to make sure that we are not being fooled into thinking louder is better.
In the third track features the Helios Type 69 Preamp. Again, levels have been matched to ensure a fair test. As the Helios Type 69 features an EQ section (Neve does not), James has bypassed the EQ (using the switch in the plug-in) to make sure that all you are hearing in these examples are preamp circuit emulations.
Let us know what you think about the sound of new Universal Audio Preamp plug-ins. You can find out more about the entire range of Unison preamp emulations and other UAD-2 plug-ins at the Universal Audio website.