Universal Audio’s LUNA was revealed at NAMM to widespread interest. An entire recording system baked into the Apollo DSP technology, it has a complete DAW with Neve summing, integrated multitrack tape and a whole new range of virtual instruments. It’s available now for MacOS only.
They describe it as a full-featured music creation, recording and analog-style production system. It’s like UAD got fed up with the quirks of plugin formats and decided to build a DAW that’s fully integrated to everything they have to offer. There will be no discernible latency, they have this new Accelerated Realtime Monitoring feature that they believe will revitalise the way we make music on computers that’s dependable, intuitive and without monitoring and latency issues. Honestly it sounds like a brilliant idea.
They’ve emulated the audio summing from the Neve 80-Series mixing consoles from the 60s and 70s featuring that rich sound of the Neve 1272 summing amplifier. And this is no plugin, this is integrated into the very fabric of LUNAs mixer – that’s why this is such a great idea.
The Multitrack Tape thing is obviously another emulation designed to bring warmth and punch to your recordings. It’s built into the transport functions via the “Oxide” LUNA extension. Other sounds will be available like the Studer A800 Tape Recorder Extension as optional extras.
The virtual instruments are a major new step for UAD. They brought along all their expertise in electrical and acoustic modelling, sampling, synthesis and signal processing. They say “the resulting software instruments are ultra-realistic, responsive, and “alive” with inspiration.”
At launch, available LUNA Instruments will include:
- Moog® Minimoog — developed in partnership with Moog Music, the Moog Minimoog is an incredibly accurate and inspiring emulation of the archetypal 1971 Moog synthesizer
- Ravel™ grand piano — a breathtaking model of a Steinway Model B grand piano based on UA’s proprietary sampling, physical modelling, and new Ultra-Resonance technology — providing all the sonic nuance of this studio classic
- Shape™ — a complete creative toolkit with vintage keys, drums/percussion, guitar/bass, orchestral content, and realtime synthesis, courtesy of Universal Audio, Spitfire Audio, Orange Tree Samples, Loops de la Creme, and more — included free in LUNA
It sounds like this could be an amazing development in DAW integration and the software-based studio. Would we be prepared to go a proprietary route if it meant that all the hassles associated with computer recording were removed? Well, if you own a Thunderbolt-equipped Apollo or Arrow interface then you’re going to find out because LUNA will be available for free for owners of these interfaces. It’s MacOS only currently and is not compatible with Apollo FireWire or Apollo Twin USB. Should be available in the Spring.