Universal Audio’s new release of the UAD software brings compatibility with MacOS Sierra and Windows 10 Anniversary update, four new plug-ins and Thunderbolt 3 support under Windows. A lot of people are going to be happy about that, as it’s about bloody time…
UAD 9 compatibility
The new software is compatible with all UAD-2 products and connection types, so it works with everything, on everything via everything. The official support for Sierra is welcome, as is the nod to the Windows Anniversary update, although I’ve seen it working fine with the previous version. The bigger news is the Thunderbolt 3 compatibility on Windows 10. Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) is starting to emerge on the PC as a bit of a game-changer. I’m hoping to see a lot more of it. A couple of days ago Focusrite announced TB3 drivers for Windows for the Clarett range of TB interfaces. Some compatibility switch has finally been thrown at Microsoft. It’s just a shame it didn’t make it onto their Surface devices.
This means the Apollo Thunderbolt and the UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt interfaces will now run on Windows, provided your PC has the required Thunderbolt 3 technology on a USB-C port. Thunderbolt has to be built into your system, it’s not something you can add with a card later. The exception here is Asus motherboards where there is an upgrade card, but the supported technology already exists on the board. The compatibility specifies it has to be TB3, not TB2 or TB1 even though the ports on the UAD-2 boxes are TB2. This is of course very confusing but for now you’ll have to get hold of a TB3-TB2 adapter in order to plug them in. I’m sure on the next version of the hardware it will all have moved to the USB-C TB3 port. Got it?
Apollo and UAD-2
You can now connect up to six Apollo and UAD-2 devices to the same machine. On the Mac you can use up to four Apollo Thunderbolt units or a single Firewire version. Other combinations can be achieved with Satellite TB, Satellite FW, PCIe cards and Apollo units. On Windows it’s a bit different in that it can only handle one Apollo TB and yet up to four Satellite TB units. You can connect only one Apollo FW or one Apollo Twin USB. Otherwise you can pretty much mix and match. Do check the full compatibility list at the UA site to be on the safe side.
You can never have enough plug-ins. There’s just the one from Universal Audio: the API 2500 Bus Compressor. They say it’s an “obsessively accurate” emulation of their Thrust circuitry. From third parties, you get the Chandler Limited Zener Limiter by Softube, A.DA STD-1 Stereo Tapped Delay by Brainworx and the Townsend Labs Sphere Microphone System by Townsend Labs. There’s a bunch of other updates, bug fixes and improvements, too, including Console 2 software now being available with the Apollo Firewire units.
This feels like a major update. The Thunderbolt support on Windows is a really big deal and, along with Focusrite, achieves some level of parity with Apple’s platform.
UAD 9 is available for download now. More information on the Universal Audio website.