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Old 04-27-2008, 06:45 AM
Che_Guitarra Che_Guitarra is offline
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Default Universal Audio plugins & Mac Pro

I'm wanting to run Universal Audio plugins on a new Mac Pro, but what do I need?



I don't know what the difference is between PCI, PCIe, PCI-X, and PCI Extreme cards; i'm assuming one is specific to a Mac Pro, but as I come from a PC background i'll need enlightening.

I'm wanting the 176LN, Neve 88RS, SPL Transient Designer, and the Multiband Compressor plugs with the option to expand on this. Maybe someone can suggest which UA 'package' might be right for me?



At my core, i'm currently using a 1 y.o. reasonably spec'd Intel iMac / PT LE 7.3.x / Digi 003 rack setup - but as i'm repeatedly hitting the iMac's number-crunching limits, and ducking and weaving around CPU-load issues; it's time to move on to a more serious machine. What sort of Mac Pro system capacity should I be seeking, and what is overkill?


I set projects @ 24b/48k, use an average of around 30 tracks (and regularly tracking up to 12 tracks simultaneously), and if I had the capacity I wouldn't be shy on piling on the plugins. The only virtual instrument I use is Strike.


Any suggestions?
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:52 AM
Roey Roey is offline
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Default Re: Universal Audio plugins & Mac Pro

Hi Che,

PCI-X is an improvement to PCI, both are physically different than PCIe which is the same as PCI Express. With the Mac Pro you'll need The PCIe version (UAD-1e, UAD's black/gray box - not the blue one).

The Mac Pro I bought more than a year ago is 2 x 2.66 Dual-Core (four processors) and even with the most demanding mixes I do not run out of CPU. These machines are extremely powerful, at least for music (compared to video which is more demanding). The bit rate of your project doesn't matter as in Pro Tools everything is processed 32bit float anyway. I'm using 44.1 kHz for my project and 48 kHz projects should only add 8% of CPU extra - nothing I'd worry about. Currently the lowest spec Mac Pro is Quad 2.8 GHz, which I believe you would find sufficient - especially with a UAD installed. The NEVE 88, by the way, is great.

Mind you though, all UAD plugins introduced output delay, which is not automatically compensated by LE - so you might yourself in a middle of a mixing session sitting with a calculator and working out nudge and delay values for manual compensation - it's painful, counter-creative process. I pretty much gave up mixing in LE because of this issue.

Cheers,
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:44 AM
Che_Guitarra Che_Guitarra is offline
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Default Re: Universal Audio plugins & Mac Pro

OK, black box - check! I am frothing at the prospect of the Neve 88 plug, so too the 1176LN!

So in regards to RAM - 2G or 4G?

And excluding off-timing, how does the output delay affect things (I believe i faced the same problem using Cubase years ago)? Is the delay irregular or variable, or somewhat predictable to work around? Is this problem specific to LE or all forms of PT? I find it hard to imagine that Digi wouldn't have designed some sort of auto-compensation setting... maybe just not in LE.
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Old 04-28-2008, 03:03 PM
Roey Roey is offline
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Default Re: Universal Audio plugins & Mac Pro

Hi Che,

You might want to consider the Fairchild instead of the 1176. The Fairchild is great and with Pro Tools you get the free BF76 anyway (it sounds rather different from the UAD 1176, but I'd rather have the BF76 and Fairchild than the BF76 and the UAD 1176). Personally, I find the Fairchild more exciting than the UAD 1176.

I am running 2G and only experience issues when jumping between applications (Cubase/Pro Tools). 4G is nice, but if you aren't using memory-demanding plugins (notably samplers), you might want to invest your money somewhere else...

The output delay is introduced by various plugins - linear phase equalizer, dynamic range processors with look ahead, and all plugins that run on a DSP card, like the UAD, Powercore, Liquid mix, etc. It can be very annoying as you start experiencing phase issues that result in combfiltering, for example, when you add a compressor to snare top, with the snare bottom mixed. You can compensate either using a plugin or by nudging the track on which the plugin is loaded. It is annoying, especially when loading one after another two plugins with output delay, because then the amount of compensation is not immediately visible. If you then remove a plugin, you have to revert your manual compensation (which is a pain if you are trying out different plugins), and compensating plugins that reside on busses is even more annoying. There are more than a few past post in this forum on this issue.

This is an LE only issue - all other applications (HD, Logic, Cubase, all of them really) feature automatic delay compensation. I fail to believe Digidesign can't implement this feature to LE - it is more likely they intentionally omit it as part of the down-ranking of LE compared to HD.
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  #5  
Old 04-29-2008, 04:38 AM
Roey Roey is offline
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Default Re: Universal Audio plugins & Mac Pro

Just came across this on the UAD website:

Important note about 8-core Mac Pro compatibility
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