Why Are UAD Plugins So Expensive?

Since the 1950s, UAD has been a major participant in the audio signal processing industry, producing everything from effects pedals and audio interfaces to virtual instruments and plugins. This has earned them a stellar reputation as a high-quality, dependable audio gear and software manufacturer.

It is well-known for its ability to faithfully recreate classic devices as modern software instruments and plugins. However, you may get your hands on Universal Audio plugins by purchasing an Apollo or other firm gear or a subscription to UAD Spark, which is Mac-only and not compatible with Windows. The company website states that the Windows version will be released in the fall of 2022.

So, Why Are UAD Plugins So Expensive?

UAD Plugins are expensive because of their hardware accelerator. It’s a digital signal processor chip, not even an accelerator. It’s not your regular CPU but rather a specialized one built to perform the kinds of computations required by those plugins at speeds much above those of your regular CPU.

So while a Waves plugin would require several lines of code to do tasks like convolution, filter curves, and non-linear processing, the UAD chip can achieve these things with a few simple multiplications. And since it’s a DSP chip and not your CPU, it doesn’t have to compete for resources with tasks as banal as checking the time or generating images on a screen.

UAD plugins are modeled by the hardware they emulate. The company’s purpose has been and continues to be to conserve classic and old equipment and create plugins that emulate the sound of such equipment, such as guitars and compressors.

In the following, we will discuss in depth some of the benefits that UAD incorporates into their plugins and the reasons for their high price.

DSP Acceleration
That’s fantastic news for the guitar and bass players out there.

Hosting Universal Audio plugins means using the audio interface’s native DSP acceleration allows plugins to be used in real-time without stressing the host computer’s central processing unit (CPU). Traditional audio interfaces and plugins suffer from audio latency throughout the recording process, which is problematic.

In other words, there would be some audio lag if you tried to record guitar or bass into one of these amp modeling plugins. Universal Audio’s DSP-enabled audio interfaces end this issue once and for all. This may be conceived of as a link to the physical hardware. The UAD audio interface “morphs” into the plugin you’re using, if you recall. You might compare it to having a whole rack of effects built into your audio interface.

Before sending the signal to the DAW, all processing is done inside. Of course, you may always record with a “dry” signal and add an effect afterward, but this option can make recording much more precise and fun. Just picture yourself holding the entire arsenal in your hand; it’s the way of the future, I’m telling you!

Analog modelling technology
The first distinction that must be made is between digital and analog modeling (or physical modeling).
The time and effort put into creating a high-quality analog-modeled plugin is the primary differentiator between the two.

Instead of just simulating an analog circuit, Universal Audio and other reputed plugin developers bring the analog world into the digital realm. Even while we still don’t compare Universal Audio to other premium plugin developers, we do differentiate between average and poor plugins.

To make a product that sounds just like the original, Universal Audio “borrows” the blueprints and builds a copy from scratch. Each plugin has been authorized by the original developers before being made available, making it an important task. So, if you were staring at the real amp in your hands, it would be possible to fine-tune the sound of the UAD plugin and then copy those settings. In all likelihood, the digital model would result in a different tone.

Unison-enabled preamps
Right about now, we get to the meat of what makes Universal Audio stand out from the crowd. Their Unison-compatible preamps have single-handedly changed the face of analog modeling, and you’ll find them in most of their audio interfaces.  In addition, some of the Universal Audio plugins communicate straight to these preamps.

So, the Unison-compatible plugins from Universal Audio can do things like automatically tune preamps by:

  • Setting the input impedance.
  • Advantages of Dialing gain staging a “Sweet Spot.”
  • Using individual parts to simulate circuit behavior

Universal Audio plugins’ unique selling proposition is that they operate like the hardware they are supposed to simulate. While several analog-modeled plugins may mimic the authentic sound, nothing beats the experience of using the actual thing. That is to say, the UAD audio interface “converts” into the software instrument. The best thing is that the volume is always right because they hit all the right notes.

Everything beneath the hood works so well that every instrument run through them sounds great. Plugins handle all the technical aspects, so you can enjoy incredible-sounding presets regardless of your configuration choices.

Many plugins had restricted functionality and fixed settings until recently and
the user could not modify the settings. But when UAD switched from hardware to software, all of the same features needed to be at their disposal.

A modular architecture was built so the software’s functionality could be altered as needed. However, there’d have to be tight integration between the plugins and their companion plugins for it to operate, and it wouldn’t be cheap. Also, each UAD plugin would be unique since it would be modeled after a specific tool.

Similar to the original tools they try to mimic, plugins should allow for extensive personalization. They wouldn’t be through with the plugins yet, since new functionality would be added as time went on.

As the last topic, we’ll discuss the goodwill that’s built up between Universal Audio and the manufacturers of the authentic gear they’ve cloned. This is crucial because, as we’ve already established, you’re using the same circuit as the original. They just copied and pasted the blueprints into the computer.

Those plugins are fantastic, and I truly value the effort that went into making them. As was previously said, the original manufacturer gave their stamp of approval before distribution, so if they deem it fit, it must be OK for us. Grammy-winning producers and engineers, on the other hand, would strongly disagree with these individuals. But our digital technology allows us to accomplish so much more. If you need something as near as possible, Universal Audio is it.

Do you need to buy expensive plugins?

We don’t believe it’s essential to be a member of such an ecosystem and invest so much money in plugins that might work against you if you don’t know how to utilize them. There are several online choices available for you, and if you want to invest in something that will help you advance.

You may enroll in specialist audio engineering classes or purchase online packages that will teach you how to mix music as correctly and finely as possible. But, let’s examine some reasons why UAD plugins are advantageous.

The developers’ goal of the plugins was to create something that mimicked the sound of traditional spring reverb devices. Developers had to disassemble spring reverb devices to learn their inner workings. It took a lot of time and effort, but the end product is a plugin miming the sound of a hardware spring reverb.

Also, the quality might vary widely from one manufacturer to the next. As a new producer, you probably shouldn’t spend money on UAD plugins. UAD plugins aren’t cheap, but they’re well worth it if you’re an experienced audio engineer or producer who knows how to maximize your potential.

As a rookie producer, you probably don’t know enough about audio engineering to get the most out of UAD plugins. As a result, the plugins are useless, and you waste your money. An inexperienced producer might save money by opting for a less expensive plugin that doesn’t sacrifice quality.


I think it’s clear by now why Universal Audio plugins are superior and cost a little more than the alternatives. It’s the total package since it complements the hardware so well. So, the UAD audio interface is required for usage. 

In addition, the Realtime Analog Classics Bundle, a collection of premium plugins, is included at no cost with every audio interface purchased from Universal Audio. Everything you need to get going is included in the package, but it wasn’t enough to win me over!

To truly benefit from working with Universal Audio, I believe you should ditch all of your other plugins in favor of theirs. While I mostly use UAD plugins when recording guitar and bass, I occasionally use other plugins. They’re not simply add-ons, they’re like a virtual piece of hardware.

Readings You May Like:

Guitar/Amp Focused:

Can I Put Nylon Strings on a Steel-string Guitar?

Do Electric Guitars Sound Good Unplugged?

Buying Your First Guitar: 2 Things To Know

Are Tube Amps Worth It? (Tube vs Solid-State Amps)

How Often Does A Guitar Need a Setup?

Can I Play Classical Guitar On A Steel-String Guitar?


How often guitar necks need reset?

Can You Play Two Guitars Through One Amp?

Can a 6 String Bass Be Tuned Like A Guitar?

Can I leave My Guitar Tuned Down a Step? Yes, But Is It Safe?

Should I Learn 4, 5 Or 6 String Bass Guitar & Why?

How To Know If your Guitar Amp Is Broken?

How To Fix Distorted Bass Guitar Sound?


Do Fender Guitars Appreciate In Value?

Should You Put Stickers On A Bass Guitar?

How Acoustic And Electric Guitars Are Made?

Is Electric Guitar Too Loud for an Apartment?

Does a Preamp Improve Sound Quality?

If I Learn Acoustic Guitar Can I Play Electric Guitar?

How Many Hours A Day Should You Practice Bass Guitar?

Do I need an AMP/DAC To Run Bookshelf Speakers?

How to Record Electric Guitar Into Logic Pro X?

Do headphones get worse with age?


Headphones & Studio Monitors:

Do headphones get worse with age?

Monitors vs Studio Headphones For Mixing & Mastering

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 2022

Does Heat Damage Headphones?

Are Noise-Canceling Headphones Good For Music Production?

Can Headphones Break in Cold Weather?

Why do headphones & cables get sticky?


Can Wearing Headphones Cause Hair Loss?

How Do I know If My Studio Monitor Is Blown?

Side Effects Of Sleeping With Your Headphones On

Do You Need Music Amplifier For Studio Monitors or Studio Headphones?

Do Headphones or Earphones Damage Your Brain?

Can Headphones or Earphones cause Deafness or Toothache?

FarField, MidField & NearField Monitors – Their Uses, Pros & Cons


MIDI & Synths:

Should I Buy A MIDI Keyboard Or Synth? (Are Synths Worth It Anymore?)

Why Is Audio Gear So Expensive? (Especially Synths)

Top 12 Synth Brands 2022 – Analog, Digital & Modular Synth Manufacturers

11 Tips How To Choose MIDI Keyboard 2022

Should I Buy MIDI Controller Or Keyboard? Cons, Pros & Tips


Recommended Gear:

Top 12 NearField Studio Monitors 2022 On Any Budget

Top 10 Midfield Studio Monitors 2022 For Home Recording

Best Biggest Studio Monitors 2022 (FarField Monitors)

Top 10 Guitar Pickups for Low Tunings 2022

Top 10 Analog Compressors For Mixing & Mastering (On Any Budget)

Top 12 USB Audio Interfaces Under 150$, 200$, 300$ 400$ (Any Budget)


Top 12 Hardware Equalizers 2022 (Analog EQs For Mixing & Mastering)

Top 6 Analog Hardware Limiters 2022

Top 6 Solid State Bass Amps 2022 (On Any Budget)

Top 6 Ribbon Mics 2022 On Any Budget (For Vocals, Drums & Guitars)

Top 6 Cheap Dynamic Mics For Vocals Under 50$, 100$, 200$ & 300$


Top 6 Chorus Guitar Pedals 2022 (On Any Budget)

6 Best 61-Key MIDI Keyboards 2022 (On Any Budget)

9 Best 49-Key MIDI Keyboards Under 100$ & 200$ (2022)

Top 5 Best 25 Key MIDI Keyboards 2022 (On Any Budget)

Top 12 Acoustic Drums 2022 (Best Kits/Sets On Any Budget)


Plugin Roundups:

Genre Focused:

Top 10 EDM Plugins 2022 (And 10 Best FREE Plugins For EDM)

Top 10 Plugins For TRAP Beats 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Trap Plugins)

20 Best Plugins For Rock Musicians 2022 (+ 6 FREE Plugins)

Top 14 Trance Plugins (Uplifting, Tech, Progressive, Vocal, Dream, Hard)

Top 10 GOA & PsyTrance Plugins 2022 (Best Psychedelic Trance Tools)

Top 7 Plugins For Dubstep 2022 (With 10 Best FREE Effects & Synths)


Top 20 Synthwave Plugins 2022 (+ 11 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 15 Plugins 2022 For Techno, House, Electro, Tech House, UK Garage

Top 6 Plugins For Latin Music 2022 (And 4 FREE Tools)

Top 12 Plugins For Hip-Hop 2022 (+ Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 7 Plugins For Game & Film Scoring 2022 (+ 6 Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 10 R&B And Pop Music Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2022

30 Best Free Plugins For DnB, EDM, IDM & Experimental Music 2022


EQ Plugins

Top 12 Free EQ Plugins 2022 For Precise Mixing & Mastering

Top 9 Mid/Side EQ Plugins 2022 For Mixing & Mastering (+ 2 Free Tools)

Top 7 Graphic EQ Plugins 2022 (With 3 Best Free EQs)

Top 7 EQ Plugins For Mastering In 2022 | And Best FREE Mastering EQs

Top 6 Passive EQ Plugins 2022 (Klevgrand, SPL, UAD, Waves, IK Multimedia)

Top 11 Plugins For Making Metal 2022 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects)


Compressor Plugins

Top 11 Free Compressor Plugins 2022 (VCA, Vari-Mu, FET, Digital)

Top 7 Multiband Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 5 Diode-Bridge Compressor Plugins 2022

Top 6 Mastering Chain Plugins: Complete VST Solutions 2022

Top 10 FET Compressor Plugins 2022

The 7 Best VCA Compressor Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 11 Mastering Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 2 FREE Plugins)

Top 10 Opto Compressor Plugins 2022 For Transparent Sound

The 7 Best Vari-Mu Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best FREE Tools)


Reverb & Delay Plugins:

Top 12 Delay Plugins For Music Production In 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 12 Reverb Plugins (And 5 FREE Reverb Plugins)

The 6 Best Spring Reverb VST Plugins 2022 | AudioThing, GSi, u-he, Eventide

Top 10 FREE Delay Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

The 10 Best Convolution Reverb Plugins 2022


Metering Plugins:

Top 5 Audio Metering Plugins 2022 (LUFS, RMS, LRA, True Peak)

Top 6 Spectrum Analyzer Plugins Of 2022 – Spectral Analysis Tools

Top 6 Oscilloscope Plugins 2022 To See The Waveforms

Top 5 Key Detection Plugins & Software 2022 (+ Best FREE App)


Amps & Preamp Plugins:

Top 10 Guitar Amp Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Simulators)

Top 10 Bass Amp Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best Free Simulators)

Top 9 Preamp Plugins 2022 (For Vocals, Guitars & More!) + Free Preamps


Kontakt Libraries

20 Best Kontakt Libraries For All Categories 2022 (Synths, Drums, Vocals)

Top 7 Drum Libraries For KONTAKT 2022 (And 4 Freebies)

Top 7 Trap Music Kontakt Libraries 2022 (And Best Lo-Fi Kontakt Library)

Top 7 Metal & Rock Kontakt Libraries 2022 (Best Guitars & Drums)

Top 10 Guitar Libraries For Kontakt 2022 (Acoustic, Electric, Bass & Freebies)


Top 7 Trailer Scoring Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

20 Best Free KONTAKT Libraries 2022 For Various Instruments

Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries 2022 (And 5 Best Free Pianos)

Top 10 Percussion KONTAKT Libraries 2022 (And 3 Freebies)

Top 7 Kontakt Libraries For Horror & Thriller Scoring 2022 (No VSTs)


Audio Restoration, Calibration & Utility Plugins:

Top 6 Noise Reduction Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Tools)

6 Best Audio Restoration Plugins & Software 2022

Top 7 Phase Alignment Plugins 2022 To Fix Your Bass & Drums

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 2022


Instrument Plugins: 

Top 6 Vocoder Plugins 2022 (Effects & Synths + FREE Vocoder)

Top 12 Randomizer Plugins 2022 Including FREE Plugins

Top 6 Kick Drum Plugins 2022 (Best Kick Designer Tools)

Top 12 Woodwind Plugins 2022 (And KONTAKT Libraries)

Top 10 Double Bass Plugins 2022 (Best Upright Basses)

Top 5 Strings VST Plugins 2022 (AND 4 Best Free Instruments)


Top 6 Sampler Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Classical Guitar Plugins & Kontakt Libraries (And FREE Guitars)

Top 7 Wavetable Synth Plugins 2022

Top 12 Sub Plugins 2022 (Best 808 & Bass Tools For Massive Low End)

Top 10 Plugins On PluginBoutique 2022 (And 7 Best Free Plugins)

Top 11 Plugins On Plugin Alliance 2022

Top 7 Acoustic Guitar Plugins 2022 (And 4 Best Kontakt Libraries)


9 Best Bass Guitar Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best Freebies)

Top 6 Electric Guitar Plugins 2022 (Best PAID & FREE Picks)

Top 10 Arpeggiator VST Plugins 2022 (Best Synths, MIDI Effects & Tools)

Top 10 Modular Synth Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Choir Plugins & Sample Libraries 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

11 Best Percussion & Drum VST Plugins In 2022 (And FREE Plugins)


Top 8 Piano Plugins 2022 (Best Sounding Pianos & 5 FREE Piano Plugins)

Top 6 Organ Plugins Ever Made 2022 (And 3 Best Free Organs)

Top 14 VST Plugins For Beginners 2022 (And 9 FREE Plugins)

Top 9 Drum Machine Plugins 2022 (And Groovebox Plugins)

4 Best Banjo Plugins 2022 (Best Banjo Instruments)


The 5 Best Ukulele Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022

Top 13 Synth Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Synths Plugins)

Top 13 Sequencer Plugins 2022 (Synth, MIDI & Step Sequencers)

The 10 Best Multi-Effect Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Top 12 Plugin Bundles For Musicians 2022 (Synths, Mixing & Mastering)



Processing & Sound Design Plugins:

8 Best Lo-Fi Plugins 2022 (PAID & FREE)

Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals 2022 (For Home Studio)

Top 12 Saturation Plugins In 2022 (Best Mixing & Mastering Tools)

Top 6 Pitch Shifter Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Pitch Shifters)

Top 6 Chorus VST Plugins 2022 For Musicians (And 3 FREE Plugins)


Top 6 Limiter Plugins 2022 For Precise Mastering & Mixing

The 8 Best Filter Plugins 2022 For Precise Cuts & Boosts (+ 5 Free Filters)

6 Best Autotune Plugins 2022 To Improve & Enhance Your Vocals

Top 10 Transient Shaper Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 7 Enhancer Plugins 2022 (For Bass, Drums, Vocals & Harmonics)


Top 6 Flanger Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Flanger Emulators)

Top 7 Phaser Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Phasers)

Top 10 Plugins For Mixing Drums 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Top 7 Bitcrusher Plugins 2022 (And 4 Best FREE Bitcrushers + 3 Bonuses)

Top 6 Plugins For Voice-Over & Dialogue Cleaning 2022 (Post Production)

Top 10 Stereo Imaging Plugins 2022 (Best Old & Modern Picks)


Top 5 Multiband Limiter Plugins 2022

Top 7 De-Esser Plugins In 2022 For Better Vocals (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 7 Clipper Plugins 2022 (Best Limiter Alternatives)

Top 6 Chord Generator Plugins 2022 That Inspire Melodies (+ FREE Tools)

7 Best Exciter Plugins 2022 For Mixing & Mastering

Top 7 Channel Strip Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best Free Plugins)


Top 11 Distortion Plugins 2022 (And 4 Top Free Plugins)

Top 5 Comb Filter & Resonator Plugins 2022 | Melda, Kilohearts, Tritik

The 7 Best Vibrato VST Plugins of 2022 | Audec, Audiority, Melda

The 7 Best Tremolo Plugins 2022 | Eventide, Melda, SoundToys, Kuassa…

The 7 Best Harmonizer Plugins 2022 | Eventide, Melda, Aegean Music

7 Best Sidechain Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX) | Xfer, Cableguys..


Top 10 Noise Gate Plugins 2022 (And 6 FREE Free Gate Tools)

The 6 Best Ring Modulator VST Plugins in 2022 | KiloHearts, Melda

7 Best Autopan VST Plugins 2022 | CableGuys, Melda, Waves, Soundtoys

The 6 Best Frequency Shifter VST Plugins Of 2022

Top 11 Granulizer Plugins 2022 For Future Sound Design

29 Best Sound Design VST Plugins In 2022


Recording, Mixing, Mastering & Restoration

Complete Guide To Limiter: How To Use It (+ Best Plugins & Analog Limiters)

How To Use Auto-tune & Pitch Correction In Cubase?

Full Guide To Comb Filtering & Resonator – What Is It & How It works?

How Loud Should Subbass Be?

Complete Guide To Noise Gate – What It Is, What It Does & How To Use It?

How to Fix It & Avoid Phase Cancellation In Music?

Should Drums Be in Mono or Stereo? (Kick, Snare, Clap and Percussions)


Difference Between LUFS, RMS & True Peak Loudness Meters

4 Ways To Remove Noise From Your Recordings (+ How To Prevent It)

How Loud Should a Mix Be Before Mastering? Recording, Mixing & Levels

6 Unique Tips How To Improve Your Vocal Recordings

How And When To Use Algorithmic And Convolution Reverb In Your Mix?

Mixing With Reverb: How To Add Life To Your Mixes

5 Quick Ways To Make Vocals Sound Better (Mixing Guide)

How To Use Upward & Downward Compression in Your Mix?



What PC, RAM & CPU Do I Need For Music Production In 2022?

Don`t copy text!
Scroll to Top