The UA Console application is the key to Apollo interfaces’ Realtime UAD Processing capabilities. It lets you insert and control UAD plugins, as well as route and monitor audio.
UA Console: Recording Through Plugins
Perhaps the main feature of UA’s interfaces is the ability to track through UAD plugins using Unison technology. What’s all that mean?
You can record, in real-time, through any of UAD’s numerous emulations of mic preamps, compressors, guitar amps, reverbs, and more. Plus, you can print the effects directly into your DAW, just as you would using hardware in the physical world. This is currently the only way to bring the feel (and sound!) of recording through outboard equipment using only plugins.
If you’re feeling hesitant to commit, though, you can always just monitor through the plugins without printing their sound. This could be useful for dialing in a great headphone mix for an artist, where they can really hear themself come to life with reverb, Auto-Tune, and more.
- Related: How to Use Autotune
In this case, though, you could also just skip UA Console altogether and monitor through your DAW. The real magic of Console is in its ability to print plugins.
What is Unison Technology?
Unison-enabled plugins come from a select range of preamp and channel strip emulations. With basic preamps you can control the input gain, accurately modeled to reflect the way the real thing works. On full channel strips, like the SSL E series or API Vision, you can add additional stuff like EQ and compression to the signal.
When you load a Unison-enabled plugin into its designated slot in UA Console, the ring around your preamp gain on the physical interface will go from green to orange. This means you’re recording through a Unison preamp or channel strip.
Anything you put in the Unison slot will be recorded because of its location in the Console signal path — there’s no way to only monitor the preamp. Further down the channel strip in Console, you will find 4 insert slots for more plugins, like compression, EQ, reverb, delay, etc. You can optionally per channel put these inserts into the monitor or record path, like we mentioned previously.
Unison is all about recreating the realistic tone and feel of classic analog recording. It’s only available with Universal Audio interfaces, so in some ways it’s a commitment you make to jump in the world of UAD.
- Related: Plugins Modeled After Analog Gear
Other Advantages of UA Console
You’re in love with your Unison channel strips, and you’re printing effects through the Console left and right. One day you dial in a really great vocal chain — it’s better than anything you’ve done before. Session recall is as easy as it gets, because you can save any Console settings you have open as a preset to load up again later. That’s one way of doing it…
Now let’s say you’re working on multiple sessions with a client. Again, you’ve dialed in your Console settings and want to recall them quickly. You can actually insert the dedicated Console Recall plugin into your DAW session and hit SYNC. After you save the DAW project, UA Console settings are stored in the DAW via the plugin. Just re-open the project, and Console will come back how it was when you saved the SYNC.
Talkback and session communication is another great advantage of UA Console and Apollo interfaces. The popular Apollo Twin MkII and the X range introduced built-in omni-directional talkback mics.
- RELATED: Apollo Twin X vs MkII
Talkback is routable to each CUE bus individually in UA Console, so if you have a room full of musicians, you can choose to speak to people individually.
The dedicated Talkback channel in Console also has 4 inserts available! This means you can add something like a compressor or limiter to the talkback mic itself, just to be extra sure anyone speaking from the control room is heard. Finally, if an Apollo Twin is daisy-chained to an Apollo X rackmount interface, the Twin takes over as talkback master. That way you can station the Apollo X rack anywhere it’s most convenient, without having to worry about the built-in mic being accessible.
UA Console is an exclusive way to capture analog sound in real-time using Universal Audio interfaces. Unison preamps and channel strips provide access to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of classic analog sound affordably, right in your computer!