Universal Audio has unveiled UAD Spark, a subscription service that, for the first time, allows users to run UA plugins natively on a Mac without the need for UA hardware.
Universal Audio’s acclaimed UAD plugins have relied on the specialised DSPs from their Apollo and Satellite hardware devices to run since their debut. This results in a highly seamless user experience, but it may also be a hurdle for those who are unable to invest in the necessary hardware. The Spark subscription service brings a new line of plugins known as UADx, which, as previously stated, will operate natively on a Mac and do not require any special hardware to function.
At launch, the UADx range includes 17 plugins, including 13 UAD audio processors and four virtual instruments: Ravel Piano, Moog MiniMoog Synth, Waterfall B3 Organ, and Opal Morphing Synth. Spark, on the other hand, is touted as an ‘Evolving Collection,’ thus anticipating this list to grow over time. Currently, UADx plugins are only available for Mac, with Windows compatibility coming soon!
UADx plugins sound identical to UAD-2 equivalents, however, they have a few practical modifications. They run natively and include a new preset browser for rapidly locating and evaluating presets, as well as a new plug-in header for colour customization and simple navigation. They are licenced using the PACE iLok service and are accessible as AAX, AU, and VST3 plugins.
UAD Spark has a monthly price of $19.99 USD and a yearly fee of $149.99 USD.
There’s certainly a lot to like here for UA Volt owners or those with a third-party interface who couldn’t previously access the UAD platform. Existing UAD users will gain a significant benefit since registered owners of the UAD-2 version of any UADx plugin will receive a ‘perpetual licence’ allowing them to use that native plugin for free. Owners of registered Volts will receive a free 30-day trial of UAD Spark.
UA has also announced UAD software version 10 with several major additions including Native Apple Silicon support for UAD-2 DSP plugins and Apollo Console, VST categories, increased Flex routs for Apollo X Rack interfaces and more.
LUNA has also been updated to version 1.2.6 with UADx plugin support.
For full details, visit uaudio.com