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I bought the Waves Classic Compressors bundle yesterday and wondered if there is a noticeable difference between those and the one from UAD regarding sound and CPU usage.

Has anybody tried both and compared them?

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2 Answers

This article compares a number of LA-2A plugs. Here is another in video format.

They focus on the sound of the plug ins not really the CPU usage. I would imagine the UAD plugs would be a clear winner on CPU load since they off load most of it. Personally they all sound good enough to me (I haven't tried the UADs since I don't have the break out box). They should be smooth, slow attack, transparent compressors with a touch of tube modeling.

I know you asked specifically about waves but there are a number of others as well to consider:

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I haven't directly compared those two in a shoot-out, but I can attest that most UAD plugins sound better to me than their Waves counterparts. They are possibly the highest quality plugins I've ever used. I don't touch many Waves plugs since we acquired some UAD2 cards.

CPU usage will be lower with the UAD plugins, because the UAD cards are meant to handle the grunt of the processing, at the expense of the bandwidth of whatever connection you use to get the UAD2 card hooked up to your computer. So if you use a ton of firewire hard drives, then you get a UAD2 Satellite, you'll have issues because even if you don't use many plugins, the UAD2 reserves the bandwidth that it might need (this might have changed since I last read about the satellites).

If you're interested, I found this interview with UAD's chief scientist to be pretty cool:

http://createdigitalmusic.com/2011/02/modeling-analog-in-a-digital-age-a-conversation-with-universal-audios-chief-scientist/

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Just for the record, as I feel this answer is a bit too undialectically supporting UAD: I'm sure Dr. Berners does a great job at physical modelling, but mind that this doesn't really tell a lot about how good the plugins sound, only how close they get to their analog ideal. I personally think the whole approach is wrong; an audio engineer should understand the physical processes themselves, why such and such nonlinearities sound good or bad, and apply them as needed. Not just plunge in a given package of artifacts because it's the best one that happened to be available back in the days. –  leftaroundabout Dec 29 '13 at 22:07
    
Sure. I edited my answer to answer his questions directly. It may support UAD, but that is because I think the UAD plugins sound "better" to me. I was trying to get to that without trying to use abstract terms like "warmer" or "clearer" because these could mean different things to many people. I wasn't really saying the UAD sound better because of how they're modelled, I just thought that was a very interesting interview that the OP might like to read if they are interested at all in products that emulate classic hardware. If you really think it's detrimental to the answer I can remove it. –  elburzs Dec 30 '13 at 0:27
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