TOP-5 UAD Channel Strip plugins

mixing and mastering May 24, 2018

The best part about a channelstrip workflow is the ability to systematically build a sound and then to ergonomically jump back and forth between the parameters within the modules.

Since EQ, saturation, compression, and filtering are all interdependent, the ability to make quick adjustments between these fundamental realms makes mixing fast, free and creative.

In that light, here’s a look at UAD’s beloved channel strips:


SSL is a favorite sound for Dance, Pop, and Urban Music. Sonically it has a tight, bright saturation in the mids and highs and a dynamic low end. Rich in harmonics, the SSL has a tight, short “ring” that is also smooth. Absolutely wicked on drums.


The Manley VOXBOX has a number of personalities depending on how you drive it. It can be very clean or rich in tube saturation. It also comes with a very easy-to-use de-esser and a compressor that is before the pre-amp stage to minimize distortion. And a great Pultec style EQ that has a transformerless option. Great on vocals. Great on everything.


Tight and bright, the API Jensen transformer sound has long been a favorite in pop, rock and broadcast. The API sound has often been described as “clean” — but still warm. Less dynamic on the low end than SSL, API shines on guitars, synths, and vocals. The EQ’s operate in fixed 2 dB steps and fixed frequencies, which can sometimes make “little moves” difficult. The compressor, however, is a different story. The engineers at API somehow figured out how to create “auto-gain” on their amazingly powerful analog compressor. Genius!

4. UA 610

Like the Vox Box, UA 610 is the musical sound of tubes. Warm, rich, and smooth, the 610 works incredibly well for bass and vocals. Although it is not a complete channelstrip with lots of features, the 610 remains a very trusted tube saturator with a very useful EQ for tonal adjustment.

5. NEVE 88RS

The vintage Neves and the modern Neves have one thing in common: warmth. This particular flavor of warmth comes from a big, slow-ringing low-frequency response that softens the overall sound. In contrast to the API which is “tight”, the Neve 88 is “longer” which makes for smoother midrange and high-frequency response. Packed with all of the tools you would ever need, this is a completely smooth sounding channelstrip with a modern HD frequency bandwidth, not a “filtered” vintage sound. Very versatile, the 88 is a long-time favorite for hip hop and urban music.

Check out our all-new updated Masterclass “Advanced Mixing with UAD 2017

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