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UAD-2 SPL Vitalizer MK2-T plugin VS. SPL Vitalizer Hardware - Gearspace.com
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UAD-2 SPL Vitalizer MK2-T plugin VS. SPL Vitalizer Hardware
Old 28th January 2013
  #1
Gear Nut
 
soundchemistry's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
UAD-2 SPL Vitalizer MK2-T plugin VS. SPL Vitalizer Hardware

So I recently fell in love with the UAD2 SPL Vitalizer MK2-T plugin. Across the mix buss this thing is amazing. Thats basically what im using for the most. I have a RETRO 2A3 and and have used various other hardware and software EQ's and they just don't seem to do what this does for me with the stereo expansion and how u can tame the low end and tweak the high end of the mix. I feel strongly about it but of course one has to be careful with it like anything else.

I'm considering buying the hardware I like it so much. But first, anyone have on opinion of the hardware vs the plugin. I usually buy hardware if the plugin is this good but I wanna make sure.

Anyone have experience with both and can anyone vouch that the hardware is that much better? Id demo the hardware if I could but unsuccessful in finding a demo unit as of yet. Thanks for your help!
Old 28th January 2013
  #2
Gear Guru
 
matt thomas's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I don't know, but you may be interested (if you do not already know) that there is a native plugin version of this too, that doesn't need UAD hardware to run

matt
Old 28th January 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 
dxavier's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundchemistry ➑️
So I recently fell in love with the UAD2 SPL Vitalizer MK2-T plugin. Across the mix buss this thing is amazing. Thats basically what im using for the most. I have a RETRO 2A3 and and have used various other hardware and software EQ's and they just don't seem to do what this does for me with the stereo expansion and how u can tame the low end and tweak the high end of the mix. I feel strongly about it but of course one has to be careful with it like anything else.

I'm considering buying the hardware I like it so much. But first, anyone have on opinion of the hardware vs the plugin. I usually buy hardware if the plugin is this good but I wanna make sure.

Anyone have experience with both and can anyone vouch that the hardware is that much better? Id demo the hardware if I could but unsuccessful in finding a demo unit as of yet. Thanks for your help!

As Dave has said, there are Native versions. Whether you choose Native or UAD is down to your needs/preferences, but I personally, would be wary of the getting the Hardware. The reason being is that I had the hardware, I too was besotted with it when I first used it, but I got tired of it VERY quickly, as I began to realise that it only added something when a mix was lacking something, but in most cases when the mix was bang on, the SPL had nothing to offer. It is another reason I think I see far too many of them on ebay. People love them, then they grow out of them within a very short space of time.

I admit that the stereo expansion on the Vitalizer works really well, however, I have used a few other stereo expansion plugs, such as the Bob Katz plug on the UAD and they provide the same effect.
Old 28th January 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I agree with dxavier, while it can be really cool sometimes I'm not necessarily a big fan on the 2 bus, I find it a bit tricky to set up, IMO you can quickly overdo it in the highs. I ended up selling the hardware before the Brainworx plugin version was released so I couldn't compare both directly, though the plug did remind me of the hardware tone, so now I use the software one occasionaly, mainly on bass and for some light stereo exp.
A.
Old 28th January 2013
  #5
Gear Nut
 
soundchemistry's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hmm... Would unwind elaborating on why you wouldn't use it on the 2 bus? Do u feel like it gets too bright too soon? I love what it does to the low end information on a mix and how it tightens that bass and kick up... Ifeel like its awesome for that bright pop finish on a mix. I also feel that it makes the appearance of the kick drum clearer and better placed often times.
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundchemistry ➑️
Hmm... Would unwind elaborating on why you wouldn't use it on the 2 bus? Do u feel like it gets too bright too soon? I love what it does to the low end information on a mix and how it tightens that bass and kick up... Ifeel like its awesome for that bright pop finish on a mix. I also feel that it makes the appearance of the kick drum clearer and better placed often times.
I've used the hardware on entire mixes, it's just that I'm not often after the shiny highs thing and feel like it's messing with the phase a bit up there so I was usually dialing very little effect and finally decided it wasn't worth the time spent and recall hassle
I know some people love it so it could very well be user error!
The bass thing I use more on sub busses or individual tracks.
I got mine used for a good price and sold it for a similar amount, you could probably try it without loosing much if you finally change your mind
A.
PS: I've never tried to mix into it BTW
Old 28th January 2013 | Show parent
  #7
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Phaidon's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dxavier ➑️
I began to realise that it only added something when a mix was lacking something, but in most cases when the mix was bang on, the SPL had nothing to offer.
isn't it for all audio gear?
I mean especially for something,like the Vitalizer, that suppose to "add to what's missing"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_bt ➑️
I'm not necessarily a big fan on the 2 bus, I find it a bit tricky to set up, IMO you can quickly overdo it in the highs.
I love it on the 2-bus.Actually I couldnt live without it,since it adds a really nice shine.
Yes,you can definitely overdo it.It took me a while to get used to it.
But then again,with anything on the master,you gotta be careful.
I actually use it a lot on pads,strings as well.
I also wonder how the Uad performs...

Dunno if there are a lot of them on ebay but that might have to do with the fact that a lot pf folks go itb or they think the Uad version is as good ;-)


P.
Old 28th January 2013
  #8
Lives for gear
 
beingmf's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A friend of mine uses the Nebula stock library version (Tube Vitalizer) from time to time on degraded cassette masters. It sounds significantly better than UAD, native or the non-tube hardware. Great underrated tool!
Old 28th January 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
 
kittonian's Avatar
I have had them side-by-side and yes, the hardware is better (as is usually the case), though the plugin is very good too. I'd say the plugin gives you about 80% of what the hardware brings to the table and it's worth every penny to grab the real deal.

Beyond that, there's a RackPack version that is just as good as the regular rackmount piece and you can put more modules in over time if you desire.
Old 29th January 2013
  #10
Gear Nut
 
soundchemistry's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Once again, thank u all for your input. I think ill try the hardware as I feel $1000.00 for the hardware new is fair especially for what it does.

I have to say i was a bit skeptical as I just don't see it in many people's racks. But that may be my ticket to taking over the world.

Hardware is always more 3D and vibey so I'm psyched to try it. Just FYI, the plugin works especially well with the Smart C2 compressor on the mix buss as the C2's midrange voice works particularly well with it (thus far). Give it a try!
Old 29th January 2013
  #11
Gear Nut
 
soundchemistry's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Now, One other question... Would you guys go SPL Vitalizer or UBK Kush Clariphonic?????

Decisions, decisions...
Old 3rd March 2014
  #12
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Sale

Just snagged the plug in for $111 on sale today! Used to use the hardware , glad to have it in the box now too. Great fast savior for muddled orchestral mixes.
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
sparrow's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundchemistry ➑️
Now, One other question... Would you guys go SPL Vitalizer or UBK Kush Clariphonic?????

Decisions, decisions...

Now they're completely different in what they do...I mean both push highs but whereas the SPL works increasing the harmonic content the Clariphonic consists of different hi shelves working in parallel.
Both are unique in what they do but I find the SPL more on the agressive side and the Clariphonic moves towards a smoother sounding side, especially on the higher settings. Also I don't like pushing the Clariphonic too much as I feel more and more of the mid range starts getting involved and it defeates its purpose as it stops delivering the sweetness it can impart.
I find the Clariphonic to be absolutely transparent as well, so no mojo. Just my 2cts.
Old 12th September 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Here for the gear
 
luis001's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundchemistry ➑️
Once again, thank u all for your input. I think ill try the hardware as I feel $1000.00 for the hardware new is fair especially for what it does.

I have to say i was a bit skeptical as I just don't see it in many people's racks. But that may be my ticket to taking over the world.

Hardware is always more 3D and vibey so I'm psyched to try it. Just FYI, the plugin works especially well with the Smart C2 compressor on the mix buss as the C2's midrange voice works particularly well with it (thus far). Give it a try!
hey soundchemistry did you finally get the SPL Vitalizer MK2-T hardware?
What do you think?? Is it worth having? I'm now in the same predicament
Old 12th September 2014
  #15
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I also feel that it makes the appearance of the kick drum clearer and better placed often times.
Old 12th September 2014 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Helge's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundchemistry ➑️

I have to say i was a bit skeptical as I just don't see it in many people's racks. But that may be my ticket to taking over the world.
ItΒ΄s probably the most ignored unit in Greg Wells awesome setup (...now wondering if itΒ΄s still in there....)
cheers

UAD-2 SPL Vitalizer MK2-T plugin  VS.  SPL Vitalizer Hardware-spl.jpg
Old 12th September 2014
  #17
Here for the gear
 
luis001's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I downloaded the demo from SPL / Plugin Alliance and I really like what it's doing to the 2buss on a finished mix I recently submitted for mastering.

The mix -which was a very good mix in my opinion on the tech-house, techno tip- sounded fuller, more open and more polished "more commercial record" sounding than before.

I even stepped away and came back to it, and heard it with fresh ears to be sure I wasn't deluding myself. There was def mojo.

I then compared it to commercial released tracks by Royksopp -as a handy reference- and I was def in the ball park, whereas before, the mix sounded more mono-centric and not as sparkle-y.

So now I am thinking what will the hardware sound like??
Old 15th September 2014
  #18
Here for the gear
 
luis001's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I found this awesome comparison a German guy did for the plugin and hardware, along with sound clips... you be the judge (in german)

SPL Vitalizer Mk2-T Test - Seite 3

ps: dont you just love the internet?
Old 15th September 2014
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I had the harwdare, same exact unit the plugin is modeling
Now it was something like 10 years ago so I don't really recall details
and surely I haven't had the chance to compare it to the plugin
at that time, but I tried the plugin and while the behavior is similar
one thing i clearly recall about the hw is that it had crazy high
headroom, I mean you couldn't clipping the thing if you wanted to
and the sound did become much denser when pushing
the drive knob.

With that said, it wasn't tubey sounding, not in the manner people
tend to think about tubes, warm and round, instead it was very clean
maybe it did soften the transients a bit but, again not really a color,
not like transformers or tape.

Overall I never found much use for the thing if not sporadically
on single tracks or groups, but never "important" grouos like
drums or gtr or vocals, more like bv or bass occasionally
The only thing that unit is totally great - and the reason I kept it for some time - it was the stereo widener, that was pretty great,
I pretty much used it just for that.
Couldn't tell if the plugin is up to par but nowadays I don't have
any problems with plugins wideners, best being the Mattew Lane one
but good ol' S1, Nugen and some others are good too (not the brainworx, that I don't like)

Anyways I wouldn't buy the hw again
Old 12th October 2016
  #20
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I bought the hardware ver on ebay a while back. It sat in my rack until about 2weeks ago when I started fiddlin' with it on a mix. It was a country tune with lotsa guitars. The stereo spread really put them in a nice spot and the low end was great. I might find more uses for this ol clunker. Ya just gotta be careful with the spread and the Harmonics knob. I tweaked a smidgen o highs in but just enough to fry the fish (slight sizzle). It was a bit 80's sounding with the overall mid scoop of the mix, so I patched a parametric in & dialed up my happy place. The signal chain - Console MB - Tube comp - Parametric - SPL - Tape/SDD/CD.
I'll try it on drums but it really depends on the song, not all are mixed with a wide spread kit. I liked what I heard using SPL... I'll keep it for awhile and poke around on it a bit more...

Keep the tape Rollin'
Old 29th April 2019
  #21
Gear Addict
 
OolalavSuperfukk's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Apologies for reviving such an old thread, but I figured I'd leave a comment for future viewers to see. The UAD version and the Plugin Alliance version don't sound the same. I've never heard the hardware, but the UAD version really sounds analog to me, and has such a rich smooth low end, which I found to be really lacking in the Plugin Alliance. I don't even consider myself to have amazing ears, so it's not subtle in my opinion. Of course demo them and decide for yourself. I wanted to believe the Plugin Alliance version was as good cuz I seem to always max out my Apollo, but the difference was too much for me, and UAD definitely wins. I've heard there are other plugins that sound different as well. To my ears Softube Tube Tech stuff sounds exactly the same, so I went with the native version there.
Old 14th May 2019 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by OolalavSuperfukk ➑️
Apologies for reviving such an old thread, but I figured I'd leave a comment for future viewers to see. The UAD version and the Plugin Alliance version don't sound the same. I've never heard the hardware, but the UAD version really sounds analog to me, and has such a rich smooth low end, which I found to be really lacking in the Plugin Alliance. I don't even consider myself to have amazing ears, so it's not subtle in my opinion. Of course demo them and decide for yourself. I wanted to believe the Plugin Alliance version was as good cuz I seem to always max out my Apollo, but the difference was too much for me, and UAD definitely wins. I've heard there are other plugins that sound different as well. To my ears Softube Tube Tech stuff sounds exactly the same, so I went with the native version there.
Brainworx claims it's the exact same algorithm, so perhaps this relates to volume differences or something like that? A nul test should give a good indication regardless.
Old 14th May 2019 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Addict
 
OolalavSuperfukk's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Yeah I ended up doing a null test and they were a bit different. Most of that had to do with the "process" knob. If that wasn't engaged on either then they'd cancel each other out. I realized I made a couple small mistakes before hand which is why they sounded especially different. I do still think they sound a bit different and the null test proved it, but it comes really really close, and I can just give the native version a little more bass and it's close enough. I'm probably going to go with the native now because I need to free up space for different plugins on my Apollo. I can't say I'm 100% certain the UAD version is better cuz my ears might be deceiving me, all I know is that the null test proved they are slightly different and I think I like the UAD more. I might be crazy though cuz the difference is subtle. Sometimes that subtlety can be huge in the end. At least to me. It's like using tame emulators. Loved UAD ones still do, but TAUPE by Acustica Audio is awesome. I just can't seem to get that sound on the Ampex 102 on the mix bus. Once again subtle, but once you hear that sound you feel like you need it.
Old 4th May 2020
  #24
Here for the gear
 
In my exp the hardware beats the software by far. The headroom, EQ and spatiality are awesome in the hw, the plugin is flatter. It took me like two weeks to understand the hw and how it behaves by itself, and along with other gear and plugins. Once you begin to understand it, you realize that it is an amazing machine, which gives the possibility to add life and depth, and also dynamics to a mix. For example, I used to use a few plugins on the master to add 'life' to the flat summing of Ableton. To name a few UAD Manley EQ or Maag with the air band, or UAD API 560, Pultec, whatever.. plus a bit of compression and saturation. Now I got rid of all that and I take all my channel outputs straight to the Vitalizer, jumping the DAW main output summing. The difference in dynamics is huge. And the EQ dullness from the tracks is gone with a bit of tweaking. I save a lot of resources and time, and only use UAD eqs a little bit to add some low mid or mid range here and there (most of the time now I am only subtracting with fabfilter) but nothing extreme of how I used to do. I bought mine for 400 euros and I think is the best buy I've ever did.
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