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UAD Plugins Without Hardware: The Ultimate Guide

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Here’s the list of all the UAD plugins without hardware you can run:

  1. Brainworx Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor
  2. Softube’s Eden WT800 Bass Amplifier
  3. Softube’s ChandlerLimited Curve Bender Mastering EQ
  4. Eventide’s H910 Harmonizer
  5. SPL – Transient Designer
  6. Maag – EQ4

So… You’re interested in using UAD plugins without hardware?Well then you’re in luck because in this article we’ll be running through all the UAD plugin that you can use without hardware!

uad plugins without hardware

If you didn’t know already, UAD are the dogs boll**ks of hardware racks & emulations of old classics.

They boast an impressive selection of products to accommodate every need of a modern recording studio. With a wide selection of DSP accelerator cards, audio interfaces and plug-ins that are industry standard.

And, if you’re a real audio nerd you’ll be interested to know that, with the power of specialised UAD hardware they are capable of squeezing every little bit of DSP processing power to make their native plugins overwhelmingly and objectively better than a lot of their competition.


Let’s face it, the price tag for the hardware is extremely high!

Luckily for you we’ve constructed a list of the best UAD plugins you can run without hardware!

And there’s actually quite a few!

Starting with:

UAD Plugins Without Hardware:

Brainworx Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor

using uad plugins without hardware

Designed by Brainworx, the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor plug-in is a thorough emulation of the high-end hardware. Few pieces of audio hardware are as revered as the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor. Created by enigmatic mastermind, Peter Reardon, this five-rackspace behemoth tempers dynamics and tames transients like no other compressor in history.

The Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor is an absolutely legendary piece of kit.

Made originally for use with UAD DSP hardware units, it’s been recently released as a native plug-in as well.

In our opinion it’s one of the best compressors for finalizing your mixes.


Because, the sheer quality of audio goodness you can get from this thing is incredible!

Not only that, but it’s sidechain filter is something that we wished more plug-in makers could emulate.

The sidechain filter control allows you to select a frequency, below which the compressor won’t affect the source audio.

To put it simply, its a dial that controls the pumping characteristics of your sidechain.

TIP: Only rarely will you ever need to leave a compressors Release on Automatic. Release shapes the sound of your compressor a lot, dial it to taste.

But don’t let us convince you, take a listen to the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor in action in this video!

Also, if you need any help with figuring out what compression does, check out our very own tutorial on how compressors work.

(it comes with a free audio compression guide)

Softube’s Eden WT800 Bass Amplifier

run uad plugins without hardware

Eden Amplification is renowned for their high-quality, great-sounding bass amps, and their iconic WT800 is considered one of the all-time classics. With built-in features like bi-amping, compression and 5-band EQ

Developed by Softube, the Eden WT800 Bass Amplifier plug-in is fully endorsed and authenticated by Eden and is an exact emulation of this industry standard bass amp.

This is one of the best bass amp sims we have used, period.

The warmth and punch of the WT800 is wholly unique and a pleasure to listen to.

No modern amp sim is complete without cab and mic simulation and the WT800 is no exception.

With the choice of a 4×10 and a 1×15 cab, multiple mic options and a 5-Band EQ, the WT800 is a brilliant, jack-of-all-trades bass amp.

The plug-in also includes the classic “Enhance” dial, that can be used to instantly scoop the mids of your signal.

TIP: Try automating the Enhance dial, to create contrast in your track

Check out the wicked savings on the WT800!

Softube’s ChandlerLimited Curve Bender Mastering EQ

uad without hardware

Based on the vintage EMI TG12345 desk from Abbey Road Studios, the same one used to record Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and The Beatles’ Abbey Road

There aren’t too many things in life that are more satisfying than a beautiful sounding EQ.

And, Chandler Limited’s Curve Bender EQ isn’t just a recreation of the legendary hardware.

It takes the sonics of the vintage EMI unit, and blows it up into a powerful mastering tool.

Alongside this an endorsement from Chandler Limited has allowed them to make a near-perfect software recreation of one of the best sounding EQ’s ever.

It’s right on the money for those soothing warm tones, as well as the superb sounding high-end sparkle.

But don’t let us do the talking, check the original rack unit in full action below!

You can grab the Chandler Limited EQ on sale today!

Eventide’s H910 Harmonizer

universal audio plugins without hardware

Introduced in the mid-’70s, the Eventide H910 Harmonizer was the first commercially available digital audio effects unit. Its unique analog/digital circuit generated iconic pitch change, delay, and modulation effects in previously impossible combinations — with a sound that’s prized to this day.

Being the first commercial audio effects unit, the original H910 was massively popular during it’s time. Artists like David Bowie, AC/DC, Elton John and countless others have revelled in the sound of the H910 for decades.

We like to think that classics are classics for a reason, and this just proves our point.

As Eventide themselves describe the H910, it “F**ks with the fabric of time”

It’s a super cool old-school effects unit that’s perfect for getting that nostalgic old, vibey sound we’re all familiar with.

When opening the H910 you’ll be presented with pitch change, delay, and modulation effects. Perfect for getting some warm width for drums or effecting vocals and melodies.

For a great rundown of the H910 plug-in, check out the video below!

Add the the H910 to your collection today.

SPL Transient Designer

spl transient designer carousel 1 1

Revered as a “secret weapon” mix tool by some of the world’s finest engineers, the SPL Transient Designer plug-in for UAD-2 hardware and Apollo interfaces allows you to shape sustain and attack of your sources. 

The SPL transient designer is one of those simple tools that we couldn’t live without.

The premise is simple, you can re-shape the attack and sustain of your audio signal after-the-fact.

And if you’ve ever wanted to soften or slam a snare, reduce room ambience or minimise mic bleed, then this is your weapon of choice.

It crunches drums like no other business!

TIP: Put a transient designer as the first plug-in in your channel, and add to it, without touching the transient designer. After you’ve designed your sound, the transient designer can be automated to create lively and wild vibes from your signal.

Want more info on the SPL Designer?

Maag EQ4

maag audio eq4 2xScreenshot action blanc V2 32dc5e8c

You’ve heard the Maag Audio EQ4 on the vocals of artists ranging from Madonna to Celine Dion, and from the Black Eyed Peas to Snoop Dogg. Now you can have this legendary EQ right inside your DAW.

I know what you’re going to say

Another EQ? What difference could there possibly be between my DAW EQ and this one?

We too used to be blind to the sonic qualities of great EQ’s

Luckily the Maag EQ4 showed us where the honey is.

The Maag Audio EQ4 is a musical EQ, not a surgical EQ, making it ideal for sweetening tracks.

The exceptionally low phase across all EQ adjustments helps maintain the integrity of your original signal while giving it an airy quality.

We love it especially for the absolutely beautiful top end presence that this EQ provides.

Try using it on vocals, to see why some of the best producers in the world demanded a software replica of this exact EQ

Want more info on the Maag EQ4?

Honorable Mentions

Softube – Tonelux Tilt EQ, Tube-Tech CL 1B MKII

We already talked about a couple Softube plug-ins before. However, there are a lot of Softube plug-ins that are also available natively.

Dynamic shapers, Amp sims and EQ models are just a fraction of what they have to offer.

Sonnox – Dynamic EQ, Envolution, EQ, Limiter v2, Inflator

There are currently a number of plug-ins from the Sonnox catalogue available as UAD plugins without hardware requirements.

Even better, native versions of Sonnox plug-ins are usually cheaper than their UAD DSP counterparts.

Wrapping Up

Universal Audio and their collaborators offer some of the best software reproductions of classic gear.

UAD plug-ins without hardware are, in our opinion, a no-brainer.

What UAD offers, to have become available without expensive DSP accelerator cards is what we’ve been looking forward to for years!

And that’s exactly what we’ve got with incredible emulations designed specifically to sound identical to the originals.

If you’re still struggling with how to use uad plugins without hardware, check out the linked Sound on Sound post!


That pretty much brings it to a wrap. We hope this article helped you find some new tools for your production journey!

If you’re looking for more information on plugins/reviews & the best audio plugin deals on the net, be sure to flick through our other pages here.

And don’t forget to join our awesome Facebook community! We’re at 1,900 like-minded members and you could be our next 😉

That’ll be all from us. See you next time!

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