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Century Tube Channel Strip

Real time recording inspiration for vocals, guitars, and more.

Capturing “the moment” is crucial — and capturing that inspiration with the right sound is just as important. The new Century Tube Channel Strip plug-in hearkens back to the days before infinite undo and decision-deferral, to a time where making records was an immediate, visceral act of bold creativity.

With an organic tube mic preamp, transparent dynamics control, and intuitively voiced EQ, the Century plug-in is perfect for UA Interface users, allowing you to stay in the creative zone while you record, helping you capture first-take magic, with stunning results.

  • Enhance and simplify your recording workflow with a first-pass tool designed for tracking vocals, guitars, synths, and more
  • Stay in the creative zone and confidently print performances with a broad stroke, "do-no-harm," vintage-style tube channel strip
  • Easily flatter your performances with a vintage-style tube mic preamp, simple three-band EQ, and optical leveler on vocals, guitars, bass, drums, and more
  • Control UA Audio Interface mic preamp gain staging and impedance directly from the Century Tube Channel Strip plug-in via Unison™ technology with an Apollo interface

The Perfect Tube Mic Pre

The Century Tube Channel Strip's mic preamp will give all of your sources — especially vocals — a burnished tube color with the unmistakable warmth and detail that only a tube mic pre can provide. The stunning range of tones, from subtle to saturated, will coax inspiring performances no matter the genre. Tweak further with the Low/High gain switch to match the Century's Tube Preamp to your microphone, with the Low setting complementing more modern condensers, while the High position excels with dynamic and ribbon microphones.

Unison Technology for UAD plug-in and Apollo interfaces only

Harnessing UA’s groundbreaking Unison technology, the Century Tube Channel Strip blurs the lines between analog and digital, giving you all of the important impedance, gain staging “sweet spots,” and circuit behaviors of a vintage tube preamp.

The secret is Unison’s bi-directional control and communication from the Century Tube Channel Strip plug-in to the digitally controlled mic preamps in UA Audio Interfaces.

Easy EQ Seasoning

With its intuitive, musically voiced, three-band EQ, the Century Tube Channel Strip is perfect for quickly bringing out the details in a breathy vocal, adding some punch to an overdriven electric guitar, or giving an acoustic rhythm guitar propulsive sizzle and shine.

Optimal Opto Leveler

Featuring a classic autoformer-driven optical leveler, the Century Tube Channel Strip’s dynamics section takes the guesswork out of compression settings with a single knob. You can quickly tame a dynamic vocal or bass performance and lock it into place, and add energy and harmonics to acoustic guitars or piano — all with a twist of a knob. The Century’s leveler can also compress as effect, adding grit and texture to keys and soft synths with character and vibe to spare.

Add Boutique Character and Color to Any Source

Of course, the Century Tube Channel Strip plug-in isn’t just for UA Audio Interface owners. UAD-2 hardware owners can employ the Century Tube Channel Strip plug-in for mixing and tone shaping — without ever leaving the box.

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Century Tube Channel Strip interface

Operational Overview

The Century Tube Channel Strip plug-in is an easy to use vintage-inspired channel strip. Use it to give your tracks that warm analog sound with a Tube Preamp, intuitively voiced EQ, and transparent dynamics control.

Modular Design

The Century Tube Channel Strip plug-in features a modular design with serial signal flow from left to right. The Tube Preamp is the first module, then the Equalizer module, then the Opto Leveler module, and finally the Master module. The Equalizer and Opto Leveler modules can be individually bypassed.

Artist Presets

The Century Tube Channel Strip includes presets provided by the prominent artists below. The artist presets can be accessed via the host DAW application's preset menu, the Settings menu in the UAD Toolbar, or the Apollo/Arrow Console's preset manager.

JJ Blair

Michael Romanowski

John Paterno

Ian Boxill

Gary Noble

Richard Chycki

Artists that have provided presets for Century Tube Channel Strip

Unison Integration (UAD plug-in only)

The Century Tube Channel Strip features Unison technology for integration with the mic preamp hardware in Universal Audio's Apollo and Arrow audio interfaces. With Unison interfaces, the ultra-transparent mic preamps inherit all of the unique sonics, input characteristics, and features of modeled preamps.

Note: Unison is active only when the UAD plug-in is placed in the dedicated Unison insert within LUNA or the Apollo/Arrow Console. For complete details, see the Unison chapter within the Apollo Software Manual or Arrow Manual.

With Unison, the hardware preamp adapts to the modeled preamp's physical input impedance. Combined with UA's transparent analog amplification, this provides the plug-in's full gain and tone range from clean to clipped — with broad, musical sweet spots in-between.

Note: Unison features are available only with Apollo and Arrow interfaces, in Apollo/Arrow Console or LUNA. The UADx plug-in does not use Unison technology.

Realistic Tandem Control

Unison facilitates seamless interactive control of plug-in settings using both the digitally-controlled panel hardware on the UA audio interface and the UAD plug-in interface. All equivalent preamp controls (gain, cut filter, polarity, pad) are mirrored and bidirectional. The preamp controls respond to adjustments with precisely the same interplay behavior as the modeled preamp, including gain levels and clipping points.

Hardware Input Impedance

All Unison mic preamps feature variable input impedance in the analog hardware that can be physically changed by Unison-enabled UAD plug-ins for physical, microphone- to-preamp resistive interaction. This impedance switching enables Unison preamps to match the input impedance of the emulated hardware, which can significantly impact the sound of a microphone. Because the electrical loading occurs on input, prior to A/D conversion, the realism is faithful to the original hardware preamp.

Tactile Gain Staging

The hardware preamp knob on the UA audio interface can independently adjust the gain and level parameters available within the Unison plug-in via Gain Stage Mode. The gain stage being adjusted can be remotely switched via the interface hardware, so the gain levels and their associated colorations can be tuned from the hardware knob for precise physical tactile control, all without using the Unison plug-in's software interface.

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The three outlined gain controls as they appear when in Unison Gain Stage Mode

Century Tube Channel Strip Controls

TUBE PREAMP

GAIN

The Gain control switches between Low and High input gain and the overall character of tube saturation distortion. Generally speaking, toggle the Gain switch to match the type of microphone you are using: use Low for more modern condenser microphones with higher output, and High for dynamic and ribbon microphones with lower output.

To toggle the setting, drag the control or click its text labels.

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Unison Interactions

When the plug-in is placed in a Unison insert on a preamp channel, the preamp sets its mic input impedance to 600 Ohms. Unison mic input impedance is 600 ohms at both Gain settings.

When the plug-in is placed in a Unison insert on a preamp channel within the Apollo/Arrow Console application and the channel is in Unison Gain Stage Mode, the Preamp knob on the UA audio interface can be used to adjust this parameter. In this state, an orange outline surrounds this parameter, indicating it is available for hardware control.

Tip: For details on how to enter and exit Gain Stage Mode, see the Unison chapter within the Apollo Software Manual or Arrow Manual.

 

OL LED (Input)

The OL (overload) LED to the right of the Gain control illuminates when the audio signal is clipping on the input to the tube preamp. This LED can be used to avoid clipping or as a guide to how much intentional clipping or color is being applied.

Tip: If you have a fairly hot microphone source and you encounter undesired distortion (clipping) at the input stage of the Tube Preamp, set Gain to Low and/or engage the Pad.

Input Select

Input Select switches the plug-in between Line and Mic input. To toggle the setting, click the control or its text labels.

Important: Use caution when switching to Line from Mic, as signal output levels can increase significantly (as they would with a hardware preamp).

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Unison Interaction

When the plug-in is used in a Unison insert within the Apollo/Arrow Console application, software and hardware control of Input Select is mirrored. Input Select can be changed within the plug-in interface, with Console's Mic/Line switches, or with the hardware buttons on the UA audio interface. When an Apollo/Arrow Hi-Z input is connected, Mic mode is automatically selected and the Line/Mic switch is disabled.

High Pass

The High Pass Filter switch controls an 18 dB per octave high-pass filter with a cutoff frequency of 80 Hz.

To toggle the setting, click the control or its text labels.

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Unison Interaction

When the plug-in is used in a Unison insert within the Apollo/Arrow Console application, software and hardware control of the High Pass Filter is mirrored. The filter can be enabled or disabled within the plug-in interface, with Console's HPF button, or with the hardware HPF button on the UA audio interface.

Polarity (Ø)

Polarity inverts the phase of the incoming signal by 180º. When more than one microphone is used to record a single source, inverting Polarity can help reduce phase cancellations.

To toggle the setting, click the control or its text labels.

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Unison Interaction

When the plug-in is used in a Unison insert within the Apollo/Arrow Console application, software and hardware control of Phase is mirrored. Phase can be inverted within the plug-in interface, with Console's polarity button, or with the hardware polarity button on the UA audio interface.

 

PAD

Enable the Input Pad to attenuate the Mic input signal by –20 dB. Pad is not available with Line or Hi-Z input.

To toggle the setting, click the control or its text labels.

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Unison Interaction

When the plug-in is used in a Unison insert within Apollo/Arrow Console application, software and hardware control of the pad is mirrored. Pad can be switched with the –20 button in the plug-in interface, with Console's Pad button, or with Apollo's hardware Pad button.

 

LEVEL

Adjust the Level control to change the gain of the output stage of the Tube Preamp. Higher levels add more coloration (tube distortion) while lower levels provide a cleaner sound.

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Unison Interaction

When the plug-in is placed in a Unison insert on a preamp channel within the Apollo/Arrow Console application and the channel is in Unison Gain Stage Mode, the Level knob on the UA audio interface can be used to adjust this parameter. In this state, an amber outline surrounds this parameter, indicating it is available for hardware control.

Tip: For details on how to enter and exit Gain Stage Mode, see the Unison chapter within the Apollo Software Manual or Arrow Manual.

 

OL LED (Output)

The OL (overload) LED to the right of the Level control illuminates when the audio signal is clipping on output. This LED can be used to avoid clipping or as a guide to how much intentional clipping or color is being applied.

EQUALIZER

HIGH

The High EQ is a fixed 10 kHz high-shelf filter. Adjust the High control to attenuate or boost the gain of the filter from –12.0 to +12.0 dB. Rotate the control clockwise to add more high-end or counter-clockwise to reduce the treble response.

Tip: Click the "0" text label to return the control to the zero position.

FREQ

The Mid EQ provides semi-parametric midrange equalization. Adjust the Freq control to set the center frequency from 300 Hz to 7.2 kHz.

The response for this band is dependent on the Gain setting. The bandwidth (Q) narrows for a more focused peak.

MID

Adjust the Mid control to attenuate or boost the gain of the filter from –12.0 to +12.0 dB.

Tip: Click the "0" text label to return the control to the zero position.

LOW

The Low EQ is a fixed 110 Hz low-shelf filter. Adjust the Low control to attenuate or boost the gain of the filter from –12.0 to +12.0 dB. Rotate the control clockwise to add more low-end or counter-clockwise to reduce the bass response.

Tip: Click the "0" text label to return the control to the zero position.

OUT / IN

This switch bypasses the EQ. When set to Out, the EQ is bypassed. When set to Out and UAD-2 DSP LoadLock is inactive, UAD DSP usage is reduced. To toggle the setting, click the control or its text labels.

OPTO LEVELER

The Opto Leveler module is a classic autoformer-driven optical compressor. It features a simple auto-gain function that compensates for gain loss when dynamic gain reduction is applied, minimizing the need for additional make-up gain.

Gain Reduction Meter

The Gain Reduction Meter indicates the amount of gain reduction in dB. Rotate the Compression knob clockwise for more gain reduction.

COMPRESSION

The Compression control reduces the dynamic range of the incoming signal. Rotate the knob clockwise for more compression.

OUT / IN

When set to Out, the Opto Leveler is bypassed. When set to Out and UAD-2 DSP LoadLock is inactive, UAD DSP usage is reduced.

MASTER

The Master module provides output gain control and metering for the Century Tube Channel Strip plug-in.

VU Meter

The Master VU Meter indicates the output level in dB.

OUTPUT

Adjust the Output control to attenuate or boost the output signal from the Century Tube Channel Strip plug-in from –INF (off) to +12.0 dB. It provides clean, uncolored digital gain.

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Unison Interaction

When the plug-in is placed in a Unison insert on a preamp channel within the Apollo/Arrow Console application and the channel is in Unison Gain Stage Mode, the Output knob on the UA audio interface can be used to adjust this parameter. In this state, a green outline surrounds this parameter, indicating it is available for hardware control.

 

Tip: For details on how to enter and exit Gain Stage Mode, see the Unison chapter within the Apollo Software Manual or Arrow Manual.

OFF/ON Switch

The Off/On switch lets you bypass the entire plug-in. This can be useful for comparing the processed signal to the original, unprocessed signal. When set to Off, the plug-in uses no processor or DSP. When the UAD plug-in is set to Off and UAD-2 DSP LoadLock is inactive, UAD DSP usage is reduced.

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