You are here

Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Post your own hardware/software reviews.

Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby chachithefonz » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:14 pm

Something to consider:

UAD makes excellent products and you must pay premium price for them. Many folks happily pay that premium to get the gear and plugins. But what happens if their hardware fails or there is a customer service issue? How eager do you think they will be to keep you as a customer when they know you have invested $$ in their software? Not very eager at all in my experience (and others from what I’ve read). I requested a coupon or voucher when my interface onpletely stopped working after 4 years. After some respectful back and forth, the service rep literally suggested I may be better off using another company. They don’t have to provide top tier customer service because they know they have you and you’ll be back for more. I’m sure their market research bears this out. You’re too invested in their ecosystem to quit them. I’m not saying don’t buy UAD. Just something to consider when deciding how to use your $$.
chachithefonz
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:32 pm

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:27 pm

chachithefonz wrote:But what happens if their hardware fails...

I can understand your frustration but, to be fair, no hardware lasts for ever. Okay, so four years is a little disappointing, but there may be lots of different reasons for the failure. Unfortunate and annoying, of course, but these things happen in the real world.

By way of balance, my own UAD card has been functioning flawlessly for eight or nine years now, so I reckon you have just been particularly unlucky.

On the upside, at least you haven't lost all your purchased plugins, you just need to transfer them to a new card -- it means an outlay, but it's not like you have to start again from scratch, and it's not the big financial hit that losing some critical and obsolete component in a classic vintage hardware processor would have potentially cost! Silver linings and all that! ;-)

As for a goodwill gesture from UAD, that's always going to be a difficult call for a business. They want to be as supportive as possible, but if they give freebies away all the time the workers don't get paid... So some line has to be drawn and those that land on the wrong side will always feel aggrieved. At the end of the day, a warranty period is a warranty period and once you go beyond that you're in the lap of the gods over hardware longevity.

Good that UAD were reachable and entered into a dialogue, though, and that it was respectful -- compared to some companies that's another bonus to be appreciated, even if it didn't deliver the results you were hoping for.

As for the suggestion of taking your business elsewhere, well, I wasn't party to the conversation, but what else could the representative suggest if you couldn't be satisfied once he'd exhausted the options available to him?

I’m not saying don’t buy UAD. Just something to consider when deciding how to use your $$.

Fair enough. There was a time when UAD's plugins stood out well above most native plugins in terms of quality and accuracy. However, there are a lot of really superb native plugins available now, and so there are credible alternatives to the UAD platform.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 24568
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby chachithefonz » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:52 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate your perspective.

I can only offer my perspective as a consumer and home hobbyist. I do understand the concept of obsolescence of computers/electronics over time. I’ve owned a lot of gear. But, I’ve never once had a piece of gear die as if it was struck by a sniper’s bullet. Working flawlessly one moment, dead the next.

I believe it could happen occasionally, but I don’t believe it should happen frequently. As for the warranty, I think it’s interesting that a product could (figuratively) erupt into flames after 12 months and the consumer is “in the lap of the gods” as you so eloquently put it. Such a short time frame seems more protective of the company than the consumer.

I do understand your point on their policy. They have a business to run and good for them. Having said that, a small concession on their part would’ve eased my frustration and kept me a UA customer for life. Seems worth it, no? So, now I will wait for my gear to be rescucitated then will live happily with it until it is time to wheel it over to the old folks home for obsolete gear (that could be any day know from what I hear). After that, I will vote with my wallet!

Cheers
chachithefonz
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:32 pm

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:09 pm

chachithefonz wrote: I think it’s interesting that a product could (figuratively) erupt into flames after 12 months and the consumer is “in the lap of the gods” as you so eloquently put it.

If you are in the UK it might be worth looking at

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/per ... right.html
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 8438
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby CS70 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:22 pm

Yeah it's the same in Norway. The manufacturer warranty is often one or two years, but the shop must guarantee the purchase for five years. So if the UAD is kaputt, you should go back where you bought it - often you're asked a proof of purchase but your bank sould be able to fish the transaction if you're used a card.. if you used cash, you need the receipt.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4256
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby chachithefonz » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:42 pm

Sadly, no. I live in the US. Thank you very much for passing along the article. Interesting.
chachithefonz
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:32 pm

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:01 pm

chachithefonz wrote:I’ve never once had a piece of gear die as if it was struck by a sniper’s bullet. Working flawlessly one moment, dead the next.

Yes, it's unusual, but it does happen, and it's almost certainly for a reason completely outside the control of UAD. It could have been a power supply spike in the computer, or an overheating issue, or any of a dozen other things related to the installation or use, rather than the original manufacture or individual component creation.

I don’t believe it should happen frequently.

Of course... but I don't think it does. As I said, my own UAD card has been solid for a long time now, and I can't off-hand think of anyone else I know using UAD cards that have had failures. Of course there could well be some with similar experiences -- it would be interesting to hear of them if so, just to get some sense of perspective.

I think it’s interesting that a product could (figuratively) erupt into flames after 12 months and the consumer is “in the lap of the gods” as you so eloquently put it. Such a short time frame seems more protective of the company than the consumer.

It's based on the idea of the 'bath-tub' effect. If you draw a graph of the failure rate of electronic products (vertically) against time (horizontally), you end up with something that looks like the cross section of a bath. At a lot of boards fail at time of manufacture, so the graph starts quite high at the build point, but then falls very rapidly to a very low level and stays there for a long time until boards start to fail because of the age of the components.

So, the principle is that if the device is going to fail, it's most likely to do so within the first twelve months (usually less, in reality). Hence most warranties only covering that period...

They have a business to run and good for them. Having said that, a small concession on their part would’ve eased my frustration and kept me a UA customer for life. Seems worth it, no?

It's a good point. Personally, I agree with you. In a world where there is so much choice, and it's so easy to suffer lasting damage to corporate reputations from word of mouth over the Interweb it seems a no-brainer to me that companies really need to manage customer relations carefully, and take the most flexible approach to maintaining customer satisfacton. And there are many companies that really do go the extra mile to achieve that. Needless to say... there are also many that do not.

Which is why I think it is entirely fair to allow you to voice your views here in such a calm and balanced way. I can't guarantee that UAD will read or react positively to it... but other companies have in the past.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 24568
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby Wonks » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:19 pm

What UAD interface was it?
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9517
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby chachithefonz » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:43 pm

Wonks wrote:What UAD interface was it?


It is an Apollo Twin Solo
chachithefonz
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:32 pm

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby OneWorld » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:27 pm

chachithefonz wrote: I’ve owned a lot of gear. But, I’ve never once had a piece of gear die as if it was struck by a sniper’s bullet. Working flawlessly one moment, dead the next.


I have, an EMU XL1 (power supply) EMU 2500 - just dropped dead, Behringer ADA8000, again just dropped dead.

I do use UAD and (crossed fingers) the unit has performed flawless over about 5 years now, but I do sort of 'share your pain' this reliance on such equipment can leave you floundering if it goes wrong and for me, it's not so much just the replacing of it, it is getting the replacement and in some cases the convoluted process of getting it set up again - in the case of UAD, the plethora of demo plugins that insist on loading even though you never use them, it too me hours to work through each and stuff them away in another folder, I'd hate to go through all that again.

Not so long ago I had an issue with the Steinberg eLicenser, it just stopped working and I literally had to trawl the web trying to get a fix, I did get one, it was an easy fix, but I had to wait about 3 weeks to get that fix from Steinberg, and it seemed it was not such an uncommon problem, I cannot understand why they didn't post out a round robin informing customers of the issue.
OneWorld
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2623
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby OneWorld » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:38 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote: In a world where there is so much choice, and it's so easy to suffer lasting damage to corporate reputations from word of mouth over the Interweb it seems a no-brainer to me that companies really need to manage customer relations carefully, and take the most flexible approach to maintaining customer satisfaction.

About a month ago I bought a little bit of kit, only £30.00 but the sort of handy gizmo that one buys by way of a speculative purchase. It arrived and what arrived was not what I ordered, so I went straight to the company website and sure enough there was an 'easy streamlined returns process' So I followed the instructions and posted the item back next day recorded delivery - 3 weeks later, 23 emails and 5 phone calls later, nothing but excuses. I Can imagine many people just abandon the effort at trying to get a refund/exchange given the amount of time and effort it requires.

With a little bit of digging (Companies House/Web Hosting Company) I managed to get the managing director's email/phone and so got in touch with him by way of an email sent with a read receipt etc and mentioning in my email "Have you heard of FaceBook, YouTube etc? and how many £30.00's are there in your bank account, that should have been returned to your customers, are you aware of the legislation covered by the Distance Selling Regulations?

Within an hour I got an email back saying the money had been refunded to my bank, together with an extra £10.00 for the inconvenience plus the cost of post I incurred. That being said, I don't know how I would have gone on had it been a company outwith the UK
OneWorld
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2623
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: Universal Audio (think twice before investing)

Postby Glenn Bucci » Wed May 22, 2019 9:57 pm

The next computer I purchased I won't be able to fit my UAD cards in the slots of a computer as most computers don't have those slots available unless you buy a custom computer.

I love UAD plug ins and I spend a lot of money on many of them. Could I get by without them, Yes I could, and to be honest the plug ins I purchased from Waves, Lexicon, Softube, and Plug in Alliance could provide me with all the plug ins I need as well as the bread and butter plugs in in Cubase.

With that being said, I will most likely look at buying a Octo box from UA in the future as I invested so much money with UAD plug ins. In addition, there are some plug ins like the Manley Massive Passive, Manley Vari Mu, and several others that are only available with their platform. But for right now, I am safe using their plug ins with my 4 year old computer. When I need to upgrade, I will be purchasing a Dell computer with Thunderbolt 3 capability. My old RME 96/52 card will probably have to go by the way side, and I will need to update my converters as I will no longer use ADAT and SPDIF. The UA Apollo converters will probably be on top of my list but who knows what else will be available at that time.

With recording studio equipment, we will always need to update our gear over the years. The good news our microphones, pre's, and outboard gear will never get outdated.
User avatar
Glenn Bucci
Frequent Poster
Posts: 511
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Pennsylvania
revelationsoundstudio.com


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users