Design - 7.6/10
Sound - 8.8/10
Value - 7.5/10
Audified recently released the U73b, a classic German broadcast compressor, that faithfully emulated the original. After toying with the design of the U73b and rewiring the circuitry, Audified has come up with a tasty saturation plugin taking the essential pieces of the U73b and adding high-pass and low-pass filters to add in-depth control in a simple interface. Let’s dive into the Audified U78 and see how it can bring a mix to life.
The Audified U78’s simplistic design makes it easy to get saturation sounds that please the ear with ease. Similar to the U73b, the U78 begins with a calibration control, just like in the circuitry of the original. This is important to set properly to allow the U78 to operate in the proper range. It defaults at -9 dB, which is a good starting point. After setting the calibration, we move to the middle panel to set the gain. This control has a wide range of effect for input gain to saturation, and very thick and rich tone can come from cranking it up. A high-pass and low-pass control is also included before the saturation circuit, as well as a tone control to go between darker or brighter frequency output.
A mix control is a welcome part of a saturator for precise control of the effect. Finally, the output control on the Audified U78 also includes an auto setting, allowing consistent output no matter how much gain is chosen. The interface allows for direct input of values for each control at the top of the plugin, which helps when matching settings across multiple instances of the effect.
We were impressed with the ability to go from very light saturation to deep, yet pleasant tones, all with a easy change in the gain control. We also enjoy this ease of use most when working on lead and background vocals. Pulling back the gain just a bit on the lead while adding a bit of bright tone gave a new life to my lead vocals, while adding some gain in the background vocals gave them the grit to punch through a heavy rock mix.
We also love adding the Audified U78 to supporting instruments in a mix, especially keys and pads. Playing with the tone and gain knobs together opened up more creative options for the direction we took our sounds in a mix, from strong and upfront to settling back in the rhythm section and holding down the grove (Hint: The U78 is amazing on a bass or synth-bass track!). We find the presets to be a solid starting point we can work from and get a feel for how saturation will assist in the tone we’re looking for.
Audified really worked some creative magic to cook up the Audified U78 with all the versatility it offers, and it’s hard to find spots where it doesn’t shine. Pairing this with a well EQ’d and compressed track consistently worked wonders in spots where we wanted something different, but was lacking the flavor to change it.