Universal Audio’s name is synonymous with heritage and quality. Founded in the 1950’s by Bill Putnam Sr, UA was a natural extension of his unparalleled success as a recording engineer, studio designer, and inventor. Putnam was a favorite engineer of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and many other music icons of the time. The studios he designed and operated were acclaimed for their distinctive sound and provided a fertile environment for his innovations and experiments.
Putnam started three audio manufacturing companies during his career, Universal Audio, Studio Electronics, and UREI. All three built products that remain widely used decades after their introduction, including the ubiquitous LA-2A and 1176. Bill Putnam Jr. later described, “He was a guy that built equipment to solve problems in the studio.
In 1999 Bill Jr. and James Putnam, re-launched Universal Audio to reproduce classic analog recording equipment designed by their father and his colleagues, and to research and design new recording tools in the spirit of vintage analog technology.
The result is the unique situation of a company that produces equipment both in hardware (fully analogue, no dsp in sight!) and software. In this sense Universal Audio has a real advantage in developing software emulations that capture the sound of their hardware counterparts.
The Fairchild compressor was a favourite of the Beatles, and its ability to process the 'mono' and 'side' elements of a stereo mix makes it precious in Mastering, to correct and enhance the reverberation and width characteristics of the material processed.
This software emulation – and many others – is installed on our UAD card and available to use for LSS students in the school's south campus.
See and HEAR these fantastic tools in action. The Universal Audio Video LIbrary contains excellent tutorials that demonstrate how to mix and master 'in the box'. Make sure you listen to the tutorials on studio speakers or reference headphones!