Universal Audio Announces Thunderbolt-Equipped Satellite DSP Processors


When computers became fast enough for Native audio processing (that is, utilizing the computer’s CPU for plug-in use) the field of desktop audio immediately became available to a much larger demographic. CPU resources were still limited, especially since high-quality DSP processing requires intense computation, which by today’s standards, resulted in “lightweight” quality output. One solution was to install additional PCI cards with DSP solely dedicated to plug-in processing. But, what about the computer user who didn’t have slots available for installing such a card?

Universal Audio was one of the companies that came out with an external solution; a desktop enclosure that contained dedicated DSP for processing its plug-ins and utilized a FireWire connection. An added advantage was the ability to create higher-quality plug-ins. However, computer development does not stand still, so the company has announced these same Satellite DSP accelerators in QUAD and OCTO configurations using Thunderbolt connectivity. Using the faster transfer protocol, latency is further reduced and, with the larger DSP capacity, Universal Audio’s plug-ins have benefited sonically.

The UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt QUAD Core desktop DSP accelerator features four SHARC processors and ships with the company’s Analog Classics plug-in bundle. The UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt QUAD Custom has the same processors but features a choice of three additional plug-ins. The UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt OCTO Core ups the ante with eight SHARC processors along with the Analog Classics bundle, while the UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt OCTO Custom delivers the same additional three plug-in option. However, for the hard core plug-in user, UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt OCTO Ultimate ships with seventy-nine of UA’s plug-ins.