Update: April 7, 2020. Universal Audio’s Luna for Mac is Released! – Free Download!
You can still read about Luna below but you can also try it yourself! It’s now released to the general public and it’s free for Apollo users on Mac. You can download it from this link: https://www.uaudio.com/luna.html To see it in action, watch the video below and read the summary.
More Features Likely to Come
Universal Audio put out an email last week saying that they’re releasing Luna but weren’t able to include all the features they wanted. Universal Audio being based in LA have been forced to work from home to get Luna out there due to the Los Angeles Covid-19 Safer at Home Order. They decided to put it out even though development had slowed down. So most likely, we can look forward to more features being included in future.
First Look at Namm 2020.
I was at Namm 2020 today and where Universal Audio have released their own DAW called Luna so stay tuned for the first look, video, first impressions and review of their new DAW! Also checkout my exclusive video taken at Namm 2020 above!
Universal Audio’s Luna DAW. What is it and Who is it For?
It’s a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for those who own Universal Audio interfaces and when it launches it will be completely free! Since so many hone studio guys use the UAD Apollo Twin and Apollo range, that’s a lot of people.
Why Do You Want It?
Although it might not be as advanced as some other DAWs in every aspect, it integrates their DSP plugins and adds cool never before seen features like console summing and tape summing out of the box in an easy to implement way as well as some virtual instruments from Universal audio. In fact the whole thing is free right now for those that own a universal audio interfaces.
It will have some paid add-ons as discussed in the video. The available Universal Audio DSP plugins within the DAW will depend on which ones you’ve purchased as usual.
Should You Dump Your Existing DAW For Luna?
Universal Audio’s Luna doesn’t support external control surfaces so if you’re like me and you use either Eucon or Mackie Control or HUI, you’re probably not going to dump your DAW for it just yet. It’s very new so you might wanna test it out first.
It’s free for owners of UAD thunderbolt devices. I forgot to ask in the video if it will be available for non-UAD hardware but based on this post on gearslutz, UAD have said that it will work with an iLok for non-UAD hardware users. However, we can probably safely assume that non-UAD hardware users will have to buy it if they want to use it.
Pros and Cons
- Integration with UAD hardware
- No longer need to use UAD console and a DAW
- DSP Processing
- Built in Analogue Summing and Tape Deck Summing
- Supports AU Plugins also
- Cool new virtual instruments
- FREE for Universal Audio Interface Owners!!!
- No control surface integration on launch
- No VST plugin support
- Probably will lack some advanced features found in some other DAWs on initial release
- Not everything is free. Obviously you still need to buy the DSP plugins you want to use and the DAW will have some paid Add-Ons.
- They are advertising as Mac Only…. for now.
My first impressions are Universal Audio’s Luna is a cool looking DAW and it’s free for now for those that own a Universal Audio interface, so if that is you, you can test it out when it launches.
It’s not out until spring 2020. If you use external control surfaces you’re probably not going to dump your DAW for it just yet. They wouldn’t comment on whether they will be supporting this in the future so we will have to see. If you’re just recording in your own home studio and starting out, it looks like a good choice.
Pro Audio guys, well it’s free so you can test it out when it comes out to see what you think of it.
The guy from the video is super nice and bought me a beer at the bar after the conference on the weekend, a couple of days after I shot the video. Which is all I earned by writing the blog by the way lol. Actually I didn’t even tell him about this blog post. I just told him I thought their DAW looked cool. They seem genuinely interested in making something cool and unique. Given that the biggest issue with most DAWs is not listening to their users and not innovating, I have a feeling Luna might end up becoming a big thing because the UAD guys seem to have a good attitude when it comes to being innovative. He said a few times, all they really want for now is just for people to try it.
People often forget how Presonus Studio One started. I remember hearing one of the guys at Presonus saying that they made it because they thought it would be cool to be able to give out a free DAW with their own interfaces. Then it blew up into a big thing. At first, Studio One was a very simple DAW and evolved over time into something much larger. Given that UAD is launching with some very cool and unique features not seen anywhere and their track record in developing cool plugins, who knows how big it might end up becoming.
For now, the guys from Universal Audio just want you to try it out Luna and give it a go. Given that it’s free for UAD thunderbolt interface users, for those people, there’s really no reason not to try it out.
Clearing Up Mis-Information That Appears in Other Review Sites
P.S. I noticed some confusion and mis-information on some of the other online videos and reviews of Luna.
The new UA virtual instruments are Luna extensions. As mentioned here, Universal Audio’s Luna extensions (such as the virtual instruments and the summing plugins) are Native, not DSP powered. For me, the latency is low enough with Native virtual instruments for playing. I don’t think we need to waste DSP processing on that anyway. As mentioned in the video, summing is better processed Naively.
It’s just the insert and send fx that use DSP processing just like in UAD Console or when using them as a plugin in other DAWs except you get real-time monitoring within the DAW for monitoring without having to use Console.
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