Mar 10, 2022
One of this year's most talked-about moments at NAMM was Universal Audio's stunning surprise unveiling of their new DAW, Luna.
After all the company had learned from its world-class software emulations, low-latency interfacing, and user-friendly interfaces, it looked that this recording system' was a single virtual recording environment.
We'll take a little history lesson before seeing what Luna has to offer now that it has arrived ahead of schedule.
New recording techniques and equipment were to be researched and developed by Universal Recording Corporation, created in 1946. Sound recording was in its infancy at the time. Still, Bill Putnam Senior, its founder, built a virtuous circle by integrating their state-of-the-art facilities with cutting-edge hardware design and manufacture.
We take several recording tools for granted now because of Putnam's innovations, including the structure of mixing consoles, per-channel EQ, and send busing. Urei 1176LN and Teletronix LA-2A processors are still highly sought-after in studios today because of their legendary status.
Putnam sold the company and its brands in 1985. Still, his sons Bill Junior and James restarted the company with a new focus on integrating the sound and spirit of classic analog technology into current digital recording systems in 1999, and this focused approach has been a real success.
Luna refers to recording efforts as "sessions." As soon as you've created or loaded a session, you'll find yourself in the edit view, which has all the standard DAW features, including tracklists, timelines, and transport controls. However, the Focus Channel and Focus Browser that sits to the left of the tracklist are the most noticeable features. A channel strip for the currently selected track appears in the Focus Channel, just as it does in the mixer view, while a context-sensitive panel appears in the Focus Browser.
You may apply plug-ins, settings, and so on to many tracks at once using the Focus Browser, which displays the functions and options relevant to what you're doing at the time. There are just three sorts of tracks available in Luna: audio, instrument, and bus. There is no multi-channel surround capability at the moment, although these can be built-in mono or stereo channel combinations.
Audio tracks record and playback audio signals. You can use an instrument track as either an external synth (with its audio being piped back into the track for monitoring and mixing) or host an AU plug-in instrument or one of the new Luna instruments (which can be purchased separately). Subgroups and send effects channels can be created using internal signal buses created by bus tracks, which can also route other tracks. Bus tracks have drawbacks. Even if they can't be used as outputs from external hardware effects processors, it is a limitation.
A window that looks a lot like the UA Console, the mixer and control panel for Apollo and Arrow devices, appears when you switch to the mixer view. On the other hand, the Luna mixer is designed for recording rather than live performance, and it's analog to boot.
A signal route and workflow similar to those of inline mixing consoles has been reproduced in software by Universal Audio. The record-send and playback-return from a multitrack recorder are introduced into an input channel following the preamp stage. Luna is the same way.
UAD has developed a unique structure for packaging its original instruments for Luna, which can host plug-in instruments (these rely on native processing just as AU instruments do).
Luna provides one such device: Shape is a rompler-style synth with four multi-timbral layers and patches and instruments sampled by firms like Spitfire Audio. Additional libraries for Shape, such as Ravel (a Steinway Model B grand piano emulation produced from samples and physical-modeling techniques), and MiniMoog (a superb replica of the iconic Moog Minimoog) are also available. It has also donated instruments from its Symphonic Brass and Symphonic Woodwind collections for the Luna platform.
Luna also contains a plug-in called a Luna Extension and these instruments. The tape-emulation or input summing slots on an audio track or the bus track can both accept these versions of some UAD-2 plug-ins.
Due to their high price and intended audience of experienced producers and musicians who already have a chosen DAW, most UA Apollo interface owners are likely to be professional musicians and producers. These users will be hard-pressed, especially since that Luna lacks the tools they'll need to transition to another DAW.
In addition, Luna's hardware integration makes it a breeze to use in live recording sessions. Its ability to replicate the sound and workflow of an analog studio should be immensely appealing to producers of all kinds. Luna and the UA Arrow interface are a great place to start if you're thinking about setting up your recording studio. It's a lot less expensive to buy the Arrow now that Luna is free.