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Anyone Use the Luna DAW from Universal Audio?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by tlite, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. tlite

    tlite Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2016
    Curious to hear what people like or don't like if anyone has tried it.

    LUNA Recording System - Analog Sound at the Speed of Light

    I have a sample size of one friend who got an Apollo unit and gives Luna a thumbs up but he didn't get specific. He was/is a ProTools guy up until now, anyway.
  2. I would be trying it out if I wasn't a Windows user. A buddy of mine has been playing with it and for what it does it's amazing.
    That being said, it's missing most of the bells and whistles of other DAWs out there, being a new release and all. My understanding is that for audio recording it's great, but if you want to integrate MIDI, soft synths, and other modern music recording, it's not there yet.
    I'm more interested in what it will be in about 2 years (especially if there is a Windows version by then).
  3. It seems like it's tied to their hardware. That is a deal breaker for me.
    The Owl likes this.
  4. tlite

    tlite Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2016
    Thanks- still haven't heard much on Luna at all so this is helpful. I'm also on Windows and hadn't caught that it was Mac only. Also interesting about the MIDI functionality. I don't use tons of MIDI, but definitely use it. Sounds like one to keep an eye on.

    I have Cubase 9.5 pro now, but dabbling in other DAWs. Don't know why but despite all the features I've never entirely bonded with the workflow. Just downloaded Reaper and Cakewalk as it's easy and free to do, but haven't test driven them yet.
  5. It's definitely tied to their hardware. That's part of the point.

    Although their hardware is very expensive compared to the competitors, the integration between plugins running on the hardware provides for real time monitoring with no latency at all, and integrating that further with LUNA makes the system behave like actual analog hardware would (ie. not latency throughout the system), while providing all the benefits of computer based recording (setting recall etc.).

    Plus their emulations sound absolutely fantastic.

    That being said, it took me until their latest X series of interfaces to drink the Koolaid and pay the extra bucks for their high-end gear. Other manufacturers make interfaces that are also fantastic (MOTU, Presonus, etc.) and I've used them. But I'm building a professional home studio and only want the best now.
    cavemanbass and tlite like this.
  6. I've only briefly touched Cubase, and currently Studio One is my DAW of choice. I would recommend it over LUNA until LUNA gets more established. So I integrate my Apollo gear with Studio One with no issues. It's just that I have to use UA's Console software for setting up realtime monitoring. For mixing, MIDI, etc. it's all directly in Studio One.

    Also, check out UA's forums for more info on what people think of LUNA LUNA Recording System
    Geri O and tlite like this.
  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I'm nitpicking here, but...
    I've always hated how UA markets this. It's simply inaccurate. You cannot send an analog signal through a converter, process it either in the computer or through outboard processing, route it to another converter and have it feed a set of monitors or headphones and have no latency. It's a physical impossibility. That said, what they achieve is very very low latency. Perhaps the functional difference is imperceptible, but it's always bugged me that they can get away with saying "no latency" in their marketing.

    In that case what you'll want is a UAD satelite for running their plugins and someone else's converters. UA's converters have consistently tested as lower fidelity than their competitors at similar price points. They certainly still sound fantastic, but if you're after the "best" then offerings from folks like Burl are going to be a step above what UA offers for conversion, and with a price tag that matches that extra tiny bit of performance :smug:
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  8. I thought about asking when he was getting his Mothership, but decided against it.
  9. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA

    Those Mothership setups are DOPE. An engineer I know here in Seattle has one as well as a bunch of Shadow Hills 500-series preamps with the selectable transformers. Very drool-inducing, but admittedly a tier of products I’m not likely to ever enter despite running a studio.
  10. tlite

    tlite Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2016
    I had never heard of the Burl Mothership. Googled it. Good gravy. A B80 would be quite the upgrade from my M-Audio Profire 610.

    Like going from a Vespa to an F-16.
  11. Well, when I said only want the best, I suppose I should have included "that I can afford and have access to". ;-)

    As for the zero latency, I agree, it's not 100% truth, but when using the UA stuff for monitoring, it's as good as an analog mixing desk. I used to try to monitor using software and even at lowest latency settings I would often have singers who were bothered by 32ms delay. Then I used a Mackie Onyx 1640i and was able to monitor completely in the analog domain. Now that I'm on Apollo X series, I get the same results as on the Mackie.

    I'm probably never going to own a Mothership, but I might get a B32 Vancouver for analog summing. It would go well, since I live on Vancouver Island.
  12. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    UA being the best you can afford is still a pretty great position to be in. High quality gear for sure.

    That sounds right to me. I use direct input monitoring whenever I can to capture a monitoring path ahead of the converters. If I have to use software monitoring I do everything I can to get the roundtrip latency down to 8ms or better as that’s supposedly the threshold of human latency perception. Sources on that vary, but at that value the two sources are perceived as being identical. It requires a lot of computing power and not going bananas with DSP.

    Vancouver Island is great. I’m just down the way in Seattle and spend a lot of time in the San Juan Islands just south of you.
    Edgetone likes this.
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Hmm. I’d say more like 4ms. Anything over that feels chorus-y IMO.
  14. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    8ms is the accepted standard according to many publications. There are tests online with audio samples played at specific intervals apart. I would be surprised if you could repeatedly/reliably hear a 4ms difference between samples, but I’m always happy to be surprised.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  15. cavemanbass


    Nov 5, 2010
    I tried the entry level UA Arrow (now re-branded Apollo Solo) and was floored by the sound of the plugins. Latency when playing straight through the unit is imperceptible to me, like playing through analog hardware. This is what I use for my sound now, all my compressor / preamp / eq / OD / etc pedals just sit on the shelf.
    Having said that, the round trip latency of Apollo - going into a DAW and back out - is considerably higher then other interfaces I’ve tried. At similar settings my cheapo Focusrite gets to 7.5ms total latency in Studio One, whereas the Apollo does 8.5ms. Considering the Apollo is Thunderbolt that is pretty lame. And btw using “low latency” mode in Studio One.
    In practice it’s not an issue unless you want to monitor through the DAW while tracking. I would do that if it were possible since I’d like to use a plugin on the DAW output for room / speaker compensation. The other use case for me is Jamkazam where you have to monitor through the application. Haven’t been doing much of that lately, too much frustration with internet latency. But at some point the interface would become the bottleneck and I’d have to switch to something like Motu M4 or a Presonus Quantum.
    I’ve started using Luna, mainly as control panel for the DSP and for tracking. A few glitches but mostly works well.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  16. MuttThud


    Aug 31, 2017
    Big UAD fan here. I use Arrow plus a bunch of their plugins for all of my tracking when recording. Their plugins are amazing - really solid, latency is unmeasurably low, and the hardware-software integration is fantastic.

    I’m checking out Luna now (on Mac, so I can....). I love the GUI... photorealistic hardware and an ‘outboard into tape machine’ paradigm works for my brain... in musical terms I grew up in 1980s recording studios, so it’s like coming home.

    But... there is a lot missing still. Audio editing workflow is pretty limited compared with other DAWs (poor take management, comping really not great, audio alignment is manual only transient by transient etc) and there are a fair number of odd bugs.

    That said, this is a 1.0 release, it’s free if you own UAD gear and - most importantly - the UAD guys made the decision to release it earlier than planned in the Covid lockdown to get user feedback on a work in progress build rather than wait for a Big Bang launch. Point is, UAD know that Luna isn’t there yet and they’re actively looking for user input. Which is cool.

    My 2c.... version 1.0 has promise but isn’t quite ready for prime time. Version 2.0 of this thing could be an absolute gamechanger IF UAD stick with it and get it right.

    I have no connection with UAD at all BTW... honest feedback only.
    tlite and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  17. tlite

    tlite Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2016
    Super helpful- thanks!
    MuttThud likes this.
  18. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    I love UAD , huge fan since UAD-1.

    Luna looks interesting but there is too many feature missing from Digital Performer wich I use since '95.
    Missing features and having to learn your way in a new software is a deal breaker for me.
  19. Biggbass

    Biggbass Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I've been using it since release. If you are an Apollo user then it's a great match.
    Luna is a good platform for music production but for broadcast production it lacks a time code counter. Hopefully they'll add that as they continue to tweak the software.