Valhalla UberMod mini-review
Whilst perusing the FLStudio forum regarding an alternative to their ‘delay bank’ plugin, someone recommended Valhalla’s ‘UberMod’. I promptly downloaded the demo and was initially somewhat confused – I thought it was ‘just’ a chorus / ensemble unit, I didn’t realise there were many more presets ! Upon exploring all the other presets, it started to reveal its complexity and flexibility. I should say that I find a relatively small amount of musical gear that really excites me and keeps me wanting to learn more about it and this is definitely one of the things that does. In this mini-review, I’m not going to go into a breakdown of all the available parameters (which are many), I’m more writing about about my overall thoughts on this plug-in and it’s unique qualities. I’m no great expert on classic high end modulation units, but as I do use the modern equivalents a lot, I have some useful insight (hopefully !) here and consider them to be an integral part of my processing ‘tool-kit’ for my ambient work. UberMod will now be very much part of such processing duties.
UberMod is a multi-fx unit, in that it covers modulation, delay, reverb and various other sonic weirdness. By way of comparison, the only reverb/modulation hardware that I have owned was a pretty basic Art Multiverb FX processor in the 90s, other than that, lots of stomp boxes and the occasional usage of some higher end Lexicon units. From memory, I tried to recreate the guitar sound I was getting many moons ago with a Boss CH-2/delay/reverb set of stompboxes. I think I was able to achieve this and go much further.
With UberMod, there is a lot going on ‘under the bonnet’, so to speak. There are nine different modulation algorithms to start with. I think the supplied presets are very good, but there’s much more that can be done with experimentation. For guitar, I found that a ‘transparent’ modulation can be achieved (no obvious vibrato, unless thats what you want), which did a very good job of ‘thickening’ things. The diffusion element is really interesting to me, I was able to create some great Harold Budd-esque piano type sounds. Using different instances of the plugin for (say) modulation or reverb or delays yields interesting results (incidentally, FLStudio’s ‘patcher’ is very good for creating multi-fx presets) ‘Unusual’ delays are one of it’s strong points (particularly with drums and percussion), as are ‘multi-fx’ presets and unique modulation configurations. There is a lot of scope for really ‘shaping’ almost any parameters and it’s all usable stuff, not just lots of ‘wacky’ presets. I’ve spent weeks experimenting with UberMod now and I’m still finding new combinations and possibilities – no ‘one trick pony’ here !
The minimalistic GUI suits me, I tire of all the eye candy stuff out there, this GUI does the job. UberMod allows you to export (and import) presets as text files, which is a pretty handy feature. The plug-in is very extensively documented on Sean Costello’s (the developer) Blog http://valhalladsp.wordpress.com/ with some very helpful ideas on creating new sounds with UberMod.
So, a very high quality plug-in with lots of scope for extensive experimentation, low CPU usage, a very reasonable price and an active developer – great stuff all round. Recommended ! Download the demo, it’s fully functional (with intermittent audio drop outs) here :
I’m playing some simple guitar chordal stuff to show eight presets that I made for an overdriven guitar sound, to try to achieve my favourite Alex Lifeson (Rush guitarist) type sound (‘thickening’ modulations primarily) The presets are faded in/out using FLstudio’s automation and I’m playing similiar stuff each time, to emphasise the different presets qualities.