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Universal Audio Luna – First Look: What’s Included

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Universal Audio’s new recording software Luna is here! Apollo interface owners have long been dreaming of a UAD focused recording platform, and now they have one, for free! UA’s Apollo Twin and Arrow interfaces offer a reasonably affordable way into the UAD ecosystem and the fact that they now include Luna, a full-featured recording program, is a huge bonus.

UA offers a way to extend Luna’s functionality via what they call Extensions, and some of these are paid add-ons but several of them are included for free. We thought we’d take a look at what’s included for free right out of the box, and we will explore the additional content in an upcoming article. 

All Apollo and Arrow interfaces include the Analog Classic plugin bundle and Luna, of course, has well-integrated UAD plugin support. On top of that, much of Console’s (UA’s mixer software for Apollo and Arrow interfaces) functionality has been integrated directly into Luna. No longer do you need to leave your DAW to instantiate Unison plugins or set up headphone mixes.  

One of the most commonly utilised categories of UAD plugins is the tape emulation and this concept has been built directly into Luna. Just unfold a channel strip’s tape slot and you’ll find the option to activate one of two Luna Extension Tape emulations. Oxide is included for free, and the Studer A800 model is available as an additional purchase. If you own the Studer A800 UAD plugin, you automatically get the Studer Luna Extension at no extra cost. 

One of our biggest Luna surprises was the inclusion of the ‘Shape’ virtual instrument, one of three Luna Extensions instruments announced at launch. For a completely free bundled instrument, Shape sounds fantastic. It’s diverse, multi-gigabyte sample library covers everything from pianos to drums, to synths to orchestral ensembles. It offers the ability to layer up to four presets together with a per-part effect send levels and easy to access global controls such as amp envelope and filter cutoff.  

Many of these ‘rompler’ virtual instruments have a couple of standout patches and a lot of filler, but we were thoroughly impressed by every patch inside of Shape’s extensive library.  

So there’s plenty of free content to get you started within Luna, but that’s far from the whole story. Stay tuned for our next article where we look at the additional Luna Extensions including Neve summing, sample libraries from Spitfire Audio, and of course the Ravel and MiniMoog virtual instruments.  

Luna is available now for Mac as a free download for owners of compatible UA audio interfaces.

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