Universal Audio’s new Luna Recording System is a digital audio workstation (DAW) aimed squarely at anyone who digs the analog vibe and tape recorder/mixing console workflow. Actually, in this case, a digital emulation thereof—something UA’s Apollo audio interfaces with their on-board DSP processing and plug-in architecture are known for.

The kicker? Luna is free if you already own a UA Thunderbolt interface. If you don’t, the ante is $500 for UA’s entry-level Arrow. Hardly chump change, but if my initial hands-on is any indication, you may be willing to pony up—in due time.

At the moment, there are minor bugs and unimplemented features, though fewer than you might expect for a 1.x program that was released early for a world rife with clamoring shut-ins.


I spent about 15 minutes luxuriating in Luna’s new-car smell and getting used to the general layout. That was more than enough time for the schematical and operational resemblance to Pro Tools to sink in. Even the keyboard shortcuts are largely the same. It’s not note for note, but the users of Avid’s flagship DAW will feel at home right off the bat.

After the break-in period, it was time to delve into some of the impressive stuff going on under the hood. First and foremost there’s the largely seamless melding of the Apollo interface DSP effects with those that are computer-rendered. Formerly, UA’s separate Console application was required to set up the Apollo’s DSP effects on cue mixes (what the artist hears in the headphones) and inputs. Now Luna handles all that so visits to Console are rare.

As a byproduct of this DAW/hardware integration, there’s no configuring of the audio interface. Inputs appear automatically and there’s no buffer size setting. When you create

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