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sadicus

Tell me About - Analog Tape Saturation VST

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I'm not an engineer and my ears might not pick up the subtly so Anyone that has an opinion Tell me About - Analog Tape Saturation.
What is considered  'the best' and why. There are so many including the built in Cakewalk tape. 
I think it has something to do with making the high-end not so brittle sounding?

 

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Tape exhibited a low-frequency "head bump" that added a low-frequency boost; this was different for different tape speeds. Also, tape softened transients and added distortion. Even sine waves as low as -20 dB would start showing a tiny bit of distortion, which increased as the level increased. The distortion also meant you could get a higher average level.

But bear in mind that there's no such thing as "universal" tape saturation. Tape required interacting EQ and bias adjustments that had an effect on frequency response, distortion, and level. So for example you could have better high-frequency response if you were willing to trade off for more distortion. Also, different tape formulations had different characteristics. Tape Emulation plug-ins should be called "emulations of particular recorders, using particular tape, calibrated in a specific way, and which may or may not have been well-maintained."

I wrote a comprehensive article for the Waves web site comparing their J37 and Kramer master tape plug-ins. It does not go into marketing-speak, it's about what tape did and what tape emulation does. It also has a couple audio examples, and I think it will answer pretty much any questions you might have about tape emulation.

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I've heard really good things about Softube Tape, and I have been considering it myself. Although I've read reports from some people here saying that Cakewalk has some problems with that, forgetting settings? Is that still the case?

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@Craig Andertonthank you that really is well explained AND with audio examples! Your ability to write music and detailed articles is impressive!
@GreenLightyea a good example is $99 Softube Tape vs $29 Analog Pro. Hmm I need my song to worble like it's played on a FisherPrice Stereo plastic Disc! ..oh and don't forget the dust noise, gotta add a sprinkle of that.

It's the same in 3D animation, gotta add the imperfections to make it look real.
Digital and HD and 8k etc, I think that we liked the lie. Kids these day don;t even know what quality is. lol

Edited by sadicus

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I guess at this price range they all do about the same thing?

$99 Softube Tape - Tape Machine Emulation
$30  Analog Pro
$50 Kramer Master Tape

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I am also saying Waves Kramer Master Tape - and the authorizing does not require iLok anything. You can have authorize on disk or any memory stick.
Another plugin in a bundle with Master Tape is HLS EQ(Helios) which also bring loveliness and you can go wild on eq and it just sound better, kind of. No sharp edges and harschness.

So I would look for good price on Kramer TapeTubeTransistors bundle.

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14 hours ago, sadicus said:

I guess at this price range they all do about the same thing?

$99 Softube Tape - Tape Machine Emulation
$30  Analog Pro
$50 Kramer Master Tape

There are way more options than that and they really do all sound different.

All impact the high end in different ways, all impact teh low end in different ways, all color the sound in different ways.   

A good one should be fairly subtle, but able to push it more for effect if needed.

IK Multimedia has 4 different tape emulators - they sound great, but somewhat resourse hungry

Kramer Master Tape is an old standard but  I'd buy Waves J37 anyday over it (though I'd also stay away from WAVES due to single computer authroization)

Softube = ilok so limited authorization there as well.

 

Check out Airwindows Tape - it is free - while it basically only has 2 sliders, it frankly sounds as good as many of the paid counterparts.

ToneBoosters Reelbus 4 is like $40.  You can give it a free test spin.   It impacts and tames more of the high end than I generally prefer but a good option with a fully resizable gui and a number of tweaks you can make under the hood that are fairly unique.

Taupe is very good  - but also very resource hungry https://www.acustica-audio.com/pages/acqua-manuals

 

I would personally try a few before buying.   Use them on a few different types of projects.  

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The variety of responses as to what is "best" should give a clue about how subjective this all is. :)

You can always try just adding a low-frequency boost in the same range as a head bump for your speed of choice, and add a bit of saturation. 

Frankly. I the only time I use "tape emulation" is (sometimes) on acoustic guitars to saturate the pick transients, and bass so it cuts better on mixes played through crappy playback systems. And for acoustic guitars, a transient shaper is often better at taming pick transients.

There's no "magic bullet" to make a mix sound wonderful, other than an awesome song. and the ability to hear all the instruments clearly.

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Can I presume that since you're discussing prices of 3rd party plugins that the tape emulators in CbB aren't that great?

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16 hours ago, razor7music said:

Can I presume that since you're discussing prices of 3rd party plugins that the tape emulators in CbB aren't that great?

Depends on what you compare them to and the sound you want from them.

It is the most convenient to add to every track that is for sure.    As you can load it on the tracks with a few button clicks.   

I personally did not find it as satisfying as some of the other options on the market (gotta remember that Cakewalk Tape plugin is now 6-7 years old.  not a huge deal, but I think we have seen some advances in efficient processing and complexity in that time frame).  

But these things can and generally should be very subtle.   Almost as though when you A/B you hear the difference but otherwise likely would not.  

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