Tape Emulation Plug-ins For Your DAW
Post date:Wed, 11/13/2019 - 08:01
It is amazing to think that thanks to digital audio workstations and plug-ins most users can have access to features that professional studios could only dream about a few years ago. This is also exciting for vintage synth enthusiasts as it allows access to software that recreates features of analog equipment that are almost impossible to find. Purists will always prefer the real deal, of course, but for some users, there is simply not enough cash or space to go completely vintage. Sometimes using a plug-in is simply more convenient too, as is the case with tape emulation. Using a plug-in to emulate the sound of a tape deck can provide you with all the noise, saturation, wobble and distortion you desire without having to worry about the tangle. If you are looking to recreate that classic sound of the 1980s in your mixes, then the following tape emulation plug-ins can help a great deal.
PSP VintageWarmer 2
PSP VintageWarmer 2 is a great plug-in for giving you the type of saturation effects that were typical of analog tape recorders. It features high-quality signal processing algorithms, single or multi-band signal processing and a whole library of presets. In addition to adding some great analog type-style compression to your mixes, it can also be used to shape the dynamics of recordings during mixes, add warmth to individual tracks or complete mixes and much more. A 30-day demo for this plug-in is available if you want to try it out before buying.
Toneboosters ReelBus 4
ReelBus 4 is a faithful magnetic tape recording plug-in, but can also be used as a flanger and echo simulator. With this plug-in, you can adjust the amount of tape hiss and asperity noise you want on your tracks. In fact, for this version of the plug-in Toneboosters improved their tape simulation algorithms and added a bunch of new effects, including one that can simulate various degrees of tape damage. Even better, the plug-in is available for iOS and iPADOS with program banks that can be imported into the desktop version if you prefer working on your ideas on the go.
Slate Digital Virtual Tape Machines
Virtual Tape Machines by Slate Digital is a favorite amongst pro engineers for the way this plug-in can add warmth and punch to your mixes while giving them that analog sound. VTM gives you the option of choosing either a 16-track 2-inch tape machine or a 1/2inch stereo mastering deck along with the two most popular tape formulations. In addition, this plug-in accurately emulates tape speeds of 15 and 30 ips, which are the most common ones. A Virtual Tape Machines demo is available and the plug-in can either be purchased at a once-off price or used as part of the Slate Digital All Access Pass.
Waves Kramer Master Tape
The Kramer Master Tape plug-in has the distinction of being developed in association with the legendary Eddie Kramer. It is modeled on a rare vintage 1/4" reel-to-reel machine and provides users with comprehensive control over things like tape speed, flux, bias, wow & flutter, as well as noise parameters. Whether used for recording, mixing, or mastering, this plug-in can provide you with warmth and richness. A demo version of this plug-in is available if you are curious about what it can do before putting down your money.
Tape by Softube is a plug-in that includes three different tape machines that are easy to use. Adding some warm, vintage sound to your mixes is as easy as selecting one of the tape machines and adjusting the "Amount" knob. Of course, if you want a little more control you can also experiment with the speed settings, adjust the tape machine's speed stability, crosstalk and other features. Thankfully, Tape is also light on your processor, so you can add Tape to every track in your mix without having to worry about your PC or laptop having a meltdown.
These are by no means the only tape plug-ins that are available on the market, but they offer a great place to start if you want that vintage analog warmth in your mixes. Other notable plug-ins include Saturn by Fabfilter, Satin by U-He, Ozone 9 Vintage Type by Izotope, and Outer Space by Audiothing. Let us know in the comments or on the forum if you are a fan of the vintage type sound, whether hardware or plug-in and which ones you use for your own tracks.