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Reviews Tape/Vinyl simulator

Waves J37 Tape Review

A Wave of Saturation As you probably have already noticed, tape saturation is really hip right now. Although already having plug-ins in the same genre, a leading publisher like Waves couldn't simply ignore the current frenzy for such products. And that's where the J37 Tape comes in. Can it stand out from the rest? That's what we are about to discover... read more…

U-He Satin Review

Night in White Satin Ever since the advent of computer music, many plug-ins have promised us "a true analog sound." This marketing gimmick has been so widely and mischievously used that it has become tiresome... However, when the creator of the sublime virtual synth Diva addresses the issue, our curiosity is inevitably aroused! read more…

User reviews on Tape/Vinyl simulator products

Works with your transport controls (Slate Digital - VTM Virtual Tape Machines)

By stompboxjon, 02/12/2012
The Slate Digital Virtual Tape Machines has some really useful features. If you are into digital recordings then this is a plug in that you need to invest in. This system is modeled from the old school analog tape recorders (16 track). The tape reels are synced with your transport controls in your program/DAW so that if you start or stop it will start or stop with it. The Virtual Tape Machines has two different tape speeds that you can choose from very easily and they are 15 ips and 30 ips along with 2 different tape formulations.

SUITABILITY/PERFORMANCE

This software plug in works great with my system and has never crashed or had any sort of errors so far. I have not had this installed long so it will be interesting to see how it will hold up over the course of the next year within my DAW. It seems to be very stable so far though and was very easy to set up and only took a few minutes to get the swing of it. It is a very basic plug in but gives you great control.

OVERALL OPINION

My favorite aspect about it is that if you are into that vintage feel and want to control your tape speed and add some other things to it you will be able to accomplish those things in a digital format. I am more of an old school guy and I actually remember using the real Tape Machines way back. So this is kind of a refreshing feeling working with this plug in. It is very affordable costing only 200 USD and can be purchased and downloaded instantly. Or you can opt for the boxed version to be mailed to your house. But either way you will have a manual to read to help you with installation and understanding how it works. It is a true gem, and gives you some great options to use like noise reduction and auto mute.
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Great Tape Saturation/Echo (Waves - Kramer MPX Master Tape)

By tarrtime, 03/12/2012
Kramer MPX Master Tape is a plug-in from Waves to be used inside a DAW. The software is easy to install and authorize. There are only a few controls, but they aren't immediately intuitive when you first try out the plug-in.

This plug-in can be used for a couple of different processing reasons. It can add some subtle tape compression/glue to your tracks. It can add heavy tape saturation/distortion. It can add tape delay/echo. It can even add some extra bottom end to your tracks.

Tape Hiss/Noise can be mixed in at different volumes. Wow & Flutter is also variable, which can be added in subtly or with extreme settings. I've found in practice I always turn off the noise and wow & flutter.

SUITABILITY/PERFORMANCE

The main function of the plug-in to add glue/saturation to your tracks is controlled by the input level and the 'flux'. I read an interview on the Waves website that suggested using the input dial so the signal is peaking at 0 on the VU meter. This was typical of how the level was set on real tape machines back in the day. Then it was suggested to crank up the flux to achieve the desired glue/saturation.

In my opinion, turning up the input dial so that the signal is peaking well above 0 on the VU meter can achieve good tape saturation as well. Its all up to you to experiment with.

I usually use the 15'' tape speed because it doesn't color the sound to much. The 7.5'' setting adds some boost to the low-end and rolls off some of the top-end. Occasionally, this can be useful - like on a drum bus or to tame the top-end of distorted electric guitars.

OVERALL OPINION

Tape saturation/compression effects are useful as a cumulative effect across all your tracks - on every track, and on your mix-down bus. Kramer MPX is a good tool to take off the digital edge/sharpness of recording in the box (ITB).

I also own the Slate Digital Virtual Tape Machine plug-in. I have never used or heard the UAD tape plug-ins. Compared to VTM, I prefer Kramer MPX for heavy saturated tape effects compared to VTM. However, I use VTM more for the subtle glue of tape on more of my tracks. I also like that VTM offers a modeled 'bus' tape machine along with the single 'track' tape machine. VTM only offers a single tape model.
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Accurate Tape Simulation (Slate Digital - VTM Virtual Tape Machines)

By tarrtime, 04/12/2012
Slate Digital Virtual Tape Machine is a software plug-in to be used inside a DAW. Installation is performed after a direct download of the software from the slatedigital.com website. Authorization is achieved on an iLok2.

This plug-in can be used to simulate the sound of your tracks being recorded to tape. There have been many people dissatisfied with the digital recording medium for sounding sterile in comparison to tape. To this day it is common for mastering engineers to bounce a mix to tape just to capture that extra punch of having the music on tape.

If you think your recordings sound too digital, this plug-in might help you solve that problem. You might also want to check out the Virtual Console Collection from Slate Digital that emulates the sound of analog hardware.

SUITABILITY/PERFORMANCE

This plug-in is easy to use. The main control is to set the simulated level of the input signal to the tape. Increasing the input level will add more 'saturation' to the signal, similar to what happens if you record loud signals to tape. Apart from that, you can select tape speed as either slow/fast. A slower tape speed emphasizes lower frequencies. 'Bias' allows you to control if the plug-in emphasizes low or high frequencies as well. You can select between single channel tape simulation for individual tracks, or 2 channel tape simulation for mix-down by emulating a mastering tape machine. You can also select between two different kinds of magnetic tape from different manufactures. These last two controls are really subtle and probably only important for the most anal engineers and tape aficionados.

Hidden under the settings panel are controls for tape hiss (if you really want to sound realistic), and bass emphasis. One of the main reasons people like the sound of tape is that it beefs up the low-end, perfect for bass guitar and drums. This control allows the user to dial in the desired about of extra 'umph to the low-end.

OVERALL OPINION

This plug-in does a good job of making your tracks sound like they were recorded to tape. I have never seriously recorded with tape, so I can't make a direct comparison of how well it simulates tape. I can also say, that I have no desire to buy a tape machine and tape, and have to maintain the whole set-up. However, I would like my recordings to sound like they were recorded to tape. I'd prefer to have a close simulation that have to deal with the hassles of the real thing.

VTM is the most accurate emulation that I have used. I also own Waves Kramer MPX Master Tape. I prefer to uses the MPX plug-in when I want heavy tape-saturation effects. I really like MPX for the extreme effects, but think VTM does a better job on gluing all my tracks together when used subtly. I don't really like how VTM sounds when you really overdrive the input.

A few small things to be aware with VTM - it is extremely CPU intensive, and adds over 2000 samples of delay to your tracks when inserted.
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News Tape/Vinyl simulator

Three special offers at Waves this Sunday

Published on 04/24/16
This Sunday again, Waves offers special prices on three of their plugins.

Waves' special offers this Sunday

Published on 01/31/16

Waves' November special sales

Published on 11/04/15

Feature Articles Tape/Vinyl simulator

Top paid magnetic tape machine emulators

Published on 03/28/18
Top paid magnetic tape machine emulators
Oh, the sound of tape! That "something" that so many people miss in digital recordings. Although there are plug-ins that do just that...

Forums Tape/Vinyl simulator