Originally Posted by Kiwiburger
If you do a search on the individual product names, you'll find a lot of comments. I don't recall an actual shoot out - so this might be a good place.
Hardware - there is a lot of stuff about the Neve 5042. That's basically a taperecorder with no tape - the record & playback heads face each other. Mr Neve believes that most of the "tape" magic is actually in the tape heads and associated electronics - and this makes a lot of sense. So the main thing you don't get is wow & flutter, but it's probably the next best thing to a Studer.
I think the key is more than just having the heads and the "studer." Most of the saturation occurs in the tape itself. And without the complex interaction of bias current, b-h curves on the tape and the complex result that comes off the tape, the Neve is just a "low order approximation." It may even sound good, but it's not tape.
I like the Cranesong "tape" emulator in the Hedd. It does a nice job, but doesn't quite have the "presence" of tape. But as a "sweetener" it has its place, a little bit of HEDD is NOT THE SAME AS TAPE, but nice nevertheless when you're looking to "fuzz things up" and other methods, like analog compression or selective frequency compression, do not do the job. I'd rate the HEDD as "80-90% of tape", but it deserves a better grade because it does not have any audible digital aliasing artifacts when used at 96 kHz, unlike some other emulators.