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the best hardware tape emulation Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 28th August 2016
  #1
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Arseny's Avatar
the best hardware tape emulation

the best hardware tape emulation today?
i want that tape thing happening in the analog domain before the ad convertion.

still anamod ats-1?
or neve 542?

anybody compared them?

ats-1 is double price of 2x542.
if i can save some money by buying 542 & getting pretty much the same or even better tape emu, it would be great.

but if nothing beats anamod, then i will buy it.
Old 28th August 2016
  #2
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gorka's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arseny View Post

anybody compared them?
I haven´t tested the anamod, yet but I did a shootout with a pair of 542s against my goto UAD ATR and their Studer and even if it was not bad at all, it didn´t offer much I couldn´t achieve with the ATR.
Old 29th August 2016
  #3
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arseny View Post
the best hardware tape emulation today?
i want that tape thing happening in the analog domain before the ad convertion.

still anamod ats-1?
or neve 542?

anybody compared them?

ats-1 is double price of 2x542.
if i can save some money by buying 542 & getting pretty much the same or even better tape emu, it would be great.

but if nothing beats anamod, then i will buy it.
Unfortunately there's still no HW (or SW) substitute for a real tape machine.. Tonewise speaking..



Cheu
Old 29th August 2016
  #4
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midmost's Avatar
anybody here tested the sound skulpture tape yet?
Sound Skulptor - STS : Analog Stereo Tape Simulator, Professional Audio Kits

looks dope, bargain price and probably sounds good, hu?!
Old 29th August 2016
  #5
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Arseny's Avatar
Sound Skulptor STS | Sound On Sound
Sound Skulptor: Stereo Tape Simulator | Tape Op Magazine | Longform candid interviews with music producers and audio engineers covering mixing, mastering, recording and music production.

sculptor is much cheaper then the (analog) competitors and though more expensive then the plugins.

in the reviews they said ats remain the best one.

sculptor: unfortunately only one recording on the website (drums)
and out of stock.
Old 29th August 2016
  #7
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Arseny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
Unfortunately there's still no HW (or SW) substitute for a real tape machine.. Tonewise speaking..



Cheu
Hi Cheu, whats up in Lugano? I wanted to check your website, but it's offline. What do you use?

Would you rather buy this studer a807 for 2.5k then an used anamod for 3k?

https://www.ricardo.ch/kaufen/audio-...v/an849633624/
Old 29th August 2016
  #8
I read this article and review of the UAD Studer plug in which was used at a studio that has a Studer reel to reel machine which they compared it to......
Bottom line is the very small differences between the two is so small that there is no advantage using the real Studer vs the plug in. Granted you may prefer the sound of another tape machine but the tape you choose would make more of a difference.

Universal Audio Studer A800 | Sound On Sound

After reading the article, using this plug in and their other tape plug ins, they are clearly very good enough to use to get that tape sound which I used to hear when I recorded in the all days. It does provide the sound I am used to hearing.
Old 29th August 2016
  #9
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gorka's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arseny View Post

sculptor is much cheaper then the (analog) competitors and though more expensive then the plugins.

sculptor: unfortunately only one recording on the website (drums)
and out of stock.
It´s ok, not great.
But again: if you own a UAD, check the ATR and the Studer...

Apart from that, you have to ask yourself what exactly do you expect from tape or emulations.
Is it the headbump, the hi-end roll-off, the compression or the saturation?
I often experience that people who ask for tape are even happier with transformers, tubes or other forms of saturation.
Old 29th August 2016
  #10
Nothing can sound like tape and all it's permutations of sound. Tape machines are about as cheap as the emulators these days. Just buy one and get the real deal?
Old 29th August 2016
  #11
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gorka's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Tape machines are about as cheap as the emulators these days.
Indeed.
But maintenance and tape are VERY expensive these days.
That´s why I sold mine ...
Old 29th August 2016
  #12
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Gil Gzz's Avatar
 

What about the new Zulu from handsome audio? I understand will be on sale very soon, after AES

handsomeaudio
Old 29th August 2016
  #13
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arseny View Post
Hi Cheu, whats up in Lugano? I wanted to check your website, but it's offline. What do you use?

Would you rather buy this studer a807 for 2.5k then an used anamod for 3k?

https://www.ricardo.ch/kaufen/audio-...v/an849633624/
I do have a Studer C37 in perfect condition at the moment.
Ask for an head report or try to get better pics of the heads and go test the machine yourself.. Looks decent indeed, but without seeing the heads it's a shot in the dark.. could be good.. IMHO the 807 it's still a good machine (of course it's not at the level of other studers or MCI's) but will be better than any plugin..
Anyway it's important to buy from a reputable seller, most of the tape machines I see on ebay or elsewhere are in very bad conditions.
That means a lot of $$ to barely have them going..

As Jim said get the real thing.. There's no substitute (at the moment).. For that depth and "glue" effect and easiness of listening/record like vibe.

It's expensive? Yes. It's worthed? Depends what your goals are. Can you record a great record withouth tape in 2016? Yes, but I prefer when tape is involved and I'm ready to PAY for it.

Is there any plugin that comes close to tape? No (or not yet, but I doubt that sw could reach that level in the next 10-15 years.. It could not even reach the level of modest hw digital or analog reverb/delay boxes ime).

Is digital much more practical and easier to recall than any analog box/tape machine? Yes, but doesn't mean that sounds better. It's just more convenient to some/most mixers.

I'm every WE in ZH lately mir chönd vilicht au treffe!

Ciao
Cheu
Old 29th August 2016
  #14
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Farmboy presents's Avatar
This is my first ever troll post, and i apologize in advance. But tape emulation! !!! Jeeze. It's the 21 century and it's time to let that stuff go. Robots are not more human when they are programmed with punch cards despite what you might read on this site. I think I've made my point
Old 30th August 2016
  #15
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Arseny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
As Jim said get the real thing.. There's no substitute (at the moment).. For that depth and "glue" effect and easiness of listening/record like vibe.
Tnx for the suggestions! Yesterday I was listening to this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxgyiuv9JRE

To me there is huge sonical difference, even with A807, which is considered as a clean tape machine with no mojo according to the people here on GS. On my notebook and Beyerdynamic dt880 I hear and REALLY like, what the tape is doing to the signal. I think with my UAD Studer, ATR and Ozone Tape I did not come close to this.

As artist my stuff has being recorded onto the tape since 20y several times in the studios. At those times I could afford myself only a 4ch portastudio, later it became a DAW… Now there is chance to get tape machines much cheeper then ever. So, I have almost no experience with tape. However there is a pro technician just 5min away from me…

I think I'll have to decide between:
  1. Anamod ATS-1 (expansive, almost tape sound, simple worflow)
  2. and some Studer like this 907 (the real thing, less expansive now, probably also expensive over a longer time period, complicated workflow)

I know that lots of people here, who had own tape machines, don't see the point nowadays in having and maintaining one, since there are good emu plugins. And they despise us, which in the year 2016 want something which makes so little difference. But when I listen to the youtube video above, I need this as part of my sound (the glue, the light compression & saturation, the eq curve, EVERYTHING!)
Old 30th August 2016
  #16
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string6theory's Avatar
I think the idea is Anamod into DA-3000 @ 5.6 DSD for a really sweet combo, if you go that route Arseny?

The Anamod looks very appealing, if somewhat costly, but I recall reading posts about low headroom, perhaps not suitable for buss duties, better for selective tracking. Anyone confirm this?

I also think you can go a long way toward, if not all the way to, the "glue, the light compression & saturation, the eq curve" with great analog front end. This could certainly include the Anamod. Then, mixing and/or mastering to your DA-3000 to complete the sonic picture nicely.

After going this route, and if you discover it's not quite the "EVERYTHING"' you seek, just go the extra mile and get a tracking or mixdown tape machine.

But, there's certainly no denying rock & roll loves tape!

Old 30th August 2016
  #17
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Arseny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by string6theory View Post
I think the idea is Anamod into DA-3000 @ 5.6 DSD for a really sweet combo, if you go that route Arseny?
Yes, this sounds logical to me: Anamod = no dealing with physical tapes and though getting the closest possible tape emulation in the analog chain (before DA-3000).

I have listened to all the test recordings, comparisons etc. available in the internet, of the ATS-1. It does sound better then the plugins. Is the difference worth 3k (used)? I don't know. I see 2 problems:
1. The price of ATS-1 is even higher then the real thing (the mentioned Studer A807, which I see here in Switzerland for 1.5 - 2.5k).
2. Can anybody confirm some issues with the low headroom of ATS-1?

still thinking about 2 scenarios:

A:
Analog mixer stereo -> Compressor -> EQ -> Limiter -> recording to Studer A807 -> AD converting to DSD on Tascam DA3000

B:
Analog mixer stereo -> Compressor -> EQ -> Anamod ATS-1 -> Limiter-> Tascam DA3000


but deep in my heart: some irrational aspiration will lead me to buy that studer :-)

Last edited by Arseny; 30th August 2016 at 11:25 AM..
Old 30th August 2016
  #18
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cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmboy presents View Post
Jeeze. It's the 21 century and it's time to let that stuff go. Robots are not more human when they are programmed with punch cards despite what you might read on this site. I think I've made my point
I understand your point and from a certain point of view I agree..(and this comes from somebody who own 2 perfectly working tape machines).

we have to move forward, BUT the real problem (or the elephant in the room) is that tape STILL sounds BETTER. that's the reason why I'm still using it, because I do care and because I'll try to give the best result that is possible.
Digital, while some converters do sound great, are NOT yet at the level that tape was 30 years ago (or more).

Just my 0.02$,

Cheu
Old 30th August 2016
  #19
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robert82's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
I understand your point and from a certain point of view I agree..(and this comes from somebody who own 2 perfectly working tape machines).

we have to move forward, BUT the real problem (or the elephant in the room) is that tape STILL sounds BETTER. that's the reason why I'm still using it, because I do care and because I'll try to give the best result that is possible.
Digital, while some converters do sound great, are NOT yet at the level that tape was 30 years ago (or more).

Just my 0.02$,

Cheu
I wonder if you know Stefano Amerio and if he would agree? He produces some of the sweetest recordings around these days, and to my knowledge does not use tape or emulations. Then again, he records mostly jazz and eclectic stuff.
Old 30th August 2016
  #20
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Arseny's Avatar
At the end it is personal choice, a matter of taste and a particular context/usage.
Can a jazz record sound good without tape? I think yes. Stefano Amerio will find a way to get some saturation, glue or whatever a tune needs, without a tape, for sure.

But my ears prefer 80/100 the tape sound - for the most music styles I love and do. In this particular example I like what Studer does:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxgyiuv9JRE

So, the questions are - for the ones, who like the tape sound:

Is a highend emulation, considered as the best one (SoundonSound…) like Anamod ATS-1 the smartest choice within an analog chain today for 2bus? Which means - does it justify its high price sonically and workflow-wise? Is its sonical difference to the real tape much smaller then its difference to the plugins? Where does it stand on the scale: Closer to the plugs or to the real thing? :-)

Or is the ATS-1 disproportionately expensive, if we consider the low prices of the real tape machines like the mentioned Studer, which were once highend and costed much much more. Today they are cheaper then this emulation.
Old 30th August 2016
  #21
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Do not forget the ADT Audio Tape Emulation. Soundwise still not fully on par with the real thing maybe, but extremly flexible sounding cause all typical tape artefacts are in direct and individual access. A very powerful feature even any plug in isnt capable to deliver: typical phase changes without any saturation or an adjustable head-gap without any headbumps or the other way round? Just a push of a button away. No realistic simulation of a particular tape machine with a particular calibration and a particular tape, but just a real simulation 2.0.
ADT was a service provider for some german tape machine manufacteurs and they no what they talk about.
Old 30th August 2016
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Don't buy anything until you spend enough hours with few different tape machines. Then you will understand what tape sound you need ( there are many) and if you are willing to commit.

What's the point of Anamod if you can't hear what it supposes to emulate?
Old 30th August 2016
  #23
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I own the Anamod ATS-1 and like it for convenience and lack of maintenance.
Old 30th August 2016
  #24
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What are peoples thoughts on that Zulu tape simulator? Anyone heard this in person? Intro price is 400$ which is much less than other tape sims mentioned here. But how does it compare sonically?
Old 30th August 2016
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
Do not forget the ADT Audio Tape Emulation. Soundwise still not fully on par with the real thing maybe, but extremly flexible sounding cause all typical tape artefacts are in direct and individual access. A very powerful feature even any plug in isnt capable to deliver: typical phase changes without any saturation or an adjustable head-gap without any headbumps or the other way round? Just a push of a button away. No realistic simulation of a particular tape machine with a particular calibration and a particular tape, but just a real simulation 2.0.
ADT was a service provider for some german tape machine manufacteurs and they no what they talk about.
u-he satin can do all of that and more.
Old 31st August 2016
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
I understand your point and from a certain point of view I agree..(and this comes from somebody who own 2 perfectly working tape machines).

we have to move forward, BUT the real problem (or the elephant in the room) is that tape STILL sounds BETTER. that's the reason why I'm still using it, because I do care and because I'll try to give the best result that is possible.
Digital, while some converters do sound great, are NOT yet at the level that tape was 30 years ago (or more).

Just my 0.02$,

Cheu
Well, the OP was asking about hardware tape emulation and I think all the hardware versions are analog? The Anamod is certainly an analog emulation.

And as for all the posters mentioning that nothing comes close to a real tape machine---have they compared the Anamod against a tape machine? Using the same matching model and tape card on the Anamod?

??

And as for the headroom on the anamod> I don't believe the Anamod's headroom any is less than a real tape machine.

To me the Anamod pretty much gets the glue of tape saturation down. I've heard the 5042 Portico (the previous version of the 542) a long while ago and FWIR it didn't have that elusive tape saturation thing going on at all IMO. It did have transformer saturation and the head bump EQ going on, but I felt you could do that with other non-tape emulation devices. I wouldn't use it for 'tape' emulation at all.

Tape saturation is the effect that's hard to nail. I don't think any hardware device nails it like the Anamod. If I couldn't use an Anamod, I'd go for an UAD tape emulator before any other hardware emulator.
Old 31st August 2016
  #27
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Might be good to have a look at Roger Mayer's 456HD. The Who's Be Lucky was tracked with a bunch of them.

It's hardware tape simulation in real time and impeccable hardware specs.
I want two of those so bad I can't tell you

The 456 Tape saturation point will then be at +13dBm or +9VU the same as if actually using tape. - manual

Last edited by JoeyM; 31st August 2016 at 06:19 AM.. Reason: added headroom spec and manual link
Old 31st August 2016
  #28
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It's great to hear confirmation from a knowledgeable, long time user that the Anamod's headroom is adequate for a full mix, as I believe that's how the OP mentioned he would be utilizing it.

Thanks Fleaman.
Old 31st August 2016
  #29
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Probably 10db-20db quieter than a real tape deck.
Old 31st August 2016
  #30
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Arseny's Avatar
Thanks guys for even further proposals:
ADT Audio Tape Emulation (haven't found any audio files)
Roger Mayer's 456HD (nice audio files)

They were new to me!

However, the comparatively low price of the real thing (1.8k) and that youtube clip of Studer a807 which sounds amazing are the main reasons, why I probably end up with a Studer.
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