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Getting tape sound at the front end Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 27th February 2019
Here for the gear

Getting tape sound at the front end

I’d like to throw out for discussion my 3 paths I’m debating for getting a closer to analog tape sound when using my digital recording path. I have a 2” tape machine I’m sick of maintaining.
My current incoming digital recording workflow (on multiple channel tracking session)
-pair of neve 1073’s and ISA 828
-to 24 channel Audient console
-Audient direct channel outs to MOTU24i

I can use uad tape sims but I don’t like them-

Option 1- Burl b80 mothership with (1) 8 channel in card . Expand later. $4.8k
Option 2- get (8) Rupert neve 542 tape simulators. $5.9k not really expandable and a lot of patching
Option 3- get (8) louder than lift off chroma 500 series with color cards to mimic tape saturation. $3.7k
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Getting tape sound at the front end-be7760e9-ac3a-45cc-b048-495637f7c314.jpg   Getting tape sound at the front end-92ad7a88-0c32-428f-bbfe-b1b3f38e1018.jpg   Getting tape sound at the front end-13e9108f-8533-4c07-b325-14a260890787.jpg  
Old 27th February 2019
Lives for gear
crosscutred's Avatar
It may help to consider what it is about recording to tape that you feel like you are missing when you don't use it.

It could be the effect the tape imparts on the sound; frequency bump, saturation, compression, wow and flutter etc...

Or it could be that the quality of your MOTU24i just isn't as good as the 2" tape machine you are using, you don't specify the model, my JH-24 sounds miles better than the motu converters I have used simply by virtue of being a higher quality audio path, the tape element is only one part of the system.

If you want the "effect" of tape then it's not hard to simulate that ITB or before the signal hits the converters..... sounds like you have tried that so you're probably onto finding a higher quality multi-track recorder. Therefore the Burl is the answer to your question.

Alternatively simply get better converters than you have now (but less financially ruinous than the Burl) and see if that solves the problem. Maybe look into Radar if you like the tape workflow but are tired of the maintenance.
I have SSL Alphalink conversion and that, while not the best I have heard, is reasonably accurate, not disappointing on playback, and it didn't break the bank like the Burls would (they were on the short list too but I felt the money I had available would be best spent on other parts of the chain)

I hope that helps
Old 27th February 2019
Lives for gear
My HEDD 192 has a fantastic Tape FX knob I dial in when I want to track with tape like saturation, it works extremely well in that context, I prefer it to any of my tape FX plugins like UAD or Slate Digital.

It does limit you two only two channels at a time but that covers most situations except for drums.
Old 27th February 2019
Lives for gear
e-are's Avatar
Have you tried Acustica Taupe? I have it and all the uad tapes and like waaay better. Another option would be to try the Zulu. You get 2 channels for under $800 I believe. Good thing about that is the sound you sculpt would be the playback sound. I have 2 Zulu’s and if you want to post something tracked to tape and not to tape, I can try to match it with my Zulu’s, if possible.
I think you really should demo Taupe along with Kazrog TrueIron. Those 2 together are real weighty and fat sounding.
Old 27th February 2019
A few things...

1) The Burl stuff won't magically make your stuff sound like tape. I use a B32 mixbus and B2 ADC on a daily basis and their cumulative effects are subtle at best.
2) I own a pair of the 542's and, while they make good color boxes, they don't sound like tape. They have none of the simultaneous glue and high end sparkle like tape. Cool colors/textures but not worth the price for a 'tape' emulation.
3) Order from a place that will actually give you a deal. No reason whatsoever to pay full retail on any of these things when you can get 10-15% shaved off via a sales person or on your own with a coupon code.
Old 27th February 2019
Tape Sound

This probably won't be a popular option, nor is it the slutty option:

Why not throw a Strymon Deco (in studio mode) and a Volante on an aux send and mix in parallel? Strymon's pedals have a high output and sound great. I have my choice outboard, but this may be a cost effective solution to get to add some legit tape character. Both pedals can also be used in the subtle realm, too.

The other option is a box like an Elysia Karacter. This can cover all sorts of ground.

Food for thought?


Old 28th February 2019
Here for the gear

I’ll have to look into that . Thanks
Old 28th February 2019
Here for the gear

Good comments . Thank you.
Trying to determine what my actual week point is in the chain. I’m leaning toward the motu is not goo conversion compared t the rest of my path.
I’ve heard antilope orisn 32 is good and reasonable priced.
Old 28th February 2019
Here for the gear

My tape machine that I really live the sound is an ATARI MTR 90 2” 24 track head
Old 28th February 2019
Here for the gear

Good input, thank you. I’m thinking what I love about tape is only on tape and that digital side, using coloured pres and saturation on the way in sounds great and will be the best the digital side will be. Which is still s great sound. Just not a tape sound.
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