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tape emulation plugins A/B Saturation Plugins
Old 20th December 2016
  #1
Gear Addict
 
JTC111's Avatar
tape emulation plugins A/B

I thought this might be helpful to some so I'm posting it.

I was curious about how much tape emulation plugins could do for a mix so I tried some out. I demoed the Waves J37, the Slate Virtual Machines, and the UAD Studer A800. Of the three, I liked the Studer plug the best, although the Slate sounded like it could also be a good choice. I wasn't impressed by the J37 and I'm usually a fan of Waves products.

I did a quick rough mix of a song I've been working on and put the Studer plug on all the tracks. I also demoed the UAD Ampex plugin to put on the master bus. Here are two versions of that mix. The only difference between the two is the tape emulation plugs. To my ears, the tape makes the top end a lot less brittle and seems to smooth over the entire mix. I like what it did (and that's going to cost me money). Feel free to post your own impressions. I'm curious to hear what people think about the effect.

Here's the mix without tape emulation:


Here's the mix with tape emulation:
Old 22nd December 2016
  #2
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JTC111's Avatar
No opinions on the tape emulation effect?
Old 22nd December 2016
  #3
Lives for gear
I agree with your assessment; it makes the top end mellow and smoother.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #4
Gear Head
 

I for sure prefere the version with tape emulation altough it subtile as it should be. It would be interesting to hear a version with the Slate plug to.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #5
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JTC111's Avatar
Thanks to you both for giving a listen. It's good to get a 2nd opinion before dropping $400 on plugins.

If I get some time, I'll try to do a version with the Slate VTM.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #6
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BM Grabber's Avatar
 

The acoustic guitar does not benefit. Sounds more "honkey".
Old 22nd December 2016
  #7
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MusiKLover's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BM Grabber View Post
The acoustic guitar does not benefit. Sounds more "honkey".
Yes that makes sense, BM Grabber, as I generally do not think of Saturation and /or Tape for acoustic instruments other than drums. Electric bass, however, is another story.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #8
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JTC111's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BM Grabber View Post
The acoustic guitar does not benefit. Sounds more "honkey".
I gave it another listen with that in mind and I hear what you're saying. I still like what it does on the top end though and the honk is easy enough to fix. Thanks. I appreciate the feedback.
Old 23rd December 2016
  #9
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BM Grabber's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTC111 View Post
I gave it another listen with that in mind and I hear what you're saying. I still like what it does on the top end though and the honk is easy enough to fix. Thanks. I appreciate the feedback.
Point being, use with care................. and on selected sources. Not just slap it on the lot, and listen carefully on each mix element.

I like tape/saturation on drums (transient rich sources like drums can take a lot more distortion than longer sustaining ones).
Some basses in more rock/metal style NEEDS distortion, but not necesarry tape style.

Overheads and cymbals can also benefit from mild tape dist/compression, but very few plugins shines in this area IMO (I always use slight compression and top end taming on the way in, if it needs it - and carefully selection of mics, which can be very cymbal and/or drummer dependent).

PS. I favour the McDSP Analog Channel and U-He Satin to Slate's VTM on most tracks and mixbus.
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