+1 for FATSO... Definitely more uses. I bought one when it came out and sold it last year. No doubt I'm buying an other one, most likely a Kush audio version, the Gregory Scott mod. Funny thing is that I might sell a 2 track tape machine to finance it! So yeah, as much as I love tape, FATSO is definitely more versatile. At least you have the possibility to choose not to loose high end, as oppose to tape, yet bash it down by setting warmth to 8 if that's what you want. Of course you don't have all the artifacts and all, that's why, like every other reply up there, I think you'll also want both... Eventually!
May I also add that UAD just released a tape simulation plug-in that looks pretty convincing. Can't wait to try it out myself... There's a video on their website. This is, IMO the first actually good plug-in for that purpose, with crane song's as a close second...
Without a doubt the a800 plugin... Buy a real FATSO when you get the money! The plug in seriously looks amazing and extensively complete and versatile... The FATSP emulation, tho being great sounding (I A-B tested real and plugin against each other when the plug came out), is yet another (good) emulation... If you are looking to warm up your mix with a plugin go with the A800! Or like I mentioned above, try the crane song phoenix... Sounds great!
So, I bought the FATSO UAD plug to add warmth to my mixes. And yes, it warmed them up... then the STUDER came out.
The STUDER effect was what I was trying to get with EL FATSO and now the STUDER is in my FX chain and EL FATSO not. As a matter of fact, I wish I could trade in my EL FATSO to help pay the $350 cost of the STUDER.
So, for me, the A800 replaced EL FATSO for my needs.
How can a plugin "look" promising? Or amazing, for that matter? I mean I like retro meters and switches like any slut, but have you used the plugin yourself?
"looks promising" based on the video which explains the features... I could not know how it sound since i have not tried it yet, what looks promising are the features, just like you would judge any other piece of gear that has not came out yet or had not have the chance to try yet. What i have tried tho is, and here is the premis of my point, is the FATSO plug in which, like mentioned above, I would not recommend for tape emulation.
If you base your pronostic of a new peice of gear by looking at the vintage VUs and good looking switches... Well... Lets just say that your studio must look very nice. I'll be optimistic and see the good side of judging a book by its cover: having a handsome library...