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Sound Decapitator, SATV, or Reel Tape Saturation Plugins
Old 26th December 2010
Lives for gear
Sound Decapitator, SATV, or Reel Tape

Anyone with experience on at least two of the three that could vouch for investing in one above the others?
Old 26th December 2010
Not sure about SATV, but I'm a huge fan of Decapitator. It's very versatile, can be used in a subtle manner for simple coloration or all-out distortion, plus I love that it has a mix knob, high and low pass filters, and a "tone" knob for brighter/darker coloration. If I had to start over it'd probably be the first plug I'd buy.

I demo'd Reel Tape and it didn't do anything for me at all, it just seemed to make things sound smaller.
Old 26th December 2010
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by jeffinaustin View Post
Anyone with experience on at least two of the three that could vouch for investing in one above the others?
I have Reel Tape and Decap ... and Tapehead and URS Sat. All different.

Reel Tape is pretty subtle, though bear in mind it's tape saturation, not console/transformer/tube. Bias control etc can be useful for smoothing peaky or edgy material, and it's as a subtle "rounder-offer" that I use it.

I tend to use URS most, and more generally for subtle colour (some nice variation within the models, you can really tweak the saturation to the source), Decap for real effecty/tone-shaping work (and when I use Decap, I tend not to use anything much else by way of EQ/comp etc.), and Tapehead for one-offs, a bit between the two above. For example, I tend not to use URS Sat on drums except for OH, but both Tapehead or more often Decap can work well on snare (in particular).

Bring on Juice and VCC, and perhaps I should give SATV a go (!).

The one thing I'd add is that these are all different kinds of plugs, targeting different kinds of saturation. It's for you to work out which of those fits with your work processes etc, but for me, I'd rather have a heap of different saturation plugs and a couple of bread and butter EQ/Comps than the other way round. These sat plugs are really moving digital audio on for me. YMMV ...
Old 4th January 2011
Gear Head

What about Redline Preamp?

I've been running the demo version of 112db Redline Preamp for a few weeks now. Just installed the demo of Decapitator and I'm doing a comparison. I've tried a bunch of saturation plugins and Redline Preamp has been my favourite so far for use on vocals.

Decapitator is the only one that has come REALLY close to RP. Still, RP seems a tiny bit "silkier" to me -- which is what I'm after for voice. Redline Preamp allows me to tailor the distortion a bit more too: it's got separate controls for saturation for low, middle and high frequencies and this thing where you can attenuate the added harmonics and then add a portion back using a "makeup" knob (which I don't know if I really understand, but I like the sound of).

I'm leaning towards RP right now for my application, which is mostly for vocals. I am also using it in my mix on most tracks very lightly to add a bit of complexity and to to glue the tracks together. During solos and intense parts I'm bringing up the makeup knob with automation.

I think Decapitator might be better than RP for more extreme uses. I don't need that on the mix I'm currently working on, but I can see that I will want that in the future. I really like Decapitator's filters and "auto" output control too. And it's very close to RP for my vocal application.

This is going to be a hard choice for me, I think. I would prefer having only one saturation plugin, not just because of the cost, but because I'm making an effort to reduce the number of plugins that I have to become master of.
Old 4th January 2011
Lives for gear
Never tried SATV nor Reel Tape but I have Massey Tapehead, URS Sat, SPL TT and Decap.. they indeed are all very different where i find Decap best for lowmis and bass freq saturation, URS for percussive elements, don't use tapehead much these days and SPL can be good for vocals and bass

If I had to get one I'd get the URS tho', but there are several plugins that are not strictly saturators but they do have a sat algo inside and they do an amazing job at it, like Softube Trident and FET, Waves HLS, and many others
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