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jwh1192 1st June 2014 11:11 PM

Rupert Neve Tape Simulator
Hi cats and maybe catladies, i am curious about the rupert neve tape sim in 500 series and 2 channel rack mount. Does anyone have these units ? Do you gain some "average" level gain when tracking through these ? How do they sound (opinions are most welcome) ? Or are these overrated boxes that are not worth the cash ?

I am thinking of putting together a stereo path - 500 series but will not shy away from the rackmount version.

Thx for your thoughts,

jwh1192 2nd June 2014 11:35 PM

no one has one or two of these ? bump …

monolithrec 3rd June 2014 01:59 AM

they're very cool IMO, can't say i've noticed any major RMS rise with them, but they certainly soften harsh transients quite nicely and are great sculpting interesting tones from subtle changes to quite extreme. Useful in tracking and mixing for individual tracks and subgroups, and they're also kinda cool on the stereo buss for some mixes

[email protected]A 3rd June 2014 01:59 AM

Try a search for RND 542 or Rupert Neve Designs 542, plenty of threads about these cool units already.


jwh1192 3rd June 2014 05:38 PM

thx mono and jonathan … so it seems like there is no Compression in the Tape sense, as there is no tape in the path but it does have some of those qualities … and i will do a search thank you john

jwh1192 3rd June 2014 06:02 PM

well, after a search and reading through pages of posts it does not seem to be doing that much .. and most of the threads are on Gearslutz Classifieds … not a great sign

cheers john

666666 3rd June 2014 06:29 PM

The RND tape simulator does "saturate", and in doing so adds a subtle degree of effective "compression / limiting". It does add perceived "thickness", rounds transients a bit and thus brings lower level content closer to the surface, adds a pleasant smoothness, etc.

Does the 542 sound exactly like authentic "magnetic tape saturation"? Maybe not, but it surely sounds like very pleasing, musical, authentic analog signal saturation one way or another. To some it may sound more like a signal passing through an old-school console full of tasty transformers as opposed to sounding like overdriven magnetic tape.

To me... it just sounds good. It's an excellent tool for those who wish to add obvious analog color and saturation. Gives you lots of control / adjustability. It's probably the single most ideal tool for those recording / mixing ITB and looking for a way to add "analog warmth" to their "cold, digital" tracks. The RND tape simulator will surely deliver in this case.

The 542 is definitely not just an overrated toy. I have to admit, I was skeptical too before I got mine. I'm not one for tricks and gimmicks and I usually reject anything that says "simulator" on it. But I gave the 542s a shot and am sure glad I did. The saturation of the 542s reminds me a lot of the saturation of actual classic, vintage modules. It's certainly "real" analog saturation, even though it may not be specific to magnetic tape.

Bottom line.... If you're a fan of old analog music and analog tape etc in general, the 542 is going to put a smile on your face and you will want to track and mix with it.

I already have other authentic, vintage modules that saturate very nicely... but I'm keeping the 542s as well anyway, because not only do they yield real-deal saturation, they also allow some control over it. This is a VERY nice thing. Vintage modules will give you a certain color / saturation, take it or leave it. Might be good on a certain track, might not be. The 542 let's you dial in the color just right for the situation. A very cool tool.


666666 3rd June 2014 06:56 PM


Originally Posted by jwh1192 (Post 10156739)
well, after a search and reading through pages of posts it does not seem to be doing that much ..

"Not doing much" is relative. The 542 definitely does not provide very severe, obvious limiting. If you expect it to raise your average level by quite a few db etc, no, it's not going to do that. It's effect is ultimately somewhat subtle. It is more of an "icing on the cake" thing. But that's what saturation is. It's all relative / subjective.

To me, the saturation the 542 yields is very obvious and very nice and worth the price of admission. But, I'll admit, I have an excellent monitoring set-up, very sensitive ears and I'm super fussy. I know other guys that claim to be professional audio engineers that have, in my opinion, horrible monitoring set ups and their ears are half shot from years of loud music on stage etc. Those are the guys that would be telling you that the tape simulator barely does anything.

Finally I guess you could just consider it a personal thing. Ask 10 "engineers" and you'll get 10 different answers.

But one thing I can tell you, if you want some controllable, authentic analog saturation that is on par with some of the expensive, classic, vintage modules out there, the 542 will deliver. Whether or not you will feel this type / degree of saturation is effective enough to make the 542 worth you buying, only you can answer that after actually using it in your own environment. Me, I took a shot and was happy I did, I now have a pair of 542s that will remain in my rack for likely a very long time.


jwh1192 3rd June 2014 07:46 PM

sorry, did not mean that effect wise it was not doing much .. just that there was not too much discussion here regarding .. i should get a demo from Vk .. thx for your opinions - very well said .. cheers john

gainstages 26th June 2014 12:16 AM

installing 2 in my rack tomorrow and looking forward to trying them out. I've been using a FATSO for years and I am looking forward to doing something that is similar but different at the same time.

666666 26th June 2014 12:18 AM


Originally Posted by gainstages (Post 10213450)

installing 2 in my rack tomorrow and looking forward to trying them out. I've been using a FATSO for years...

Love the 542s, never tried a Fatso, would be interested in hearing your review / comparison between the two.

Thanks! kfhkh

jwh1192 26th June 2014 04:09 AM

gainstages, cool man !! .. curious to hear your opinions once you do some work with them .. cheers john

nickknack 26th June 2014 05:03 AM

Try the roger Meyer 456 analogue tape.


gainstages 27th June 2014 08:35 PM

ok, so first impression is that these things are Beauty and the Beast rolled into one. I think if you want to set things conservatively, you could "set it and forget it" and be pretty happy. But, with a little tweaking and some time getting to really know the units - I can see these being an incredible compliment to add warmth and richness to your tracks. I can also see the potential to go overboard and wreak havoc on your tracks if you are too aggressive or just sloppy/lazy with your setup.

only thing i've had a chance to try it on yet is acoustic guitar. I was really really impressed. When running at moderate to heavy levels it took the overly bright sound of new strings and smoothed out the transients and warmed up the tone. Gorgeous. I had a ribbon mic set up and the combination of Ribbon>511preamp with Silk > 542 Tape with Silk was way too much though - but with a little high pass adjustment on the pre, and dialing back the silk and tape on the 542 I was able to transform it from dark, boomy, murky, and dull into a dark, smooth, and pleasant sound. On a fairly bright tube mic I had up, it sweetened up the high end and generally just fattened and smoothed the track, and even with more aggressive levels it sounded pretty solid.

can't wait to try this out on everything else and really learn it. As for a comparison to the FATSO.... lets take the dynamics features of the FATSO out of the conversation and just focus on the rest... First, they are different. I can't do a head-to-head comparison because I sold my Fatso a few days before I installed these, but I do think I'll like these much better in the long run. Comparing the Silk/Texture to the "Tranny" feature on the fatso and its not even a comparison - the 542 wins hands down and offers an insane amount of tone shaping possibility where as the Fatso tranny is basically just one type of sound and it either works or it doesn't. Comparing the FATSO's overall sound and warmth circuit to the 542 I feel like I have more control over the tone and texture of the 542 with that as well. I also feel like the FATSO is a more subtle device in "normal" use - obviously you can basically overdrive it or run the warmth at really high levels to make it extreme, but when looking at how you'd normally use it on track after track, the 542 seems to be a bit more colorful and noticeable.

I'm currently missing the dynamics processing on the FATSO but plan to replace that with some 500 series processors, which will be nice because then I'll have more control over the dynamics than I could typically achieve with the fatso.

just based on my initial experience, I'm pretty sure I'll get at least 2 more when I can afford it, and possibly as many as 6 more if it continues to impress me...

KevinNYC 28th June 2014 03:07 AM

Excellent insights! I'm in the same boat as the op....thought I'd find a lot more of what you just provided out there on the forums....

Ultimately, I realize I'll need at least one of these....

jwh1192 28th June 2014 03:28 AM

gainstages, thank you for the detailed reply … cheers john

gainstages 28th June 2014 06:46 AM

had a friend and his wife over tonight, she's actually a pretty good singer with a very dynamic voice and she wanted to record something. I ran her through a nice tube mic that is a touch on the bright side (Miktek CV4) and into my 511 pre, where she got a little hi-pass and some light silk. then, into the 542. the 542 was set for about 50% saturation, 30 ips, and a healthy dose of the blue silk. with no compressor in the path and facing a very dynamic vocal i let it roll and was very pleased with the results. The tape saturation and blue silk seemed to bring out the low end richness in her voice (she has a lower/thicker voice - almost an Amy W sound). the high notes were gently smoothed to my ears, and the mic didn't sound quite as bright as I'm used to it sounding. a large portion of the song was pushing into the soft-clip territory and it reacted as i'd expect good tape to do, never getting crunchy or harsh. on the FATSO, simply passing audio through it raises the RMS volume slightly (by up to 3db depending the material its being fed). Just passing audio at modest levels i didn't feel that this did the same thing (or at least not to the same extent) but certainly I felt it as it was pushed a little harder.

this was just a fairly quick "down n dirty" session so i didn't experiment as much as i'd like, but as before, I was definitely pleased. It was not an obvious effect, it just sounded the way I expected it to for the most part, with a little extra richness in the lower register and a little bit smoother in the highest register.

Rolf Ebitsch 28th June 2014 01:09 PM


Originally Posted by gainstages (Post 10219217)
had a friend and his wife over tonight, she's actually a pretty good singer

... snipped...

Thank you very much for the nice review !
666666 thank you too!

Now I'm curious about that unit.


GYang 2nd July 2014 05:22 PM

I like it on guitars, analogue synths, some voices, as subbtle effects.
Cool and usable.
I do not look at them to recreate analogue tape chain, but as self-sufficient efx boxes.
Have 4 mono units.

lematrix 19th July 2014 09:13 PM

2x542 and 1x5042 here
really great units.
i love it for recording guitars and adding "roundness" on live drums

jwh1192 19th July 2014 11:30 PM

Looking now at the Roger Mayer Stereo 456 unit ... Not that i do not like being first but i do not think anyone has one if these yet ...

nickknack 20th July 2014 12:48 AM

The 456 has arrived here in Australia for around 1700 aud.

I am not going to jump on one just yet.

Have a few other products waiting patiently in line.


jwh1192 20th July 2014 09:08 PM

Nickknack, robert got back to me with info on the 456 ... Thank you john