The sound of the tape is like one of the greatest compressors ever made, and there is only one button, play.
Tape speed and width make a difference, as do noise reduction, but ultimately tape just has 'that' sound. It makes things bigger, larger, wider, but doesn't mess with the balances. It can also smooth out the top end. If a mix is printed to digital and analog, the digital always sounds faster to me.
Slate modeled my Studer A80 RC and that machine has big transformer sound and great headroom. A lot of records in the 80's were mixed to these machines. I use the plugin because it's a lot less maintenance and it sounds great.