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Old 27th September 2019
Gear Nut
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Tapes: Synths.01 by THEPHONOLOOP - intro offer: 20% off

About the series

Idea for Tapes was born from a desire to try something a little different than our previous releases, something more experimental (but still useful) and bigger, with great sound design possibilities. Since we still wanted to record everything on tape, but at the same time avoid creating just a bigger version of our Cassette series and also because of how great and inspiring are the tape slicing composition techniques from the past (or today's cassette tape loop music) we decided that Tapes should be inspired by these to a greater or lesser extent – especially the sound sources.

Tapes can be many things – you could use it as your main lead or harmony instrument like keys or pads. It also works great as a bass or texture instrument or even an fx generator and that's because of its wide array of available sound sources, flexible engine and the possible modulation routings. The truth is that these days many instruments have features like this – so, what makes Tapes stand out? We think that it’s down to the sound sources – just how easy and fast you can come up with something inspiring and useful. That’s because we've spent several months creating those - experimenting, recording, fine tuning - just making sure that it’ll be a pleasure to work with.

All the sound sources were recorded either on tape reel, cassette tape (regular and loop) or microcassette – in total we've used around 13 different units, each with its own strong & weak points. All the available sound sources loop, but there are some differences in how they were created, and so they are divided into 3 categories:
  • Sounds - every key has its own sample (73 samples per sound) – like in a cassette tape loop you can hear where the loop point is, but the loop itself is longer, smoother and more 'stable' than in regular tape loops.
  • Tempo Sync - every key has its own (73 samples per sound) - the loops were recorded at 80 BPM and are mostly 4 bars long (a few of the sounds are 2 bars long). Sounds from this category loop very smoothly and are synced to the host tempo thanks to Kontakt's time-stretching algorithm.
  • Tape Loops - one sample for the whole key range (1 sample per sound) - these are actual cassette tape loops: warm, lofi and sometimes 'unstable'. This category contains both complex and simple sounds. Due to the nature of tape loops, using these can produce the most unique and beautiful results, especially when you start combining two sound sources together and then modulate everything using built in sequencers.

Tapes: Synths.01

Synths.01 is the first instrument in the Tapes series and like the name suggests, it focuses on synth sounds and sound synthesis in general. The sound sources were created using various hardware and software synthesizers and effects – from digital FM and physical modelling synths to analog (and digital) eurorack modules. Due to the fact that everything was recorded either on tape, cassette, micro cassette or cassette tape loops it excels in creating lofi, warm sounds, but not all decks used in Tapes are wonky – plus most of the significant settings can be modulated, so it's also a nice tool for creating modern, even cinematic sounds. Feel free to check out some examples (in total there are 239 presets):

Presets used: tape loop 03 -> tape loop 09 -> tape loop 19
Info: all three presets are playing the same, single chord

Presets used: complex 06 -> complex 15
Info: both presets are playing single note (C3), all the movement comes from sequencers

Presets used: short 09 (s) -> short 17
Info: first preset has swarm mode turned on - second one doesn't

Presets used: pad 16 -> pad 17 -> pad 20
Info: all three presets are playing the same, single chord

Presets used: keys 01 -> keys 10 -> keys 13
Info: all three presets are playing the same, single chord

Used presets: vintage synth 08 -> lead 07 -> lead 14
Info: all three presets are playing the same melody line

When we designed Tapes interface we wanted to keep the same approach as in the Cassette series: avoid any visual distractions and keep everything on one page for fast & easy access. The whole thing is divided into 4 main parts: Source, Effects, Modulation and the Bottom Bar – if you want to learn more about the GUI and its functions, then feel free to download the manual: Tapes: Synths.01 manual.

Features and Requirements
  • Full version of Kontakt 5.8.1 (or higher) required - not compatible with Kontakt Player
  • 17,15 GB of samples (WAV 24-bit, uncompressed), 13,66 GB after lossless Kontakt compression (8312 samples in total)
  • 285 sound sources
  • 239 presets
  • Samples recorded using 13 different decks
  • 34 noise samples
  • Warm sound with lots of little imperfections
  • Convolution Reverb with custom impulses (spring, hall, corridor, short, digital, delay, metal)
  • Lots of sound design options
  • 4 sequencers for parameters modulation
  • Swarm mode