Tape Plugins

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Mustang Martigan
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Tape Plugins

Post by Mustang Martigan » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:38 pm

What's your favorite tape plugin? I've been demoing them, and there are a decent amount of goods ones that are tough to pick out when comparing.

Has anyone tried the IK Tape Collection? I haven't spent much time with it, but from the little I have heard I'd place it high on the list.

It's on sale right now, 50% off, and I'm not sure if I really need it. I already have TB Reel4, Spectre and Magenite.

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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:47 pm

u-he satin. Couldn't live without it. I don't really consider Spectre a 'tape' plugin, but it's certainly very cool and useful.

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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by joninc » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:29 pm

for what use?

I like SLATE VTM on the mix buss but use KRAMER on drums and for texturizing things or for slap echo etc...
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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by Colorblind » Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:47 pm

Heard good things about Satin, yet to try it though. I like the Waves J37, particularly on tracks where the transients are poking out in a not so pleasant way. +1 on Slate VTM on mix buss. Drum buss too.

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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by Mustang Martigan » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:31 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:47 pm
I don't really consider Spectre a 'tape' plugin, but it's certainly very cool and useful.
Ya, you're right. I bought it recently, so it was floating around the back of my head.


joninc wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:29 pm
for what use?

I like SLATE VTM on the mix buss but use KRAMER on drums and for texturizing things or for slap echo etc...
Mainly for the Mix Bus.

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Nick Sevilla
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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by Nick Sevilla » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:45 pm

UAD ATR 102.

Use to mixdown to a real one, and when this came out I was skeptical.

But, once you calibrate it, it sounds really good.

Because it is digital, it behaves differently than the real machine. You have to get used to hitting it differently,
mix into it differently.

Pretend you need "x" amount going to tape to get "that sound", and then back it off.

Remember, in the tape days, the goal was clean, transparent mixes.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by Mustang Martigan » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:39 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:45 pm
UAD ATR 102.

Use to mixdown to a real one, and when this came out I was skeptical.

But, once you calibrate it, it sounds really good.

Because it is digital, it behaves differently than the real machine. You have to get used to hitting it differently,
mix into it differently.

Pretend you need "x" amount going to tape to get "that sound", and then back it off.

Remember, in the tape days, the goal was clean, transparent mixes.
I actually ended up buying the UAD Studer and Neve Preamp before the sale ended last night.
I completely forgot about the ATR 102; now I'm afraid to try it!

I liked the IK 80 too, which is their take on that same Studer machine, but I thought UAD's version had better transparency n clarity. I didn't have enough time to venture outside of the presets tho.

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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by digitaldrummer » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:24 am

I've got UAD Oxide and Slate VTM. I have rarely used VTM - it's a bit CPU hungry if I remember. I've used Oxide a few times where I needed to smooth some transients or tame some high end where EQ and/or compression wasn't getting me there. it can also do something for the low end sometimes where it might take a lot more work with EQ.
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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by Recycled_Brains » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:15 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:45 pm
UAD ATR 102.

Use to mixdown to a real one, and when this came out I was skeptical.

But, once you calibrate it, it sounds really good.

Because it is digital, it behaves differently than the real machine. You have to get used to hitting it differently,
mix into it differently.

Pretend you need "x" amount going to tape to get "that sound", and then back it off.

Remember, in the tape days, the goal was clean, transparent mixes.
Have no clue how to calibrate it, but it's a good plugin for sure. There are a lot of good presets to use as starting points and even the factory default sounds good. It doesn't get used 100% of the time, but it's finding its way on to more mixes these days now that I've had a bunch of time to really hear what it's doing and how to take advantage of the different tape formulas and gain settings. Also, the slap-back preset is SO good. It's almost worth the price just for that.

I like Massey Tapehead too, but it's more of an effect than the ATR. A little goes a long way. I especially like it on OHs to mellow out the cymbals.
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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by Mustang Martigan » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:58 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:45 pm
UAD ATR 102.

Use to mixdown to a real one, and when this came out I was skeptical.

But, once you calibrate it, it sounds really good.

Because it is digital, it behaves differently than the real machine. You have to get used to hitting it differently,
mix into it differently.

Pretend you need "x" amount going to tape to get "that sound", and then back it off.

Remember, in the tape days, the goal was clean, transparent mixes.
Oh ya, forgot to ask if you have any tips for mixing into and calibrating these UAD tape plugins. I know we have two different models, but some general advice will probably translate.

Luckily the Studer is really light on DSP...I'd like to try it on every track instead of just the master; I only have a DUO.

Thanks.

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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by Nick Sevilla » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:00 am

Recycled_Brains wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:15 am
Have no clue how to calibrate it, but it's a good plugin for sure.
I do it as if it were a real tape machine.

Decide what tape formulation to use, and send a sine wave through it.

Kind of nostalgic and cute. But, it gets me in the right frame of mind to use this as if it were a tape machine, and not some
sound effect type plug in.

In the studio I used to work with their ATR 102, setting up the mixdown machine was a sacred ritual.

We even did a tiny bit of white sage burning, if the session required it ;) Just far away form the machine.

We always TRIPLE checked the machine's calibration, and checked it again after each Master Print was recorded.

Fun times.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by Nick Sevilla » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:07 am

Mustang Martigan wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:58 am
Oh ya, forgot to ask if you have any tips for mixing into and calibrating these UAD tape plugins.
Thanks.
I set up the tape machine as the LAST plug in on my Master Channel. This goes to a new Audio Channel, which records the output. Exactly as I would do it in the real world. The resulting audio file, on the receiving audio channel receiving the print, I treat it as if it were the tape itself. I give it some lead time and some post mix "leader" as well, so the Mastering engineer can do their fade ins and fadeouts with plenty of the "tape hiss" to determine how to do their fades with. Just like IRL.

I also actually calibrate it as I used to do my old ATR102, by sending a sine wave of 50, 100, 1K, and 10K to it, and adjusting its respective knobbery.

I then save that preset for the song mix I am about to print.

It is one of the things I love about this plug in. You can calibrate it!!!

https://www.uaudio.com/blog/ampex-atr-102-tips-tricks/


ALSO: VERY IMPORTANT!!!

I set up my Master Channel's signal chain before doing ANY MIXING WHATSOEVER. Just like when I used to mix to tape IRL.

I adjust the Master channel settings of a plug in, as I mix, if needed, just like IRL.

I am ALWAYS listening through the Master signal chain path. I never ever ever add or change stuff, and then press record, and hope it works. No sir.

Basically, I recreate my real world experiences inside my DAW.

One of my more "common" Master Buss signal chains would be:

1. A transparent Equalizer. Like a Summit Audio EQP-200. For making small adjustments to the overall sonics. Too much 220Hz? Take it down here, instead of spending hours chasing individual tracks.

2. Waves SSL Comp. Set to limit only when it is almost saturating the tape machine, which was already calibrated. So, it catches any errant transients that would overload the ATR102 inputs.

3. ATR 102 tape plug in. Calibrated to the tape formula I chose. I usually choose the tape formulation first, and do some basic listening to hear its effect on the rough mix. Then calibrate it before doing any serious mixing. As with the real machine, the VU meters are slow, so transients need to be accounted for and you need to understand what the ATR will do to your transients. Either smash them to hell, as in hard rock material, or try to keep as much of them as possible, as in Jazz or classical mixes. Thus the need for the SSL limiter before the tape.

If you set it up correctly, this signal chain can provide the best mix possible. Keep most of the transients, depending on the music style, while imparting that sound we all love. The ATR sound is a little more extended low end down to 30Hz, while retaining the clarity and top end well past 15kHz, which is where most tape machines start rolling off naturally, due to their electronic design. The ATR guys managed to extend that rolloff, so you do consider the tape formulation, instead of the machine.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by mwerden » Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:30 am

Recycled_Brains wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:15 am
I like Massey Tapehead too, but it's more of an effect than the ATR. A little goes a long way. I especially like it on OHs to mellow out the cymbals.
I used to do this all the time. I'd turn the drive all the way down and the trim all the way up. Basically just reseats the midrange and high end so things are smoother.
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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by Recycled_Brains » Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:25 pm

mwerden wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:30 am
Recycled_Brains wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:15 am
I like Massey Tapehead too, but it's more of an effect than the ATR. A little goes a long way. I especially like it on OHs to mellow out the cymbals.
I used to do this all the time. I'd turn the drive all the way down and the trim all the way up. Basically just reseats the midrange and high end so things are smoother.
Yup, that's what I do 95% of the time. The other 5% is just the default setting.
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Re: Tape Plugins

Post by Mustang Martigan » Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:58 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:07 am

I also actually calibrate it as I used to do my old ATR102, by sending a sine wave of 50, 100, 1K, and 10K to it, and adjusting its respective knobbery.

I then save that preset for the song mix I am about to print.
Thanks for a that info. So you send each of those sine wave freq to the ATR and then adjust it's internal eq so it outputs the same freq?

I was reading UA's Tips and Tricks for the Studer and I guess you can do the same with that one. They suggest putting it as the first plugin on every track.

I'm really interested in trying that and then sending the Master to a new track that has the ATR loaded. So it'd be mimicking boucing the final 2" mix down to a 1/2" Master Reel.

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