Tape machines or tape machine emulator vsts

Which do you prefer…

And how do you use it in sound design…amongst other things…

1 Like

I’ve never used an emulator… but I recently dug my old Akai reel to reel…what do I do with it? :thinking: well… let’s see here… I wonder if this works…

Maybe this better

Hmmm… :thinking:must be a better way…

I had to download it to see it, but not the end of the world. Very clean sound (well, on my crap desktop setup at least). I, on the other hand, have ONLY used vst tape, and I’d suggest u-he Satin because it lets you modify all aspects of the tape simulation to taste, has presets of popular tape machines (which I never used because tuning my own is fun), and it includes a tape delay that I never remember to use.

I, mean, I get that there are aspects of tape simulation that we probably can’t nail (like any analog filters in the amp circuits, you just can’t do analog filters in digital), but Satin does what I want for a fair price. Real tape is expensive.


I wish I new a better way to share a video from my iPhone photo library :thinking:

Oh well… the recording you heard was done during the mid 80’s. I was doing a lot of experimental and electronic music (Serge Modular) back then.

There is definitely an organic nature to using tape and the machines that play tape. It’s hard work… especially when you start splicing and using tape loops. Also there is no going back… so when the magic happens… best to leave it alone. Sure you can make copies and continue on, but eventually the degradation that happens with too many overdubs morphs into something very different… and not necessarily a good thing. It forces you to plan… make choices… and live with bad ones. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I’ve never used a VST… I understand the convenience… but it can’t possibly recreate the Serendipty that results from the restraints on process resulting from analog. Just sayin’ :sunglasses:

1 Like

Never used real tape. I do have a pair RND 542s which emulate tape. They are great but I must say some of the vst emulations are really good, just as good as my 542s in my opinion. I’m really digging IK multimedia’s ones, and cubase stock one is good too. Now are any of them as good as the real thing. Debatable, but I’m never going to own a real one, don’t have the space or the patience. As for sound design use, nothing to crazy, just to solidify, or warm busses. Or tame smooth highs on anything that might need it. Busses are as high up in the mix I go, I never throw it over the whole mix. I use hardware transformers, and valves at that stage.


+1 for Satin. I don’t know if it sounds like real tape but it is a fantastic non linear saturation tool. I slap it on the master from the get go.

Also its a fantastic sounding delay

J37 and NLS by waves do a good job and if you wait for it Waves will offer to pay you for them, or at least they’ll go on a deep sale and you can get them both for the cost of a night on the town.

Not sure if it counts, but when I’m going for lo-fi power carnage noise I like to slap Tonebooster’s Reelbus on the master and trick labels into thinking I’m not using a computer.

Shshshshsh don’t blow my cover


I have a busted Tascam 414mkII that was probably never maintained or cleaned in its life. I got it for $20 before hipsters drove up the prices :joy: It works, but it needs some TLC to do what it’s meant to, but I don’t use it for that. I often just slap pre-recorded cassettes into it, and as it plays at double speed I sample that and pitch it back down. Lofi as hell and I love it. I know there are some tape plugins and reaktor ensembles to emulate bad/worn tapes and broken mechanisms, but I don’t know how they’d compare to specifically how it’s doing internally.

1 Like

I have an old Panasonic reel to reel deck that I use to record tape loops. The most sucsessful material I made was running a drum machine through it, recording and re-recording at random intervals, and then manually manipulating the tape while it played back and recorded.

I was also recording the output the whole time on my DAW and used that for a track.

1 Like