Nestor:  I agree with everything Bud, except the concept of "cultural progress", I am convinced we are going down, not up, I donít see progress, except in science, but definitely not in human nature, sorry.

Bud : well. Nestor, English isn't my native language, so I understand the term "progress" in the sense of something moving on in time but to me that doesn't mean it's positive always.  Maybe I better used the term "cultural evolution",- I don't know ... And yes,- we're going down.  Hard times will come for young and upcoming generations.

Nestor:   It is neither my first language brother, donít worry, I understand better what you mean. It is nice that we can nevertheless communicate to each other having different mother languages, English has put together many nations worldwide, and I really like it too.  Your first language is French, isnít it?

Tlaskows: Never had used tape for recording. I'm a young one on here, lol. The tapes I did use were just regular cassette tapes and they sounded horrible!  Can someone tell me why companies like UA have tape recorder emulations?  Why would anyone want their stuff to sound like a tape? I already have enough hiss when I record.

Garyb:         yeah, tape has a higher noise floor, but a professional tape machine, Studer, Otari, MCI, Scully sounds really, really, really GREAT.  Why tape plug-ins? well, because people are gullible fools.

Bud Weiser:  My first language is German.  But I have relatives in France.  My French should be much better than my English, but it isn't.  The occasions speaking French were much too rare the past decades.

Tlaskows:  I must say the EP-34 tape echo from UA sound pretty nice though... I like how you can move the tape head and it will add swishing and swooshing noises/distortion.

Garyb:  Yes tape echos are neat. the dNa Tape Echo is really cool, too. Celmo's Tape Echo has also been on a number of my cuts.  Tape echos and professional tape recorders are pretty different animals, of course.  :lol:  2" tape is a format that really hasn't been improved on for 50 or more years ago. that's why there are Tape Plug-ins. there is "as good" and "almost as good", but not "better".

Tlaskows: I'm afraid that I cannot afford a real tape echo lol. Don't even tell me what the price is. Also, what if it breaks? The plug-in shouldn't break, in theory. It really sounds quite nice. Nice delay effect. Much different than a clean delay.

Hubird:  If you're lucky. I lost my beloved Phatmatic Pro from Bitshift Audio, some long time ago, just because it wasn't supported anymore (by iZotope). Beye beye plug-in, bye bye routine, not to speak of the money :lol: I know you said 'in theory', but I had to give up :wink:

Bud:  In digital world, you cannot go over 0dBfs. When you do it sounds harsh.  With quality tape you go into the red and it saturates, compresses and sounds great, has more punch.  The tape hiss doesn't matter when recording hot ...  You get much more hiss from a microphoned guitar or bass amp especially when stomp boxes and/or tape echo machines are in the instrumentalistís signal chain too.  When recording drums and vocals, most microphones hiss too more or less and preamps/mixers do too,- all sums up.  That's why there are expander/gates, noise filters/single-ended NR like Rocktron Hush and similar technology available. Most hardware keyboards and synths also hiss more than the tape itself.

You'll also get hiss on a hard-drive when recording electromagnetic/electronic instruments and vocals and don't do everything with virtual instruments.  Any professional tape recorder isn't comparable to a compact cassette recorder/player and professional tape itself is also not comparable to that material compact cassettes are made from.  Pro tape MTRs use professional Dolby or DBX noise reduction. IIRC, some switched it off and ran double speed which is expensive because it eats more tape per song. Think about, 60s, 70s and 80s,- the 90s also but it went down already,- were the golden times of music. Most stuff recorded, mixed and mastered at that time is analog production and it sounded always good enough for million sellers. When Protools came up, it was all about the editing which was easier than cutting tape. Later, producers discovered the money saver hard drive. Buying no tape anymore was more money in their pockets.  Digital seemed to be the holy grail for everyone and everything ...  I remember when affordable digital samplers appeared in the market, they thought you will need no instruments anymore.  The same happened when drum machines and sequencers made them believe they don't have to hire musicians anymore.  And so on,- it was all about saving money and not quality of audio or music itself.  Digital recordings on hard drives are NOT better than recordings on tape when done right,- period.

Same rules for masters.  Tape plug-ins are a joke, really.  In the beginning when analog was out and digital was hip, nobody wanted tape hiss, wow and flutter, distortion and such. Then the manufacturers recognized,- musicians, producers and engineers complained lack of warmth of analog gear in digital products.  Now they came up with analog emulations and tried to simulate analog tape.  When I became aware of this I won't believe because the intention of digital was getting rid of all the imperfection in analog audio,- and then when it worked, they came and scratched their head how to get all the dirt back into the recordings,- and they REALLY thought a digital plug-in is the solution ! Happens all the time, meanwhile I lost tons off commercial plug-ins I never thought about they will be discontinued ever.  A lot of Steinberg plug-ins belong to these. There are more strategies I hate,- sometimes you simply cannot upgrade software anymore because you waited too long.  That happened to me with Wavelab 4 and with Cubase SX3.  Upgrading my Waves Renaissance bundle is now so expensive I'd better buyed it again,- just only because I don't want a WUP.

WTF ...this market for computer hardware and native VST stuff is like stealing money from customers.

Manufacturers decide what YOU need and WHEN,- insane.  You don't need upgrading your computer and your OS,- well, you don't wait too long for penalty because all you bought before will be discontinued sooner or later and unusable when your old machine dies.  That never happens with hardware.  When it dies we can repair it, we can even decide who does the repairs or does the service once the warranty is gone,- but you cannot repair a plug-in yourself or hire a coder to do that because of the copyright.  Also, in software world you "buy" something,- yes you say you bought a plug-in, right ?  But you bought a license,- it doesn't belong to you and is nothing more than renting a piece of gear for a period of time ... Some software companies doesn't allow license transfers or selling plug-ins at all while others make license transfers insanely expensive.  Now think I buy a Marshall amp and Jim Marshall tells me it's not allowed to sell it used and as long as I'm alive.  I don't like that and prefer buying hardware because it's mine then and can do with it what I like to do, modify it p.ex..

Tlaskows:  Yep. Hardware lasts for years. I just blew all my money on a DX7s. It's too hard to program your own sounds on the DAS F07.

Yayajohn: So, what if you took a digital recording and sent it out of the computer into a reel to reel tape deck and re-recorded it back into the computer? Would it add that old analog warmth to it?

Hubird  Yes, thatís what people do, if you have a decent tape machine at your proposition J

Nestor: Are they good emulations of this tape machines in VST? Is anyone using something like this? My question may be a joke, I donít know, as this kind of sound it is perhaps impossible through computer means

Bud Weiser:  Confirmed,- and they do it in the best studios I know.

Tlaskows: I'm not sure about native. But UA has Fatso plug-in that does tape saturation emulation... It does change the sound. I'm not sure if I like it or not.

Garyb: Well, yes and no. That's actually a waste of time for most people. "warmth" is distortion, just before the point that the distortion is heard as distortion. it's possible to add those harmonics with a bit of overdrive (that's basically what a "warmer" effect is). it still won't be the same as tape. recording digitally and then going to tape and then back again won't sound the same as recording on tape, but it's close. what's more important is that the performance is good and that the recording is done properly.

why go in circles chasing one's tail? just learn how to handle audio and do good recordings in the format that you are using. stop trying to use a magic bullet to make a recording sound good. it's like not taking care of your body and then looking for a pill to fix everything. even if the pill eliminates the symptoms caused by misuse of the body, the side effects may be even more devastating in the long run. the simpler audio path is always the best one, unless you really just want to mangle the signal.

I have actually owned a tape machine or several. I can tell you that my work has not suffered from it's elimination, although the tape machine did sound GREAT.

Yayajohn:  Well I've got a 1/4" Teac 4 track that's collecting dust. Thought maybe I might find a use for it when you start talking about saturation and distortion. Perhaps it could be used on the way into the computer for that or as an external aux?. When I was using it I was using it for recording and not really thinking about it as an effect.  Of course I'd have to make room for it again and the thing weighs a ton  :roll:


Dante August 2015