Get the sound of a prized, high-end vintage tape machine into your DAW with the IK Multimedia Tape Machine 80, a downloadable plug-in that works in your Digital Audio Workstation, or within the T-RackS CS standalone application. This software uses dynamic convolution and physical modeling to capture all the transparent, yet harmoically enhanced qualities of the Studer A80 tape machine.
Manufactured between 1970 and 1988, the Swiss-made Studer A80 tape machine could be found in a plethora of studios and was well-regarded for its ability to handle multitrack recording and mixing duties, as it offered a sonorous sound that was transparent, yet coloful, thanks to its subtle harmonic excitement. Now, with this software emulation, you can place the authentic sound and feel of the Studio A80 on each of your tracks within your mix.
Tape machines add a quality to the sound that is the result of many interdependent factors working together. IK Multimedia separated these components down to the spec level to analyze and authentically recreate what happens when the whole tape machine is driven at once. They also modeled the controls, with selectable signal-path monitoring, transport modeling, and adjustable biasing.
The unit offers a true signal stereo path as well, complete with all the beloved imperfections between the left and right channels that give you a more well-defined sound. Of course, you can turn this off if need be. Finally, IK Multimedia have modeled four types of tape, each of which alters the sound.
This software is compatible with Mac and Windows platforms. It will work in AU, VST2, VST3, and AAX formats.
- Signal path selection: With Input, the signal only passes through the input and output of the electronic stages of the recorders, bypassing the tape. Depending on how the recorder is designed, the Input path can sound extremely transparent or just slightly more colored. Repro passes your signal through the entire analog recording system: input → recording amplifier → recording head → tape → playback head → playback preamplifier → output stage.
- True Stereo: Even a perfectly aligned tape machine will have slight level, EQ, and distortion differences between the left and right channels. The T-RackS Tape Machine Collection perfectly recreates these subtle differences to deliver the real experience. If perfectly identical left- and right-channel processing is a must, simply disable this feature.
- Tape Speed: Select the speed of the tape transport between 7.5 and 15 inches per second (ips). The higher speed gives you more fidelity, and the lower speed delivers a warmer, rounder tone.
- Transport Modeling: This precisely models the behavior of the mechanical transport. Small irregularities in the movement of the tape create various degrees of sonic alteration to the audio program, especially between the two channels. Leave it on for the mojo, or disable it in case a perfectly steady performance is needed.
- Record Bias: Ideal bias voltage settings provide maximum sensitivity and low distortion. Intentionally overbiasing is a common technique to produce a warmer, gently saturated sound. Underbiasing can be used to boost the high frequencies in a specific way, add distortion, and add other nonlinear effects.
4 Different Tape Formulations
- 250: Modeled after the 3M/Scotch 250 formula, it is the most sonically colored of the four formulas. It went in production around 1974 and delivers a warm tone with slightly more distortion and saturation than the other formulas included in the package.
- 456: Modeled after the Ampex 456 formula, this model went into production around 1974. Perhaps the most widely used tape, it contributed the most to what is considered the defacto tape sound. It offers a warm, round tone with a slight touch of saturation that greatly responds to the recording level.
- GP9: Modeled after the Quantegy GP9 formula, this tape accepts higher levels of signal with minimal distortion and compression. It’s very punchy and perfect for modern, high-quality analog recordings.
- 499: Modeled after the Ampex 499 formula, this tape is designed to handle a great amount of level with minimal distortion and compression. It also exhibits added high-frequency definition that makes it perfect for printing digital-like recordings, while still maintaining an analog sound.
- Works within the T-RackS CS Standalone application and as plug-in
- High-quality oversampling
- High-precision and high-transparency digital processors
- Full-latency compensation support
- Supports sampling rates up to 192 kHz
- DSM and SCC proprietary IK technologies for extremely accurate digital models of analog hardware devices
- Native compatibility with 64-bit applications and operating systems