mountain lion wrote:Why do companies like waves choose to model old vintage tape machines? Is There a difference in Sound?
Well, they chose to model tape machines when they weren't old - meaning, working to specs.
The reason is that yes, recording to tape (an analogue signal, not DAT etc, for which tape is just a way to preserve the bits making up the digital stream) can contribute some pleasing characteristics to a sound or an entire mix. In the right (small) doses both the natural compression occurring to tape, the small equalization provided by the medium itself and even added artifacts as noise, wow and flutter my change the sound so that it sounds a bit subjectively better (or perhaps familiar.. as many very well known record were made to tape and exhibited these properties).
tape, it can also lead to horrible stuff if one's not careful, typically with huge loss of high frequency loss both when a new "generation" (i.e. copy to a new tape) or even when just playing the thing! Noise, wow and flutter are mostly your enemies and to keep them to a very minimum, the amount of maintenance needed for to a tape machine is considerable. Adding to the fun are heads that wear out over time and can even get magnetized.
Tape emulations don't suffer from any of these problems and tend to keep the "pleasing" properties.
The only thing they lack is the hipster mojo. But you can always keep in the studio an old non-functioning tape machine for the looks and take instagram pictures to impress the impressionable. :)