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Tape Emulation Hardware Modules?

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Tape Emulation Hardware Modules?

Postby Elephone » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:04 pm

Hello. I just saw this advert on SOS website:

https://www.kmraudio.com/roger-mayer-45 ... 0456HD-500

Got me wondering how tape can be emulated (I presume) without tape itself. Isn't a big part of tape sound due to the actual tape becoming saturated, or is this module not trying to emulate saturation? I know some Nebula tape convolutions don't. Does it have some kind of metal strip that become magnetised that produces a similar effect? I take it there vinyl emulator hardware modules?
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Re: Tape Emulation Hardware Modules?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:28 pm

Hi Elephone!

Why not have a read of these two SOS reviews of Roger Mayer's tape emulators, and then you'll find out how he does it (and judging by most reviews, he does seem to achieve the euphonic sound of tape without involving negative aspects such as hiss, wow and flutter ;)

Paul White: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/roger-mayer-456

Matt Houghton: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/ro ... 456-stereo


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Re: Tape Emulation Hardware Modules?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:40 pm

Elephone wrote:...how tape can be emulated (I presume) without tape itself.

The clue is in the name -- it's an 'emulation' It's an approximation -- based around analogue electronics or digital processing -- of the specific behaviours and characteristics associated with analogue recording tape, including saturation and other related distortion effects, level-dependent frequency response variations, HF limiting, modulation noise, and more besides...

Some of these emulations are extremely convincing these days ... although no two are ever the same because the effects varied so much depending on the specific type of analogue tape machine, the tape being used, the tape speed (and width), the operating level, the bias level, the EQ etc etc... lots of potential variations, all of which have audible effects!

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Re: Tape Emulation Hardware Modules?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:11 am

Martin Walker wrote:Hi Elephone!

Why not have a read of these two SOS reviews of Roger Mayer's tape emulators, and then you'll find out how he does it (and judging by most reviews, he does seem to achieve the euphonic sound of tape without involving negative aspects such as hiss, wow and flutter ;)

Paul White: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/roger-mayer-456

Matt Houghton: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/ro ... 456-stereo


Martin

Please excuse me coming in here, but I'm looking for what maybe a tape saturation sound too, can anyone point out the differences say, between the RM 456, and something like a Portico Tape Emulator?
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Re: Tape Emulation Hardware Modules?

Postby Elephone » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:35 pm

Thanks

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The clue is in the name -- it's an 'emulation'...

H

Yes, I couldn't be sure if they'd still call it 'emulation' if they use a similar kinds of processes (in terms of physics) but without the tape, in which case, they couldn't really call it 'tape' even it did use magnetism of some metal strips or whatever.
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Re: Tape Emulation Hardware Modules?

Postby Jack Ruston » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:51 pm

I had an Anamod Ats1 for several years. It really was extremely good.

I never had a chance to compare it to the Portico one.

I've used Rogers' boxes. They're not quite a tape emulation in that they don't generate noise or modulation etc...what they do is more along the lines of harmonics, saturation and that particular peak limiting.
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Re: Tape Emulation Hardware Modules?

Postby Mixedup » Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:49 am

Jack Ruston wrote:I had an Anamod Ats1 for several years. It really was extremely good.

I never had a chance to compare it to the Portico one.

I've used Rogers' boxes. They're not quite a tape emulation in that they don't generate noise or modulation etc...what they do is more along the lines of harmonics, saturation and that particular peak limiting.

Yeah, what Jack said. Except to point out that Roger's 456 circuit doesn't do noise, wow, flutter etc *by design*. I think they sound great!

Someone asked about 456 versus Portico. I've used these, and the Anamod and the Sound Skulptor... and a million plugins. I'd say the Portico is s bit darker and thicker, perhaps. A more obvious effect. Lovely sounding but different from the 456. I'd happily record through either of them if that's the effect I wanted. If you want it to actually sound like analogue tape, that's a slightly different question... and one I wouldn't bother asking tbh.
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Re: Tape Emulation Hardware Modules?

Postby Jack Ruston » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:06 am

Agreed.

My favourite at the moment is Acustica Taupe. Again, it's not a wow flutter hiss type of thing...The reason I like it so much is that it changes the phase response in a way that seems to 'place' the source. If you toggle the bypass it's ...real, not quite real, real, not quite real. It's interesting and very useful.
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