Which are the Best Tape Emulation Plugins? Let me share my top 5 recommendations. =)

Tape Emulation PluginsHello, Mike here, and I am a composer.
Just. Like. You. 😃

I love using plugins that add that vintage, analog vibe to the instruments and sounds in my music.

I even like using it on the master stereo bus, to color the entire track with that warm, analog character.

Best Tape Emulation Plugins

  1. Softube Tape
  2. Slate Virtual Tape Machine
  3. U-he Satin
  4. Waves J37 Tape
  5. Waves Kramer Master Tape

What is a Tape Emulation Plugin?

Using a tape emulation plugin is one of the easiest way to get this sound, unless you happen to have high-end analog hardware to route your audio through.

In the classic vintage era of music production they used analog master tapes to record the music to. And it shaped the sound with that analog, warm vibe.

The great thing about tape, and the reason for us wanting to use it even today, is that it colors the sound in what many consider a very musical way, much like vinyl, due to the analog “roundness”. But which tape emulation plugins should you choose?

5 Tape Emulations VST Plugins

1. Tape by Softube

  • Includes three distinctly different tape machine types.
  • Beautiful and easy to use interface.
  • Extra features speed stability, cross-talk etc.

2. Virtual Tape Machine by Slate

  • 16-track 2-inch tape machine and a 1/2 inch stereo mastering deck.
  • Tape speeds of 15 and 30 ips.
  • Switchable tape type.

3. Satin by U-he

  • Advanced tweakability options.
  • Switch between modern and vintage tape.
  • Build your own custom tape unit.

4. J37 Tape by Waves

  • Includes models of three exclusive tape formulas.
  • Tape delay feature.
  • Created in association with Abbey Road Studios.

5. Kramer Master Tape by Waves

  • Vintage 1/4″ reel-to-reel machine.
  • Flexible slap & feedback delay.
  • Developed in association with Eddie Kramer.

Extra Mentions

Now there are of course a few more tape emulation plugins on the market, so you can dive deeper into this subject if you wish. One brand I feel I need to mention is UAD, which does amazing plugins which work well on their hardware DSP.

Here are 3 tape plugins they have developed: UAD Oxide Tape Recorder, UAD Ampex ATR-102 and UAD Studer A800.

Tape Emulation Plugins: Summary

  1. Softube Tape
  2. Slate Virtual Tape Machine
  3. U-he Satin
  4. Waves J37 Tape
  5. Waves Kramer Master Tape

Your Time to Take Action!

I recommend that you start by installing a trial version of a tape emulation plugin, and experiment with adding different amounts of analog warmth and saturation. Good luck and have fun with tapes! =)