Tape saturation is a wonderful way of adding that warm analog sound to your music. You can choose if you want to use it on every track for maximum effect, on the mixing groups, and even on the master stereo bus. Check out Satin – Tape Machine Plugin here.
What does Tape Saturation do?
Depending on the settings you choose, a tape saturation VST plugin can be super subtle with just a hint of analog warmth, all the way to tape compression and analog distortion if you drive it hard. Some of the main effects of tape are:
- Analog Tape Saturation (harmonics)
- Softening the Transients
- Adding Tape Noise
- Warming the High Frequency Content
- Rounding the Bass Register
- Slightly Compressing with Tape
What is Satin?
Satin by u-he is a tape VST plugin with way more options and flexibility than any other tape saturation plugin I ever found. This means you can dive as deep as you want with all the settings, but you can also use any of the presets which are neatly categorized in the preset browser.
The Most Important Parameters of Tape
- Input Gain (Saturation)
- Tape Model (Character)
- Tape Speed (Frequency)
U-he Satin – Extra Features
Not only can Satin be used as a high quality tape saturation effect, but you also get access to 2 other modes: A Tape Delay mode, and a Tape Flanger mode. These can be used more as a thickening and movement effect, rather than classic tape warmth and analog saturation.
If you use Satin on let’s say all tracks in your percussion group, you can use the built in group feature, which makes all instances tied to the group you set it to. And you can even name it in the plugin itself for more clarity.
There is also a knob called “Pre-Emphasis” that basically affects the gap loss of the tape repro head, which determines its frequency response. The smaller the gap, the better the response. In essence, turning the knob up will pre-emphasise higher frequencies, and turning it down will reduce the frequencies due to the repro head gap frequency roll off.
If you want to reduce the added noise and hiss from the tape itself, there is also a built in noise reduction feature which is based on an encoder/decoder setting, where you can choose different kinds for both to shape the noise reduction result. And you can also mix it to your taste with the compander knob.
You can also dive super deep into the various technical aspects of the tape, for extreme detail into how the tape effect will sound.
How do I personally use Satin?
I prefer to add it to my mixing groups, for example the drum group, the melodics group etc. And have different presets on every group, so that the groups themselves glue together with that classic analog and warm tape sound, while also being separated per group based on the different tape settings.
Then I like to also use tape on the master stereo bus for the final mix and master, with a very very slight tape setting just to add that final tape sheen on the master.