Analog recording to go

When it comes to the character of analog tape machines, most of us think of the massive units found in recording studios throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.

But companies like Studer also produced smaller units, which became staples in broadcast and location recording.

Tape Machine 99

The Tape Machine 99 re-creates the Revox PR99 Mk II, a compact, rack-mount stereo recorder produced by Studer in the 1980s under their Revox brand. Engineered around a hybrid design that takes the best of discrete and op-amp topologies, it offers an un-hyped, elegant sound with an extremely smooth frequency response.

Revox PR99

The PR99 has almost no trace of the typical “head bump” effect, reducing the bass boost caused by the heads gap and making the overall response extremely linear. This unit quickly became popular in broadcasting and for on-location professional recording because of its impressive sonic performance. It also was a reference for audiophiles wanting to dub their beloved LPs on tape, without sacrificing the sound quality to those inadequate-sounding cassettes.

Listen to audio demos

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Tape Machine 99

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Using a mix of dynamic convolution and physical modeling, the Tape Machine 99 re-creates the complex interplay of effects taking place in the audio tape recording process, down to the smallest details of this machine.

You won’t believe how much character a clean and smooth analog tape recorder can add until you’ve tried mixing down a track through the PR99 Mk II.

Re-creating the magic

Analog tape audio recorders are complex systems. They impart magic to the audio material, lifting the art within the music to a higher level. They add musicality to music.

What a tape machine adds to the audio is the result of a number of interactions amongst several interdependent factors. More than just saturation, compression, or EQ alone, these factors work together, one affecting each other with the dynamics of music, adding a “movement” that goes into the soul of what we perceive.

Decades of music produced on these pieces of artful human engineering have tailored the way we think music should sound. It’s imprinted in our DNA.

Trying to recreate this magic in the digital domain has been attempted since the early days of real-time audio plug-ins, with various degrees of success.

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The T-RackS Tape Machine collection is the culmination of two years of full-time research and development on real world-class machines. Each machine went through a complete electronic and mechanical restoration to bring them perfectly back “to spec” before the scientific modelling process started.

Then IK’s DSP engineering team took each of the stages apart, studied and analyzed them in-depth, thus producing a model of the entire magnetic tape recording process. This model now works in symbiosis with a powerful dynamic convolution engine that captures the full essence of the real machines, creating what we believe is the only way to faithfully bring the complete picture of these complex analog engineering marvels to the digital realm.

The program coming out a professional tape recorder is very similar to the one coming in, just better. It's subtle but you can feel that it is not. This is the essence, and the T-RackS Tape Machine collection faithfully bring all this magic right to your DAW.

4 magic formulas

Choose from 4 different tape formulations, each with its own unique tone:

  • 250: Modelled after the 3M/Scotch 250 formula, it is the most 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: Modelled 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” tape sound. It offers a warm, round tone with a slight touch of saturation that greatly responds to the recording level.
  • GP9: Modelled 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: Modelled 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.
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Comprehensive Controls

All Tape Machine Collection plug-ins share the same set of controls to enhance the ease of use and allow for quick A-B comparisons among them. Key features include:

Signal path selection: With “Input,” the signal only passes through the input and output 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. This is good and part of the analog recording mojo! 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: Precisely models the behavior of the mechanical transport. Small irregularities in the movement of the tape creates various degrees of sonic alteration to the audio program, especially between the two channels. Keep it on for the magic to happen! In case a perfectly steady performance is needed, just disable the control.

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 nicely boost the high frequencies in a truly unique way and add distortion and other nonlinear effects.

The power of T-RackS

Like all T-RackS plug-ins, the Tape Machine Collection offers you two ways to work: as a stand-alone plug-in, or inside the T-RackS 5 shell. Use these together with any of the other 39 T-RackS processors to mix and master faster than ever creating a powerful, lightning-fast workflow.

The T-RackS shell offers a unique modular system with up to 16-processor chains, series & parallel routing, easy A/B/C/D comparison, up to 192 kHz / 32-bit floating point processing and much more, in both a plug-in and stand-alone mastering application.

   
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T-RackS Processor

This module is included in:

From the same family

Tape Machine 24

Tape Machine 24

Tape Machine 80

Tape Machine 80

Tape Machine 440

Tape Machine 440

Features

  • T-RackS individual processor module
  • Full 14 day free trial period
  • Individual processor or part of the T-RackS processing chain
  • 64-bit native support
  • 32-bit 192 kHz support
  • T-RackS Custom Shop integration
  • Also available as part of T-RackS Tape Machine Collection

The Custom Shop

This audio processor module is part of T-RackS CS “Custom Shop” Mixing and Mastering Plug-In Collection. With T-RackS CS you can:

  • install all of the available modules at once
  • directly access Custom Shop online store from the module for immediate trial or purchase
  • try out any processor for a full 14 day trial period
  • purchase any module with credits (via Custom Shop) or currency (via Custom Shop or IK online store)


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