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In-depth Feature:  Digidesign Reel Tape Suite
Tape saturation, flanger and delay effects - no cleaning required
Shorn Rah writes: .


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5:39 mins
Is it Reelly Real?
Tape really does have pros and cons; it can be warm and loving, or a hissy bitch. It also takes a great deal of TLC to keep a machine tuned for optimum performance, not to mention the difficulty in obtaining tape stock as many manufacturers have ceased production.

Since the advance of the binary age, many of us have never had the pleasure (or perhaps pain) of using those huge, 2 inch 24-track machines of old, our experiences with tape are perhaps limited to a dusty cassette tape collection.

The thing is, back in the day, the "sound" was very much based around tape saturation (and valves of course) this sound has so far proved elusive to recreate in the this digital age using software.

That, along with the original tape flanging - where two machines are manually syncronised and tape based delays is something that Digidesign feel has been missing from our lives. And so they introduced the Reel Tape Suite comprising of three plug-ins:

Tape, tape and tape
Reel Tape Saturation
Reel Tapeâ„¢ Saturation emulates the color characteristics, tape compression, and saturation effects of popular analog tape formulations, including the classic Ampex 456* and higher-output Quantegy GP9*. It also features carefully modeled characteristics from renowned tape machines such as the 3M M79* and Studer A800*. You haver control over tape speed, hiss, bias, and calibration levels.

Reel Tape Delay
Reel Tape™ Delay emulates analog tape echo and delay effects with modeled frequency response, noise, wow and flutter, and distortion characteristics. You can reproduce fluctuations in tape speed — both small and large. Even get the full effect of adjusting tape speed during the record/playback process. Delays are fully adjustable over a wide range, and because EQ and detailed level control are built into the echo/delay loop, the feedback controls allow you to dial-in a variety of effects, from tastefully subtle to over-the-top.

Reel Tape Flanger
Reel Tape™ Flanger models the tape flanging process and hardware characteristics, and provides controls for shaping the output in real time. The sonic characteristics of frequency response, noise, wow and flutter, and distortion are captured in detail and applied to a variety of tape speed and delay control options. Infamously difficult manual flange and artificial double-tracking (ADT) techniques are simple to re-create. You can adjust the variable delay manually (or use the LFO and Depth controls) and listen to the captivating frequency sweep and “crossover� cancellation effects heard on so many classic recordings. You also get easy access to tape speed fluctuation and feedback controls.

They really seem to have covered all the angles in the plug-ins. Cameraman Andy Mac knows all about tape and it's up and downs. All Shorn has to do is sit there and work out if it's enhancing those digital files and sounding good.

Prices
GBP: £347
USD: $495
EUR: €518

Rental Options (Via Digidesign.com)
2 Days $14.50
14 Days $23.50

Requirements
Pro Tools HD|TDM system running 7.2 software
Pro Tools LE or M-Powered ruuning 7.3
OS X 10.4.x or Windows XP
Note
iLock required.

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