Tape Construction Kit

We took a journey back to the Golden Age of magnetic tape recording. We wanted to recreate all kinds of tape machines in software, from the ground up. After many months spent on research, measurement and on developing an architecture that would be flexible enough for the job, we knew we had nailed it...
 

But we couldn't stop there: We added the old noise-reduction systems that were often (mis)used for timbral compression effects. Then more heads and a global feedback path, which made an uber-tape-delay and realistic 'one-shot' tape flanging possible.
 

Users familiar with analogue recording gear should instantly feel at home with Satin, and digital afficionados will also learn to love the magic of tape – Satin invites you to explore and find out for yourself.

Features

Point your mouse at the stars and learn more about each feature


Presets

Satin ships with a wide variety of presets - emulations of classic professional tape machines, cheap 'n nasty tape machines, tape delays, tape flanging ⁄ chorus... and a whole lot more!

Delay

2 or 4-tap tape delay with variable routing, cyclic modulation, feedback filtering and limiter. Easily create beautiful organic spaces or precisely synchronized, complex patterns.

Flanger

Unlike regular LFO-controlled digital flangers, this is the real deal. True tape flanging, that legendary 'swoosh'! Doing this on a pair of real tape machines takes skill and practice - with Satin, you simply activate the Trigger.

Service Panel

Satin lets you get seriously technical whenever you want: adjust numerous attributes of the tape, the heads and the surrounding circuitry. A handy analyzer makes alignments such as biasing easy and precise.

TapeControls

Satin's Speed control is continuously variable from 7.5 up to 30ips - it even re-adjusts the entire machine model as you tweak. Pre-emphasis allows for precise control over transients, tone and fidelity.

Grouping

In Studio mode, you can assign each instance of Satin to one of eight groups. Each group will behave as a multitrack tape, 'remote-controlled' from any instance in that group.

Companders

A choice of encoder and decoder circuits brings back the era of noise-reduction systems that were (mis)used for all kinds of dynamic and spectral effects, including the legendary 'A-type vocal trick'.

Metering

Precise visual signal level monitoring is ensured through a combination VU & peak meter, with switchable RMS mode and variable reference level.

Gains

The two large knobs adjust input and output levels - probably the most important controls in Satin!

Highlights:

  • mix-and-match emulation spans all major historical developments in tape technology
  • control multiple instances from one panel - 'glue’ multiple tracks together
  • high-quality: internal sample rate up to 384kHz, continuous tape speed control
  • all the 'goodness' of tape (saturation, transient-smoothing, HF compression etc.)
  • full control over the 'badness' (head-bump, wow&flutter, asperity noise, hiss etc.)
  • record / repro EQ standards (separately selectable), classic NR compander standards
  • extra FX modes: through-zero tape flanging, host-synchronizable 4-tap stereo delay

Audio examples

Here are some example tracks to demonstrate what Satin can do for your sound:

Power To Fly

This is a short (1:20min) demo of a Rock song, courtesy of Blacky Schwarz-Ruszczynski, featuring Marian Gold (of Alphaville) on vocals. This song was recorded in Logic and mixed in Samplitude. It consists of 21 tracks, 5 busses and 15 instances of Satin.

  • one instance used as a tape delay effect (lead vocals)
  • one for A-Type encoding of the backing vocals to add 'freshness'
  • a third on the drums
  • a fourth on the master

All other instances are set up as a multi-track entity, using Satin's 'group' feature.

First, the mix without Satin (except for the 4-tap delay on the lead vocal):

Here's the mix with all Satins active to add some 'glue', i.e. make things more coherent:

Drum Buss

In these snippets, the chorus part of the song is soloed. The multi-track group on the individual channels is bypassed, only the Satin instance on the drums remains active. These examples show how saturation and the overall texture change with higher input gain and different kinds of equalization.

All examples use the Vintage tape setting and 15ips tape speed. The audio is separated into four sections:

  1. 1. Bypass
  2. 2. +6dB
  3. 3. +12dB
  4. 4. +18dB

No EQ, both Rec & Repro are set to Flat:

The massive HF smear and loss of any transients should be clearly audible. But with moderate gain, Flat can be the right choice for taming harsh peaks and making everything round and soft.

IEC 15 as Rec & Repro EQ:

NAB as Rec & Repro EQ:

Listen to how NAB adds more saturation on the bass due to the low-shelf boost in the recording EQ. Note that NAB also preserves more HF content.

Vocal Delay

This example demonstrates how Satin can be used as a traditional 4-head tape delay, where all the tiny imperfections and complexities add up to an organic 'vintage' vibe:

Lead vocal - first without, then with delay:

Compander tricks

Some noise-reduction systems were often mis-used by running the audio through the encoder circuit only, omitting decoding. Especially the A-Type systems gained popularity because they could add some pleasantly 'airy' compression. A nice exciter-type sound was possible when the lower two of the four frequency bands were bypassed by modifying the Cat 22 circuit board. This modification is also available in Satin.

Backing vocal - first bypassed, then through Satin's A-Type Mod encoder:

If you're curious about how the regular Type-A sounds on the drums, check this one out.

  1. 1. Bypass
  2. 2. Encoder
  3. 3. Decoder
  4. 4. Encoder & Decoder

Metal example

Heavy metal song courtesy of Blacky Schwarz-Ruszczynski, featuring Marian Gold (of Alphaville) on vocals. It consists of 13 tracks with Satin's Modern tape and a Vintage tape on the master bus.

The lead vocals and solo guitar are sent through an additional instance of Satin in Delay mode to give them more width. Presswerk as well as Samplitude's eFX Gate and Reverb were used on drums, vocals and guitars.

This is the 'dry' mix without Satin:

Here's the mix with all Satins active:




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