TAPE Analog Tape Machine Emulation
Analog Tape Machine Emulation

The TAPE APB plug-in is an emulation of magnetic tape recording systems. TAPE is not like most other tape machine emulations, because it is an ANALOG tape machine emulation. TAPE uses a four stage analog process to recreate the compression-like effect of recording to tape. The TAPE algorithm emulates characteristics of magnetic tape machines made primarily in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Different tape formulas (types), playback head configurations, low end ‘bump’ amount, and low frequency rolloff are all user controllable. The amount of tape compression is even user controllable. Input and output levels are also adjustable. Metering of input, output, and gain reduction are shown with dual VU meters.
  • Analog emulation of magnetic tape recording systems

  • Four stage analog process

  • User control of magnetic tape type, playback head characteristics, and tape compression

  • VU style metering of input, output, overall gain reduction

  • Double precision digital processing

  • Sample accurate automation of analog processing

  • AAX Native, AU, VST3
Playback head configuration. Two choices - 1970’s and 1980’s - incorporate characteristics of magnetic tape machines made during those eras. The HEAD control will influence overall frequency response, and is best used when auditioning different amounts of ROLLOFF and BUMP control settings.
Experiment with the TAPE and COMP controls for getting a variety of tape compression sounds. Use the OUT control to crank it up even more, or dial things back a bit to stay at roughly the levels of the original input signal.
Tape Compression
You can bypass most of the tape compression stages by turning the COMP control to 0%. Doing so will cause the input signal to hit the final output stage much harder, and possibly generate some subtle mid range saturation.
Amount of input gain. Increase the drive into the analog tape emulation by the APB Analog Processing Box by increasing the IN control level.
Tape Compression
Amount of dynamic range compression caused by tape type (formulation) selection.
Tape Formulation
Physical tape type (formulation) selection.
Playback head configuration. Two choices - 1970’s and 1980’s - incorporate characteristics of magnetic tape machines made during those eras.
The TAPE APB plug-in includes two VU meters, one for each channel of processing. Metering can show input level, gain reduction amount, or output level.
Control Linking/Processing Mode
Control linking mode selector. Choices are DUAL (separate) operation, Link 1, and Link 2. On the left side is the processing mode selector. Choices are DUAL (separate) operation, stereo pair (S-P), and mid side (M/S).
Frequency at which playback reproduction levels begin to reduce. This phenomenon is generally caused by increasing playback speed. In TAPE, it is reduced to a user control.
Amount of ripple in low frequency response near the frequency selected by the ROLLOFF control. Playback head ripple is generally caused by the width of each track on an actual reel of tape and the tape machine itself. In TAPE, it is reduced to a convenient user control. Be sure to try both HEAD control positions when dialing in the right amount of BUMP.
Amount of output gain. Note the TAPE algorithm is designed to prevent substantial overloading, and will not generate all of the selected output gain if the signal level is already near the maximum dynamic range of the analog signal path.
Sound Examples
Bass Guitar
Male Vocal
Mix 1
Mix 2
An important aspect of any APB plug-in is that the plug-in is primarily a controller. The APB plug-in takes the input audio signal, combines it with a control signal, and sends both along a Thunderbolt connection to an APB unit for processing. The control signal sets up the analog components to do the selected algorithm with all the parameter values, and the audio signal is converted to the analog domain. The analog version of the audio signal is processed in the analog domain, and then converted back to the digital domain.

By operating the APB hardware from an APB plug-in in this way, all user controllable parameters are recallable and can be saved as presets. Furthermore, because the control signal is married to the input audio signal, parameters can be updating during playback with sample accurate automation.
The KD1 Kinetic Drive has been selected as a finalist for the 2024 TEC Awards under the Signal Processing Software (Effects) Category.
Sound Examples
Drums 1
Drums 2
Full Mix
List of all APB dealers.
Frequently asked questions about the APB.