Ho, ho, ho — another freebie makes the show 😀 I would call it a natural evolution, because on my way to an EQ, I’ve made a small detour and made a plug-in I was itching to do maybe from the very moment I decided to get my feet wet in the DSP — an analog tape machine emulator.
But…it looked overwhelming, and of course why do something that everyone, even their grandmother and her dog, has already created? Well, the answer is simple. None of the emulators I’ve tried, and I’ve tried many (free and commercial alike), fulfilled what its authors promised.
My gripes were mostly of two kind–either the plug-in sounded nothing like what it supposed to sound (some even didn’t sound at all O_o), or it was (somewhat) in the ballpark of an analog tape machine but it ate my CPU like chips, so, there went that fabled “cumulative effect” of using multiple instances per session (and, I guess, a system build around i7 4770 3.4GHz is not that shabby).
Long story short, here I am happy as Larry, because I finally have a tape sound emulator of my dreams 🙂
And I’m happy to share it with you.
Well, but first a disclaimer — again, it’s a Win only VST, so all you Mac users, I’m sorry, I still don’t have enough resources to fund Mac version (I don’t have resources to buy a used Mac to boot).
Anyway, SN03 comes again in two flavors–one with GUI and one without. As for what this fuss is all about:
SN03/SN03-G is a tape sound emulation plug-in, designed with a completely new paradigm. Not based on tape speed or type (which is quite redundant ITB), it takes the key components of analog tape recorders, and allows the user to create a properly calibrated “custom tape machine” that operates in the range of 7.5 to 30 IPS, while conforming to NAB, IEC, and AES equalization standards. The plug-in is designed with ASIO/CPU footprint that allows use of many instances for cumulative effect.Straight from manual 😉
In more detail, the features are:
- input gain +/- 24dB
- output gain +/- 24dB
- NAB, IEC (15 IPS), AES (30 IPS) EQ modes
- adjustable recording EQ (LF +/- 10dB, HF +/- 14dB)
- adjustable reproduction EQ (LF +/- 10dB, HF +/- 14dB)
- adjustable “head bump” frequency from 65Hz to 105Hz
- adjustable “head bump” gain from 1dB to 8dB
- “head bump” bypass
- optional tape hiss gain +/-30dB from ca. -76dBFS
- complete I/O VU metering (GUI version only)
- “Anarchy” button to break some norms 😉
- …and tape saturation, of course
Now, few remarks pertaining the performance.
From rounding off the rough digital edges, to giving your sources high frequency air; from well below 3% THD to saturation mayhem–this baby does it all. On top of it, I was finally able to test and confirm that cumulative effect is a real thing.
In my benchmarks I ran six instances of SN03-G and they performed better than one instance of each of the two tape emulators that were my preferred choices up to this time.
I’m really hyped about this plug-in, but self-promotion sucks. Just download it and hear it for yourself.