TAPE SCULPTOR: Build your own tape machine!

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zircon
KVRAF
Topic Starter
4678 posts since 16 Mar, 2004 from Columbia, MD

Post Fri Jun 02, 2023 4:53 am

simmo75 wrote: ↑Thu Jun 01, 2023 5:48 pm What does this tape plugin give me that the others don’t?
If you check the video walkthrough I think you'll get a good idea, but I'll also explain a little bit about the philosophy of the plugin, which mostly comes from Jatin.

Tape Sculptor is less about creating a perfect model of one specific tape machine with a narrow set of specifications - this kind of thing has been done before in other plugins and is less interesting to us. Instead, the idea is to provide a deep physical model of magnetic tape, the machine, the playhead, and their many properties (natural compression, hysteresis/saturation, wow, flutter, speed, etc) and give the user the ability to, well, "sculpt" their OWN custom tape machine.

That custom machine may have parameters in extreme ranges, it may have a wide combination of processes... the sound may be difficult or impossible with any ONE specific real model, but it originates from DSP still firmly based in physically-modeled reality.

We think you'll also hear this philosophy practiced in the factory bank which has a really wide range of presets of all kinds, and will hopefully inspire users to go beyond the typical use of gentle saturation/warmth/glue to new sonic & musical ideas.
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Burillo
KVRAF
4449 posts since 15 Nov, 2006 from Hell

Post Fri Jun 02, 2023 5:01 am

so it's basically another take on u-he Satin concept.
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zircon
KVRAF
Topic Starter
4678 posts since 16 Mar, 2004 from Columbia, MD

Post Fri Jun 02, 2023 6:15 am

Burillo wrote: ↑Fri Jun 02, 2023 5:01 am so it's basically another take on u-he Satin concept.
The philosophy is similar, yes. But they aren't interchangeable. They each have totally different DSP, plus a number of different features and parameters.

Satin for example has parameters like Asperity, Crosstalk, and Headroom that Tape Sculptor does not have. It also has the encoder/decoder modules. I'd say Satin has more options if you want to make very subtle and fine adjustments to the tape-style playback.

On the other hand, Tape Sculptor has more parameters (more control, wider range of sounds) for its compressor and saturation, as well as several more degradation modules. Compared to Satin, I would say Tape Sculptor is capable of more extreme settings and more ways to do lo-fi sound design.
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Burillo
KVRAF
4449 posts since 15 Nov, 2006 from Hell

Post Fri Jun 02, 2023 6:32 am

oh, my apologies, I didn't mean to suggest they're equivalent or interchangeable, just that it's another take on "tape toolbox" vs. "tape machine emulation" concept. I actually sold Satin precisely because it sounded great but did not go as far as I would've liked into the lo-fi area. I'll certainly demo this one!
My sig used to say "From Russia with love". It should've said "f**k Russia" a long time ago. Time to correct that. So, f**k Russia.
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Ronny Pries
KVRist
468 posts since 21 Jun, 2002 from Hamburg

Post Fri Jun 02, 2023 1:41 pm

A 'next generation' Tape for me includes basic things like:

- Noise reduction, incl:
- Pre & post emphasis EQ controls
- Switchable compander circuits
- Different tape formulas (beyond speed)
- Bias according to those
- Truly organic, soft Tape noise

The UI alone conveys this as a box of various effects with separate controls. Which, indeed goes beyond Tape. Whilst skipping what gave Tape its charm for me altogether.

And I wish I was able to download a free demo. Free, as in: without paying with my data.

I don't doubt this sounds nice on its own. And I'm sure you can Boards of Canada-ize your sounds in the most adorable ways. At the same time, the marketing along with the lack of things that make tape tape: makes me wonder why I should favour this over eg Chows free Tape plugin (which already lacks above aspects for me.)

Or how it remotely comes close to the authenticity of Satin or Reelbus. Which, on the other hand doesn't go Lo-Fi enough for me. See, there's a lot of potential for truly next generation Tape plugins.

And I'd love to see somebody step up and do this properly. In a no-nonsense way. Everything I tried so far, except the two mentioned, are combinations of effects stacked on top of each other.

If this comes across as harsh: You grabbed my attention with "10-in-1 tape emulation". This is the fallout of a strange, untestable promise. Albeit it: clickbait. To me.
aka rktic

zircon
KVRAF
Topic Starter
4678 posts since 16 Mar, 2004 from Columbia, MD

Post Fri Jun 02, 2023 4:45 pm

Ronny Pries wrote: ↑Fri Jun 02, 2023 1:41 pm A 'next generation' Tape for me includes basic things like:

- Noise reduction, incl:
- Pre & post emphasis EQ controls
- Switchable compander circuits
- Different tape formulas (beyond speed)
- Bias according to those
- Truly organic, soft Tape noise

And I wish I was able to download a free demo. Free, as in: without paying with my data.

I don't doubt this sounds nice on its own. And I'm sure you can Boards of Canada-ize your sounds in the most adorable ways. At the same time, the marketing along with the lack of things that make tape tape: makes me wonder why I should favour this over eg Chows free Tape plugin (which already lacks above aspects for me.)

Or how it remotely comes close to the authenticity of Satin or Reelbus. Which, on the other hand doesn't go Lo-Fi enough for me. See, there's a lot of potential for truly next generation Tape plugins.

And I'd love to see somebody step up and do this properly. In a no-nonsense way. Everything I tried so far, except the two mentioned, are combinations of effects stacked on top of each other.

If this comes across as harsh: You grabbed my attention with "10-in-1 tape emulation". This is the fallout of a strange, untestable promise. Albeit it: clickbait. To me.
I'd love to talk about all of those things you mentioned.

Noise reduction: this kind of already exists with the "Envelope" feature within the Degrade module, which attenuates the noise more or less aggressively. Plus you have complete control over the Hiss amount. The Hiss generator itself is quite soft to me when paired with the rest of the Degrade DSP running into the Loss module with its multiple parameters (gap, spacing, thickness, etc)

We do have pre/post emphasis as one of the modules, which I demonstrate in the walkthrough, and which is very powerful as a sculpting feature. Unless you mean *separate* values for pre compared to post, which is a great feature request and something that should be easily doable in an update.

For switchable compander circuits, this seems a little redundant with the existing (and even more fleshed out) compressor module. As I understand it, this is compression that happens BEFORE going to tape, and then expansion afterward, which would sit outside the current signal chain. My understanding is that tape machines don't typically have this built-in and that this would be done outside the machine with other hardware. But I'm curious to know your thoughts.

For different tape "formulas", happy to look into that further, but do note the saturation/bias module is quite advanced already in Tape Sculptor with 5 hysteresis modes that behave differently depending on the program material. This is galaxy brain DSP that Jatin has written research papers about, way beyond me :D
The UI alone conveys this as a box of various effects with separate controls. Which, indeed goes beyond Tape. Whilst skipping what gave Tape its charm for me altogether.
My concept for the UI, which was given to the designers, was to focus on usability and functionality first and foremost. This means a straightforward, clear visualization of the signal path and the processors involved, with minimal use of separate tabs or menus. It also meant not wasting space on large non-functional skeumorphic knobs and displays.

Considering the very extensive range of parameters already available I think it would have degraded (excuse the pun) usability to have used a more skeumorphic design, since it would have forced the use of more tabs and detracted from the usability of the plugin.

But design is subjective, I definitely get that.
Or how it remotely comes close to the authenticity of Satin or Reelbus
I think if you haven't had the opportunity to use the plugin, is it reasonable to judge whether or not it's authentic? πŸ€”
At the same time, the marketing along with the lack of things that make tape tape
All I can say is that Jatin has been doing extensive academic research on tape - in a nutshell, "what makes tape tape" - for over half a decade now... and the amount of detail he has put into the physical model driving Tape Sculptor is pretty incredible.
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Ronny Pries
KVRist
468 posts since 21 Jun, 2002 from Hamburg

Post Sat Jun 03, 2023 3:51 am

zircon wrote: ↑Fri Jun 02, 2023 4:45 pm
Ronny Pries wrote: ↑Fri Jun 02, 2023 1:41 pm A 'next generation' Tape for me includes basic things like:

- Noise reduction, incl:
- Pre & post emphasis EQ controls
- Switchable compander circuits
- Different tape formulas (beyond speed)
- Bias according to those
- Truly organic, soft Tape noise

And I wish I was able to download a free demo. Free, as in: without paying with my data.

I don't doubt this sounds nice on its own. And I'm sure you can Boards of Canada-ize your sounds in the most adorable ways. At the same time, the marketing along with the lack of things that make tape tape: makes me wonder why I should favour this over eg Chows free Tape plugin (which already lacks above aspects for me.)

Or how it remotely comes close to the authenticity of Satin or Reelbus. Which, on the other hand doesn't go Lo-Fi enough for me. See, there's a lot of potential for truly next generation Tape plugins.

And I'd love to see somebody step up and do this properly. In a no-nonsense way. Everything I tried so far, except the two mentioned, are combinations of effects stacked on top of each other.

If this comes across as harsh: You grabbed my attention with "10-in-1 tape emulation". This is the fallout of a strange, untestable promise. Albeit it: clickbait. To me.
I'd love to talk about all of those things you mentioned.

Noise reduction: this kind of already exists with the "Envelope" feature within the Degrade module, which attenuates the noise more or less aggressively. Plus you have complete control over the Hiss amount. The Hiss generator itself is quite soft to me when paired with the rest of the Degrade DSP running into the Loss module with its multiple parameters (gap, spacing, thickness, etc)

We do have pre/post emphasis as one of the modules, which I demonstrate in the walkthrough, and which is very powerful as a sculpting feature. Unless you mean *separate* values for pre compared to post, which is a great feature request and something that should be easily doable in an update.

For switchable compander circuits, this seems a little redundant with the existing (and even more fleshed out) compressor module. As I understand it, this is compression that happens BEFORE going to tape, and then expansion afterward, which would sit outside the current signal chain. My understanding is that tape machines don't typically have this built-in and that this would be done outside the machine with other hardware. But I'm curious to know your thoughts.

For different tape "formulas", happy to look into that further, but do note the saturation/bias module is quite advanced already in Tape Sculptor with 5 hysteresis modes that behave differently depending on the program material. This is galaxy brain DSP that Jatin has written research papers about, way beyond me :D
The UI alone conveys this as a box of various effects with separate controls. Which, indeed goes beyond Tape. Whilst skipping what gave Tape its charm for me altogether.
My concept for the UI, which was given to the designers, was to focus on usability and functionality first and foremost. This means a straightforward, clear visualization of the signal path and the processors involved, with minimal use of separate tabs or menus. It also meant not wasting space on large non-functional skeumorphic knobs and displays.

Considering the very extensive range of parameters already available I think it would have degraded (excuse the pun) usability to have used a more skeumorphic design, since it would have forced the use of more tabs and detracted from the usability of the plugin.

But design is subjective, I definitely get that.
Or how it remotely comes close to the authenticity of Satin or Reelbus
I think if you haven't had the opportunity to use the plugin, is it reasonable to judge whether or not it's authentic? πŸ€”
At the same time, the marketing along with the lack of things that make tape tape
All I can say is that Jatin has been doing extensive academic research on tape - in a nutshell, "what makes tape tape" - for over half a decade now... and the amount of detail he has put into the physical model driving Tape Sculptor is pretty incredible.
Thank you for being open towards my input, as well as your insights. Based upon what you wrote, I'd like to clear up a fundamental misunderstanding:

When I read "Tape", I think about "Cassette Tape". When I read "Reel", I think about "Reel Tape".

I'm very grateful for Jatin's research in the latter scope. I've been following his work since his early publications in 2016(?). And iirc he always has been very clear about his scope, revoling around reel. Focusing on ONE particular piece of gear.

As far as I'm aware, and please correct me if I missed something, his work did not revolve around Cassette tapedecks. Which have been a hallmark in home recording studios, during the 80s. And did imprint their flaws on a lot of early electronic dance music. Such as Acid-House, Detroit Techno and the likes.

During the early 90s, I started recording 909 to everything: from shitty consumer tape decks and the cheapest available cassettes. As well as sophisticated machines, using the highest available quality metal cassettes I was able to find.

The dbx single and multiband compansion circuits played a huge role in the resulting characteristics. So did the later introduced MPX approaches.

And as far as what I understood from Jatins Papers, as well as what you described above, and my own experiences from actually recording to reel: there are fundamental differences in how bespoke noise reduction processes altered incoming signals.

Because of that, up to this day, there's no plugin whatsoever, that gets remotely close to the amazingly smashed and glued character and groove, I get from recording a simple setup of 303, 808 and 909 too hot on cassette.

For the record: I don't feel good talking about Jatin's work in this context. Because, as far as I'm aware, he always drew a line. By constantly being specific in his communication, what his work is about. Also, he provided his plugins for free. At the same time, I feel that ChowREEL would've been a much more suitable name. To avoid misunderstandings.

That said, I'm not talking about your UI, skeumorphism or taste. But the marketing that's based on throwing reel and cassette in the same bucket.

I do not wish to imply you're doing this intendedly. And of course, we all have to make a living somehow. At the same time, in this very thread, there were requests by others for a more 'lo-fi' take on "TAPE". And I absolutely understand the nature of their request. Because, like me, they want Cassette, not Reel.

It's up to you and the words you choose to sell your product. Your potential customers don't need to study these differences. They pay forward with their trust. And some of them, without even understanding exactly why, might end up bummed. Because they invested in a promise your product wasn't able to fulfill.

And unfortunately, ChowTAPE doesn't do a great job at being a Cassette. Thing is: it never tried to be.
aka rktic

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Ronny Pries
KVRist
468 posts since 21 Jun, 2002 from Hamburg

Post Sat Jun 03, 2023 3:55 am

PS: I've got much closer to that cassette groove by faking my own compander based channel strips using a variety of free plugins. It's totally possible. "Just" needs to be done.

However, that'd be your homework. Not my job. Neither the one of your customers. (Unless you want to Steve-Jobs them, and tell them how to hold their phone correctly)
aka rktic

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jens
KVRAF
22713 posts since 12 Jul, 2003 from West Caprazumia

Post Sun Jun 04, 2023 12:57 am

Ronny Pries wrote: ↑Sat Jun 03, 2023 3:51 am

When I read "Tape", I think about "Cassette Tape". When I read "Reel", I think about "Reel Tape".

I'm very grateful for Jatin's research in the latter scope. I've been following his work since his early publications in 2016(?). And iirc he always has been very clear about his scope, revoling around reel. Focusing on ONE particular piece of gear.

As far as I'm aware, and please correct me if I missed something, his work did not revolve around Cassette tapedecks. Which have been a hallmark in home recording studios, during the 80s. And did imprint their flaws on a lot of early electronic dance music. Such as Acid-House, Detroit Techno and the likes.

During the early 90s, I started recording 909 to everything: from shitty consumer tape decks and the cheapest available cassettes. As well as sophisticated machines, using the highest available quality metal cassettes I was able to find.

The dbx single and multiband compansion circuits played a huge role in the resulting characteristics. So did the later introduced MPX approaches.

And as far as what I understood from Jatins Papers, as well as what you described above, and my own experiences from actually recording to reel: there are fundamental differences in how bespoke noise reduction processes altered incoming signals.

Because of that, up to this day, there's no plugin whatsoever, that gets remotely close to the amazingly smashed and glued character and groove, I get from recording a simple setup of 303, 808 and 909 too hot on cassette.

For the record: I don't feel good talking about Jatin's work in this context. Because, as far as I'm aware, he always drew a line. By constantly being specific in his communication, what his work is about. Also, he provided his plugins for free. At the same time, I feel that ChowREEL would've been a much more suitable name. To avoid misunderstandings.

That said, I'm not talking about your UI, skeumorphism or taste. But the marketing that's based on throwing reel and cassette in the same bucket.

I do not wish to imply you're doing this intendedly. And of course, we all have to make a living somehow. At the same time, in this very thread, there were requests by others for a more 'lo-fi' take on "TAPE". And I absolutely understand the nature of their request. Because, like me, they want Cassette, not Reel.

It's up to you and the words you choose to sell your product. Your potential customers don't need to study these differences. They pay forward with their trust. And some of them, without even understanding exactly why, might end up bummed. Because they invested in a promise your product wasn't able to fulfill.

And unfortunately, ChowTAPE doesn't do a great job at being a Cassette. Thing is: it never tried to be.
Huh? That makes absolutely no sense at all. It's all just some confusion in your own head at this point.

You are the sole person talking about cassette-emulation in this thread and there is no reason to assume "tape" means cassette while "reel" means tape-machine.

Waves have the Abbey Road J37 Tape

Waves have the Kramer Master Tape

Softube have Tape

U-He call Satin a Tape Simulation

IKMM have the T-RackS Tape Machine Collection


and so forth.... all these emulate what you decided to call "reel" machines.


It is absolutely absurd to come up with your own definition of a term that is widely accepted
to mean something else, then complain that something described with said term doesn't meet that personal definition.

Imagine going to a shop and loudly complaining that none of the holdalls they sell have straps to put them on your back because when you talk about holdall you mean a bag that can be carried on the back (i.e. what everyone else calls a back pack) - yes, you are really dorky like that if you think about it. :lol:
"Preamps have literally one job: when you turn up the gain, it gets louder." Jamcat, talking about presmp-emulation plugins.

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
11757 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Post Sun Jun 04, 2023 1:29 am

jens wrote: ↑Sun Jun 04, 2023 12:57 am

You are the sole person talking about cassette-emulation in this thread and there is no reason to assume "tape" means cassette while "reel" means tape-machine.

...and for those that are after the different and specific 'cassette' emulation then I can't praise highly enough the excellent 'Sketch Cassette';

https://aberrantdsp.com/plugins/sketchcassette/

..which always seems to fly under the radar for some reason.

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jens
KVRAF
22713 posts since 12 Jul, 2003 from West Caprazumia

Post Sun Jun 04, 2023 2:29 am

Yes, good call absolutely (there's a few others too...)
"Preamps have literally one job: when you turn up the gain, it gets louder." Jamcat, talking about presmp-emulation plugins.

tlkmx
KVRer
22 posts since 15 Oct, 2021

Post Sun Jun 04, 2023 4:24 am

Not directing this toward anyone but the dev has been super kind and formal in his answer and i dont see the reasons why so many people are being total assh*les being borderline angry at the authorization format or some other small detail almost unrelated to the release.
This plugin isnt for everyone and maybe not for me but i dont see why mods doesnt do anything about this. Yeah he uses marketing and somewhat clickbait titles for the product. EVERYONE DOES IT. Saying something is great is already being clickbait because you should be the judge ? Or no one should promote anything because its already baiting your click. KVR is often a weirdly toxic place in the comment and its kinda sad. Nice comment are welcome too before trashing something which is fine but there are ways to do it
I think the demo sounds interesting. I don't have much use for it with satin for at least what they have in common. But its a nice work generall even if i hope people get away from skeumorphic but its highly personal

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Ronny Pries
KVRist
468 posts since 21 Jun, 2002 from Hamburg

Post Sun Jun 04, 2023 12:36 pm

jens wrote: ↑Sun Jun 04, 2023 12:57 am Huh? That makes absolutely no sense at all. It's all just some confusion in your own head at this point.

You are the sole person talking about cassette-emulation in this thread and there is no reason to assume "tape" means cassette while "reel" means tape-machine.

Waves have the Abbey Road J37 Tape

Waves have the Kramer Master Tape

Softube have Tape

U-He call Satin a Tape Simulation

IKMM have the T-RackS Tape Machine Collection


and so forth.... all these emulate what you decided to call "reel" machines.


It is absolutely absurd to come up with your own definition of a term that is widely accepted
to mean something else, then complain that something described with said term doesn't meet that personal definition.

Imagine going to a shop and loudly complaining that none of the holdalls they sell have straps to put them on your back because when you talk about holdall you mean a bag that can be carried on the back (i.e. what everyone else calls a back pack) - yes, you are really dorky like that if you think about it. :lol:
Is this really as absurd? Because I have fond memories of recording engineers being very specific about either saying or the other. To avoid misunderstandings when communicating with eg trainees. To prevent the unnecessary question "reel or cassette?"

Additionally, "Tape" has been synonymous here in Germany with Cassettes. When talking about games. "Tape vs Floppy Disk".

Mixtape also seems to be oddly format specific.

So: yeah, I'm aware that all these plugins are called "Tape". And find it unsettling.

I'd be fine with being mistaken. Could this be exclusive to Germany? Or growing up amongst autistic people? Whatever it may be: It doesn't give me a properly executed cassette emulation :)

And no, Sketch Cassette ain't that. Because: everything I'm missing, as stated above. Additionally, it sounds very harsh and digital when extremely pushed. Where the noise is merely a layer on top. Like most :(
aka rktic

kevinsparks
KVRist
492 posts since 28 Jul, 2016

Post Mon Jun 05, 2023 6:07 am

Maybe autism is contagious

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EvilDragon
KVRAF
23154 posts since 7 Jan, 2009 from Croatia

Post Mon Jun 05, 2023 6:15 am

You're not recording to reel, nor casette. Reel and casette are just containers for... wait for it... tape!

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