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Portico 5042 vs Anamod ATS-1
Old 9th February 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Portico 5042 vs Anamod ATS-1

I'm surprised at the lack of comparisons between these two units. They seem to be the best hardware currently available to getting a tape effect without actual tape*. Has anyone had the opportunity to compare them, or simply, had the pleasure to use both? What were your impressions?

Given the cost difference, I'm curious as to how the Anamod justifies this. The Portico actually uses a tape head mechanism, so it would seem to be more value (from a parts cost, mechanics, point of view only - which isn't entirely fair, but makes it surprising relative to Anamod's pricing).

For all the rave reviews the Anamod is getting, I presume people are taking into regard the cheaper Portico unit, and still judging the Anamod to come out on top? If so, why? What is the Portico lacking?

My interest is in tracking, mixing and mastering through it. So I am more interested in a subtle effect than a novelty one (ruling out distressors, vintage warmers, and other options).


(*Yes, the question of why not actually just use tape is a well beaten dead horse. Presume here, that the user finds it impractical and is willing to compromise with a substitute for the convenience of NOT dealing with tape).
Old 9th February 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
khai's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Portico is only one tape desk emulation with one tape formula. Ananamod gives you several. I can't speak of the sound difference as I've never tested the 5042.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
do a search and u will get anamod vs protico vs hedd, vs plugins, etc.
Old 9th February 2009
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
don't forget the empirical labs fatso. i have all three of these units and i can assure you that the fatso is quite a bit better for the real tape effect. you get much better control of the sound first of all and, more importantly, much better sound. keep in mind, i actually do record onto analog tape (although i'm forced to use DAW as well, which is why i've tried every way to emulate tape) and i've done elaborate recordings and A/B tests with all of 'em.... fatso is truly the closest and the most flexible. they don't overdo it like the anamod and they don't underdo it like the 5042; the actual saturation and high end attenuation isn't effect-y (for lack of a better term), it really does soften like tape and when you hit it hard it reacts the same way.

and then there's the clincher: the transformer emulation and the fixed compressor types work in tandem with the warmth/saturation circuits and enhance the effect in ways you simply must hear. i love the other two machines for certain things, but i just don't get that same realistic tape sound and overall satisfaction as i do with the fatso. to be totally honest, the fatso is one of my all-time favorite units - and i'm an old, weathered slut who's been around the block.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
btw- i had the crane song hedd too, but got rid of it after a few days. it just didn't do it for me.
Old 10th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by khai ➑️
Portico is only one tape desk emulation with one tape formula. Ananamod gives you several. I can't speak of the sound difference as I've never tested the 5042.
There are actually 2 different sounds 7.5 ips(more bass presence and some top end roll off) and 15ips (much more open, with slightly less low end push). You also have a fully variable saturation control that interacts with the input. A number of flavors can be had.

Josh
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Gloves ➑️
don't forget the empirical labs fatso. i have all three of these units and i can assure you that the fatso is quite a bit better for the real tape effect. you get much better control of the sound first of all and, more importantly, much better sound. keep in mind, i actually do record onto analog tape (although i'm forced to use DAW as well, which is why i've tried every way to emulate tape) and i've done elaborate recordings and A/B tests with all of 'em.... fatso is truly the closest and the most flexible. they don't overdo it like the anamod and they don't underdo it like the 5042; the actual saturation and high end attenuation isn't effect-y (for lack of a better term), it really does soften like tape and when you hit it hard it reacts the same way.

and then there's the clincher: the transformer emulation and the fixed compressor types work in tandem with the warmth/saturation circuits and enhance the effect in ways you simply must hear. i love the other two machines for certain things, but i just don't get that same realistic tape sound and overall satisfaction as i do with the fatso. to be totally honest, the fatso is one of my all-time favorite units - and i'm an old, weathered slut who's been around the block.
Wow. I have the Fatso and Anamod and have a complete opposite opinion than yours. I'm keeping my Fatso 'cos I do like it for other things, but not for a real tape effect box. Of course the Fatso's tranny is cool, yet it's a tranny and I have other gear that also has great transformer sounds.

OTOH my Anamod w/351 card really nails it IMO. I don't understand how you can say the Anamod over does it? If you don't drive it hard (and @ 30ips) it can be very clean, with just a hint of tapeyness to it. In fact it's the fatso that overdoes it when you're trying to get a tape sound out of it...and it's not an over saturated tape sound that you end up with.

Do you have the 351 card??

(Also have the HEDD, but only use it as a converter...don't use the processor)
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman ➑️
Wow. I have the Fatso and Anamod and have a complete opposite opinion than yours. I'm keeping my Fatso 'cos I do like it for other things, but not for a real tape effect box. Of course the Fatso's tranny is cool, yet it's a tranny and I have other gear that also has great transformer sounds.

OTOH my Anamod w/351 card really nails it IMO. I don't understand how you can say the Anamod over does it? If you don't drive it hard (and @ 30ips) it can be very clean, with just a hint of tapeyness to it. In fact it's the fatso that overdoes it when you're trying to get a tape sound out of it...and it's not an over saturated tape sound that you end up with.

Do you have the 351 card??

(Also have the HEDD, but only use it as a converter...don't use the processor)
i sure do have the 351 card. i don't dislike the unit - in fact, quite the opposite - i just think the fatso is closer to the sound of a real analog tape recording. yes, the anamod tries very hard and offers lots of options, succeeding for the most part, but the fatso focuses on one very specific type of tape sound and does it extraordinarily well. when the comp, tranny, saturation and warmth are all working in tandem and very subtly, it injects the sound with that vibe, that dark analog tape color that i just don't get from the anamod.

i truly believe people are getting too carried away with tape emulation. on a similar thread someone stated, "tape is much more subtle than people care to remember" and i couldn't put it better myself. think back to when the fatso first came out and everyone loved it and praised it; professional reviewers wrote about how close to tape it sounded and it was the box to have. nowadays saying something like "none of them sound like tape, but the anamod does it best" is like a catchphrase or something. most of these people have never even used a real, high quality tape machine, or at least not extensively. and i'm not saying you... i don't know you or your experience. but the very idea of tape emulation lends itself to trendiness and "style over substance."

my point is: when people start modeling every aspect of several different tape recorders, it compromises the credibility of the effect. think of it in terms of compressors. would you rather have a compressor emulator that does 5 classic comps... or one really badass comp that does exactly what it's supposed to do with style and detail? i'd much rather have the latter and when it comes to tape emulation, for me the fatso is exactly that. i've worked with tape extensively every single day and have been for decades. i'm not saying my opinion counts more than yours, but for me, the fatso is more focused, more flexible and more realistic.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Ok, well, I my opinion is the polar opposite of yours.

I liked the fatso when it came out too....but I never thought it could 'replace' tape, which is what I feel about the Anamod. I still like the fatso, but for different reasons. Also, as for pro-reviewers praising fatso when it came out, well for one there wasn't really any good tape emulators then, fatso was the best. 2nd, pro-reviews tend to praise most gear that is advertised in their magazines, etc. Most of the real pros here on GS might like the fatso, but hardly any (if none) of them claim it comes really close to tape. They can be more candid here (no conflict of interest).

To me fatso is more of a saturator...much like driving say a 1073, but tailored more for tapish color, + the high freq compressor, and the tranny. Yes, all together, dialed in right, it can be cool, but never fools me into thinking it's tape, that's for sure. It doesn't have that tape compression/saturation effect down, the anamod does.

If you have A/B'd live drums through the Anamod/351 and the Fatso, you can really hear the difference, in Anamod's favor IMO (not even close I think). Live drums will give the most drastic differences between these units.

Again, the fatso is still cool. I'll probably get it modded for the UBK option at some point.

And yes, I've used much tape in the past (started about 19 years ago), plus some notable pros have used my Anamod and fatso, but they don't use the fatso for the 'tape' effect, they use the Anamod for that
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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Martin Kantola's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Tried the Fatso too but didn't do it for me at all. Fell in love with the 5042 instead and recently heard the Anamod in action, sounded very sweet to me. The Fatso was more like a distortion unit, so when Fleaman says saturator I totally agree.

Martin
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Gloves ➑️
but the fatso, in my opinion, hits the nail on the head. there are certain intangibles in it; things about tape that not everyone wants to acknowledge... but they're there alright. .
That's exactly how I feel about the anamod
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Kantola ➑️
Tried the Fatso too but didn't do it for me at all. Fell in love with the 5042 instead and recently heard the Anamod in action, sounded very sweet to me. The Fatso was more like a distortion unit, so when Fleaman says saturator I totally agree.

Martin
if the fatso is used judiciously its distortion-inducing nature is curbed. when pushed it gives sources great color, but regarding the tape thing you want to keep everything light and low. i've got a few recipes for the fatso that really do the tape emulation better than all the others. it's very versatile too, which is great for finding the sweet spot.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock ➑️
I know you do not want to hear this but what both units lack is tape. Neither unit sounds like tape and neither can give the effects tape will give. ie saturation.

If you do not want to use tape then use a convertor which adds softening to the mix. There are many options. Also, consider Radar.

I use tape mostly with mixdown. When I do not, I mix down with Mytek and this give a clear non harsh mix. If you want tape effect you have to get tape.
yeah for sure....the 5042 lacks the very thing you WANT from tape.... that subtle compressive element or even that smashed to buggery vibe.

I've got two units (so four channels).... stopped using them for two reasons...

1.... nothing like tape and any subtle EQ element they have is just actually not that great
2. the HUGE 300hz hump it has.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock ➑️
I know you do not want to hear this but what both units lack is tape. Neither unit sounds like tape and neither can give the effects tape will give. ie saturation.
.
Uhmm, FWIR you never used a Anamod.....
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock ➑️
We have heard its result at this time. Its not bad but its not tape. Any studio worth its weight in salt should have a tape deck. IMO
Again, you have not Used the Anamod.

There are a million settings/variations/combinations on that unit. You can not really know it's capabilities from a few sound bites.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock ➑️
Also, if there are a "million settings" then I will definitely stick to my tape deck. It has one setting "record". Its way easier to use and its cheaper and sounds better.
Infinite settings> Bias, Input level, LF/HF adjust.

Of which can be used between these combo's>
3 different machine cards (assuming you get it with the 351 card which is a prerequisite IMO),
2 different tape cards
3 different tape speeds.

Then try all that on multiple sources, snr, kik, OH, toms, bass, gtr, vox, keys, etc. etc. It's no different than trying out different tape machines and different tape brands at various settings to find the sweet spot.

That being said, the Anamod is super easy to use and offers up many different tape colors (just as real tape does at different settings, tape formulations and different tape machines).

Of course you wouldn't know how easy the Anamod is to use....it's certainly a lot Easier to use than a tape machine by far....
Old 11th February 2009
  #17
theother
Guest
I have the Portico and it doesn't sound like tape at all. That's because it doesn't use tape! (Although it has tape heads built in)

I'm not arguing the usefulness of it. All I'm saying is it doesn't sound like a tape machine. The output transformers sound very nice yet it doesn't do the low-end/compression thing.

The Anamod captures the character of a tape machine better (I only heard audio files). But until I hear the 2 next to each other it's hard to say which of the 2 is more useful.

None of them sound like my Studer A820 1/2".
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Dirty Halo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman ➑️
Infinite settings> Bias, Input level, LF/HF adjust.

Of which can be used between these combo's>
3 different machine cards (assuming you get it with the 351 card which is a prerequisite IMO),
2 different tape cards
3 different tape speeds.

Then try all that on multiple sources, snr, kik, OH, toms, bass, gtr, vox, keys, etc. etc. It's no different than trying out different tape machines and different tape brands at various settings to find the sweet spot.

That being said, the Anamod is super easy to use and offers up many different tape colors (just as real tape does at different settings, tape formulations and different tape machines).

Of course you wouldn't know how easy the Anamod is to use....it's certainly a lot Easier to use than a tape machine by far....
On a side note, I'm about to buy the 351 card (and I assume I should do that beore the 192 card)... is it easy to install? And how so?

I can fit 3 cards right? So if I got the 351 AND 102, one of the stocks would have to go... hmmm... choice

Your advice is appreciated.

Oh, and to others, I've had the odd pleasure (or embarrassment) of owning ALL mentioned, a Fatso, Portico 5042, Anamod and a Studer A80... if the next sentence is any indication of my opinion, so be it.

The only one I don't own anymore is the Fatso.


Thanks

-Andrews
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo ➑️
On a side note, I'm about to buy the 351 card (and I assume I should do that beore the 192 card)... is it easy to install? And how so?

I can fit 3 cards right? So if I got the 351 AND 102, one of the stocks would have to go... hmmm... choice

Your advice is appreciated.

Thanks

-Andrews
OMGosh, you don't have the 351 card? That's the card that made me keep the Anamod! (and no 351 files have been posted here at GS AFAIK).

You can fit 4 cards for Machine and 4 cards for Tape (8 total), all at the same time, so easy to switch between them with the front selector knobs (for those who don't know).

Also, they offer $$ back on their cards too (except the cards the unit comes stock with).

I think they might have the 111 scotch tape card out too?

You could order all of them and return what you don't like.

Super EASY to install. As easy as loading an API 500 series.

>>>What's the 192 card
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Dirty Halo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman ➑️
OMGosh, you don't have the 351 card? That's the card that made me keep the Anamod! (and no 351 files have been posted here at GS AFAIK).

You can fit 4 cards for Machine and 4 cards for Tape (8 total), all at the same time, so easy to switch between them with the front selector knobs (for those who don't know).

Also, they offer $$ back on their cards too (except the cards the unit comes stock with).

I think they might have the 111 scotch tape card out too?

You could order all of them and return what you don't like.

Super EASY to install. As easy as loading an API 500 series.
I know, right? I actually have been impressed enough with the stock cards (knowing I WOULD get the 351). ...money, ya know.

So, if you could recommend THE best two cards and SINGLE best tape stock, what would e your recommend?

Thanks.

-a
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock ➑️
Amen.
And neither of you have used the Anamod
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo ➑️
I know, right? I actually have been impressed enough with the stock cards (knowing I WOULD get the 351). ...money, ya know.

So, if you could recommend THE best two cards and SINGLE best tape stock, what would e your recommend?

Thanks.

-a
Well, the only non-stock card I have is the 351 card and it is by far my favorite card. I could easily have just that card and not at all miss the other machine cards.

What's the 192 card??
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Kush Audio
 
u b k's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
you bastards, i had actually managed to forget i want to try out an anamod in my room, side by side with the studer so i can get a better handle on its sonics.

peacock, i can tell you for certain that if there's one thing the anamod nails, it's the compressive behavior of tape.


gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
And I'm excited about your UBK fatso
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Addict
 
Wiggum, Ralph's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman ➑️
OMGosh, you don't have the 351 card? That's the card that made me keep the Anamod! (and no 351 files have been posted here at GS AFAIK).
Ok so between you and Dirty Halo, we should see some samples of the 351 and the 102 card soon, right!
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo ➑️
Oh, and to others, I've had the odd pleasure (or embarrassment) of owning ALL mentioned, a Fatso, Portico 5042, Anamod and a Studer A80... if the next sentence is any indication of my opinion, so be it.

The only one I don't own anymore is the Fatso.


Thanks

-Andrews
well, obviously not everything is for everyone, but i own all 4 of those also (along with 3 other non-studer tape machines) and i find that the fatso works best. i know it's not the popular choice nowadays, but i really don't care. when (reluctantly) using a DAW at a major artist, producer or label's request, the fatso's color and versatility provide the tools i need to create the tape sound that i like best. if it makes any difference, i truly feel that most people don't operate the unit properly and go for the easier, more crowd-pleasing anamod route (and to a lesser extent, portico), which are all nice on the surface, but there are certain subtleties missing on those units that are available on the fatso. hell, there are subtleties missing on the fatso too, for that matter! it's not perfect... but for my money it's the closest to emulating my favorite tape sound. some of the best ears in the business share this opinion as well. it's quite a common opinion in my circle.

there are many different functions on the fatso and each of them contributes greatly to getting the right sound. also, these settings and combinations change from track to track, mix to mix. it's a complex, tricky machine that many people were too quick to dismiss with the subsequent celebration of every promised "tape sound" of the last several years. the fatso, in my experience, is not a "turn on and go" machine, nor is it one for novices looking for a quick fix tape emulation. a certain veteran producer that everybody just LOVES has actually said "it's the nuclear reactor of the recording world" - that sums it up well, IMO. it's an impossibly complex and versatile machine whose true strengths lie hidden WAAAAY below the surface.

it doesn't focus on "a million" varieties, it focuses on one and does it very well... but only if you hone your understanding of it to absolute perfection. and when i say it's complex, i mean COMPLEX - the warmth, tranny, saturation and compressors must be perfectly understood, set and synched up differently for every single sound and style passing through it. a fraction of a db in the wrong direction and you'll blow it. btw- you have to master the machine going INTO it in relation to the fatso as well - and not in the same way you would normally do. i'm aware that the true worth of the fatso is a well-kept secret and sometimes i think it's better off that way.

the fatso, like most empirical labs stuff, allows the user to drastically overdo things, should they choose to. this, i feel, has made it easy for people to dismiss it by saying it doesn't emulate tape well and it's too obvious, too extreme, unrealistic. well, you must remember that the fatso is designed not only to emulate tape, but also discrete tube gear, which is very open to being pushed and driven hard... hence the fatso's ability to go "too far". again, i'm not saying the anamod or portico are bad - i love them! - all i'm saying is: the fatso is a beast that must be harnessed in some very specific ways. here's something you may not know: amongst the finest, most renowned engineers and producers in the world (especially us of the older generation - those who actually used tape exclusively for 25 years!), there are certain "secret recipes" for the fatso, for all different sounds going into it.

without giving away too much, i will say this: the four main features of the fatso (warmth, saturation, tranny & compressor) may be independently named, but don't let that throw you. this is very much a single-minded unit. think of it as one big, flexible feature; you will not succeed with it otherwise. as i said before, it's a stunningly complex machine that cannot be treated casually - and it imparts that same complexity unto any machine going into it. learn the ins and outs; if you don't own a tape machine, rent one and and A/B the hell out of 'em until you learn what you need. with patience comes reward, so take your time with the fatso and don't be so quick to ditch it and go for the easy fix and the hype. let the masses do their own thing on this one. again, i like the anamod and i think it does tape very well, but it's too unfocused and there are intangibles that it cannot nail down in the same way as a fatso being operated to full potential (something i'll guess less than 0.5% of users are able to do properly).

now don't take this the wrong way, as i mean NO disrespect to anyone here, but if you can't get the fatso to sound exactly like tape (minus the hiss), then you either don't really know what tape sounds like or you haven't mastered this operation yet. hats off to dave derr and his TRUE masterpiece. good luck!
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Empire Prod's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Gloves ➑️
now don't take this the wrong way, as i mean NO disrespect to anyone here, but if you can't get the fatso to sound exactly like tape (minus the hiss), then you either don't really know what tape sounds like or you haven't mastered this operation yet.
You can't be serious
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Empire Prod ➑️
You can't be serious
logically, it must be one or the other, wouldn't you say?
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Empire Prod's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Gloves ➑️
logically, it must be one or the other, wouldn't you say?
I would say that one who states that the FATSO sounds "exactly like tape" is in serious error.
Old 11th February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Fleaman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k ➑️
peacock, i can tell you for certain that if there's one thing the anamod nails, it's the compressive behavior of tape.

gregory scott - 'ubk'
.
Well, if anyone should know the in's/out's of the fatso, it would be UBK.

I do agree that the fatso isn't a simple easy button and that there are multiple sweet spots, and once found, can be fantastic. But I don't at all agree that it sounds exactly like tape....or even very close. It just doesn't do the tape compression/saturation like tape (or anamod) does. It's got it's own saturation thing going, and that's why I kept it.

Last edited by Fleaman; 11th February 2009 at 10:48 PM.. Reason: one last line.
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