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Impressed by Slate Digital VTM (virtual tape machines)
Old 21st February 2013
  #31
Gear Head
 
sickie's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Hi hi. Has anyone made a comparison between those already mentioned plugins and Roundtone (by SKnote)? Some people claim it's better than those already mentioned and it costs only 29.99$ so I wonder if it's really better sounding or not.
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #32
Gear Addict
 
Pucks's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sickie ➡️
Hi hi. Has anyone made a comparison between those already mentioned plugins and Roundtone (by SKnote)? Some people claim it's better than those already mentioned and it costs only 29.99$ so I wonder if it's really better sounding or not.
No, not to my ears. VTM rules the magnetic fields.
Old 21st February 2013
  #33
Lives for gear
 
GJ999x's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I have kramer and vtm, no expierience with real tape or SKnote. Existing threads on Kramer and VTM are accurate to me (unlesss.... authentic analog confirmation bias DAMN IT!)..

Both are good, VTM much closer to what you'd expect from a tape plugin in the sense of it feels like a genuine enhancing mixing tool, whereas kramer, as awesome as it is, is more of an effect, used less often (in fact not that much for me now)...

G
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #34
Slate Pro Audio / Slate Digital
 
Steven Slate's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The interesting thing about the state of the recording industry is that we now have a lot of young engineers who have not had the experience to work on real tape machines.. so their legend is full of myth and folklore. What some don't realize is that we didn't use tape as an effect! We used it as our recording medium! It wasn't our warmifier or saturator.. it's what we required to make music! The fact that it has a slightly nonlinear response and subtle saturation if pushed hard was a convenient bonus.. a luxury that many engineers at the time didn't realize until digital started happening! In fact, I heard many engineers complaining about tape.. too noisy, inconvenient, not enough resolution... and they were all very excited about the thought of the super clean digital!

But my theory is that the human ear just doesn't like lots of precise signals in all sorts of different dynamic frequencies all happening at once.. so the little bits of distortion and compression help these frequencies blend together better, which allows us to tolerate it better. Again, a theory, but there have been studies done that have certainly given it credit.

The VTM captures the exact sound of the tape machines to the last piece of oxide. Placed on all your tracks and mixbuss, it can add some amazing vibe, depth, harmonic warmth, and can really smooth out the harsh frequencies on the top end without making the music dull. And like tape, it achieves this without trying to sound gimmicky or artificial. I really love what it's doing for my mixes, and I'm happy it's been received so well.

Cheers,
Steven
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #35
Lives for gear
 
GJ999x's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate ➡️
The VTM captures the exact sound of the tape machines to the last piece of oxide.
Is it OK for me to to doubt that this is quite true while still loving the plug

(and Steven if you're back on this thread when is the buss compressor out, that'll be one I wont dare to demo until I have the money sitting in my hand... )

And for all those mocking plugs, check out Robert Babicz's logic screenshot today on his facebook, he's not only using plugs but lots of logic stock plugs. $$$ of analog as well no doubt.... nevertheless, is almost as if... it's more the music, than the plugs that are important...
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #36
Slate Pro Audio / Slate Digital
 
Steven Slate's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by GJ999x ➡️
Is it OK for me to to doubt that this is quite true while still loving the plug

(and Steven if you're back on this thread when is the buss compressor out, that'll be one I wont dare to demo until I have the money sitting in my hand... )

And for all those mocking plugs, check out Robert Babicz's logic screenshot today on his facebook, he's not only using plugs but lots of logic stock plugs. $$$ of analog as well no doubt.... nevertheless, is almost as if... it's more the music, than the plugs that are important...
You be the judge!

Here is the original drum loop:
www.stevenslate.com/tape/Original.wav

Which of these files are printed to Howie's Studer A80 and which are the VTM?

www.stevenslate.com/tape/Tape1.wav
www.stevenslate.com/tape/Tape2.wav
www.stevenslate.com/tape/Tape3.wav
www.stevenslate.com/tape/Tape1A.wav
www.stevenslate.com/tape/Tape2A.wav
www.stevenslate.com/tape/Tape3A.wav

Cheers,
Steven
Old 21st February 2013
  #37
Lives for gear
 
GJ999x's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #38
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
how does it compare to decapitor? or is it completely? i doesn't add any noise to my ears though

I love putting it on a bus with default settings playing with the letters then tone...
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #39
Lives for gear
 
Synth Buddha's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher ➡️
how does it compare to decapitor? or is it completely? i doesn't add any noise to my ears though

I love putting it on a bus with default settings playing with the letters then tone...
Apples and oranges. Like Steven said, VTM is an emulation of machines that were used for recording, and not as an effect. That's not to say it doesn't have an effect, of course (it makes a BIG difference), but there's a reason the Decapitator bears that name...

Two tape emulators with different aims, basically. Very different.

You decide how much noise the VTM is going to give you, btw. There's a convenient little fader for that.
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #40
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate ➡️
We used it as our recording medium! It wasn't our warmifier or saturator.. it's what we required to make music!
That part is true and causing a HOLE so far for demoing purposes for those of us who grew up with tape and still use tape machines this moment.. the hole being the demos out there

Aside from kids with the mindset of "effect", it's really hard for some of us to quantify the usefulness of tape plug ins because... the music being "demoed" is usually mindnumbing, normalized to hell, digital loops/digital instruments, playing a wall of sound or a drum kit being whacked at full speed.... that is of course... current music of the 21st century. Which is where the 19 year old kids are fer shure.. and the biggest potential customer base... maybe. Maybe not. The demos are too busy and have too little space.. and I don't care if the approach is that tape machines were popular for "rock drums in the 80s"... there is more to tape machine capability than "recording 80s rock drums".

I don't have the UAD stuff, but will at some point, mostly for the reverbs etc. That's when I'll do my own comparing of UAD's Studers etc to my tape machines here.

But... imo... to serve the old guys.... demos need to "include"... one or two acoustic guitars in a good room... two or three singers... and LOTS of space in the demo sound... to adequately judge what this "thing" is that plugins are touting as "like tape".

For example, if I'm selecting a real "room" and "mics" and setup for tape for say.... Peter Paul and Mary playing "The Great Mandella", I'm gonna be tweaking the tape machine among other things to "fit" the project. A song like that has lots of dynamic range......lots of space...lots of interacting frequencies.. and I can immediately HEAR what my tape machine is capturing by itself and via my use of gain staging. A song like THAT is how I can hear what the tape machine is doing. I'm simply not gonna use "Helter Skelter" to judge the contribution of the tape machine setup. Or whether to even use tape.

Not with these nutzoid digital loops of drumboxes and over the top screamings.. or demos recorded in a REALLY bad room that reeks of "kitchen" or "garage" and........ well... no more ranting.

I have to at least HEAR what's going on with the talent before I can HEAR where I am with the tape machine setup... or... even tape plug (if I ever integrate one). Where there is no "space".. there is no way to adjust for the magic of tape.

If I'm gonna record something like "At Midnight" by Rufus, where each instrument/vocal track is gonna be on tape or via a tape plug, man, I have to at least have a song like that to even deal with in order to hear where I am with my tape machine's levels... where the magic is on the accumulation of tracks... or how a plug handles it. On a song like "At Midnight", there are clear, uncluttered frequencies.. space.. between the instruments in the arrangement and in the first 20 seconds, I know what that tape is bringing back to me... or what a plug is doing.

As it is... heaping a tape plug demo on top of a bunch of 21st century wall-of-noise is just more ... wall of noise. I can't hear anything .. so I might as well be using an Alesis XT as anything... what does it matter.

imo.

If I get my hands on the Slate plug and others at some point.... I'll certainly do my own testing with my own song choices and ears.

But for now.....a wider variety of music styles that are remotely "from" the old days of tape will add much more space and sonics for "tape guys" to make evalutions.

imo.
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #41
Lives for gear
 
mamm7215's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate ➡️
Steven, just wanted to pop in seeing as you're on here and say how happy I am with VTM. I bought VCC and then HAD to capitalize on the e-mail offer for VTM. I have a Tascam TSR-8 and while it's not the machine you modeled VTM after, VTM has the exact driven to tape qualities of my deck, especially the smoothing out (not diminishing) of the high end, specifically cymbals. I won't mix without it. Well done, sir, well done.
Old 21st February 2013
  #42
Lives for gear
 
Sotsirc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle ➡️
That part is true and causing a HOLE so far for demoing purposes for those of us who grew up with tape and still use tape machines this moment.. the hole being the demos out there

Aside from kids with the mindset of "effect", it's really hard for some of us to quantify the usefulness of tape plug ins because... the music being "demoed" is usually mindnumbing, normalized to hell, digital loops/digital instruments, playing a wall of sound or a drum kit being whacked at full speed.... that is of course... current music of the 21st century. Which is where the 19 year old kids are fer shure.. and the biggest potential customer base... maybe. Maybe not. The demos are too busy and have too little space.. and I don't care if the approach is that tape machines were popular for "rock drums in the 80s"... there is more to tape machine capability than "recording 80s rock drums".

I don't have the UAD stuff, but will at some point, mostly for the reverbs etc. That's when I'll do my own comparing of UAD's Studers etc to my tape machines here.

But... imo... to serve the old guys.... demos need to "include"... one or two acoustic guitars in a good room... two or three singers... and LOTS of space in the demo sound... to adequately judge what this "thing" is that plugins are touting as "like tape".

For example, if I'm selecting a real "room" and "mics" and setup for tape for say.... Peter Paul and Mary playing "The Great Mandella", I'm gonna be tweaking the tape machine among other things to "fit" the project. A song like that has lots of dynamic range......lots of space...lots of interacting frequencies.. and I can immediately HEAR what my tape machine is capturing by itself and via my use of gain staging. A song like THAT is how I can hear what the tape machine is doing. I'm simply not gonna use "Helter Skelter" to judge the contribution of the tape machine setup. Or whether to even use tape.

Not with these nutzoid digital loops of drumboxes and over the top screamings.. or demos recorded in a REALLY bad room that reeks of "kitchen" or "garage" and........ well... no more ranting.

I have to at least HEAR what's going on with the talent before I can HEAR where I am with the tape machine setup... or... even tape plug (if I ever integrate one). Where there is no "space".. there is no way to adjust for the magic of tape.

If I'm gonna record something like "At Midnight" by Rufus, where each instrument/vocal track is gonna be on tape or via a tape plug, man, I have to at least have a song like that to even deal with in order to hear where I am with my tape machine's levels... where the magic is on the accumulation of tracks... or how a plug handles it. On a song like "At Midnight", there are clear, uncluttered frequencies.. space.. between the instruments in the arrangement and in the first 20 seconds, I know what that tape is bringing back to me... or what a plug is doing.

As it is... heaping a tape plug demo on top of a bunch of 21st century wall-of-noise is just more ... wall of noise. I can't hear anything .. so I might as well be using an Alesis XT as anything... what does it matter.

imo.

If I get my hands on the Slate plug and others at some point.... I'll certainly do my own testing with my own song choices and ears.

But for now.....a wider variety of music styles that are remotely "from" the old days of tape will add much more space and sonics for "tape guys" to make evalutions.

imo.
Why not just demo the plugin?
Old 21st February 2013 | Show parent
  #43
Lives for gear
 
grooveminister's Avatar
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sickie ➡️
Hi hi. Has anyone made a comparison between those already mentioned plugins and Roundtone (by SKnote)? Some people claim it's better than those already mentioned and it costs only 29.99$ so I wonder if it's really better sounding or not.
If you´re really on a bugdet, try Reelbus!
For like 20$ it sounds good enough, that I could very well live with it, if I couldn´t afford VTM or UAD Ampex/Studer.
Old 22nd February 2013
  #44
Lives for gear
 
Sotsirc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Did a blind test with Waves, VTM, a real Ampex 102 and Reelbus a while ago. People definitely didn't think Reelbus was the cheap one.
Old 22nd February 2013
  #45
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Do you recommend to put vtm before or after vcc mixbus in the mastering chain?
Or does it depend on the material and whatever sounds best?
Old 22nd February 2013
  #46
Lives for gear
 
Sotsirc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pag the LIVR ➡️
Do you recommend to put vtm before or after vcc mixbus in the mastering chain?
Or does it depend on the material and whatever sounds best?
According to "rule book" it's VCC, then VTM. That's how it happens in real life, the signal goes out the stereo bus of the console and onto the two track tape machine.
Old 22nd February 2013
  #47
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
:-)
Thank you for reminding me.
Old 22nd February 2013
  #48
Lives for gear
 
Sotsirc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pag the LIVR ➡️
:-)
Thank you for reminding me.
No problem. Just put 4.50 in my paypal account.
Old 22nd February 2013 | Show parent
  #49
Lives for gear
 
GJ999x's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Apples and oranges indeed, I've got 10s of hours of expierience tweaking decapitator...

You could almost think of it like decapitator adds rough, VTM adds smooth... though even that is a relatively useless simplification.

I'd recomend demoing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher ➡️
how does it compare to decapitor? or is it completely? i doesn't add any noise to my ears though

I love putting it on a bus with default settings playing with the letters then tone...
Old 22nd February 2013
  #50
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth Buddha ➡️
Apples and oranges. Like Steven said, VTM is an emulation of machines that were used for recording, and not as an effect. That's not to say it doesn't have an effect, of course (it makes a BIG difference), but there's a reason the Decapitator bears that name...

Two tape emulators with different aims, basically. Very different.

You decide how much noise the VTM is going to give you, btw. There's a convenient little fader for that.
Decapitator doesn't emulate tape - it emulates preamps, the culture vulture and the analogue stage of a tape machine, but not the tape itself.
Old 22nd February 2013 | Show parent
  #51
Lives for gear
 
Synth Buddha's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➡️
Decapitator doesn't emulate tape - it emulates preamps, the culture vulture and the analogue stage of a tape machine, but not the tape itself.
Hah, I think you're probably right about that - it's been a long time since I demoed that plugin (2009?). I liked it a lot then, and decided to get it as soon as it's 64-bit.... From memory I thought one of the models was based on tape machines, but that could be due to people referring to it as doing that stuff as well - which they do, so thanks for doing your job here and clearing that up.

And I will buy your native effects pack the day it's 64-bit, SoundToys, so.... Anytime you're ready, ahem.
Old 23rd February 2013
  #52
Lives for gear
 
Leevi's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I have raved about this plugin to almost all my musician friends, its just that great! Its instant "sounds better" tool!

I was a big fan of FG456 but lately I have been exploring more the secrets of FG9
Old 23rd February 2013 | Show parent
  #53
Gear Addict
 
Pucks's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sotsirc ➡️
According to "rule book" it's VCC, then VTM. That's how it happens in real life, the signal goes out the stereo bus of the console and onto the two track tape machine.
I don't know any rule book (I bet you neither) but wouldn't it be more accurate to insert VCC then VTM and then VCC?
That's how I do it. I love to play the old 16 track recording studio: use 16 tracks with VTM on all inserts - need more tracks? Then bounce with an extra VTM on it to a new track, give that track a VTM as well...

I know... far from "2013" approach but I found out that it works very inspiring for me when I limit myself within 16 tracks. Less tracks - more creativity.
Old 23rd February 2013 | Show parent
  #54
Gear Addict
 
TimDolbear's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Here, I posted this in another thread... I did the review for the VTM for MIX. I tested it against all the Tape sims I could find.

Honestly, the VTM on the masterbuss, NOTHING sounds as good in the box. The depth, the coloration is just like real tape, not overblown to scream TAPE! but the actual right amount. But again, the Depth. Just perfect.

I do however kill the noise on the plug. My personal taste is Mixbuss: FG9 tape, stereo 2-track, 15IPS, Meters hovering around 0db. Instant Depth and glue and the right amount of tone.
Old 23rd February 2013 | Show parent
  #55
Lives for gear
 
djanthonyw's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimDolbear ➡️
Honestly, the VTM on the masterbuss, NOTHING sounds as good in the box.
I'll take Nebula. Sounds just as good, if not better, and no dongle.
Old 23rd February 2013
  #56
Lives for gear
 
Sotsirc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pucks ➡️
I don't know any rule book (I bet you neither) but wouldn't it be more accurate to insert VCC then VTM and then VCC?
That's how I do it. I love to play the old 16 track recording studio: use 16 tracks with VTM on all inserts - need more tracks? Then bounce with an extra VTM on it to a new track, give that track a VTM as well...

I know... far from "2013" approach but I found out that it works very inspiring for me when I limit myself within 16 tracks. Less tracks - more creativity.
What's the second VCC for? Playback? Mastering? Please elaborate. And, sure there is a "rule book" , and I think you now that.
Old 23rd February 2013 | Show parent
  #57
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Slate ➡️
Tape1 and Tape3 are played thru the same unit, Tape2 is on the other

Tape1A and Tape3A are played thru the same unit, Tape2A is on the other

my guess is that Tape2 is Howie's Studer A80 and Tape2A is VTM
Old 23rd February 2013 | Show parent
  #58
Gear Addict
 
Pucks's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sotsirc ➡️
What's the second VCC for? Playback? Mastering? Please elaborate. And, sure there is a "rule book" , and I think you now that.
I always use the rule of Joe Meek: if it sounds good, it is good!

The chain:
Microphone/Line to Console(= VCC1) to Tape Recorder (=VTM) input
Tape Recorder output to Console input (= VCC2)

As you see the signal passes through the console twice. So I choose to use two instances of VCC: one before the VTM and one after. Sounds fine!
Old 23rd February 2013
  #59
Lives for gear
 
Sotsirc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pucks ➡️
I always use the rule of Joe Meek: if it sounds good, it is good!

The chain:
Microphone/Line to Console(= VCC1) to Tape Recorder (=VTM) input
Tape Recorder output to Console input (= VCC2)

As you see the signal passes through the console twice. So I choose to use two instances of VCC: one before the VTM and one after. Sounds fine!
Your scenario seems strange to me. First of all we were talking about the chain on the master so there's no recording through console going on. You mix from a mulitrack tape machine through a console onto a 2 track tape machine (then you hand the tape over to the ME so there's no more console on your end) and the multitrack tape is on each channel so nothing on the master there either.

Secondly, let's say you've missed the fact that we're talking master bus and are talking about plugin chains on individual tracks. This is mixing. The sound has already been recorded. So an instance of VCC simulating "recording through a console" is not the most "accurate" as you've stated. The "standard" way if using these plugins is VTM+VCC on individual channels, and VCC mixbus + VTM 2 track on master bus. That is the emulation of a real world scenario. The rest is "breaking the rules" (note the quotation marks since the rules apply to the real thing, not really the emulation but it is nonetheless the way Slate Digital has suggested you use their product).
Old 23rd February 2013 | Show parent
  #60
Gear Addict
 
Pucks's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sotsirc ➡️
Your scenario seems strange to me.
Could be - but it was the way I used to work in my recording studio.

Let's say you record a singer:
  1. Microphone goes to >
  2. Console input - passes gain & EQ, patched to Console Tape output >
  3. Recorder Tape input - Tape output >
  4. Console input (and from there to the master section)

If this is strange to you, I have done my job for thirty years totally wrong. But it sounded not bad according to my clients back in the 1980's...
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