Those graphs look pretty clean, a might too clean I would say. Not that I have a 1950s RS56 laying around, but I’m going to guess it was a bit more noisy and added a bit more distortion than this plugin.
The tape delay feature is pretty nice, especially when you take out the hissy highs with the lowpass filter. If you use it as an aux channel, go ahead and drive it into some distortion and adjust to taste. Or ear. I have some things to say about tape emulations, and you can read them in my post, “The Joys of Analog Tape” on the UAD Ampex ATR-102 page. I’d be interested in knowing what you think about it.
For a look at how the Pultec attenuation/boost trick works, see the UAD Pultec post. Be amazed at this mystical piece of magic! Or not, I mean, it’s just the way the original tubes worked. Compare this to the UAD version, IK Multimedia version, Tube-Tech’s modern version and Ignite Amps free version.
I could say this about a number of plugins, but I’m going to post it right here. So many “vintage” processors have that slight uptick in the high end. At the time, they sounded great because tape and tubes and transistors more often then not roll that high end off. They could make up a little of what was being lost. Which leads to this hint…
The beauty of sheer simplicity. (And on the LA-3A as well.) Set the gain to unity, adjust the peak reduction to where you want it. Ta-da! I’m pretty sure these are the compressors that are used “visually” the most. What I mean is that you set the gain, then adjust the reduction until the needle is just touching 2dB on the loud parts. You have now conjured up the perfect leveler, and you didn’t even have to listen. Am I saying to do this? Well, uh, no, uh.