Tape Face. Plugin Alliance brings you a reel-to-reel emulation from Kiive Audio. But what does it exact(ing)ly emulate?
In a previous version of Tape Face, Kiive says they exactingly emulated a German machine. Now they say they emulated an Irish-made machine. Well, I don’t know of any Irish reel-to-reel manufacturers, but I do know Ampex sold “Irish” brand tape. And the GUI looks sort of like some kind of Ampex deck to me. Or perhaps it is a Scully 280B (Also not made in Ireland). So what exactly is being modeled here?
Regardless, you can take a look at the charts below to see a little of what is going on. The Frequency responses change quite a bit between speeds and tape types, and I show them all with the Low Boost on except for one which demonstrates that the bass boost adds a low shelf. (The “Low Boost” is not a head bump as you might expect.) Changing the bias has no effect.
The harmonics are the same between speeds, almost exactly the same between tape types, and really are only affected by changing the Bias between normal or +3. (The normal setting eliminating much of the THD.) Noise makes it noisier, saturation makes the harmonics more pronounced, and I have no idea what is going on with the even harmonics and the 40 Hz bump with the noise all the way up. I will leave it to your own testing and experience to figure all of that out.
Push the input, and you will get some pretty smooth compression. There is actually a gain reduction meter so obviously Kiive Audio is thinking people will use the Tape Face for compression. The meters, when set to output, don’t seem to accurately reflect changes in output level though. (As in, you can turn the output way up or way down and the “built-in” meters show no change.)
- For the flattest frequency response use: 30 ips, Low Boost off, and Tape Type iii.
- Want a “smiley face” eq? Use: 15 ips with the Tape Type set to Main. Toggle the Low Boost to adjust the low end.
- If you drive the input and max out the saturation, you can get some pretty cool distortion. Use the Mix control at the top (yes, a reel-to-reel with a mix control) to adjust how much grit you want.
- Since you can flip the meters to show gain reduction, go ahead and use this as a compressor. Play around, but start with normal bias and light saturation. Then use the input and output like an 1176. There is no way to control the ratio, but increasing the saturation will feel a little like “all buttons in”.