The hardware is famous for broad curves and uncolored filters that gently shape your sound. There are cultists who worship this along with Baxendall curves. (You can google “Baxendall curves” if you are confused at this point, or even if you just like to google stuff.) They wash their hands before they touch the controls. OK, I’m kidding. Maybe. This is an amazingly sweet sounding plugin, matching the hardware. But it will help if you have the ears of a mastering engineer, it’s smooth (yes, one of those words) and subtle.
Tube-Tech says their optical compressor is smooth and musical. Well, it works on music, so I guess it’s musical. And it’s a compressor, so I guess it’s smooth. OK, I apologize. I am fascinated that a whole alt-vocabulary has developed around describing what sound sounds like, or even better, marketing what sound sounds like. Can anyone say “adds warmth”? (Yes, “warmth”—less high end.)
The Joys of Analog Tape Calibrate it every day. Keep the tapes in a controlled environment. Push the signal so you get less noise, but not so hard that it distorts. Clean the heads and capstan. Be careful you don’t stretch the tape rewinding. Keep a log of how many punch-ins and re-records you have done. Test the motor and transports.