Audio Plugin Deals launched a 60% OFF deal on the Reels ($59 value, $24.99 sale price) tape recorder emulation by AudioThing.
Reels is based on a vintage Japanese portable reel-to-reel tape recorder. The Japanese tape recorder was famous for bleeding the motor noise into the tape, which sets the tone for this plugin. Tape emulations are often used to add a little analog warmth to your sound, and they can be a great way to make your track sound more authentic.
The analog sound is so desirable because it comes with some flaws and inconsistencies. This includes harmonic and non-harmonic distortion and the mechanical artifacts of a tape machine, like motor noise, flutter, etc.
If the average tape emulation applies a relatively tame amount of analog warmth, you can think of REELS as a much wilder beast. Rather than adding those little inconsistencies that, as a whole, create a very pleasing sound, AudioThing chose to highlight them and push the flaws to the front.
So, if you are looking for a play-it-safe tape plugin, it’s not the one. If you want something that will blissfully dirty up your track to extreme extents, if you let it, it might be right up your street.
The GUI is both visually and practically pleasing enough. There are three types of tape: Japanese, Italian, and French, each with a distinct flavor, with playback speeds of 1.87 and 3.75ips are available. The French Utape rolls off much of the bottom-end pretty heavily, while the other two maintain more bass. Using the lower playback speed gives a more low-fi sound, and it’s a good starting point for Hip-Hop, chillout tracks, etc.
The other controls in the tape section, Harshness, WOW/Flutter, Ducking, and Crosstalk, allow you to tweak the tape characteristics in much more detail.
The noise section has controls for Hiss and Motor. These parameters adjust the amount of signal (noise) generated by the tape and machinery itself. There’s also an echo section with a lowpass filter.
The bottom row of the GUI has a limit button that introduces a soft clipper and mono button, which sums the stereo output. Right next to the mono button is a pre-emphasis knob that delivers up to 12dB of high-frequency boost before the tape emulation. Use it to balance any high-end loss post emulation.
REELS can be as crazy as you like, but it can be very musical if you blend the dry/wet mix suitably. The plugin is available for macOS 10.7 or higher and Windows 7 or higher (AU, VST2, VST3, AAX).
More info: Reels (60% OFF @ Audio Plugin Deals)