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T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection REVIEW (One FREE Copy Inside)

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If you’re going to emulate some legendary hardware, working with the original manufacturer is an excellent place to start. IK Multimedia put this collection together in collaboration with TASCAM for their 50th anniversary.

Read more in our IK Multimedia T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection review and enter the giveaway to win a FREE copy of the software.

Recreating the sound of vintage hardware in plugin form can be a thankless task at times. Some purists will tell you it sounds awful before they even hear it. Personally, I like to take each on individual merit; some are terrible, some are good, and now and then, some are remarkably good.

The TASCAM Tape Collection got my attention when it was announced, so I’m delighted to have the chance to check it out.

T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection – What’s in the Collection?

The collection features four vintage tape machines and has an introductory price of €129.99 (usually €199.99).

TEAC A-6100 MKII

The TEAC A-6100 MKII arrived on the scene in 1973 as one of the first tape machines made specifically for mastering.

It’s the most subtle of the four, and you have to make more significant adjustments to get more noticeable changes. It adds instant authenticity with the right amount of tape saturation and compression.

TEAC A-3340S

The 1972 A-3340S was the first four-track recorder that featured synchronized overdubbing.

When used with the 911 tape formulation, it delivers the definitive tape sound with saturation that can be warm or more aggressive when pushed.

TASCAM 388

The TASCAM 388 eight-track recorder came around in 1985.

Of the four, the 388 provides the most comprehensive scope for creative tweaking, thanks largely to the three-band EQ.

TASCAM Porta One

The four-track TASCAM Porta One MiniStudio looks and sounds like the 80s/90s.

I’m not just bundling two decades of sound together, but I’m talking about that boombox image. It makes me think of movies like Do the Right Thing, and it’s great on Hip Hop, New Jack Swing, etc.

IK Multimedia says TEAC and TASCAM selected the most sought-after models from their history, which is no surprise. They then sourced the most pristine example of each unit available and fully restored them to factory specification.

Spectrasonics did a similar thing on a larger scale with 36 vintage keyboard instruments for Keyscape.

The behavior and performance of vintage gear aren’t always consistent from one unit to another, so multiple hardware owners could have slightly different expectations of how something should sound. What I like most about this collection is that it starts with the sound and performance that the manufacturer intended all those years ago.

Having the original manufacturer’s seal of approval doesn’t guarantee success, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Using T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection

The first thing to note is that you can open these plugins inside the T-Racks 5 shell or individually in your DAW.

As far as image goes, I think these plugins look great, and that’s pretty common with IK Multimedia. Good looks aren’t essential, but when a plugin looks clunky or has a strange/tedious layout, it becomes less appealing to use; these GUIs are fully resizable too, which is always nice.

The layout of each plugin follows the design of the original tape machines pretty closely, minus a few adjustments for plugin form. Each plugin also shares the same set of controls, with just a few slight differences.

The shared controls allow you to quickly become more confident with all four plugins, especially for users new to tape machine plugins. Instead of struggling with too many controls, you can focus on how each plugin sounds and reacts.

The TEAC machines have Record and Play sections, the TASCAM machines have Record and EQ sections, including some of the most important controls.

In the Record sections, you’ll find Bias, Level, and HF EQ. In conjunction with the main Input, these three controls let you bring out varied effects of the recording head. Pushing the Record Level will result in more obvious saturation, and the HF EQ can either highlight or compensate for the loss of high-frequency content with magnetic tape recorders.

The Bias is a bit more interesting; generally, Bias on a tape machine provides optimal fidelity through a more linear magnetic transfer. Increasing the Bias will typically produce a warmer sound with more saturation; reducing it will typically enhance any non-linear effects like distortion.

You don’t have to adjust the Bias, but it’s something that is often used exaggeratedly.

There is an Input/Repro switch that determines whether your signal goes through the whole analog recording system or just the electronic input/output stages. I can see why people might like both options, with Input being more transparent.

But, for me, I doubt I’d stray from Repro because you can still be subtle without losing any of the tape machine processes.

I love the EQ in the Record and Play stages; even if they are subtle, you can do a lot of fine-tuning, avoiding the need for another plugin.

The TASCAM Porta One has the same EQ as the TEAC models (Play), but the 388 has a three-band EQ with a wide frequency range.

True Stereo recreates the subtle variation between left and right channels that you’d expect from a tape machine. The variation isn’t overwhelmingly noticeable, but it’s part of the analog charm. You can disable it if you prefer to keep both channels identical.

Transport Modeling mimics the behavior of the mechanical transport, which increases the likelihood of very slight irregularities.

Features like True Stereo and Transport Modeling are amongst my favorite things about this collection.

I say that for a couple of reasons; firstly, it’s an example of how IK Multimedia modeled each part of these tape machines in great detail. It’s about recreating the interaction between those different parts that play a role in the final sound.

Secondly, when developers add such features, they sometimes exaggerate them as if that validates their inclusion more. When that happens, you end up with something that sounds false and gimmicky; that’s not the case here.

The Tape Speed is shown on each machine as Low and High, representing 7.5 and 15 inches per second (IPS), respectively. Setting the Tape Speed has a lot to do with the desired sound and the style of music in question. I prefer the Slow speed because it sounds warmer and less clinical, but the increased fidelity of the High speed works well, too, particularly with a more modern sound.

The TASCAM 388 has no Tape Speed controls.

Magic Formulas

There are five tape formulations in total. Each machine offers four of those formulations, with the selection varying from one machine to another. The TASCAM Porta One is the exception, which offers two cassette tape formulations (Type I and Type II). As a nice little aesthetically pleasing feature, you’ll see the tape change on the GUI when you select different formulations.

Here are the formulations and their defining characteristics:

  • 35 – Balance between precision and warmth of the TASCAM 388.
  • 911 – Balance between precision and warmth on the TEAC machines.
  • 456 – The most commonly used and definitive tape sound.
  • GP9 – Punchy and modern.
  • 499 – Analog sound with minimal distortion/compression and enhanced HF definition.

The impact of changing formulation depends on the machine you are using and how you have it set up. With default settings, the effect of changes is fairly minimal; you’ll hear it, but it’s not a drastic change. You notice a subtle but steady transition from a warmer or darker sound to a more open and modern sound as you cycle through the selections.

The two cassette tape types of the Porta One have more distinct characteristics. Type I (normal bias) has an apparent Lo-Fi sound, and Type II has a cleaner sound.

CPU-Unfriendly

I want to touch on this briefly because it’s to be expected. With many moving parts (processing), the trade-off is higher CPU usage; this is true of these plugins. It’s not going to cripple your project in any way, but you wouldn’t want to have too many instances running. Even if the CPU usage was far less, these plugins aren’t ones that you’d want all over everything in your mix anyway.

T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection – Final Thoughts

I don’t own any of these tape machines in hardware form, so I’m not making direct comparisons. I’ve heard people saying bluntly, it’s not as good as the real thing, and I’ll agree, that’s fine.

Without ever using a real TEAC A-6100 MkII, if offered the machine or the plugin, I’ll take the machine. However, I find it ridiculous that people who make it clear they are hardware-only purists take the time to comment so passionately on plugins; just don’t buy it.

Anyone who is open to software will know that emulations are getting better and better. The trouble isn’t so much creating a good sound; it’s mimicking the inconsistencies of an analog machine, and the relationship between each stage; that’s where I think IK has done a fantastic job.

I love how they sound, and I love that they aren’t as obvious/intrusive as many other tape emulations. I think they sound very close to the original units (as far as I can without owning one), and it’s fantastic when you add the convenience of a plugin (no maintenance, no flight case).

Even beyond the introductory price, the full price of €199.99 seems reasonable value for money to me for the collection. I mean, I wouldn’t mind if they reduced the price to, say, around FREE, but that’s stretching wishful thinking.

Plugins come in 64-bit AU, VST2, VST3, and AAX formats for macOS and Windows.

More info: T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection

The Giveaway

We are giving away a FREE copy of the T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection to one lucky BPB reader (thanks, IK Multimedia! ❤️).

To enter the giveaway, answer this question in the comments section: Would you ever substitute your digital studio for an entirely analog one?

We will pick the winners using a random comment picker on Monday, November 29th.

Good luck, and thanks for reading BPB!

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T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection Review

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We loved how T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection sounds, and we loved that the plugins aren't as obvious/intrusive as many other tape emulations.

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About Author

James is a musician and writer from Scotland. An avid synth fan, sound designer, and coffee drinker. Sometimes found wandering around Europe with an MPC in hand.

635 Comments

    • Gustavo Garrido

      on

      Absolutely not! Today in Digital you can do incredible things and hardware will be less and less necessary. It is not the bow or the arrow, the important thing is who shoots.

    • I wouldn’t. Too much time world be spent resetting and.normalizing things between projects, and I could probably only work with one client at a time. That’s a hard no for me.

    • I like the best of both worlds, I like digital and analogue, I utilise a 4 track cassette recorder and so.e rack mount stuff in my set up, I would never switch to full analogue though as modern day technology presents unlimited possibilities, combined with the limitations of analogue a hybrid digital analogue set up is the best way to go.

  1. I am fully digital and do not look back. I still remember dealing with cables distorting signal. If I want analog feel, especially tape machine there are plugins for it without need to waste time with setting tape machine head and EQ.

  2. Hi, I’d love to have a completely analog studio and the bucks to keep it running, but I’d probably miss a lot of things too.

  3. I would say yes. I would have to find all my virtual gear in reality but I think there’s definitely a charm to it and a certain benefit of not having constant distraction or visualization. Though for some tasks I would miss the digital world (but not that much). So yes would be my answer :)

  4. That’s a tough question to answer. If you’d asked that question 15 years ago, I without a doubt would say, “Give me the analog studio.” Today, it’s not that easy. Plugin emulations and as well as creative digital plugins have come a long way. So the question for me is, dealing with analog limitations and mix recall, is it worth having an all analog studio? I’d have to say it’s not worth the headache that comes with an all analog studio. It’s more than just the limitations and mix recall to consider. You have to maintain all of the analog gear. Everyone knows gear breaks down and always needs repair of some type. And it always happens at the worst time. So, to wrap up my answer, I’ll stick with digital.
    p.s. Hybrid setup is idea.

  5. NOT TODAY! In the box I can work on multiple project at the same time. Analog gear is not ok for today production rythm (and maybe this is the reason why we have a lot of bad music! :S)

  6. marti garaughty

    on

    With extensive experience in both analog & digital recording, NO I could never go back. It would be like giving up my car for a horse & buggy ! ;-)

  7. Would you ever substitute your digital studio for an entirely analog one?

    Yes, I would! If I got some analog vintage EQ’s/Compressor’s/Limiter’s, I could just rebuy the digital Stuff I really need. ;)

  8. Not a chance!

    The great thing about tools like these is being able to get very close to the sonic benefits of working with analog gear without the hassle of working with analog hardware.

  9. No chance, there is a place for analog gear and I have a few pieces, but the convenience and versatility of digital gear and software far outstrips the any benefit being ‘all analog’ would bring, especially for mere bedroom producers like ourselves!

  10. I would not, sadly because we’re in a time where digital is as good as what analog was king back in the days. Save so much space that we can emulate a huge studio right from our home!

  11. Why go back to fully analog when there is the Tascam Tape Collection to get that analog sound? Working in a DAW is so much faster and convenient.

  12. I think you picked the wrong question to ask. Most of us have studied and get used to DIGITAL environment lol….Whatever you make on an analog, live or even psychoacoustic device, it will end up DIGITAL : 44100 – 96000hz 16/24/32 bit…..come to terms with it already.

  13. I would not go full analog! I like working hybrid and digital offers so much more speed and efficiency that
    is very hard to match when rewinding and loading tape. I’ve worked in both and I’m pretty happy on the computer at the moment.

  14. If I would have a complete human equipment that bring me his help working with the analog devices, I would change digital for analog, i would have TASCAM Tape collection!!!

  15. ZAIZAR ESTUDIOS

    on

    Si lo haría, aunque hay demasiadas ventajas en el audio digital, por eso estas hermosas emulaciones de sonidos análogos que llegan a nuestro estudio

  16. Definitely not. I am fan of some analog equipment but complete analog world take too much time and money. I think some emulations are very good and can give you great results too.

  17. I would never go back to fully analog, the DAW let’s you work from anywhere, besides equipment can get super expensive and it won’t last forever, but I would love to have some analog equipment for my studio and do a hybrid settup, plugins still can’t 100% emulate the analog ¨textures¨ and ¨warmness¨.

  18. If I had the money yes… I love analog stuff… but to be honest, software designers are doing spectacular jobs! It make us re-think if analog its fully necessary when you have not too much money.

  19. no I would not. People use what technology is available at the time, the notion that analog is better is ridiculous. The pioneers of analog would possibly be using digital if it were available.

  20. If i worked more in the traditional band sector (rock, country, jazz, vocal recording ext) i would absolutely take a fully analog studio. But for the genres im into – digital/hybrid setup is the only way to go.

  21. Never! But it could be for a short time, for analog recording sessions. But then again, I would go back to digital audio and plugins.

  22. I would only convert to an all analog setup if I got to work with Jack White at one of his studios lol. Or else it’s not worth it

  23. No. Digital in the box has so many advantages. But from a workflow perspective who doesn’t love knobs and tweaking? That is pure inspiration and very useful to keep it fun and be creative. Hard to beat my original ms-20 when it comes to that. Nice to see you get so much engagement nowadays by the way.

  24. Eugeniu Costin

    on

    With all due respect to analog hardware, I would never change. Then now with such precise emulation and with all the ease of routing on a pc it is much easier, even to open a project from two years ago. I would opt for digital.

  25. No. I had a fully analog studio once upon a time. While I miss some of the simplicity, the digital domain has provided so much more flexibility. I had a Tascam Portastudio similar to the one this plugin emulates. It would be cool to use that and hear if it sounds familiar.

  26. Angelo Colasanti

    on

    I’d rather build a logical mix between the digital and analog studios. With an totally analog set there a level of attention when recording, to avoid editing, such feeling doesn’t exist on the digital world, you can record an entire song by gluying small phrases/loops.. I don’t know. Cheers!

  27. I Totally Would, then after the said substitution, I would re-digitalize it progressively by Only Adding what I need in a given situation

  28. No I wouldn’t swap my digital studio for an all analogue one, I don’t have the space or the money and would also miss the easy editing that digital allows.

  29. If I somehow got an analog studio for free, I would totally try to use it on its own, but it’s not something I would seek out.

  30. Michael Svedberg

    on

    I think I more or less already have a digital studio, but I would sure love to swap out a couple of items for analogue gear instead. Nothing beats the memories of using the old Tascam 244 deck when recording ;)

  31. I Definitely wouldn’t switch to complete analog. Unless we are living in a post apocalyptic scenario where there are no computers or the internet.

  32. I wouldn’t switch to a completely analog system, unless we are living in a post apocalyptic scenario where there are no computers or the internet.

  33. Uriel Soto, Jr.

    on

    I WOULD NOT COMPLETELY SWITCH FROM DIGITAL TO ANALOG. A HYBRID OR COMBINATION OF BOTH IS GOOD BUT NOT COMPLETELY ANALOG.

  34. Allen Somerlot

    on

    I don’t believe it would be nearly as practical to REPLACE my digital capabilities. I WOULD welcome the addition of analog goodness in any case ;)

  35. Yo creo que es mejor tener a ambos mundos conviviendo.

    Así tenemos ambas ventajas sobre todo por la historia y lo bien que suenan.

  36. I’d go all analog if if I had the room AND if I could also lose about 20 years off my age. If I have to go back in time, let me go all the way.

  37. Deighton Warner

    on

    No. I would not! I actually still own the A-3340S and had the A-3440 and back in time, the options then between tape, using bias and speed were tremendous factors in quality. I had many a recording using the same Sony stereo mic come out completely different with some very WARM better than cassette and some with unbelievable Hiss! I just use it for running my master bus through sometimes but not always because the plugins are so predictable now.

    I think the video review is excellent because I remember some decisions I made were budget related to tape costs.

  38. Alexandr Vasiltsov

    on

    Today I don’t want to deal with analog equipment. I manage with digital emulation of these devices and everything suits me perfectly.

  39. ABSOLUTELY WOULD !! The sound I can get out of analog is a nice change from our advanced digital world of music we live in now !

  40. No, I wouldn’t want a purely analog studio. I prefer to use a DAW and plugins for most things along with some hardware (digital and analog) that I can’t replicate in a DAW or that I enjoy using more than plugin equivalents.

  41. Jose Mari Ibanez

    on

    I actually wouldn’t *fully* go analog. I’d rather go hybrid, but mostly digital. While having some hardware is nice, it wouldn’t really be helpful for electronic genres. Most hardware nowadays simply cannot achieve what digital plugins can do. But still, when recording, it would be nice to get that analog warmth and magic.

  42. I will not dare to completely switch to analogue. However, I really like to use analog devices in combination with digital capabilities.

  43. Mm, for the question. Even if they did it for free and managed to reproduce every strange and wholly digital effect and synth in my collection in analog form and it was guaranteed that I would legitimately have the space for all of that gear… the answer is still a resounding NO. The convenience of having all of these synths and effects easily accessible in one small but powerful and versatile box is simply too great to give up. That being said, I do see the value in having a few choice pieces of analog gear around that I would use regularly.

  44. Jimmy De Keersmaeker

    on

    No, but it would be nice to have some analog gear next to the computer. It really could be a source of inspiration and give some magic touch.

  45. Rodson Martins

    on

    Não, eu não trocaria meu estúdio digital por um estúdio totalmente analógico, mas consideraria fazer uso hibrido: digital e analógico.

  46. Thank you for the opportunity James, BPB & IK Multimedia & Happy 50th Anniversary to TASCAM.
    A great review James, thats a really interesting read & very helpful as well, thank you.
    A tape machine must be one of the hardest things to covert into an audio plug-in with all things considered. at least theres no need to buy any tape for it tho haha.
    Q: Would you ever substitute your digital studio for an entirely analog one?
    A: yes, i have never had fully analog studio & if i didn’t like it, i’d swap back lol
    thanks again 😊❤️

  47. Would you ever substitute your digital studio for an entirely analog one?

    digital equipment for me is fine. I like them. but I really like being in the middle of the two universes of musical production

  48. Adrian Gottstein

    on

    Well I really dig an analog workflow, but since I like recording and editing digitally I would always go the hybrid way. So to answer in short : Nope I wouldn’t.

  49. With all the tecnology of today and industries like T-racks that invest on it, we don’t need those analog gear so much as it was on the past, so i would keep my digital studio!!!

  50. I would because digital software does not have any value after you buy it, though it is much easier to carry around with you 😂 Analog does take more work when things need fixing but the sound difference is unmatchable compared to most plugins. We are seeing some vst’s come close to originals but there still needs to be work done.

    In my opinion Analog is a hands on experience that cannot be replicated by digital.

  51. Tricky question. I’ve thought about that myself.

    Being an analog recording studio engineer was an adventure – both for good and for bad. Finishing a record was an accomplishment in itself, not in how it did on the market, and it involved hands on, perpetual creative problem solving, ingenuity, technical knowledge, not just musical, and a lot of energy. I feel that sense of adventure is lost now. You had to be a lot more decisive – again, for better and for worst – and know what you’re doing a lot more, because there was no going back on anything – or it wasn’t easy. DAWs have brought a very interesting paradox – you mix first and record later – you can mix your demo takes and record the “flawless” takes – let’s call them that – after, as long as you keep the source signal chain unchanged – minimalistic, at that – gain on your interface, the same instrument, etc.

    That’s why the whole profession was a lot more prestigious. Add to that the music was a lot better, and mixing, in itself, was a lot more artistic than it is today, for all the talk about “character”, “tone”, bla-bla, most people today apply technical processing, and not artistic processing, which makes mixing a lost art – or maybe there’s just so many dilettantes in it, with all the accessibility, which makes it seem that way.

    The answer to the question, to me, comes down to sound. I’ve recently realized from all the thousands of records that I’ve listened to, 95% of which being from the era of analog, or recorded like that, I can name maybe a handful that are technically flawless (weird thing is it’s still a minority of technically flawless records today, when there’s no technical or resource related reason for it). Most of them suffered from mud, problematic EQ-ing, things getting lost, oversaturation, so on, so forth. But they’re ALL sonically beautiful. Amazingly enough. All of them. That’s what it’s about. Sonic beauty – the beauty of sound, the beauty of tone. Not just putting sound together, but bringing out the beauty in every single one. And that’s an art that is completely lost today. For all the fetisihizing of tone, that word has completely lost meaning, and most records today, even those that are well balanced, punchy, well mixed, are UGLY sounding. I feel people have forgotten why they mix – they’ve replaced all kinds of dry, abstract technical and intellectual considerations – stock wider, stock punchier, etc. – for all feeling, assessment and understanding of sound, the emotional quality of pieces, and the contribution each sound needs to have in the wider picture. They talk about “character” but what they mean is usually aggressive mangling and lo-fi-ing, which, paradoxically, was never a goal in the analog era, quite the contrary.

    The thing is, if you wake me up and ask what I’m a fan of, analog or digital, I’ll answer without even taking a breath `analog` – all the way, there’s not even a doubt in my mind. But I’ve never worked on a large format mixing console, with the entire analog signal chain – tape machines, racks – in my life. Ever. I’m aware of the irony. I’ve experimented with stuff, I know what it does, but had it not been for DAWs and plugins, I would not be making music. Period.

    And there’s also the convenience. An analog studio is an operation. You can’t do it by yourself. Think only about the cleaning and maintenance – repairs, etc.

    Once sound is taken care of, it’s also a matter of convenience and accessibility – both physical and financial. If no “analog” plugins existed, given the option, I’d prefer the fully analog studio. I’d curse my days sometimes, because of administrative stuff, all the unglamorous hassle that doesn’t get mentioned, I’d accept the limitations, I’d take the definitive character of any recording, I’d go with the complication of getting some operations done. There simply is no replacement for the sound.

    But if I can get the sound completely in the box, with all the options, and with the added convenience, accessibility, and extra possibilities, I’d stick to the DAW. Once the sound is achieved, there’s no beating the convenience and the possibilities – not to mention the budgets.

    Add a good mixing console replacement controller – that’s still a challenge to implement, for some impossible to understand reason – and you have that solved, too. Working with a mouse vs. an ergonomically designed console is a complete joke. That will be my next step, to put it in a lot of hours and try to solve, when I get the time, hopefully soon. For some reason, the recording device industry doesn’t yet feel a dedicated, accessible, mixing controller to replace a console isn’t a necessity, and it can be replaced with make shift devices – like a mouse. DAWs need to have a dedicated mixer, with all the tools, not just Pro Tools effects boxes – some already do, like Cakewalk, Reason and Harrison, and a full mixing controller needs to be a tool in itself, that you buy just like you buy the software, completely integrated to operate the mixer, just like a console. It can be a small format 8 track that allows you to quickly flip through buckets maybe with modular buckets that can be coupled to extend the main unit – something like that.

    Sound wise, for now, amps seem to be hard to simulate well, mostly the fizz, the mud, the inertial low end, and the flatness, that you just don’t get with good miking on the real thing – depending mostly on the cab simulation options. But overall, I feel the sound of the analog world in the box problem is close to being solved. There is stuff out there – plugins – that sounds exceptionally well, and overall the industry of plugins still hasn’t gotten to perfectly replicating the vibe of analog and sweetening the sound as well, but it’s very close. Very, very close, for the best of them.

    I just hope the last inches of this gap will be bridged – it would be the biggest shame in the recording industry’s existence if that sound was lost with the dusk of the analog age – along with controller integration, and you’ve got the best of both worlds in the DAW.

    So with that condition, of sound, which is not negotiable, DAWs for me, which is almost a personal disappointment, because I adore the romantism of that era – even hyped as it is, there really was genuine romance and adventure in it, which will be forever lost.

    Great question.

  52. No. I like to created while on the go (vacations, traveling, out with the family).

    That would be really hard in an all analog world. 😳🤣

  53. I don’t think I’d replace one for the other, but I’d sure like to attend the week long Analogue Boot Camp, and see and hear what happens. I do value IK’s products and use many of them frequently.
    Thank BPB!

  54. no, never these days.
    I have participated and used the technical development. 4+8 track cassette recorder, tape machine, HD+MD recorder and then computer based recording.
    Not everything is 100% great in the digital age, but I wouldn’t want to miss or trade the possibilities of today.

  55. Not really

    I believe in a few more years the analog will be a complement to the digital one. Digital is getting closer and closer in quality and allows a more exact way of working if needed.

  56. I would. If I could afford it. I would love to work old school with tapes and spring reverbs and such. But it’s but a dream.

  57. If I could have the hardware equivalent of all the plugins I have (an SSL desk, LA2As, 1176s, Fairchild 670, grand piano, Mellotron, Hammond B3, Wurlitzer 200A, a collection of classic synths, practically every guitar amp known to man, bass guitars, drums, orchestral instruments of all types, great recording rooms, plate reverb, etc., etc., etc.), then.. well, no, I still don’t think I would give up digital recording!

  58. Yes, and here is why. If I lose access to the Internet or cannot use it in certain spaces, I cannot use or download a lot of digital functions.

    Each layer of dependence you add to the process jeopardizes your ability to be creative in the future. One should have no anxieties when they create.

  59. I wouldn’t substitute digital for analog, only because digital is more efficient, even though analog has the character & tone that I want. My dream is to have a hybrid of the two

  60. Replace? No chance. That said, I am shopping for an old tape machine to supplement my setup :) These plugins would make for a fun comparison.

  61. No, definitivamente no sería posible, sería un sueño claro, pero no creo que sea posible, crecí completamente en el mundo Digital, no podría entrar a un mundo Analógico, quizá podría tener algunos equipos que brinde ese sonido pero enteramente dejar lo digital, creo sería imposible y poco sustentable.

  62. Muy difícil, ya que el proceso de audio digital cada vez va tomando mayor fuerza y hay muchas mejoras 👌 Aunque es difícil sustituir un equipo analógico, hay varios plugins hoy en día que hacen muy buenas emulaciones ¡¡
    Mientras tanto seguiremos trabajado el Audio Digital ¡¡

    Pdta. Buena reseña de las Cintas ¡¡ 👌

  63. Bajista Mendoza

    on

    Creo que es muy difícil ¡¡
    Hoy en día se pueden hacer muchas cosas similare con Software y Plugins Digital mente ¡¡

  64. If there was such a person who would agree to sponsor me, throw money into my orchestra and buy me analog equipment instead of my plug-ins, I would definitely not refuse.
    and then I would have safely sold all this and flew to the Mekong Delta, because I had never been there.

  65. Not entirely, no.
    But I’m working ITB plus a small amount of analog hardware and consumer tapedecks, which are an amazing addition to the whole sound.

  66. If I can a fully analog studio with everything that I wanted (so we are talking an LA recording studio plus) it would be hard to say no. But digital includes a DAW and there is NO way I would splice tape! : )

  67. YES! And then I’d sell most part of the analog gear in and reinvest it in acoustics, networking, plugins, marketing and, of course, education!

  68. Osvaldo Morejon

    on

    I would not do that. It is just a better workflow for these days having the flexibility and be able to work in any place just usin your basic gear.

  69. No. I think digital provides so much flexibility and simplicity (a at least in terms of wiring, connections, power use, heat etc.) A partially malady studio would be nice, but not solely.

  70. Norman Stewart

    on

    I would not change. Too much versatility with plugins. I can put a different version of a Fairchild compressor on 50 different tracks if I want!

  71. i would not substitute software completely, because it is just too handy compared to working analog all the way.
    but the pleasure of turning real potis, also two at a time, will always make me do certain things with hardware, though it doesnt have to be analog inside.

  72. No, not completely, but mostly…about 70% analog and 30% digital. However, I would definitely insist on all vintage analog consoles. I still can’t get over the drastic difference in sound and character between analog boards and digital ones.Would definitely want real Leslie speakers and old school reverb units

  73. Analog sound is now at our reach with all the incredible plugins we have. The digital workflow is so much better that I couldn’t think about changing how I work right now.

  74. I think if I had the opportunity and the economy acceptable, I would. I think that despite being used to working in digital, I believe that it is never too late to learn new things, especially as producers, that we are constantly learning and adapting in the musical environment.

  75. Irion Da Ronin

    on

    I wouldn’t change my way to make music or workflow, that would mean more time invested, and i want focus my time in making music, not learning new stuff, or even buying stuff.

    Have a nice day and good luck everyone! :)

  76. Both digital and analog have their own merits. I want to use it on a case-by-case basis. So sometimes it’s completely analog, sometimes it’s completely digital, and sometimes it’s a mix of both. But with the amazing T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection, it may be possible to move completely to digital. Give me a present to verify that!!

  77. Hybrid is a desirable option for two worlds meeting. A complete Analogue set up would bring the comforting heat and energy from the components. Not forgetting the distinct smell of valves and transformers cooking before air con was prevalent.

  78. Luis Mario Magaña

    on

    Yes!! i love analog hardware, i recorded many music on Tascam analog and digital machines, i have a Tascam M-160 on my studio and cassette recorders, tape machines. Yes!

  79. Marcelo Ribeiro Simões

    on

    At the first time, no, I would not.
    But it depends on what analog items I could have.
    Studer(s), SSL(s), etc. could make me tempted… ;-)

  80. Stefano Papetti

    on

    It wouldn’t make any sense to discard all the convenience and advantages of digital audio. Still, a lot of nice hardware is also becoming affordable, and it’s great that I could add a few devices to my setup lately, especially synths and drum machines. I still feel the connection with a hardware unit cannot be overcome by software.

  81. It wouldn’t make any sense to discard all the convenience and advantages of digital audio. Still, a lot of nice hardware is also becoming affordable, and it’s great that I could add a few devices to my setup lately, especially synths and drum machines. I still feel the connection with a hardware unit cannot be overcome by software.

  82. Maybe… I mean, I don’t have enough space here for a full analog studio, but if it would come with a house built around it, I would take it.

  83. Pedro Ronquillo

    on

    La verdad seria muy bueno equipo analógico porque nada es mejor que lo original, en este caso los equipos, pero creo que al usar complementos digitales tienes mas facilidades por ejemplo tener el mismo complemento en cada canal que en analógico no se puede y además de la movilidad que tienes al usar complementos digitales que te permite trabajar de varios lugares muy fácil y con muy buena calidad, así que me quedo con complementos digitales.

  84. GILVAN RIBEIRO COSTA

    on

    I wouldn’t change it, because I wouldn’t be able to pay for all the maintenance expenses, even more than the customers are not paying for us to keep everything analog. I would even work with something else 80% of the digital suits me.

  85. No. I’m old enough to remember when the hiss, warble and analogue goodness was unwanted. Nevermind the worn tape heads, and chewed up tapes.

  86. Radosław Osypiuk

    on

    Yes I do. It’s because when I use DAW and plugins I very often mix with my eyes unfortunately… And I think it isn’t a good habit.

  87. No to much work. But I think the people that are doing a remote studio were you can control the equipment from anywhere while sending audio in is outstanding!

  88. Only if the A studio came with a technician to keep everything in working order…..oh, ànd a coffee maker! Can’t do analogue without coffee!

  89. I don’t think I would go completely analog. I prefer the workflow of ITB mixing and there are a few AI-assisted plugins I would like to keep using. I’d definitely like to add some analog preamps and distortion tools though

  90. No, I wouldn’t. First of all, I used to own an all-analog studio back in the 1990s, and although I loved it, I remember very well all the obstacles and limitations I had to cope with. First, in order to operate analog gear, you need money and plenty of time to maintain it properly. You never know what and when is going to break down and whether you will be able to fix it on your own. Besides, even if we like the “analog sound” and try to add a little bit of noise to the sterile digital sound, we have to keep in mind that noise was a real curse of the analog domain and we used to dream of purity offered by DAWs. DAWs are simply easier for reasons we usually don’t even think about these days. Last but not least, the analog studio — at least the incarnation of it we could afford ’cause the majority of us wasn’t awfully rich — was never as flexible as an avarage DAW. The number of things you can do in a box, possible routings, instances of a single plugin you can use, finally the accessibility of plugins doing literally anything you dream of for free or for a fraction of the price of a hardware processor makes a real difference if you think about it. Hence I’d always pick a modern DAW today, maybe with some necessary hardware if I really needed it, but frankly speaking I try to keep things as simple as possible. With plugins being better and better you can do a lot and more, for less and in a limited space of your bedroom. With demanding and pricy hardware life isn’t always better. It’s just my two cents though.

  91. I would not go analog. I don’t have the space. As long as plugins like the Tascam Series are developed, there is no reason to go back to analog.

  92. Alberto Lucendo

    on

    the fun of performance with the buttons and the touch of the gear is hard to get just with plugins, but everytime plugins are sounding better and better and affordable and also good looking :) so it’s becaming a compromise ant tempting to mobr to a mostly digital enviroment.

  93. Back in the day I would go full analog in a heartbeat… but now, no I wouldn’t… everything has become so streamlined there’s no going back.

  94. No, there’s enough to keep me me busy with updates, new plugins, etc. While the hardware would be sweet and from my age group and time, the possible wiring/routing hassles, parts repair, cost factor, etc. would no longer be worth the trade off.

  95. I have gone from fully analogue recording (when I started there was no option!) to pretty much fully digital recording (my guitars & voice are still analogue!), and I have no intention of going back! :-)

  96. Yes, I would – if by some unexpected miracle I suddenly became rich enough.
    Until then, I’ll stick with a hybrid approach, while my last remaining tape cassette machines
    continue to survive on their last legs.

  97. Alexandre Munhoz Scherer

    on

    Acho que não trocaria pelo fato da manutenção. Hoje em dia é bastante complicado já no ITB a manutenção, o que dirá no analógico.

  98. No, I wouldn’t. It would be tempting but not being able to switch between projects would be a nightmare. Recalls and all that. And much more expensive

  99. I firmly believe in the digital recording realm and I’d never want to leave it after learning it, using it and reaping its benefits for 20 years. That said, I also believe in analog instruments and prefer them to their digital counterparts. Tube amps for guitars and basses, and tube preamps in Hammond organs and Leslie speakers. I love acoustic drums too. I have heard newer Roland electronic drums that sound quite good though, and would give serious consideration to using that type of kit and forego the nightmare of microphone setup and drum tuning to achieve that killer drum sound. And I do have a digital piano which sounds great too. It certainly beats paying for a piano tuner.

  100. Alexander León

    on

    Of course, today it has been demonstrated that software has elements that hardware does not and that it is possible to mimic the behavior of hardware.

  101. Miguel Angel Rodriguez

    on

    No I do not. Because today technology is so advanced that the difference between digital and analog is minimal.

  102. No, considero que las emulaciones de plugins de UAD, aparte de ser mas económicas, tienen un sonido mas fiel al original. Tal vez compre algunos complementos análogos, pero no sustituirlos al 100%

  103. Probably not, editing in digital is just so easy. Analog would force choices, though, and sometimes that’s a good thing.

  104. Not sure I could trade the digital for an analog studio. Maybe like a simple eight track tape recorder. That’d be pretty dope.

  105. Would I ever substitute my digital studio for an entirely analog one? Well, no. Quite frankly, I love the analog gear that I own, but software and digital gear is getting better every year. There may be some that can afford to buy and maintain analog bits, but most of us don’t have that budget. And truthfully, most of us aren’t making the types of recordings where it would make any noticeable difference.
    Thanks for putting the BPB newsletter together. I do enjoy it.
    Happy Holidays!

  106. Would you ever substitute your digital studio for an entirely analog one?
    – Now that plugins like these are already created, there’s no need for an entirely analog setup. Gosh, that TASCAM Porta One is the only missing piece in my low-end digital setup! Thank you IK, thank you Bedroom Producer Blog! ( I visit your site everyday! )

  107. No. But I would buy something from the analogue. All the same, the sound is captured in the analogue part. However, with regard to processing – only ITB.

  108. Pavel Gorlovoy

    on

    Maybe yes. At least to work on some special project.
    For everyday use – this would not work in today’s realities.

  109. Carlos Álvarez Rodriguez

    on

    No. First at all, I work in home-studio, so my space to hardware is limited. Also, digital emulation is more realible and is hard to damage,

  110. If space and money were no option, I WOULD trade! but sometimes it would take a few hours to get from one piece of equipment to another…

  111. Darren Jennings

    on

    I wouldn’t swap it completely, as it would hurt my workflow too much. But nothing wrong with an analog tape machine and compressor in my studio one day.

  112. No, I think with such a busy schedule there is only so much time for me personally to make music. The quality in low end is closer than ever before to emulate analog and the fun of spending a weekend purchasing plugins is in itself a wonder! The resolution and quality of emulations is amazing for sure!
    Thank you for this blog and IK for your amazing software!

  113. yes I would, because I come from the analogy era. But I also don’t want to do without a digital studio anymore. I like both. Can you forgive me?

  114. No I wouldn’t, it is great that we can use both digital and analog nowadays (and its impressive to see how good digitally emulated analog gear has become !

  115. If I have the real deal equipment ? Sure. I could see people who are making music in the box not living this idea, but having full on tape with a good board and all the outboard ? It would be like recording with Steve Albini in Electrical Audio.

  116. I don’t think it’d be great for my music, short term. Swapping to 100% analogue would be a huge adjustment and not something I’m motivated to do. If it was more of a case of working alongside someone who knows the equipment and getting an opportunity to try a different way of working and learn from others then, yeah, absolutely. Never say never, and all that.

  117. Simple answer: no way. I would first have to learn how to cope with analogue equipment from the scratch, I guess. And then have the money and space to aquire and place the equipment. That’s not realistic for me.

  118. Ich würde bestimmte Komponenten weiterhin analog bevorzugen ( z.B. Compressor). Viele andere, wie z.B. Synthis können ruhig digital sein. Der ideale Weg ist eine Mischung aus beiden. Das ist jedenfalls der aktuelle Stand. Vielleicht ist es in Zukunft wieder anders und die analogen Komponenten verschwinden komplett. Interessant wird auch wie sich die KI in diesem Bereich zukünftig entwickeln wird.

  119. I wish I could afford to, so no, it’s very unlikely, but I wish I could have more analogue gear as it’s so much fun to play with tactile equipment.

  120. no nn I would, it would be nice to have everything analog but the power of digital is now almost unbeatable nowadays, it never fails, I put as many as I want and if I knew how to use they give perhaps better results than the old analog

  121. I would not leave my digital studio, because of the comfort to recall everything, what is not possible in a total analog envirounment.

  122. It would be great to be able to do this. But in 2021 we have the possibility to work around with emulations like the Tape Machines of Ik Multimedia. I think that’s great, too, to be able to combine old school recording with modern producing. It is a very good approach for creativity, really creating something new and not just recalling the good old times.

  123. I don’t have any, but I would love to use a digital emulation, I can’t afford a real one, and if I could, I’d try to switch to digital because of simplicity

  124. Actually yes, but only because I have dry eyes and staring at a computer screen for hours is not good for me (but I’m still staring :-) )

  125. Anthony Junior

    on

    Having T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection in my arsenal is as well having analogue in my digital box, so what else? what is Analogue again? no substitution any more and save space ,

  126. Yes I would, then I’d sell all that lovely gear and with teary eyes get myself setup with a killer mobile digital setup so that I could work while traveling. I think as much as I love analogue gear it still doesn’t compare to being in studio with a talented new artist, in a city you’ve never been to before exploring the one thing that brings us all together… the process of making music!

  127. If money ain’t no issue, I would! Cause it would take so much cpu to achieve fully analog result. Analog recordings can convert to any bit modern Technology offers, just like tape movies are now in 4k or 8k.

  128. Entirely analog one? Too expensive and complex for a home studio.
    Of course you can add some hardware in some case to improve your music.
    Anyway thanks to bpb and ik multimedia for the giveaway.
    Cheers!

  129. To be honest I kinda would! All the limitations and charm analog midi devices have would make my workflow a little simpler, and probably could get some nice oldskool jungle with a little practice. Ambient and noise sessions would be amazing in a analog-only studio too :D

  130. Lukas J. Knaup

    on

    Would I replace my digital studio with an entirely analog one? No. Reason being the ease of using a daw. Thats not to say I don’t love being hands on, I think Im more creative hands on and ultimately I would love a hybrid studio! Ah one day…

    So many entries for this giveaway. Good luck everyone!

  131. Nope…

    Used my old hardware studio for years. Things I had to deal with on a daily basis were bad cables/connections, backing up individual devices samples, programs, sequence data & whatnot… and just generally trying to get things sounding the same from the previous days session.

    Once I went digital… I went all-in, in-the-box… and haven’t looked back.

  132. Johnathan Glass

    on

    I couldn’t at this point, even though I started on tape in a fully analog studio in 2000. Digital has too many advantages in speed and flexibility.

  133. Charles Kerper

    on

    I would and I have. To be stuck in one or the other is bipolar and unnecessary. We have the luxury of living at a time when we have both. I recall the fun of PortaStudios and there was a magic that is not the same with digital; but the same can be said of the reverse.

    Regardless Tascam created some of the most used and loved recorders just prior to the digital revolution and its nice to see them get props.

  134. Yes, I would. There is a sound that an all analog studio would evoke that, although not intrinsically better than the sound achieved by a totally ITB studio, had its own merit and cadre of fans whom prefer that sound.

  135. Alexey Vasilyev

    on

    I think I would prefer hybrid between analog and digital. And it would be more analog and just a little digital.

  136. If, without a doubt, by having digital tools we often focus more on “correcting” and “improving” production factors that may not be the most suitable, with fewer possibilities in the analog environment, it is more important to be well prepared to record and enforce a production only with what is at hand, the execution of the instruments, the production and the audio chain, with these elements should be more than enough.

  137. Yes, of course. Undoubtedly, having digital tools many times we focus more on “correcting” and “improving” production factors that may not be the most suitable, with fewer possibilities in the analog environment, it is more important to be well prepared To record and enforce a production only with what is at hand, the execution of the instruments, the production and the audio chain, with these elements should be more than enough.

  138. Couldn’t do it, have done some stuff to tape and would not use it when it comes to editing, may run tracks and mixes to it. I think the method of analog recording is extremely important as the limitations help move things along and kill indecisiveness.

  139. I would have loved to. I guess I would have grown a large fetish (and ‘nerdishment’) for outboard.
    But my start in the world of music production coincided with the DigiDesign/Pro Tools era.
    And my career never took me towards analog gear.
    But I would have loved to work on a big desk and a 24 track R&R – well at least a bigger set-up, than the
    Tascam 244 porta I once had ;-)
    Now all thats analog, are my mic-pre’s a couple with tubes.
    But at least I also have an analog juvel in my rack: Phonic T8300 Tube enhancer.
    Anyway – had a stroke 9 years back, so I can no longer manage anything other than digital.

  140. If someone were to set it up for me, and pay for all of it, and instruct me as to how everything works, then yes, sure!

  141. No. While the idea of an all analog studio is appealing in some ways, I am just too much of a plug-in junkie and have become too accustomed to digital recording to be willing to trade it.

  142. No I would not. There is far too much flexibility and ease of workflow in today’s digital world. Not to mention that most plug ins emulate analog gear close enough and add great features like presets :)

  143. How does this set of tape machine emulations compare to IK’s own set of 4 tape machines that they already offered as a part of T-Racks, I wonder? Wondering how the performance compares for each set, and whether it’s worth it for me to spend $130 on the TEAC/Tascam set

  144. Don’t think so, my tiny apartment would not be happy. Nor would my wife. Or my cat. Well, maybe he would, and mixes could go to the unexpected.

  145. Probably not, as digital is what I’m familiar with. I’d add outboard gear in a heartbeat, but I couldn’t get rid of my computer. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of your nice products.

  146. I’m familiar with digital, as I have used FL Studio for a while, so it would be a glaring change to analog only… Maybe just outboard gear to get to use the best of both flavors

  147. Nowadays digital was unavoidable. If I was in 80s, I can use only analog. But we are in 20th century, we have to accept and adopt the technology.

  148. not completely, I prefer a hybrid. Also, today it is not crazy to say that digital is similar or superior to analog in some cases

  149. I would definitely change it all to analogue if I could have the space (not speaking of the costs for the original instruments and gear) so basically – gimme some hundreds of thousands of dollars/euros/ pounds (I’ll take some millions of Yen too if that should be the only option) and I promise to switch all till the beginning of 2022 :)

  150. La tecnología avanza a pasos agigantados el software esta casi a la par que el hardware y creo que por comodidad, espacio, costo/beneficio no lo cambiaría.

  151. Hm… Now sure. Maybe analog gear can became handy, so why not? So far I use mixed both: analog and digital stuff, hardware and software.

  152. Your question: “Would you ever substitute your digital studio for an entirely analog one?”

    My answer: “No… I am using the good stuff that some analog gear brings and the nice benefits that digital hardware and software brings. So hybrid for me. I can’t efficiently distribute my work though analog devices either ;-)”

    Good luck all on this nice giveaway!

  153. I wouldn’t wanna work solely in a completely analog studio. I love the color and feel that you can get from analog hardware, but I also love the huge amount of possibilities, as well as the ease of use, in digital mixing.

  154. I learned on old fostex and tascam multi tracks, my daw has a few things i couldnt ever do on non digital equiptment, but if i had to go back id be happy to.

  155. Giulio Jimenez

    on

    Of course I would! But only if I could bring back Bruce Swedien, Rudy Van Gelder, Al Schmitt, Tom Dowd and all of the amazing engineers that worked on the fully analog world!! But we would have to travel in time, because how could we get any work these days?

  156. Carlos Melguizo

    on

    Probably yes, an entirely analog studio gets you to work differently, Doing everything digitally is very convinient, but it can really affect your workflow. Plus, it would be encredibly fun to put together and to play with every single piece of gear until it breaks hehe :)