LUSCIOUS TAPE MACHINE
Nothing else quite sounds like tape. Satin puts the legacy of tape recording in your hands: from top-of-the-line multi-track consoles to humble cassette decks. All the good (saturation, transient smoothing, compression) as well as the bad (noise modulation, flutter, hiss) qualities are under your control. Construct your (im)perfect tape machine.
The Sound: That tape sound depends on interaction between the various parts of a tape machine. Each contributes in one way or another—enhancing, reducing, combining—to generate the final sound.
Satin models individual components and lets them interact in the same way. For maximum flexibility in sound shaping, Satin is a toolkit of alternative parts, not an emulation of a single machine. Build your own custom tape unit. The perfect final sheen for your mixdown, or “glue” multiple drum tracks together, decode old NR-encoded cassette tape, or misuse Satin for extreme effects.
After developing the components for a tape machine toolkit, our minds turned other popular tape-based machines. Delay and flange immediately jumped to mind.
Imagine opening up a tape machine, peeking “under the hood” and tinkering with the parts. That is what service technicians used to do, and it is what the Service Panel in Satin is for. It gives you detailed control over some of the more esoteric and characterful elements.
In the Tape section are perhaps the more readily identifiable attributes of tape recording: hiss, asperity, wow & flutter, crosstalk and bias. Dial in a little of each for a retro vibe or “glue”. Dial in the extreme settings and you can end up with the sound of poor quality tape left in someone’s basement far too long.
The Repro Head(s) parameters control the physical attributes of the tape heads. With Gap Width and Bump you can cut or boost certain frequencies and introduce resonances and fluctuations. Azimuth pushes the audio off-centre for interesting spatial effects, mimicking a skewed tape head.
Finally the Circuit section lets you change the inner EQ circuitry. Included are various industry standard EQ curves, should you want to mimic specific machines. But Satin goes a step further by allowing independent selection of the recording and reproduction EQ curves. Which you can abuse for weird processing effects, or to correct EQ errors in old recordings (see below).
Selectable Compander and Circuit settings make Satin useful as a format converter.
If you have a tape recording with an unsuitable EQ, using Circuit’s independent RecEQ and ReproEQ selectors you can set a new target EQ curve and make changes. Similarly, Compander can handle audio recorded with specific noise reduction (NR) encodings. Just run it through Satin with Decoder set to match the known NR encoding type.
Images accompanying text are Credited to: u-he