Tape cassettes are kind of in vogue these days, so naturally, we expect a ton of tape emulation plugins to satisfy this demand in the DAW front.
Among these plugins is Caelum Audio’s Tape Cassette. Although quite limited in terms of features and capabilities, Caelum Audio’s Tape Cassette has all the features you’d expect from a tape emulation plugin: realistic tape hiss, wow and flutter, the works. Shipped as being capable of giving your sound “warmth, noise and character,” this tiny plugin doesn’t fail to deliver what it claims to deliver.
Specs and Features
The plugin has five primary parameters: Saturation (+/-24dB), Low Pass Filter (8-22KHz), Noise -80 to 0 dB, Wow, and Flutter. Saturation provides the distinctive tape warmth and the low pass filter works as the name suggests. Noise adds some white-noise-like artifacts and that definitive tape hiss. Finally, Wow and Flutter introduce pitch instability that can radically change the sound. All of these are neatly arranged on the bottom of the plugin’s simple interface.
There are a few presets available that can be chosen from a drop-down menu. Nothing unusual here, and most of these presets will suffice for common tape emulation needs.
Caelum Audio’s Tape Cassette is as straight-forward as an effect plugin can get. The five parameters can add some character to your audio signal that convincingly resembles a tape cassette.
The noise parameter is a simple white-noise generator, so there is none of the randomness that you’d expect from an actual tape. It would have been great if there is a randomness parameter that would add some lively artifacts to the audio instead of just a steady hiss.
Nonetheless, the plugin itself can be used in a lot of ways. The saturation and the noise parameters add some analog warmth that many going crazy for these days.
It’s also enjoyable using some subtle wow and flutter to keep things interesting. These two have become quite very common in pop music procuction today, particularly on synth leads and pads. Some producers even fancy using a tiny bit of wow and flutter on their kicks to make them feel alive. Indeed, you can experiment using this tape sound in a lot of ways.
Although it is perfectly possible to achieve all of these using other effects, the fact that all of these parameters are available in a single plugin will make things a lot simpler. This plugin is perfect for producers who want to keep their signal flow as straight-forward as possible. More experimental producers will also have fun playing around with some of its wilder capabilities.
Many users are satisfied with the sound of this little tape cassette emulator. Because it is also very light on the CPU, it is easy to just plop multiple instances across channels just for fun. Some users, however, have pointed out the lack of an output gain control.
Nonetheless, we don’t expect a lot of functionalities such as MIDI routing, or any kind routing for that matter. It would have been fun to route these wow and flutter effects to, say, an LFO or reverb, and watch what craziness will unfold. But it’s a solid plugin by its own regard.
The Caelum Audio Tape Cassette is easy to install, easy to use, and fun to play with. It is a simple solution for your tape emulation needs. While the plugin is fairly limited in terms of capabilities, it delivers on its promises sound-wise.
Where to get it
You can get the Caelum Audio Tape Cassette from Caelum Audio’s site. It can be downloaded to OSX 10.11 and above AU and VST3 as well as Windows 7 and above VST3. It can also be downloaded on iOS as a stand-alone app and as an AUv3 plugin for mobile DAWs such as GarageBand. And of course, it’s absolutely free!