digital vs. 1/2 tape



Can digital processors such as Empiral Lab's Fatso, or Crane Song Hedd come close to what a 1/2 tape machine can do such as the Studer A820 or the Ampex ATR 102? I speculated that the digital processors would can be more transparent. I want to avoid buying a used tape machine that brakes down every few months, and the high maintance of owning a tape machine. Bob Katz stated that the crane song sounds very close to the real thing. He said comparing the two is like comparing two fine wines. It also seem that more and more "professional" recording studios are turning to using exclussively to Protools and the Fatso or Crane Song...These are studios with SSL G Plus consoles. This is why I'm puzzled about the whole issue of analog tape machine. One final note, there are an alarming number of analog tape recorders--including high quaility mastering tape machine--for sale everywhere on the net.

Michael Fossenkemper

Distinguished past mastering moderator
Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2002
NYC New York
Some of the emulators do come close. I personally like tape but it's kind of a pain in the ass to run it in and out again as apposed to just patching somthing in. I still get a lot of clients that print to tape so I need one. But if i didn't need one, I might turn to the HEDD. There are other variable to just the tape. there is the machine itself with all of it's transformers and resistors. each one sounds different from the next. Most ME's prefer tape but the next best thing would be HEDD.


The FATSO is not a digital emulator. It is digitally controlled, but the signal path is all analog and a beautiful sounding unit. I have one and use it on everything.

I've heard great things about the HEDD also, but I haven't heard it.

As for whether these devices compare with tape or not is a widely discussed argument and one which brings up many strong views on the subject.

I however see it as this. The Fatso does go a long way to "remove" any "digitalness" or one's recordings and it's effect is in my opinion is very musical indeed.

Check this thread out....... Fatso vs Otari MP3 challenge