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Mixing With Tape Emulation Plugins

I'm mixing a couple of projects with Analog Channel 2 across the SubMaster bus. It sounds really good and the clients are liking the mix sounds, due in part to the AC2 plug. However, the AC2 seems to be acting a lot like a limiter and reducing dynamics.

My question to any ME's is, how do you feel about mixes with tape saturation plugs, like AC2? Even though it's making my rough mixes sound good at this point.



hueseph Sat, 09/30/2006 - 10:02

1511 wrote: the AC2 seems to be acting a lot like a limiter and reducing dynamics.

I'm not one to be answering this question but isn't this in fact what tape does when you push it to saturation? That is, isn't it the "natural" compression that tape has which people are looking for when they use these plugins?

Michael Fossenkemper Sat, 09/30/2006 - 10:13

Yes, that's what that plug is trying to do. it's compressing, a little bass boost, a little high end drop, and a little peak limiting. It's perfectly fine to use this to color a mix. You'll also probably want to tweek the mix a bit with it in to compensate a little for what it's doing. Using compression on a mix is more than ok, most mixers use one. It's not for volume or level, but for color and vibe.

1511 Sat, 09/30/2006 - 13:56

Thanks for the replies. That's exactly what is working for some of these mixes, the color and vibe of the tape plug. I'm definitely having to rethink compression on individual tracks, though. I just wanted to hear if this was ever a mastering problem.

audiovisceral Mon, 10/16/2006 - 11:16

I have a further question about this:

Where do you all find the best place for this is in a mastering chain?

I ask assuming a basic chain might be:

1) EQ
2) Compression
3) Limiting
4) Dither

I've enjoyed the Voxengo Warmifier, and I know Aleksee recommended on the forum using after compression and pre-limiting. However, it seems more intuitive to use it before or right after EQ.

This is a puzzler to me. Thoughts?

nacron2 Tue, 10/17/2006 - 04:01

Hey guys, the audiovisceral question was right. Last years many ME´s are using
the different tube gears for more “analog sound” . My ME friend use the FatMan and the signal rather flows through the tube. In my chain I have the PSP VintageWarmer (tube simulation plug-in) between compressor and limiter (also very carefully) and it seems to be ok.