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I can't remember where the link is, or the name of the piece of equipment but: To make you better understand my question, let me first say this:
For those who were lucky enough to be able to afford a 2' tape - Reel to Reel running at 30IPS, you obviously have the advantage of recording something analog and dumping those tracks into your system (with good AD converters) to achieve the classic sound of analog tape saturation and dynamic range.

My question is:
A few years ago I seen a unit you could buy for a few hundred bucks: It had a single loading arm spindle that let you load a reel of (2') tape with a diameter the size of a spool of toilet paper. All it did was cycle the reel in a loop - erasing it during each pass. Basically it was used to record the signal for a second and then output the post-recorded signal to your converters to bring into your DAW. Because the tape runs so fast, there is little particle displacement per inch and allows the tape to keep looping for an extended amount of time before the tape needs to be replaced. Again, you can obviously do this with a traditional real to real if you have the money to afford one. But this thing did the same thing with the exception that it doesn't save the data on the tape, it's just a pass-though allowing you to set levels and really saturate the signal before being sent to your converters and finally into your DAW.

Anyone remember the name of this unit? Or have a link?
I remember looking at it on line but at the time I didn't appreciate it's value.

DonnyThompson Mon, 07/06/2015 - 02:56

Hmmm... I don't remember that piece of gear. I would assume that it worked on the same principle as the old Echoplex, continually recording and erasing ( LOL.. sometimes) the signal and outputting the delayed signal depending on the tape speed and the distance between the record head and the repro head. To alleviate delay ( what we would now refer to as latency) it was probably a one-head unit that would record and play at the same time, or at least to a very tight tolerance.

I can't believe that you wouldn't go through tape like wildfire, though. The constant looping and recording over the same tape - at the same spot on the tape - would likely result in the degradation of signal fairly quickly; maybe this is why they didn't catch on.

If it were me, I think I'd be looking for a used (but in good shape, perhaps one recently serviced or rebuilt) half-track, and record your vocals to it, while you monitored a 2-mix off of your DAW, and then, transfer that taped vocal back over to your DAW.
You could "slate" the track on the tape by using a printed click track / count-in recorded to a track on your DAW, and then simply clap to that on the mic you are singing into, so that the claps are recorded to the tape - in sync to the click count-in that you are hearing on your DAW. This would make lining-up the transferred vocal track on the DAW's timeline much easier... by simply visually lining up the "claps" that you recorded to the click track's wave form on your DAW.

How much are you willing to spend? Assuming that you've decided that you don't want to use a tape emulation plug - of which there are many.

If you're bound and determined to use real analog, I found this on eBay, a great 2-track deck - The Revox ( Studer) B77. A real workhorse... lots of studios had this model. In fact, I still have one myself. ;)
7.5 and 15" ips/ 1/4" tape:

$249.00 U.S. ( GBP - $155)


Boswell Mon, 07/06/2015 - 04:09

The standard (modern) technique for satisfying the demands of artists and producers who require the dynamics of tape is to take both raw and tape-delayed signals into your DAW for those tracks that are believed to need this treatment (mostly vocals, sometimes drums). Doing it this way pretty much eliminates the problem of speed differences between the tape record pass and the replay pass, as it's done at the same time, so all you might be concerned about are speed variations. As Donny said, a good pro or semi-pro deck is well up to the task, and 2 tracks on 1/4" tape is usually sufficient. You can keep just one tape reel for this work as any one section of it does not get huge wear.

I did come a bit of a cropper the first time I used the technique, as I did not think things through clearly enough, and thought I could put vocals on one tape track and just the kick drum mic on the other. I had not appreciated that the bleed from the kick drum into the other kit mikes would cause huge phase variation issues when only the kick was put through the tape process, despite accurate time re-aligment of the tape-delayed signals in the DAW. In the end I had to revert to the non-tape signal for the kick, as any saturation benefits were outweighed by the phase problems. It might have worked with a stem mix of the whole kit, but I wanted stereo drums in the mix and had only the one tape track spare after the vocals had used the other.

dvdhawk Mon, 07/06/2015 - 07:38

I remember seeing hardware like he's talking about a couple years ago. It was supposedly a studio quality 2" multi-track looper. I don't know if it was in production somewhere of just vaporware. It was essentially a 16 track (maybe 24?) echoplex running 2" tape at either 15ips or 30ips. Presumably, inserted into your DAW signal path to the record head, then straight back into your DAW from the play head.

So far, Google only turns up the CLASP and E-H. Neither are what I'm remembering.

DonnyThompson Tue, 07/07/2015 - 01:43

Makzimia, post: 430330, member: 48344 wrote: I know I am late to the party, been tied up with settling into the new house still. Logic Pro X is certainly a very capable DAW and produces very good results whether doing midi or audio. I personally run it and have an RME HDSPe card running then on MADI to an Orion 32. You can't beat the clocks in RME. I am not a fan of USB in for audio either. The amazing thing is, we are at a point where it's truly possible to get by with far less external gear now.


Kurt Foster, post: 430411, member: 7836 wrote: [[url=http://[/URL]="…"]CLASP[/]="…"]CLASP[/]

Ah yes... CLASP... Now I remember... although I only ever heard talk of it... I never used it, nor did I know anyone who did, either. Did you ever use this Kurt? How fast do you think the tape would wear out? 2" tape isn't cheap, although if you weren't using an entire reel of it, it wouldn't be as expensive. Could you load your own 2" tape into this? Or did you have to buy some kind of proprietary loop cartridge from the company that makes the unit?

Just curious...

Kurt Foster Mon, 07/20/2015 - 11:14

according to the info on the site, the off the shelf CLASP system is set up to interface only with pro machines (+4). [[url=http://[/URL]=""]here's a list[/]=""]here's a list[/]

it looks like you can special order systems that work on other machines.

Davedog Mon, 07/20/2015 - 13:49

What if I have an 8-track or 16-track or even a 2-track machine? Will CLASP work with these as well?
Yes, CLASP works with anything from a 1 track mono head stack machine to a 24 track. We also offer an 8 channel CLASP model and 16 channel CLASP model.

How do I know CLASP will work with my tape machine?
CLASP will work with virtually any professional analog multi-track tape machine that has a remote connection on the back panel. We support models from Studer, MCI, Otari, 3M, Ampex, Tascam, Sony and even the machines used by The Beatles. [[url=http://[/URL]=""]Click here for a list of CLASP READY tape machines.[/]=""]Click here for a list of CLASP READY tape machines.[/]

Which versions of Pro Tools does CLASP work with?
Yes. Versions 7 through 10 Native, LE, HD or HD Native. We are working on a version for 11 to be released in sometime in the future.

What other recording software does CLASP work with?
CLASP is also available for Mac and PC on the following software applications: Cubase, Nuendo, Logic Audio 9 (coming soon).

Do I have to have a MIDI interface to use CLASP?
Yes, You must have at least one dedicated MIDI input and output port available on your DAW to use CLASP. We recommend the M Audio MIDI Sport 4×4 and the M Audio MIDI Sport 2×2 and will ship tested interfaces with each system upon request.

This NOT the system the OP had asked about. I too, remember something like that as a blurb in some recording mag but for the life of me cannot remember what it was called or whether it ever made the light of day.

I really studied this system when it came out 5 or 6 years ago. I had thought about adding a tape machine at the time since they were so cheap and I was on my way to building out my room in the house I owned at that time. Alas....d-i-v-o-r-c-e derailed that plan. If I get enough work to build the studio in the back yard like I want, I can easily see having a 16 channel machine with a CLASP with PT. They have AAX plugs now for PT HDX. You have to have a plugin containing the CLASP plug for each channel you run to interface between the machine and the DAW and a mono vca Master fader in PT.