Analog Tape Processing For Ambient Music

In his latest video, Hainbach demonstrates how he uses a vintage Nagra tape recorder for analog tape processing.

Hainbach uses audio tape processing to remove some of the ‘sheen’ of his source material, and to add analog artifacts that recall the past.

“Here I am making a track composed on the OP1 sound richer using a Kudelski Nagra III,” he explains. The final result is featured in the second half of the video.

If you’ve got your own approach to using audio tape recording as an effect, share it in the comments!

15 thoughts on “Analog Tape Processing For Ambient Music

  1. That turned very nice. A really creative idea too. When I used tape I used it to mangle vocal samples by manually slowing it to a stop. I had a trashed reel-to-reel though.

  2. I think there are a few plugins that can add noise, wow & flutter, low-pass filter, and distortion. But that is pretty fun to listen to.

  3. I used to bounce the mixdown to tape and then back to digital. I liked the sound of it a lot, but it was a time-consuming process.

    I’m still after that sound though. Now I send the live mix through a stack of old analog gear, then back to hard disk for a Digital-Analog-Digital capture in one take.

    I think what I have liked the most about using all these processes was the ear-training journey it provided… that was initially hard for me to do working all inside the box.

    1. I agree 100 percent – you learn to listen with analog tape and gear. In digital in can become more a process of selecting. Not that one is better, it’s different.

  4. I hear the results but there seems like there are easier and cheaper ways to do this, even with common tools like ozone. Although that recorder is gorgeous!!

  5. Come on, people. You can’t honestly believe a plugin can emulate a real tape machine. Do you also think your bitcrusher plugin sounds like an sp-1200?? Not even close…

  6. Two ways to get a pretty good tape sound, without the tape. The first is to use an Strymon El Capistan. The second is the Waves J37 Tape plugin. You can catch this on sale for 29 bucks.

    All of the fun and none of the suffering of reel to reel.

    1. There’s a romance when it comes to using a reel to reel compared to a plugin. Same reason why an artist would prefer oil painting vs photoshop. I’m sure people say the same thing about Arturia’s CS-80 vs the real thing.

  7. I regularly run tracks through a 4 track cassette deck, then bounce back to the DAW. Sometimes I’ll ride the pitch knob a little for accent. I prefer to include some parts processed this way and the rest in the box; I think the blend makes for a nice contrast.

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