Getting Started with the Vintage Tape Module in Ozone 7 Advanced
If you want an authentic signal chain just like a traditional mastering studio, the vintage tape module would most often come first, considering analog tape would usually be used to transfer mixes from the mix engineer to the mastering engineer before it’s run through the rest of the mastering processing chain.
The controls for the vintage tape module are straightforward, with carefully set ranges designed specifically for critical mastering tasks, but still afford you the ability to get radical results at the extremes of each slider.
The input drive slider gives you the control over the amount of saturation that is applied. At the zero point, you’re hearing the authentic sound of a quality machine into a high quality tape formulation.
Raising or lowering this control affects how hard you hit the tape, so that a lower input drive setting will incur less saturation, but a higher setting will incorporate more of the smooth, gentle distortion that magnetic tape is treasured for.
Because the vintage tape module doesn’t introduce any of the hiss associated with magnetic tape, you don’t need higher input levels to improve the signal to noise ratio. You can use whatever input setting provides the best saturation characteristics for your material.
The input drive control has a range of 60dB, and we’ve designed it to apply makeup gain, so that a major adjustment to the input drive doesn’t throw off the rest of your gain staging.
The bias control gives you the option of customizing the distortion curve and high frequency response of the machine. Adjusting the slider in either direction will reveal more distortion. A negative bias value will push more energy at the higher frequencies, just like an under-biased tape machine, while a positive bias value will attenuate some of the higher frequencies.
Keep in mind that top shelf studios work hard to bias their machines carefully for minimal distortion, and even frequency response, so the default setting is a great place to start.
Thousands of records have been recorded and mixed at 15 inches per second, but as producers and musicians sought higher fidelity and lower noise for pristine recordings, 30 ips provided a solution.
Switching between these two options inside the vintage tape module can help tailor the frequency response and the levels at which different frequency areas begin to distort, so try 15 ips for adding a distinct thickness and warmth to your masters, or 30 ips for a more subtle, refined polish.
Much of the sound associated with magnetic tape is odd harmonic distortion, but the electronics and calibration of each individual machine can add a certain amount of even harmonics, to give each recorder a distinctive characteristic timbre.
With the harmonic slider set to zero, you’re getting the authentic odd harmonic saturation of a carefully calibrated mastering deck.
However, you can tailor this sound by bringing in even harmonics to taste. The low emphasis slider gives you control over the shape of the resonant peak, or head bump that adds a gentle peak in the low end before rolling off steeply below that frequency.
A lower value will remove this peak, flattening out the frequency response while maintaining the low end roll off. This can help ensure you get the warmth of analog without adding mud or too much bass.
Conversely, a higher value will boost that resonant peak by up to 10dB to add low end punch and emphasis.
Now, just like a traditional tape machine, this resonant frequency is affected by the tape speed you select, so at 30 ips, the head bump sits right around 50Hz, and at 15 ips, it will sit an octave below that.
The high emphasis control can give you an authentic, close to flat high frequency response at the default setting of 4.0, but you can add a high end shimmer by raising the value, or a gentle roll off by lowering it.
This can be just the thing to give your masters an extra liveliness and energy without getting overly harsh or bright. Download the ten day free trial of Ozone today. Learn more at izotope.com/ozone.