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Tips for Using Saturation in a Mix with UAD Studer A800 Tape Emulation Plugin

Hey, what’s up guys? Welcome to a new video.

In this one, I thought we would talk about saturation. I had a question come in off the Twitter asking about what tools I like to use for saturation.

I have sort of a brief example. I have this Studer tape plug-in, which is probably — I don’t use tons of saturation plug-ins, but I will use tape machines and stuff like this VCC — Virtual Console Collection from Slate Digital — to sort of saturate things and maybe smooth them out or maybe make them a little warmer, or tubey sounding, or whatever.

But one of my favorite things to do is on a drum buss, and to use similar settings to this. Just sort of fatten it up and tighten up the low end.

I’ve got some drums here, and I’ll play them for you and kind of breakdown what’s going on here. So here we go.


The Studer tape plug goes on my drum buss and it goes last down here, sort of in the sequence of events.

I typically like to use this GP9, the red tape spool, and then calibration is set to +7.5, and then my IPS is always 7.5, which is sort of the darker of the speeds. It tends to get brighter if you go up to 15 or 30.

Then the input and output, you can hit it harder, you can saturate less or whatever, and I sort of just play with it to kind of get the effect that I want.

I’ll play this for you, and I’ll bypass it a couple of times, and you can listen to the bottom end, listen to the kick drum, sort of like the 100, 150Hz on the snare drum, and you hear it kind of beef up a little bit.



This is a great thing to do. I know a lot of guys will use these tape plug-ins on the drum buss, specifically for the low end, and you can use them on a kick drum or a bass guitar.

Also use it on — I think I have it in this session on the vocals as well. Similar settings, a little brighter. I have it on 15 instead of the 7.5.

Then the other cool thing is you can get in here and you can play with the biasing and the HF filters, and I usually turn the noise off. If you’re on headphones, it’ll kind of bug me, so I’ll leave that off.

Then I’ll get in and you can sort of start using it as an EQ as well as saturation, and it’s kind of a weird kind of a thing to explain if you’re new to this, but check out tape plug-ins. A lot of them will do this thing. Steven Slate makes a great one, his Virtual Tape Machine, as well as every other company out there I’m pretty sure has a tape plug-in or some sort of a saturation plug-in.

Anyways, that’s all I have for you. I’ll play this one more time, bypass it. Here we go.


Again, really subtle moves. Listen to it a bunch. Hopefully you’re listening to it not on a laptop. If you’re listening on a laptop, you’re not going to hear this effect at all.

So put in your nice headphones, or throw it on your studio rig.

Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for you in this video. Subscribe if you haven’t subscribed, check us out on Facebook, shoot me some questions on Twitter. I’m always looking for new topics on videos. Let me know what you want to know and I’ll try to give you my two cents on it, for what it’s worth.

Anyways, thanks a lot for watching, guys, and I’ll see you in the next video.





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