Best Free Tape Emulation Plugins: Top 10 VSTs You Can Get For Free! (2023)

Best Free Tape Emulation Plugins


The recording process has been modified lots over time. Previously, engineers used tube mics and analog preamps to record devices onto analog tape. The mix of distinctive tones from these three items of gear added a really pleasing texture to the music created.

Whereas it’s nonetheless widespread to see analog preamps and tube mics in a contemporary studio setting, tape machines are considerably rare units. When you’ll still discover them in lots of studios, the industry-wide shift to working in the box has made bypassing tape slightly extra possible. Due to this, many engineers really feel that modern music is lacking one thing.

Recording to tape offers the music a certain character. It rolls off the high-end and provides a small bump within the lows, just like an equalizer. It rounds off transient peaks, making a delicate type of compression. Maybe most significantly, it provides a singular type of saturation, primarily boosting what is often known as third-order harmonics.

Third-order harmonics mimic the frequency response of a sign two octaves above the source material. As an example, in case you recorded a low E on bass guitar, the basis frequency could be 40Hz. 2nd order harmonics, which are sometimes added by tubes, increase one octave above the source (80Hz).

Third-order harmonics are primarily added by analog tape, and increase two octaves above the source (120Hz). This helps signals “cut through” a mix by including greater frequencies in a musical means, as a substitute for merely boosting the highest band on an EQ. As with all good things, too much may cause destructive effects.

In this article, we are going to list what we think are the best 10 tape emulation plugins to spice up your mix. They will not be sorted from best to worst, since we do not want to suggest which to get first.

Listed below are the Best Tape Emulation Plugins we reviewed!

1. Dubb Box

The Dubb Box plugin is a virtual or digital tape delay plugin, generally modeled on the Space Echo. Since the Space Echo is a story for itself, many developers tried to recreate its original and unique sound of it in order to offer their customers some flare from the old-school delay.

It does a great job of emulating the vintage tape saturation, with great variability and a self-oscillation algorithm. As per usual, you will be able to find the main echo and second tape head for sub echos and also knobs to adjust the vintage flare that comes from this unit, such as motor inertia, tape and motor age, and tape hiss as well.

Dubb Box

2. Chow Tape Model

Though the plugin was initially meant to model the Sony TC-260 tape machine, the algorithm was later modified to be an extra versatile simulation of a greater variety of analog reel-to-reel machines.

CHOW Tape Model sounds impressively genuine and presents an amazing quantity of parameters for tweaking the tape simulation algorithm.

The plugin emulates all of the sonic parts of an analog tape machine. This consists of analog saturation, harmonic distortion, and different non-linearities that may improve the sound. However, CHOW Tape Model additionally emulates the lo-fi features of analog tape which can be used for a “vintage” effect.

Chow Tape Emulator

3. Tape Bus

Tape Bus is an analog saturation/compression recreation of a magnetic tape recorder. It recreates the conduct of the hardware circuitry when it’s subjected to work within the non-linear or saturation zone. On the one hand, an analog bus emulation, and on the opposite, the standard treble compression within the recording of magnetic tape.

The design of the fader is autogain and due to this fact, its motion only generates the effect, preserving the amount fixed. We’ll operate the Emphasis swap adjusting the quantity of compression in high frequencies (its use isn’t always mandatory), however, a slight contact on voices or acoustic guitars will leave us with silky treble.

Tape Bus

4. Kaput

Kaput is a trustworthy recreation of a dusty, outdated handheld cassette recorder on the brink of collapse. This plugin will add the flare that the cassettes used to bring out – the classic hiss that the old heads miss.

Many hours of hardware modeling mean you can give your audio a lo-fi, broken classic sound. Kaput doesn’t do subtlety; push the input gain and experiences meticulous, non-linear cassette tape modeling. Simple to use – nice experience!


5. Tape Sound

TapeSound is pre-loaded with 9 sound loops of actual tape hums and noise. Many different options that you can use to spice up the sound you are working on.

TapeSound uses reel tapes, videotapes, cassette tapes, and extra all in high constancy. TapeSound is activated by MIDI – you possibly can change the pitch of the output by playing/sending higher or lower MIDI notes to it. Then you possibly can fine-tune the sound with the Speed slider on the turntable, till you discover that good tape feel!

  • 9 pre-loaded tape crackle, hum, and whoosh loops.
  • +100% to -100% velocity management.
  • Master level management.
Tape Sound

6. Tape Cassette 2

Tape Cassette 2 is an audio plugin that creates the warmth, noise, and character of outdated tape cassettes. Following up on the well-received Tape Cassette 1, the plugin is up to date with a modern interface and extra adjustments under the hood too.

Together with a model new selectable Type 1 Cassette Impulse Response (IR), its improved the saturation algorithm, wow and flutter engine, and applied actual sampled tape noise, all of which ends up in a splendidly warm and extra correct classic sound. Along with this, you now have two VU meters to watch your audio in addition to selectable oversampling.

Now you’ll be able to simply add that basic sound to a complete track or use it directly on individual channels for added motion, texture, and heat. Alternatively, you’ll be able to take it further than the fabric limitations of tape and push the parameters into a much more experimental soundscape, as a sound design instrument.

Tape Cassette 2 - Best Free Tape Emulation Plugins

7. Vintage Tape Delay

Another plugin that emulates the great and vintage sound tape. For a free plugin, this is a really powerful tool that you can use if you are tight on a budget and you need a vintage-sounding tape delay.

With this plugin, you will be able to add subtle analog warmth to all the signals that you will be processing and create amazing ambients that are truly unique to the old and new analog effects.

Vintage Tape Delay

8. Mystique

Mystique is a tape machine simulator. With a simple interface that is easy to understand, you will be able to insert a touch of saturation to the signal you have in hand and improve it a little bit – certainly to your taste.

It was created for real-time processing and zero-latency, preferred for live sound! Convert your digital console channel into an analog recording tape machine and provides warmth to your digital audio!

  • Inside oversampling.
  • Transformer decoupling operates.
  • Bias management.
  • Bass and treble booster.

9. PhatNoise Delay

PhatNoise Delay is an old-school type plugin that emulates the wealthy and thick sound of tape echo items from the 70s, just like the WEM copycat. PhatNoise is very optimized, so CPU utilization is minimal, permitting a number of instances for use in a project.

PhatNoise is designed with a particularly intuitive interface as it’s meant to be the proper inclusion for any newbie’s setup. Simply begin turning the dials through its intuitive interface, you’ll immediately be molding and pressing the sound into the PhatNoise form you need, with minimal effort.

PhatNoise Delay

10. Bionic Supa Delay

Bionic Supa Delay is an improved model of the favored tape delay plug-in “Bionic Delay”. The brand new model has further sections for filtering, pitch shifting, reverb, and auto panning which will be mixed in several methods with the delay/echo section. Every section can be used by itself.

Bionic Supa Delay was created in a joint effort with Dub producer Russ D (The Disciples) who proposed to incorporate the extra features that are useful for live Dub mixes.

Bionic Supa Delay


Here we summarized what we thought are some of the best free tape plugins that you can get on the internet, and hopefully, they will serve your purpose. In case you are having any questions in regards to this topic we covered here, please let us know in the comment section below!


Nikoloski is the founder and main content writer and editor of Mixing Tips. With his experience in audio engineering, mixing, and mastering for over 15 years, will provide hands-on experience and expertise in all the matters covered on this website.

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