Like me, you may remember cassette tapes as a medium we were happy to see the back of. But the reality is that according to a lot of audiophiles a certain ‘something’ was lost when everyone went digital.
If you’ve got the funds you could buy an analog 1/4 tape system for your studio. But that still won’t bring back the sounds that people associate with cassette tapes. The problem is that what studio engineers consider as the unique sonic quality of tape is entirely connected to how they hear tape in studios.
Tape in studios sounds great, because it is high quality tape, recorded on high quality tape heads, listened back to through high quality studio monitors. Warmth is usually the key word chucked around in nice analog studios.
The tape sounds that most non-studio engineers associate with the humble cassette tape are very different indeed. Several generations of us remember the sound of cassette tapes when they were an every day item. The tapes were poor quality, the recording heads were cheap and speakers attached to almost all tape players were, quite frankly shit. Words like, wobbly, thin and hissy are much more associated with the home tape user.
The problems with crap tapes weren’t just related to the clarity of the sound. The motors in cheap tape players were incredibly inconsistent. You could listen to an album on one tape player and marvel at the bassy tones of someone like Barry White, then play the same album on another tape player and be forgiven for wondering why someone had taped over your Barry White album with a novelty album by the Chipmunks.
The very worst tape deck motors would speed up and slow down at random. This was particularly telling on high register vocals. Some vocalists like Kate Bush sounded like they were trying their best to sing in tune while being violently shaken by the shoulders.
Home taping didn’t so much kill music as kneecap it.
So why in the name of all that’s good and wholesome did plugin creator KLEVGR take it upon themselves to drag us back to such an aurally painful period of mankind? We needed to find out. And we did. Watch the video below and find out why the world may be a brighter place thanks to the DAW Cassette plugin.
DAW Cassette plugin conclusion
If you’re aiming for a very particular lo-fi sound then DAW Cassette is worth every one of the very few pennies you’ll pay for it. If you’re looking for a way to make a cold sounding bottom line all cozy, then DAW Cassette could well be the answer.
If you want to amuse yourself for a few hours by making everything in your DAW sound like it was recorded in a Stasi interrogation room, then hey, DAW Cassette is also the plugin for you!