LoFi Tape Plugin
Reel to Reel
Reels is a tape emulation plugin with built-in echo section and tape start and tape stop effect.
Based on an old Japanese portable tape recorder with a very distinct Lo-Fi analog sound, Reels emulates all the imperfections of consumer reel-to-reel recorders.
We have modeled three different 1/4” tape frequency responses and saturations, along with all the analog imperfections of tape recording / playback.
Reels will add a very rough retro analog sound to your mixes. If you are looking for a Hi-Fi mastering tape emulation, this is not the plugin for you!
Portable Tape Recorder
Reels is based on a vintage Japanese reel to reel, ironically marked as High Fidelity, found in a distressed state at a local flea market. Most of these consumer tape recorders, also due to their age, produce a very rough Lo-Fi analog sound.
During recording or playback, the motor noise somehow bleeds in, along with the usual tape hiss, limiting the actual bandwidth available on the tape.
Reels recreates all the imperfection of consumer reel-to-reel vintage recorders, including:
- Harshness, harmonic distortion with loss of clarity (mid-range)
- WOW/Flutter, pitch instabilities due to recording and playback issues
- Drops, random volume loss due to tape or rec/play head imperfections
- Crosstalk, the leak between left and right channel in a stereo signal
- Hiss, high-frequency noise caused by the magnetic particles in the tape
- Motor, mid-frequency noise caused by the reels motor
Tape Start and Stop
When you press stop on a reel-to-reel player, the tape doesn’t stop immediately.
Instead, it gradually slows down creating a pitch down and fade out effect.
The same thing happens in reverse, if you hit play, the tape gradually speeds up creating a pitch up and fade in effect.
You can replicate this effect with Reels, and you can also change the speed of the start/stop effect.
We’ve modeled three different tape types, from ruined to NOS (new old stock) state.
The tape types are named after the country of origin: JP (Japan), IT (Italy), FR (France).
|JP||Used tape but with an overall better frequency response|
|IT||New old stock but with a limited frequency response|
|FR||Overused and badly stored, very bad frequency response|
Each tape will affect the sound in different ways, especially at higher feedback settings when using the Echo section.
WOW/Flutter, Ducking, and other parameters will also change according to the selected tape, creating different amount of pitch and volume changes.
“Creative noiseniks and retro-minded producers will get much more than their money’s worth from Reels’ evocatively crusty sonics and evil echoes. – 10/10”
Computer Music Magazine. The world’s best selling magazine dedicated to making great music with your Mac or PC.
“Reels creates a VERY convincing simulation of old tapes/machines – perfect for Lo-Fi productions.”
StrongMocha. Film Score, Sound, Picture, and Motion Blog
“Beautiful, intuitive, lush, unique. AudioThing’s Reels offers plenty of analog flavor while sacrificing very little outside of your music’s high fidelity. – 93%”
Bedroom Producers Blog. An online magazine for music producers.
Try Reels for free with some limitations: silence for 3 seconds every 45 seconds, saving disabled.
If you like it, you can purchase a license and then authorize the demo version.
Requires macOS 10.9 or higher
AU, VST2, VST3, AAX (64bit only)
Requires Windows 7 or higher
VST2, VST3, AAX (64bit only)
- Vintage Tape Emulation
- Tape Start and Tape Stop Effect
- 3 Tape types
- Echo Section
- Speaker and Mic Emulation
- Hiss and Motor noise with Envelope
- 50 Presets
- Resizable Window
- Preset system with randomizer
Windows 7, 8, 10
2GHz CPU, 4 GB RAM
VST2, VST3, or AAX (64-bit)
OS X 10.9 – macOS 12
2GHz CPU, 4 GB RAM
VST2, VST3, AU, or AAX (64-bit)
Universal 2 Binary
To activate your plugin you can choose between Online and Offline authorization.
Create an account, log in through the plugin to activate, or download your license file for offline activation.
1 license up to 3 computers
We don’t like dongles
No connection required to activate
- Added: Speaker and Mic emulations
- Added: Independent speed for Rec and Stop
- Added: Routing option (alternative feedback path)
- Added: Envelope Attack and Release controls
- Added: Echo Level pre or post feedback option
- Added: macOS 12 Monterey support (Universal 2 Binary)
- Added: Light and Dark UI mode
- Added: Option to enable Accelerated GUI
- Added: Internal support for left-hand mouse users
- Improved: New Retina/HiDPI GUI
- Improved: Feedback loop self-oscillation
- Improved: Joined Parameter lock and Random lock
- Improved: Motor noise rendering and quality
- Improved: Labels with values can now be clicked
- Fixed: Parameter locks not recalling properly when loading saved projects
- Fixed: Hiss and Motor noises not working at higher sample rates
- Fixed: Wet Only muting sound when the Echo section is off
- Fixed: Echo Sync not working correctly when loading a saved project
- Added: Tape Start/Stop option for Dry signal
- Improved: Tape Start/Stop interpolation optimisation
- Fixed: Tape Start/Stop bug on mono audio tracks
- Fixed: Minor graphic issue when rec-stop speed is too low
- Fixed: VST3 UI issue on Windows with scaling over 100%
- Added: Tape Start Effect
- Added: macOS 10.15 Catalina support
- Added: Parameter Lock
- Added: Edit Value option for Knobs
- Added: Notification System
- Improved: Tape Stop Algorithm, now up to 10sec
- Improved: CPU and memory usage
- Fixed: Echo section pitch issue when starting playback
- Fixed: Hiss and Motor Noise bug when Echo is active
- Added: Option to remove the Doppler effect when enabling the Echo section
- Added: Parameter Locks
- Fixed: Channel Configuration issues on some Hosts
- Fixed: Minor graphic issues