Tape Echo Vst Plugin Free

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A VST plugin designed to be a tribute to Charlie Watkins, inventor of the tape echo WatKat is a digital “clone” of a Wem Watkins “Custom” Copicat. It sounds very lo-fi, noisy, irregular.

Although we have all the tools we need to produce extremely clean and precise music without any unwanted artefacts there’s something about the imperfections of analog recording equipment that triggers certain emotions in us.

So if you want to produce lofi music it’s important to pick the right sounds and samples from the start. You could, for example, sample old vinyl records or buy an old drum machine. It would however be easier to just get your hands on a decent LoFi House or Hip Hop sample pack.

This amazing plugin pays tribute to the tape delays that changed the way music sounded forever. From the early EchoSonic pioneered by Ray Butts, Mike Battle’s Echoplex, to Ikutaro Kakehashi’s masterful Echo Chamber series, tape delays gave guitarists and organ players a new, exciting tool to use on stage and in the studio. Use these plugins and people will be asking for your studio secrets in no time. Make sure to grab the whole LANDR-approved free VST plugin collection: 10 Free VST Plugins That Will Give You Better Bass; 10 Free VST Plugin Effects That Will Spice Up Your Mix; 10 Free VST Plugins That Will Give You Better Drum Tracks; The 7 Best Free Synth VST. GSi have released a faithful emulation of the Copicat IC400 tape delay – for free! This plugin is available in VST, VST3, and AU format for PC and Mac (64-bit only). Visually, this emulation plugin is incredibly true to the original, from each individual control, to the beloved image of a dishevelled cat demanding you clean the unit heads. WatKat is a digital clone of a Wem Watkins Custom Copicat tape echo unit. It sounds very lo-fi, noisy, irregular. When you turn it off and leave the tape loaded, the tape bends in proximity of the capstan, and this turns into a periodic pitch fall during echo playback; plus, it gets hot and the background hum gets worse in time you should turn it off every now and then; the tape is never.

Once you have a selection of cool sounds & samples you can further refine your music to sound like it was recorded a few decades ago. Luckily there are plenty of cool lofi plugins available so you don’t have to actually own an old tape machine. Here are some of the best options:

Free LoFi Plugins

I want to start this list with a bunch of free lofi VSTs, because I know that a lot of producers are one a budget, especially when they’re still going to school (or music is their only income lol). That said, you don’t always have to spend money to get some quality software. The freeware in this list can easily compete with some of the paid stuff I’ll mention later on.

BVKER LoFi Rack

The “LoFi Rack” is a free Ableton Rack based on Live’s stock plugins. It comes with 8 macros allowing you to decrease the band width, add vinyl crackles, detune and distort the source sound. Unfortunately it’s only available for Ableton Live users, so if you’re using another DAW you have to pick some of the other options in this list. If you’re using Ableton however, hop on my newsletter and I’ll send you a free download link.

iZotope Vinyl

As the name suggests, iZotope’s “Vinyl” is a plugin emulating the characteristic imperfections of vinyl records. Since the freeware only comes with a handful of parameters it’s easy to use and setting it up won’t take much time. What I love the most is that you can adjust the year of your “recording”. A must have for every lofi producer if you ask me.

Spitfire Audio Labs

Labs is a free software instrument made by the London based sound design company Spitfire Audio. There are several extensions available, including pianos, brass, choirs and synths. Most of these instruments are rather unique and therefore a nice addition to the basic instruments libraries you probably already own. The cool part about Labs is that it comes with only a handful of parameters so you won’t spend 10 years trying to get everything perfect. The sound either fits your production or not.

Tape Echo Vst Plugin Free Trial

Tritik Krush

Tritik’s Krush is an effect plugin with 3 different distortion types. A bitcrusher , a downsampler and an analog drive knob. It further comes with 2 filters and an LFO that can be used to modulate every parameter. It’s available for both Windows and Mac in VST, AU and AAX format so really everyone can get their hands on this.

HY-Lofi2

This one is a free bit quantizer, waveshaper & filter plugin made by Tadashi Suginomori from HY-Plugins. It’s meant to process “audio to give it a low fidelity sound”. Just like Krush it combines different distortion modes with high and low-pass filters. More precisely it has one drive knob and a quantizer, which can run in different modes and qualities.

Legowelt Ableton Racks

Legowelt is a dutch producer known for releasing samples from analog hardware units, but you’ll also find some Ableton Racks on his website, including the Smackos Tape Station, the Smackos Lemuria Vintage Sampler Simulator, the Smackos 808 Simulator and the Smackos Amiga 909.

Sound-Base Audio Retro Boy

The Retro Boy is a Windows only VST synth. It comes with one oscillator, 7 waveforms and controls for ADSR, vibrato and decimation, which makes it perfect for Chiptune or 8-bit music. Since there isn’t much processing going on, the synth is quite CPU-friendly.

Best LoFi Plugins

Although you can definitely do some cool stuff with the freeware I mentioned so far there are some paid options no lofi producer should miss out on. A lot of them do more or less the same thing so in the end it’s up to personal preference (and budget), which ones you should get. Luckily most of these plugins aren’t that expensive compared to some of the stuff by other brands.

XLN Audio RC-20 Retro Color

Probably the most hyped plugin of this list is the R-c20 Retro Color by XLN Audio. It combines 6 different effect units, including noise, wobble, distort, digital, space and magnetic. Combining these options basically allows you to recreate any lofi characteristic you could possibly think of. If I could only pick one plugin of this list I’d probably go for this one, since it comes with the most features.

Baby Audio Super VHS

Considering that Baby Audio is a rather new plugin company, their products already gained quite much attention. Super VHS again combines multiple effects, including a distortion unit, a retro sounding VST reverb and detune knob labeled “drift”. All knobs sound surprisingly good and I really dig the design.

D16 Group Decimort 2

Tape Echo Vst Plugin Free Downloads

Decimort 2 is a bitcrusher on steroids. It offers two optional anti-alias filters, adjustable jitter, two quantization methods and controllable dithering. If you’re looking for a cool bitcrusher, this is definitely the one you should get your hands on. With less than 50 bucks it’s also pretty affordable.

AudioThing Vinyl Strip

The Vinyl Strip is just like RC-20 a multi-effect plugin consisting of 6 different modules: Distortion, Compressor, Bit Crusher, Tilt EQ, Vintage Reverb, and something they call Vinylizer. In contrast to most plugins mentioned in this list, you can change the signal flow simply via drag-n-drop. On their website is stated that you can activate your license without an internet connection, which is pretty cool if you still live in a cave 😉

Devious Machines Texture

Texture is a plugin I just recently found out about watching Virtual Riot’s production workshop he did for Cymatics. It allows you to add noise to any kind of source sound. The cool part is that unlike similar effects you can even load your own noise samples and can adjust the exact frequency range, amount, ADSR and stuff like that.

Tape Echo Vst Plugin Free

Cableguys ShaperBox

When it comes to beat making, there’s one plugin every FL Studio user slaps on their melodies: Gross Beat (you’ll find plenty of memes about this). The problem is that it can’t be used in other DAWs (at least on Mac). This is where the Cableguys come into play. Their ShaperBox combines different effects that can all be modulated. The Time one is especially interesting for lofi producers, because it allows you to play back your melodies in halftime, add cool pitching effects and mix everything in with the dry signal.

Initial Audio Analog Pro

Analog Pro is once again a plugin meant to bring your digital audio tracks to live by simulating analog hardware. It comes with a variety of adjustable controls, including Noise Level, Noise Type, Impulse Type, Impulse Mix, Emphasis, Stereo, Lowcut, Highcut, Wow, Flutter and Amount. While I’m writing this the plugin is on sale for €26.10 (which is 64% off) so feel free to check out if this offer is still available.

Aberrant DSP SketchCassette

SketchCassette is a VST inspired by 4-track cassette recorders. It comes with most features the other plugins in this list have. Since it’s however available for only $20 it’s particularly interesting for producers on a tight budget.

Goodhertz Wow Control

Wow Control focuses on the weird and random modulations of analog playback devices. According to their website Goodhertz has carefully studied the essence of three different tape machines to make sure their plugin is the most comprehensive tape model they ever heard. I haven’t tried it out to be honest, but there are some videos about it on YouTube so feel free to check them out if you’d like to learn more about it.

PSPaudioware VintageWarmer2

The PSP Vintage Warmer is a tool simulating the saturation of analog compression / limiting. It comes with classic compression controls, such as knee or release time, and since it can run in multiband mode you can further control the individual bands a bit. In contrast to most usual compressors it comes with a big drive knob. Since it also comes with a mix knob you can drive the compression / saturation quite hard and mix it in just a bit to make your drums or vocals or whatever a bit fatter.

Wavesfactory Cassette

According to Wavesfactory’s website “Cassette is an audio plugin that imparts the unique character and sonic imprint of an often maligned recording medium”. You can also get your hands on their free Cassette Transport plugin, which “simulates the sound of tape speeding up and slowing down”. Or with other words: it’s a pretty cool tape stop plugin.

Psychic Modulation EchoMelt

Echomelt is “designed for adding character, texture and warmth to your sounds”. It doesn’t look that stunning, but it comes with an echo and chorus unit, which sets it apart from the other options in this list.

Aphex Vintage Exciter

The Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter by Waves is modeled on a tube-powered hardware unit. It allows you to increase high frequencies without raising the level too much.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of lofi plugins available that make your productions sound like they were recorded with a toaster (or something like that). The free offers, especially Vinyl and Labs are no brainers, since .. well, they’re free, so make sure to download them straight away if you haven’t done so yet 😉

Lots of people are obsessed with the ‘warmth’ of analog studio gear. Sure—it sounds fuller, more human, more present.

But these days, modeling technology has become really good at simulating the effects of analog circuitry. Our computers and DAW apps are powerful enough to handle these VST workhorses.

So forget about spending tons of money on analog gear.

Here’s 7 VSTs (for both PC and Mac) that will give you that sweet analog warmth.

  1. SGA1566 Tube Preamp
  2. TDR Slick EQ
  3. Ace Amp
  4. Molot Compressor
  5. Voxengo Tube Amp
  6. MJUC jr. Compressor
  7. Softube Saturation Knob

What’s all the analog fuss about?

Ok, so what does analog circuitry do to your sound? What’s everyone so obsessed about?

What people like about analog sound are the quirks and imperfections.

So when people talk about ‘warm analog sound’ they’re referring to:

  • Subtle distortion and drive
  • Harmonic distortion
  • Tape Saturation
  • Vacuum tubes
  • Preamps

What these processes do to your sound is often hardly noticeable. That’s what the magic’s about—you won’t hear them, but they’ll make a huge difference in how your track sounds and feels.

The cumulative effect of analog processes is what people are gushing about.

1. SGA1566 Tube Preamp

Shattered Glass Audio’s SGA 1566 gives you a single channel vintage tube preamp. The whole circuit is simulated in real time to get you that authentic analog sound.

Use the SGA 1566 as a saturation compressor to boost the warmth of your track. Or add a bit of grit with the tube overdrive.

The newest version is also lighter on your CPU––so no computer freak outs!!

Download the SGA 1566 for free here.

2. TDR Slick EQ

Plugin

“This little guy sounds amazing” –Dave Pensado

The TDR Slick EQ is a sleek easy-to-use three-band EQ that gives you amazing sound—like all Tokyo Dawn Records plugins.

Warm up your sound by choosing a non-linear option under Output Stage. That’ll add subtle harmonic distortion and texture.

Download the TDR SlickEQ for free here.


3. Ace Amp

Ace Amp—another Shattered Glass Audio creation—is based on classic 1950s style tube amps.

Control the input, volume, feedback, output. Choose between three resampling options.

This amp plugin has simple controls and doesn’t eat up your CPU.

Hot Tip: Try it on vocals for a cool aesthetic effect.

Download the Ace for free here.

4. Molot Compressor

Vladg’s Molot is a compressor with character. Even the vintage Soviet look is on point.

Molot will give your sound interesting color. I recommend reading the manual to learn how to tune it properly—it’s worth the read.

Download Molot for free here.

Tape Echo Vst Plugin Free Download

5. Voxengo Tube Amp

Voxengo’s Tube Amp gives you warm overdrive, fuzzy distortion and everything in between.

It imitates tube overdrive in the style of single-tube mic preamps.

Hot Tip: Use the low-pass filter to imitate the texture of lower-quality tubes.

Download Voxengo’s Tube Amp for free here.

6. MJUC jr. Compressor

Klanghelm’s MJUC jr. compressor is simple and elegant.

Use it for smooth compression or a heavier pumping effect. MJUC jr. is based on vintage compressors of the 1960s––it even looks like one.


Flip the ‘Time Constants’ switch to choose between slow, fast and auto. This changes the attack and release time. It affects other parts of the circuitry too, giving you interesting analog-style saturation.

Download the MJUC jr. for free here.

7. Softube Saturation Knob

This Saturation Knob is one the best free analog emulation plugins out there. Even Dave Pensado gives it two thumbs up!

Use it anywhere to add some character and distortion. Drag it on your vocal track to add shimmer.

The great thing about this one is how simple it is: literally one knob and a switch. Change the switch setting to choose between the kind of distortion you’ll get.

Download the Softube Saturation Knob for free here.

Tape Echo Vst Plugin Free Mac

Fake It Till Ya Make It

These effects are the missing ingredient in your digital sound.

The key with analog emulation is to avoid overdoing it. Bring in the effect until you hear it, then dial it back a notch. It’ll still make a huge difference. Your sound will be fuller and warmer.

Use these plugins and people will be asking for your studio secrets in no time.

Make sure to grab the whole LANDR-approved free VST plugin collection: