The Tone of Tape – Now you can capture TASCAM’s magnetic tape magic in you DAW with IK Multimedia’s T-RackS Tape Collection

At some point in our musical lives there’s a strong chance all of us have grappled, in some way, with the question of favoring digital or analog components in our respective signal chains. We could pile up thousands upon thousands of words exploring this particular topic but we already know that readers are among the smartest folks in the musical community and you probably already have a good sense of where you stand on this particular question.
Instead, we’re going to talk about one very cool way these two worlds intersect. While digital audio workstations have largely replaced analog tape in most music production environments (be it your bedroom or a professional studio), there’s broad agreement that analog tech shapes sounds in special ways.
By now, you already know that TASCAM and TEAC played a massive role in putting tape-based analog recording technology into the hands of everyday musicians. Now, through a collaboration with the great folks at IK Multimedia, the magnetic magic of four groundbreaking TASCAM and TEAC units can be imparted upon your DAW-based productions through the TASCAM Tape Collection. The TASCAM Tape Collection is a plug-in suite compiled for IK Multimedia’s T-RackS platform, a powerful software-based mastering suite that adds major pop to many home and DIY studio setups. Thanks to this partnership between TASCAM and IK Multimedia, you can continue to enjoy all of the power and flexibility of digital recording but slather on four different beloved TASCAM and TEAC analog flavors to individual tracks or an entire project.
Our overview starts with two models we believe may be familiar, or at least the most relatable, to our readership, the TASCAM 388 and TASCAM PORTA ONE all-in-one multitrack recorders.
The TASCAM 388 was essentially a compact 1/4-inch reel-to-reel recorder consolidated with an eight-track mixer. This parent to the standard Portastudio form factor was the choice of many independent bands for its all-in-one convenience, accessibility and punchy, warm character that served a wide variety of sounds well. Even though the natural effects of time and use make original 388s a bit trickier to maintain as the years drip by, they’re still highly sought-after today. Of course, when you have access to the 388’s super sonics via the T-RackS plug-in suite, neither scarcity nor maintenance nor tape costs stand in your way.
The TASCAM PORTA ONE is a true four-track, cassette based multitrack recorder, the likes of which many readers probably dabbled with at some point. This writer had a black Porta 02 model that was a ton of fun to work on. I wonder if it’s packed away somewhere in my parents basement? I might have to go looking for it…
OK, brief teenage flashback aside, the PORTA ONE also shares some glory with the 388 as having a very cool sonic signature and having been used by a number of independent bands in their respective home studios. It became a bit of an experimental platform for some (driving the input of four-track cassette recorder is a ton of fun), but when used “properly” it punches far above its weight class in depth and clarity of sound.
One cool thing you can do with these particular plug-ins is pop them right in into your tracks and shape the sound at the source. This writer would definitely add a little bit of that cool preamp drive to some guitar and bass tracks to give them a cool edge and soften up those occasionally firm DAW edges a little bit.
In addition to these two versatile plug-in options, the T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection also taps the user into some excellent reel-to-reel models from the TEAC branch of the family tree
First up is the TEAC A-6100 MKII, a model of the famous stereo mastering recorder known for its robust, durable design and sweet, high-fidelity analog sound. Much like its more compact brethren the 6100 MKII is still consistently regarded as one of the best units of its kind, especially for the mastering duties its stereo format was tailor-made for. Much like most decks of its design and age, maintenance can be a hurdle for some but your T-RackS plug-in will live inside your DAW, so no worries there!
Finally, the TEAC A-3340S gives you another flavor of reel-to-reel revelry. The 3340S is actually a four-track deck (as opposed to the 6100’s two tracks) and was the mark of home studio sophistication back in the 1970s. These are revered among collectors not only because they sound great but they look cool, too. While a plug-in might not have the same aesthetic impact as having an actual 3340S sitting on your workstation, you’ll definitely be able to capture the sweet, smooth articulation of a 3340S in prime condition. 
While you could use either of these on individual tracks to awesome effect, this writer thinks using these plug-ins as sonic “glue” on the mastering bus of your DAW would really accomplish stunning things with your projects. Why settle for perfectly-acceptable-but-slightly-boring raw sound of a DAW when you can add some individuality and interest thanks to a great partnership between an early pioneer and a game-changing innovator for home recording enthusiasts? Adding the IK Multimedia T-RackS TASCAM Tape Collection software suite is one of the best investments you can make in your music.

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About the Author: Hello. Welcome to! My name is Louis, but in name of good fun & entertainment - I call myself The Tone King. This website was born back in 2008, to compliment the videos I started uploading to YouTube on guitar & related gear (guitar, amps, pedals, etc.). It has since grown, thanks to the thousands that tune in, making it what it is. If you subscribe to, you can expect lots of Guitar, Amp, Pedal Reviews & Shoot-Out videos. I also have monthly Live Webcasts, perform Artist Interviews, and try to get all the juicy coverage Backstage and at trade-shows like NAMM. The cherry on top is that there are no shortage of How-To Videos & TTK Killer Deal Alerts getting you the most knowledge & gear into your hands & mind! Thanks for stopping by to check out my website! Rock ON!

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