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Wish Stereo tape saturation version of drive block, or stand alone, for end of chain placement

austinbuddy

Fractal Fanatic
Vendor
Am a big fan of the Drive block Tape Saturation effect on guitar tone.

But it's in mono and not really useful if using stereo cabs and stereo effects because if placed after it sums to mono, so you have to end up placing it after the amp before the Cab block.

Normally, Tape Saturation is usually last effect in a recording signal chain. Many DAW plug-ins emulate this.

Could we take the existing mono drive block and make a true stereo version of it, so when placed last or after stereo panned cabs it works just as current one does but in stereo, and does not sum back to mono? Should it be it's own independent effect/block if so, or a Drive block new option?
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Am a big fan of the Drive block Tape Saturation effect on guitar tone.

But it's in mono and not really useful if using stereo cabs and stereo effects because if placed after it sums to mono, so you have to end up placing it after the amp before the Cab block.

Normally, Tape Saturation is usually last effect in a recording signal chain. Many DAW plug-ins emulate this.

Could we take the existing mono drive block and make a true stereo version of it, so when placed last or after stereo panned cabs it works just as current one does but in stereo, and does not sum back to mono? Should it be it's own independent effect/block if so, or a Drive block new option?
Isn't that what Saturation in the Cab block Preamp is for?

Edit:

After checking the Blocks Guide, I guess it's not. ;)
 
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Smilzo

Power User
+1. More drive block would be awesome... (at least 6... better 8... or make 4 stereo with selectable L/R type...)
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
Would be cool to have something built in of course, but a strymon Deco is a pretty cool little saturation box with stereo input you can throw on the outputs. Not only some nice saturation/eq/comp at the turn of a dial, but also does some fun double tracking etc stuff with the virtual second reel.

I sometimes think I could do without mine and emulate in the Axe or in software, but the unit just does what it’s designed to do so brilliantly and being a hardware box it’s so immediate.

Just need to remember to switch it to studio mode to handle the line level inputs and a jumper to allow stereo input.

Other than that it’s this sweet little chrome box that makes everything sound a bit “better”
 

sprint

Fractal Fanatic
Been trying this out this morning via Axe2 which is spdif'd after Ax3 - two Ax2 drive blocks hard panned L/R with L/R Input selected respectively at end of Axe3>2 chain. Looove what is does with lowish gain Ax3 pedals and edge tones. Tried the same settings within Ax3 only but the max drive on Ax3 tape distortion seems much less than on Ax2 or vids I watched of the Strymon Deco, so due to this I'm much preferring the Ax2 tape distortion with higher drive possibility.
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
Been trying this out this morning via Axe2 which is spdif'd after Ax3 - two Ax2 drive blocks hard panned L/R with L/R Input selected respectively at end of Axe3>2 chain. Looove what is does with lowish gain Ax3 pedals and edge tones. Tried the same settings within Ax3 only but the max drive on Ax3 tape distortion seems much less than on Ax2 or vids I watched of the Strymon Deco, so due to this I'm much preferring the Ax2 tape distortion with higher drive possibility.

I think what is tricky about “tape” saturation is it’s not just saturation adding 3rd order harmonics and such, but also a bit of compression, various changes to the frequency response etc, so it makes for a bit of a challenge trying to figure out which blocks and which order might need to be utilized to get a certain effect, and of course it’s all non-linear with the amount of drive changing the frequency response etc.

I’m sure it’s 100% possible to emulate but just a question of how easy and more so, what subjectively sounds “best”.

There are countless tape sim plugins these days and they all sound a bit different. If one sounds more real or not I can’t really say as I’ve got little experience with many reel to reel machines.

I’m not sure if the Deco is any more real than anything else, but it seems to sound “good”, so however they dialed in the various algorithms it just works.

It’s like set to 9 o’clock, hit the switch, sounds better than with it off, not exactly sure why, but the a/b is pretty apparent.

I’ve tried a few of the IK tape plugins and while maybe accurate, some just didn’t do much. Probably how good tape was supposed to work, people wanted transparent most likely. These days though it’s like we’ve got perfect transparent recording but we are looking for character and imperfections.

Used to get noticeable wow and flutter and you’d call a tech to fix and minimize it. Now we spend money for a knob that can accentuate that effect LOL
 

jefferski

Fractal Fanatic
Maybe tape saturation could be added to an existing effect often placed later in chain? I'm thinking a "tape sat" knob in the Enhancer block.
If this was implemented I'd vote for the Volume block, since I never use the Enhancer and always have Vol near the end.

I wonder if it could be added to the Output blocks, since you've gotta have those ;-)
 

pitta

Inspired
if all your fx after the amp are linear, you should get good results a mono tape drive block before the cab. non-linear fx would be drives (as in cab preamp, rotary) or compressors
 

unix-guy

Legend!
if all your fx after the amp are linear, you should get good results a mono tape drive block before the cab. non-linear fx would be drives (as in cab preamp, rotary) or compressors
But drive, which is what the request is for, is not LTI (as you noted) so placing it before vs after the Cab will affect things...
 

pitta

Inspired
But drive, which is what the request is for, is not LTI (as you noted) so placing it before vs after the Cab will affect things...

if the drive is the last non-linear effect, this should work. Problem would be drive in cab block or rotary, or compressor.
 

Admin M@

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
I use two drive blocks in parallel for post distortion sometimes. Set one to Input Left, Balance Left and the other to Input Right, Balance Right. I tend to do this more for extreme effects like bitcrushing or "evil" (post-rat).

The Drive block is awesome but I find that I actually prefer the Cab preamp for the more musical post-distortion stuff. I use the TUBE or VINTAGE preamp types rather than TAPE. I tend to keep drive fairly high and saturation fairly low.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
if the drive is the last non-linear effect, this should work. Problem would be drive in cab block or rotary, or compressor.
I have not tried, but based on everything Cliff had said in the past, I don't think it will be the same.

My understanding is the any effect pre or post Cab will sound the same if that effect is LTI.

The Drive is not LTI, so I don't see how what you're saying can be correct.

The IR is basically an EQ... And we already know an EQ before or after a Drive definitely affects the behavior of the Drive. I don't see a difference here.

Of course, anyone can try it and see if it works for them :)
 
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