7 Tape Saturation Plugins You Need

As the landscape of music production evolves, the pursuit of capturing the warmth and character of vintage analog gear remains a timeless endeavor. Among the myriad tools available to producers and engineers, tape saturation VST plugins stand out as indispensable weapons in the quest for that elusive analog warmth. In this comprehensive article, we will delve deep into the intricacies of the top 7 tape saturation VST plugins, unraveling their unique features, sonic signatures, and the transformative impact they can have on your digital recordings.

If you want to learn more about Audio Effects, and Music Production in general, then become an All-Access Member today.

Waves J37 Tape:

At the forefront of our list is the Waves J37 Tape, a meticulously crafted emulation of the iconic Studer J37 4-track tape machine. This plugin doesn't merely offer tape saturation but presents a holistic approach to recreating the analog experience. Boasting features such as tape speed control, slap and feedback delay, and a comprehensive tape delay section, the Waves J37 Tape ensures not just warmth but also a versatile set of tools for sonic manipulation. Buy it here.

Softube Tape:

Renowned for its simplicity and effectiveness, Softube Tape stands as a testament to the power of intuitive design in the world of tape saturation plugins. Emulating both analog tape machines and classic tape formulations, this plugin provides a palette of options to shape your sound. With controls for saturation, Wow & Flutter, and a low-cut filter, Softube Tape caters to those who seek a straightforward yet powerful solution for adding warmth to their mixes. Buy it here.

UAD Ampex ATR-102:

Universal Audio's reputation for high-quality emulations finds its pinnacle in the UAD Ampex ATR-102. Modeled after the classic Ampex tape machine, this plugin is revered for its ability to infuse rich harmonics, subtle distortion, and an authentic tape hiss into your tracks. The UAD Ampex ATR-102's versatility shines through, making it suitable for a wide spectrum of genres, from the raw energy of rock to the intricate textures of electronic music. Buy it here.

Slate Digital Virtual Tape Machines:

Slate Digital's Virtual Tape Machines plugin emerges as a powerhouse in the tape saturation realm. Emulating two iconic tape machines, the 2" 16 track and the 1/2" 2 track, this plugin offers a wealth of options for shaping your sonic landscape. Adjustable parameters such as tape speed, saturation, and even the tape formula ensure that users can dial in the exact tape sound they desire. Virtual Tape Machines stands as a versatile tool capable of adding warmth, depth, and character to any mix. Buy it here. 

Soundtoys Decapitator:

While primarily recognized as a distortion plugin, Soundtoys Decapitator earns its place on this list for its ability to emulate the warmth and grit associated with tape saturation. Boasting five different saturation models, including the 'A' setting that replicates the sound of classic analog tape, Decapitator offers a versatile solution for adding vintage character to individual tracks or the entire mix. Buy it here. 

IK Multimedia Tape Machine Collection:

IK Multimedia's Tape Machine Collection is a treasure trove that brings together four classic tape machines in one comprehensive bundle. From the smooth tones of the 3M M79 to the aggressive sound of the Studer A80, this collection offers a diverse range of tape saturation flavors. With a user-friendly interface and meticulous attention to detail, IK Multimedia has crafted a must-have toolkit for any producer or engineer seeking authenticity in their recordings. Buy it here.

AudioThing Reels:

AudioThing Reels may be minimalist in design, but its impact on your sound is anything but modest. Modeled after a vintage Japanese reel-to-reel recorder, Reels offers basic yet effective controls for tape saturation, flutter, and noise. This lightweight yet powerful solution is perfect for those who appreciate simplicity without compromising on the ability to add a touch of analog warmth to their tracks. Buy it here.


Embarking on the quest for analog warmth in a digital landscape becomes an immersive journey with the top 7 tape saturation VST plugins outlined in this article. Each plugin offers a distinct sonic signature, from faithful emulations of classic tape machines to innovative tools pushing the boundaries of sonic possibilities. Whether you're crafting rock anthems, pop masterpieces, or pushing the boundaries of electronic music, incorporating one or more of these plugins into your toolkit will undoubtedly transform your sound, infusing it with the timeless charm of vintage analog recordings. Experiment, explore, and let the warmth of tape saturation elevate your productions to new heights, ushering in an era where the past and present coalesce in sonic harmony.

If you want to learn more about Audio Effects, and Music Production in general, then become an All-Access Member today.

The fields marked with * are required.

Related products