“Fitted with custom tube electronics built by Esoteric Audio Research”
Originally built in the 1970s
This unit was originally built by Ampex – they were known as some of the best 2-track recorders and the best sounding machines. The specific ATR-102 that I used belongs to Paul Stubblebine – a colleague and great mastering engineer located in San Francisco.
In general, this particular type of tape machine was used for mixing down to stereo mixes. Nowadays, there are people that still exclusively use tape in their recording projects, but they’re also used as an effect – almost like a plug-in. You can loop material through it just to impart the quality of sound that you get from tape. Tape is basically a kind of compression. It deals with transients like drums and percussion and smooths it out in a very musical way. So using [this machine] is a way to get back to this sound that many agree is the most musical way of dealing with compression. It’s much nicer than listening to a Waves L3 ultramaximizer. Continue reading