Magnetic, the latest plug-in from Nomad Factory, is a versatile addition to the growing list of tools that recreate the classic sounds of analog tape warmth and saturation. Useful for sweetening up tracks or as a vintage effect, this plug-in works well on a variety of sources and also functions as a respectable master buss compressor.
Nomad Factory has outfitted the plug-in with a number of features to help dial-in your desired tape characteristics. The Reel Speed control sets the tape speed – lower speeds will decrease the fidelity of the audio and sound more like a cassette or AM radio effect. The Saturation knob adds harmonic distortion, which you can select to emulate tube circuitry, analog tape saturation, or a combination of both.
Handy Low and High EQ knobs are also present, each with three different frequency curves to use: Body, Warm, and Lush for the Lows – Detail, Focus, and Brilliance for the Highs. All of the controls except Reel Speed also have individual in/out switches, so you can easily A/B and hear exactly how they affect the track.
Magnetic has a couple of options when it comes to compression. The Tape Color knob selects the amount of tape compression added to the signal, allowing you to hit the virtual tape as hard as you like. Gain and Ceiling knobs control Magnetic’s mastering section, which includes “multiple stages of limiting and a look-ahead brickwall limiter.”
A Boost button engages and disengages limiting: when it’s not activated the Gain and Ceiling knobs function as input and output gains for the plugin. Also when using the limiter, the VU meter smartly measures the amount of gain reduction taking place.
Working with the plug-in hands on, I was immediately comfortable with the simple control layout, and the many, many factory presets made it easy to find a good starting point. A little saturation and tape compression brought my guitars alive, and I found that I could warm up drum overheads without making the cymbals sound dull by adding back in some highs using the Brilliance setting.
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