Fantastic Voyage: a hot-rodded virtual 4-track Portastudio for Mac
Talk about a blast from the past! So many analog synth and tape machine emulations are out there, but few have focused on the venerable 4-track Portastudio. Many a home demos were laid down on these units, and synth connoiseurs like Alessandro Cortini still employ one for production and live performance.
Nostalgic of his own experience with the 4-track tape recorder, developer Giorgio Sancristoforo created a virtual simulation and implemented a bunch of effects, ending up with a very interesting result.
A 4-track for a more civilized age
Fantastic Voyage works standalone and only under macOS. It is an effects box and 4-track stereo looper. It doesn’t generate sounds on its own. You kind of have to sample into it. The signal pith isn’t fixed, rather there is a routing matrix that lets you feed recorded audio anywhere you want it to… or don’t.
The included effects are Cosmic Trip, Glitch, Filter, Opium Echo, Reverb, a randomizer, and dual LFOs for modulation. You can also use the integrated dual-band EQ to make frequency corrections. The built-in effects are useful for ambient and experimental textures
Fantastic Voyage is certainly an unique bit of software. It’s modeled after old Tascam tape Portastudios but is updated with effects and functionality to developer Giorgio Sancristoforo’s tastes. The software is probably a better deal than scavenging an old Portastudio off of eBay, though nothing beats a Porta for lo-fi aesthetics.
Price and availability
Fantastic Voyage is a standalone application for macOS. It’s priced EUR 15, so quite affordable. Have fun!