London Acoustics has a rep for really bringing the goods using Acustica Audio‘s patented Nebula dynamic convolution tech as its backbone. Its latest endeavour is Taipei and the ambition calls for the truest, most dynamic virtual tape machine there is. To that, the team studied and ‘sampled’ each section of two different tape machines – a 16-track, 2-inch and a stereo 1/4-inch. The result is a comprehensive suite that doesn’t skimp on anything reel-to-reel.
London Acoustics Taipei virtual tape machine
According to London Acoustics, Taipei has all the tape sound and none of the digital blah. This owes to a combination of non-linear dynamics, variable saturation, and light distortion – all dependant on the source’s frequencies and dynamics. The Taipei Studio Tape Recorder Suite consists of two plug-ins: TAIPEI (the full version) and TAIPEI LITE (cut-down version with half the CPU hit). You can choose from 30, 15, and 7½ IPS speeds as well as explore two kinds of tape saturation and distortion (derived from different tape formulations).
There are Low and High response fine-tuning controls to add the right amount of tape character to the low and high frequency ranges, respectively. Also available are a Bias calibration control, additional saturation character and bass quality calibration controls, and highly realistic virtual VU meters (come on, that’s half the sound!). That’s quite the arsenal, and what’s especially interesting to me is that I can throw the 16-track emulation on individual tracks and place the stereo tape machine on the master bus for a comprehensive tape experience.
London Acoustics Taipei – Price and availability
Taipei is sold for EUR 115, but the introductory discount slashes it down to EUR 58 (50% off) until September 25, 2021. A fully functional 4-week trial version is provided as well. I advise you to try it out because some early users reported crashes. The suite is available in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX 64-bit formats for Windows and macOS computers. It works inside the free N4 Player plug-in from Acustica Audio. Installation and authorizing are handled via their Aquarius plug-in manager application.