Overloud’s new virtual machine is called Dopamine, because they say it’s going to make your tracks sound dope. In fact, the marketing pitch makes it sound like it’s better than cocaine. But so does every marketing pitch ever, so let’s see what this audio exciter plug-in is really about.
Unlike Tapedesk, which is a regular, functional tape machine and analogue desk sim, Dopamine’s goal is to enhance the sound as if it’s being put through a vintage tape noise reduction unit. More specifically, the process of magnetic tape noise reduction involves dynamically “brightening” the signal – following which, the tape gets decoded by taking off the extra brightness and reducing the tape hiss. Since these are rare, a computer simulation is your best option if you are after this particular vibe. This is the procedure replicated by Dopamine.
To accomplish the task of virtual tape excitement, Overloud simulated two “classic processors” – the 180 and 361. We don’t really have a clue which pieces of gear these may refer to, so you are welcome to try and educate us in the comments below. Two cartridge types are simulated as well – the A-Type and the Stressor. The first presumably has something do with Studer’s coveted A-series tape machines. As for the Stressor, it will probably stress your CPU hard, like any good quality “classic gear simulator 2017” does. These effects are meant to balance the original audio’s natural harmonics, rather than synthesize additional ones on top.
Overloud’s new product does seem to offer a new and (literally) exciting spin on simulating vintage gear. If you are in the habit of using plug-ins like virtual consoles and tape machines in your production, you should give the demo a try. If you like what you hear, the full product is sold at a 89 USD introductory price. The full price will be 139 USD. More information is available here.