How to set up a Tape Effect in Cubase

Bringing in some cool effects grabs the listeners attention and adds some kind of new dimensions to your production. In this tutorial we are talking about a tape effect – more in detail a speeding up tape effect.

1. Add Tempo Track

First of all you need to add a tempo track to your session. This is where you can write tempo automations. For this effect we are starting with a very slow tempo and speeding it up to the original tempo the track was recorded in.

2. Adding a group bus

The next step is to add a group bus for all the tracks that should be effected from the tape effect. On this bus we are setting up some more effects to automate later to give the whole effect some more natural feeling.

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3. Double the part where you want to add the tape effect

In the video I have double the whole first bar which should be affected from the tape effect. You don’t necessarily need to double that part, but it helps to keep an overview of what you are actually doing.

4. Resize the clips

This is the reason why we have doubled the first bar. After setting the tempo, cubase shortens the clips to fit the grid again. Grab the time stretching tool, to stretch the copied clips back to it’s original size.

5. Add pitch shifting plugin

Now add a pitch shifting plugin to the group bus you have set up earlier. Automate the pitch for the time the tempo needs to speed up. In this specific example through the whole first bar. Start with the pitch a whole octave down and bring the pitch back up to the original pitch.

6. Add filters

Finally add some filters like low and high cut filters and automate them as well.

This way you can set up a really cool effect that sounds like an old walkman for example that runs out of battery power and needs awhile until the tape reaches the original speed. That whole thing also works the other way around. Instead of speeding up the tempo at the beginning you would slow it down at the end.

The additional filters take care of some natural sounding experience. Without the filters that are changing pitch and the frequency range, this effect would sound unfamiliar. Because analog tape machines that don’t run the proper tempo would also change the pitch and frequency range. So we need to simulate that in a digital environment.

By the way: This whole process can also be a part of your own signature sound. Even audio engineering is an art form. It’s also about pushing boundaries and creating something new. If you need some more ideas about developing unique sounds download our FREE SIGNATURE SOUND CHEAT SHEET now!

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