I stumbled upon it via this Gearslutz tread: the CHOW Tape Model. It is a GNU General Public Licensed plugin developed by the excellent developer Jatin Chowdhury. He often writes about his research on nonlinearities in audioprocessing on Medium.
His article ‘Complex Nonlinearities Episode 0: Why?’ is very interesting. In this article he writes about the ability of moving beyond Virtual Analog modelling:
While virtual analog modelling has the ability to create interesting nonlinear systems, there are a few drawbacks. For one, the world of virtual analog is typically limited only to things that can be done in the analog world. One of the great things about digital audio is that the analog limits no longer exist, opening up a lot of possibilities for interesting sounds and systems that are often ignored or neglected when focusing on virtual analog modelling.
I fully agree on this! Most of us love the cool analogue artefacts, but what if we move beyond that? This way we can explore sounds which are very nonlinear, funky, lo-fi, you name it, but that will go beyond its analog limits. I love DSP and think we need to move forward, explore new sounds by embracing the good things of the past and build on it. This allows us to create new art.
It is exactly what the CHOW Tape Model plugin is capable of. It creates this superb sounding tape-like sound but it can go beyond that. Creating some of the most lo-fi sounding tape sounds you can imagine.
Don’t get me wrong the CHOW Tape Model plugin can be used in extremely subtle ways too. You can use it on a master mix imo. It can compress, saturate, roll off the high frequencies (I love the softened high transients) just a tiny bit to give you that analogue feel. You can even use it without tape noise, although I love it, even on extremely low settings. Noise works like gel, blending parts together. I notice the same thing when using noise on pictures which hides picture JPG compression artifices in a very nice way.
The CHOW Tape Model can be downloaded at Github: https://github.com/jatinchowdhury18/AnalogTapeModel
UPDATE: The new 2.70 version adds new Neutral Network modelling to this plugin. Read more about this: Tape Emulation with Neural Networks.