Tupe Wow Beta #1

At long last, the plugin we’ve promised (and you’ve been asking for!) — a mashup of Tupe AND Wow Control: Tupe Wow — is here. Well, it’s here in beta form.

Here’s what the “~” page looks like in Tupe Wow B1:1

Head over here if you’d like to skip right to the beta download.

In addition to some of the features you’d expect it to have, we’ve also developed a bunch of new things that don’t currently exist in either Tupe or Wow Control. Having the two plugins combined in one also allows us to provide a greater level of integration in the algorithms: the Tape Mode selection alters the wow & flutter, for example, and HQ Mode is both higher quality and lighter weight than it can be in two separate plugins.

Put together, Tupe Wow is an audio time machine, accurately capturing the feeling of recordings made decades ago but with the control & flexibility offered by a modern Goodhertz plugin. We can’t wait to hear what you make with it!

Here’s some of the new stuff in B1:

FE90 Cassette Tapes

Those of you asking for some “cleaner” tapes in Tupe will unfortunately have to wait for now (sorry!). We wanted to lead off the Tupe Wow release with some tape machines that naturally generate a lot of wow & flutter (for obvious reasons), and these “Type I” Ferrous cassette tapes very much fit that bill.

You’ll see two new “FE” tapes (FE90 Hi and FE90 Lo) in the Tape Mode dropdown, which will also eventually become available in Tupe (non-Wow).

What do they sound like? They’re colorful, muddy, papery, very dynamic, and quite wobbly. More than Tupe’s existing tapes, they respond very differently to gain staging changes, so be sure to experiment with different Calibration Trim / Drive settings.

C90 Toy

The story of how this tape mode came to be is a bit usual compared to how plugin development normally goes at Goodhertz.

My parents had been going through their attic and found an old cassette that I’d made as a kid in the 90’s. They mailed it to me here in Los Angeles, and I popped it in a high-quality tape deck with our fanciest A/D converters. Instantly, I was transported to a different era: not only of recording technology — one with heaps of noises and warbles and microdynamics — but of life itself…

So anyways, what was on the tape? A lot of strange noises, hums, and weird analog artifacts. The actual “content” is mostly my 6-year-old self singing, recordings of my Casio Rapman, and found sounds around the house. But importantly, it also included a dub of a commercial recording (Santana’s Abraxas).

That dub afforded an interesting opportunity to compare this old tape (that had been originally recorded on a toy cassette deck, aged 30 years in an attic, and shipped across the country) to a high-fidelity master of the same material.

This began the forensic journey that led to Tupe Wow’s C90 Toy model. What’s it sound like? It’s honky, it’s crunchy, it’s got dropouts where the tape’s magnetism has faded over time. Unlike the other tape modes in Tupe, for C90 Toy, the “accurate” sound of the machine is achieved at 200% on the Tape slider. It was so heavy-handed that we just couldn’t imagine pushing it any further!

Thanks Mom & Dad!

Tape Speed Adjustment

This control is, admittedly, confusing. But if you get the hang of it, it’s incredibly useful (and, as far as I know, totally unique in a tape plugin).

Many analog tape machines have a control labelled “Varispeed” or sometimes “Pitch Cont.”

The tape speed section on a Tascam 388
The tape speed section on a Tascam 388

The obvious usage of this control is to change the playback speed of the tape (which consequently changes the pitch as well). However! Another use of this control is to record at a different speed than the “native” speed of the machine and also play back at that same altered speed. The result here is more subtle: the pitch is unaltered, but there is a change in the fidelity, the bass response, and the high frequency content. And that’s what this control does in Tupe Wow!

There are also 3 modes to apply the control in different ways:

  • Wow + IPS: adjusts both the wow speed and the tape’s response.
  • Wow Only: adjusts the wow speed without affecting the tape’s response.
  • IPS Only: adjusts the tape’s response without affecting the wow speed.

Tube Ripple

Tube power supply ripple is, in some ways, the tube equivalent of tape wow & flutter: it’s also periodic disruption of the signal. For that reason, we thought it was a perfect match for Tupe Wow, and just like Tape Speed Adjustment, it’s something we’ve never seen in a plugin before.

Most often heard on tube power amps, power supply ripple is generally considered undesirable, mostly because it creates a pretty gnarly inharmonic distortion. However, just the right amount of it fattens up tones in a satisfying way that feels very familiar if you’ve spent much time with a cranked tube amp.

How can I check out Tupe Wow B1?

If you own both Tupe & Wow Control, you can grab the download here and dive right in.

This beta uses a distinct plugin ID and will not be overwritten by future Tupe Wow betas (i.e. you do not need to worry about losing your Tupe Wow B1 settings). That said, it’s a first beta, it will have some bugs, and we generally recommend printing your work with a beta plugin if it’s involved in a critical deliverable.

If you do NOT own both Tupe & Wow Control, you will only be able to trial Tupe Wow once, so choose wisely! (Or just buy Tupe & Wow Control now here).

  1. We chose to use “~” to signify the Advanced Page for Tube Ripple / Tape Wow since “Wow” alone didn’t work (and because “~” sort of looks like the shape of tube ripple and wow & flutter).