The biggest criticism levelled at digital audio is that it doesn't have the same 'colour' or 'vibe' as analogue. Faced with a demand for warmer timbres, clever developer folk decided that there was nothing to prevent vintage sounds from being recreated in the digital world; and today analogue desk and tape simulation plug-ins abound.
The big advantage of the software approach is that you can push and pull things in ways that would have been too much hassle on hardware. So, you can drive your drums hard via tape and your bass less so, while at the same time keeping your vocals clean, tidy and saturation-free.
Over the last 18 months, we've seen some impressive new tape sims become available, with a few even endorsed by the original manufacturers. But assessing such subtle processors can be tough, so we've decided to set several up together to hear how they compare.