Tape Orchestra


Daniel Strongin



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Here is a detailed overview and review of the free VST plugin, “Tape Orchestra by Spitfire Audio”:

Overview of Tape Orchestra

Spitfire Audio, the renowned sample library developer known for their cinematic orchestral libraries recorded at the legendary AIR Studios in London, has released a unique and inspiring free VST plugin called Tape Orchestra.

This lo-fi orchestral library aims to capture the nostalgic warmth and character of vintage tape recordings, bringing an experimental edge to traditional symphonic sounds.

By meticulously recording strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion through pre-distressed cassette tapes and tape loops via an old-school Tascam Portastudio, Spitfire Audio has created evocative textures that blend the organic timbres of an orchestra with the charming imperfections of analog tape saturation.

The result is a collection of grainy, washed-out orchestral samples that can add a layer of retro vibe, intimate emotion and haunting beauty to film scores, indie soundtracks, electronic productions and beyond.

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Features and Functionality

Tape Orchestra by Spitfire Audio offers an impressive array of features and capabilities, including:

  • Over 60 orchestral articulations and techniques, all processed through genuine tape for an authentic lo-fi sound
  • Individual sections for strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion, allowing for detailed arrangement and layering
  • Ensemble patches that combine different orchestral sections for quick sketching and inspiration
  • Multiple tape signals with varying amounts of saturation, wow and flutter for different vintage flavors
  • Ólafur Arnalds Evolutions-style playable textures that evolve and morph over time
  • Unique Warped patches that drastically mangle the source material for unconventional, synthesized tones
  • Vintage FX rack with Tilt EQ, Tape Saturation, Chorus, Flanger, Delay and Reverb for further sound design
  • Intuitive GUI with easy navigation and visual feedback, making it simple to find and sculpt the right sounds

The library is lightweight and easy to use, with a focus on playability and experimentation. The lo-fi orchestral samples themselves are full of character, but still maintain their acoustic origins, allowing them to blend well with other orchestral libraries for a hybrid sound. The Warped patches offer a fun way to completely transform the source material into eerie pads, grainy leads and lo-fi keys.

Compatibility with DAW and Operating System

Plugin FormatOperating SystemBit Depth
VST2, VST3, AU, AAXMac OS 10.10+64-bit
VST2, VST3, AAXWindows 7, 8, 1064-bit

Tape Orchestra runs in Spitfire Audio’s own plugin, which is compatible with any 64-bit DAW on both Mac and PC. It does not require the full version of Kontakt.

System Requirements

To run Tape Orchestra effectively, your system should meet these minimum requirements:

  • Mac OS 10.10 or later, Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Windows 7, 8 or 10 (latest Service Pack), Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2
  • 2GB RAM
  • 2GB free hard drive space

For optimal performance, an Intel i5 or higher with at least 4GB of RAM is recommended.

Tips for Using Tape Orchestra

  • Layer different orchestral sections to create rich, detailed textures. For example, combine a sustain from the Strings – Washed patch with brass stabs from the Brass – Saturated patch.
  • Experiment with the Warped patches to create unique, hybrid sounds. Try using them as unconventional leads, basses or atmospheric pads in electronic music productions.
  • Utilize the Vintage FX rack to further shape the tone and add space to the samples. A touch of Tilt EQ and Tape Saturation can help sit them in a mix, while the Chorus and Flanger can add interesting modulation.
  • Take advantage of the Ólafur Arnalds Evolutions-style patches to create evolving soundscapes. These dynamic samples can add an emotional arc to a piece with minimal effort.
  • Don’t be afraid to process the lo-fi samples even further with your own plugins. Additional distortion, filtering, compression or granular effects can yield some very unique and expressive sounds.

SoundShockAudio Review Of Tape Orchestra

We were immediately impressed by the evocative, lo-fi tones Spitfire Audio has captured in Tape Orchestra. The vintage tape processing adds so much vibe and character to the acoustic sources, resulting in sounds that feel both familiar and fresh.

We found the library to be very intuitive and easy to use, with a good range of orchestral articulations and the ability to create our own unique textures.

The Warped patches were a standout feature for us, allowing us to quickly create unconventional, synthesized variations of the orchestral material that worked great in electronic and hybrid compositions.

The Vintage FX rack was also a nice bonus, letting us further sculpt the tone without having to reach for external plugins. All in all, Tape Orchestra is a charming and surprisingly versatile library that can add a cool indie film vibe or lo-fi edge to a variety of productions.

Unique lo-fi orchestral tones with vintage tape characterLimited mic positions compared to other Spitfire libraries
Good range of articulations across all sectionsSome patches have noticeable tape artifacts that may not fit every use case
Inspiring Warped patches for sound designRequires Spitfire’s plugin, not Kontakt
Useful Vintage FX rack for additional tone shapingNo legato articulations
Easy to use interface with visual feedbackOccasional background noise/hiss from tape processing

User Reviews and Testimonials

“Tape Orchestra is such a vibe. The lo-fi samples are so full of character and really inspire me to write emotional cues. The Warped patches are also super fun to experiment with!” – Film Composer

“I love the indie charm of this library. It fits perfectly with the quirky, retro-style games I’ve been working on lately. The built-in effects are really handy for dialing in the right sound too.” – Game Audio Designer

“As an electronic producer, I’m always looking for unique textures to add to my tracks. Tape Orchestra delivers that with its nostalgic tape-processed orchestral sounds. The Ólafur Arnalds Evolutions-style patches are especially great for adding some evolving emotion to a song.” – Electronic Musician

Download Tape Orchestra Now

If you’re looking to add some lo-fi orchestral magic to your scores and productions, Tape Orchestra is a must-have. With its inspiring sounds, intuitive interface and surprising versatility, this free VST plugin is an essential tool for composers and producers across many genres.

The nostalgic tape processing brings a whole new dimension to traditional symphonic sampling, resulting in evocative textures that can add real emotion and vibe to your music.

From delicate, grainy string pads to eerie Warped brass leads, Tape Orchestra covers a lot of sonic ground while still being easy to use. The fact that it’s free makes it a no-brainer to add to your plugin collection.

So what are you waiting for? Download Tape Orchestra by Spitfire Audio now and start exploring the world of lo-fi orchestral sounds! Your scores and tracks will thank you.

Free Downloads You Can’t-Miss

We also encourage you to explore other free music production tools like Kuma 508, an advanced FM synth with 5 oscillators, noise generator, and semi-modular filters.

Or check out Serenity, a lush virtual instrument layering analog pads with field recordings for relaxing soundscapes.

Be sure to browse our full collection of free orchestral VSTs on our category page for even more inspiring options.

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