When we set out to bring the sound of vintage analog gear into the digital world, we wanted to do it in a uniquely iZotope way. This meant embracing the most desirable sonic aspects of vintage analog processing, while avoiding any unwanted sonic artifacts, and taking advantage of the level of control and finesse possible in the realm of software.
Ask any engineer who actually grew up recording to tape—it’s not all sunshine and rainbows! Proper gain staging is crucial in keeping (inherent) noise floor low, and other problems like wow and flutter and speed-drift issues were often wholly unavoidable. These were all issues that were solved by moving into the world of digital recording and something that we (often unknowingly) enjoy in modern recording situations. As such, when developing our algorithm for the Vintage Tape plug-in, we decided not to introduce noise or wow and flutter. All exposed controls are continuous (with the exception of tape Speed), enabling you dial in exactly the right coloration to suit your source material, bringing the capabilities of the Vintage Tape plug-in well beyond what you could accomplish with an actual hardware tape machine.
Pultec EQs are renowned for their smooth sound and ability to provide pleasant frequency coloration to complex audio signals. As such, they are favored by many engineers for mix and instrument bus processing. The interplay between Boost and Cut is part of what makes Pultec style EQs so special—the ability to add power and punch to the low end without boominess by utilizing the Boost and Cut at the same frequency at the same time is probably the most famous Pultec trick (and also recommended against in the original user manual!). With the Vintage EQ Plug-in, we wanted to actually showing the complex EQ curve being created by the different Cut and Boost amounts. As you adjust settings, the display at the top shows you the curve being applied to your audio, overlayed on top of a spectrum analyzer, enabling you to make informed decisions about your EQ choices.
The Vintage Compressor plug-in is a feedback compressor, a design common for older analog compressors, but very uncommon for digital compressors. In a feedback compressor, the gain reduction circuit responds to the simultaneous output of the compressor rather than the input—feedback compression is natural for analog circuits, but difficult to implement digitally. Our algorithm uses some sophisticated techniques to solve this, avoiding a fictitious delay in the feedback loop, for an extremely accurate analog emulation. The Vintage Compressor algorithm also includes a versatile detection filter in the feedback loop, which allows you to change the components of the signal that trigger the compressor. Some vintage compressors use a highpass filter or high shelf boost to reduce pumping, while others have a wide boost in the high frequencies to let high frequency content drive the compressor. The Vintage Compressor includes all of these, providing a wide range of compression flavors and styles.