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Customer Reviews 398 Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars

by S. Morosan (5/24/2016):

Love the sound of this plugin. I love to add just a fine touch of Ampex to glue my mix.… Read more

370 Reviews
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Ampex® ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder Plug-In.
It's Not a Record Until it's Mastered on an Ampex® Tape Machine.

For more than three decades, the two-channel Ampex ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder has turned music recordings into records. With its cohesive sound, punch, and ability to provide subtle-to-deep tape saturation and color, the ATR-102 is a fixture in major recording and mastering studios —

and is considered by many engineers to be the best-sounding tape machine for final mixdown. The perfect complement to the workhorse Studer A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder, the ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder plug-in for UAD-2 can provide the final “analog polish” on your music, turning songs into albums.

Impeccably modeled in the renowned UAD engineering tradition

and incorporating presets from noted ATR-102 users Chuck Ainlay, Richard Dodd, Buddy Miller, Mike Poole, and more — the ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder plug-in emulation for UAD-2 faithfully replicates the unique dynamics, frequency response, and saturation characteristics of the original hardware. Scrutinized and fully authenticated by the Ampex Corporation, the sound of the ATR-102 plug-in for UAD-2 is virtually indistinguishable from its analog cousin.


Introduced in 1976, the Ampex ATR-102 2-Track Tape Recorder was a near-instant hit, thanks to its revolutionary servo-controlled reel motors and capstan, which provided smooth, continuous tape tension and handling. The large capstan, and absence of pinch rollers, provided nearly non-existent speed drift and ultra-low flutter. The clever ATR-102 design allowed users to change out heads and guides in mere minutes, with a 1" head being a very popular "hot-rod" modification in more recent years — especially when running at 15 IPS (inches per second). The ATR's role in modern recording history is so prevalent, that it would be easier to list classic albums that weren't mixed down on this machine, rather than to try to list all those that were.

Plug-In Parameters

Like the ATR-102 hardware, the plug-in allows you to choose between various Signal Paths (Input, Sync, Repro), different Tape Speeds / Emphasis EQs (NAB, CCIR, AES) and Tape Formula combinations, even including home/consumer tape. The Input (Record) Gain knob and the Cal button are the primary controls for regulating levels, and even saturating the tape, and can be used to deliver a heavily colored sound if desired. Other ATR-102 features include: 1/4," 1/2," or 1" Head Select, Biasing/Calibration controls (auto and manual), crosstalk, adjustable wow and flutter, and adjustable tape delay, which can be used for Automatic Double Tracking effects on vocals, guitars, and more.

In Use

The primary use for Ampex ATR-102, and the recommended method for “demoing” this plug-in, is as the last stereo insert on your master fader (or possibly the second-to-last insert before a brick-wall processor such as the UAD Precision Limiter). Set up the plug-in by first adjusting Tape Speed, Tape Formula, Cal Level, and Emphasis EQ, or simply select a preset. Note that as you lower the tape speed (i.e. 15 IPS, 7.5 IPS), the tape “sound” becomes more audible. Once this basic setup is made, adjust the L/R Record (input gain) levels for more or less tape/circuit coloration and saturation.

Other common uses for the Ampex ATR-102 are as individual mono or stereo insert effects, or as an auxiliary group effect where the user wishes to apply it only to specified sources or groups (e.g., drums, guitars, etc). Check out the ATR-102 Tips and Tricks blog article below to learn more.

*The ”Universal Audio” name, UA ”diamond” logo, ”Apollo”, ”UAD-2” and ”UAD Powered Plug-Ins” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Universal Audio Inc.



1 of 4
  • Eric Persing


    "I've been searching for years to get the analog tape vibe…but nothing I've used compares to this! [The UAD ATR-102] is going to become one of my major tools now in everything I do."

    Chuck Ainlay

    (Miranda Lambert, Peter Frampton, George Strait)

    "I own an Ampex ATR 100 1" [but when working] on projects where tape cost is not in the budget, I won't hesitate to use the UAD ATR-102 plug-in to emulate the warmth I get from the hardware."

    Jacquire King

    (Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, Cold War Kids)

    "I set the UAD ATR-102 exactly the way my [ATR-102] machine is set up, dialed in the gains, switched back and forth….the sound is nearly identical."

    Billy Bush


    “Pretty much all of the songs on the [Garbage] record were mixed with the Studer A800 Plug-In on all the drum channels...We used the Ampex ATR-102 Plug-In on the final mix.”

    Paul Epworth

    (Adele, Cee Lo Green, Foster the People)

    “The Studer A800 and Ampex ATR-102 tape plug-ins let you really bring out the warmth and positive tonalities in a track.”

  • Garrett Haines

    (Tape Op Magazine)

    "… I have no reservations suggesting readers demo this plug-in, even if you have to purchase a UAD-2 system to do so! You will not be disappointed."

    Ivan Barias

    (Musiq Soulchild, Faith Evans)

    “The UAD Ampex ATR-102 is my new secret weapon in my master buss chain, [giving] me the secret ingredient for that extra touch of flavor.”

    Ryan West

    (Eminem, Kanye West, Kid Cudi)

    “I've always used limiters and compressors on the mix bus to ‘glue’ the sound together, but I haven't ever been able to achieve the kind of musical cohesiveness like I can with the [UAD] ATR-102.”

    Adam Hawkins

    (50 Cent, Maroon 5)

    “On the mix bus, the [UAD] ATR-102 brings mixes to life with a 3-D sound that no other plug-in has ever been able to achieve.”

    Future Music UK

    "Adds warmth, colour and a classic sound to your mastered mixes. Another great UAD-2 plug. 4.5 stars out of 5."

  • Buddy Miller

    (Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, ABC's "Nashville")

    “I regretted selling my ATR-102, but now I don't feel so bad. The UAD ATR-102 plug-in does a great job of capturing all that ATR magic.”

    Mike Poole

    (Robert Plant, Martina McBride, Buddy Miller)

    “The UAD Ampex-102 Tape emulation really captures the hardware unit’s punchy saturation and a chunky warmth."

    Richard Dodd

    (Tom Petty, George Harrison, Dixie Chicks)

    “The most useful aspect of the UAD ATR-102 plug-in is being able to treat the 'tape path' in ways that the original couldn't be considered because of tape noise. I can now achieve and recall effects [previously impossible].”

    Paul White

    Sound on Sound

    "...The UA team have shown their talent for meticulous modeling. This plug-in comes so close to the sound of a real high-end tape machine that any remaining differences are not going to affect your record sales!"

    Mark Plati

    (David Bowie, The Cure)

    “The ATR-102 was the premier mastering deck of its day. Once a mix hit it, it sounded and felt complete. I haven't been disappointed with the UAD version.”

  • Stephen Smith

    (Serious Clark, Showteens, Spirit and the Bride)

    "I find few things I can't make sound MUCH better with the Ampex ATR-102 plug-in. It really makes individual elements of the mix take on a more distinct presence."

User Ratings

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Average Rating (398 Reviews)
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    Great Sound of Ampex
    by S. Morosan(Tuesday 24 May, 2016)

    Love the sound of this plugin. I love to add just a fine touch of Ampex to glue my mix. Great job. It's a little expensive but it worth it. Read More

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    • 5 Star
    Magie... | just magic
    by M. Luks(Saturday 14 May, 2016)

    Macht den Sound einfach "weicher". Ich hätte nie gedacht, dass in der digitalen Domäne soviel analoger Sound möglich ist. | Makes the sound just "softer". I never thought, that as much analog sound is possible in the digital domain . Read More

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    Ok this is serious!
    by R. Burian(Thursday 28 April, 2016)

    I am writing music 20 years. I am into electronic music from the beginning. I am from small country - Slovakia! I have write local hits, some of them have over 40.000.000 views on YT! I went trought hardware / software stuff during many years in studio! But all of these facts are not… Read More

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    by J. Mcaulay(Wednesday 27 April, 2016)

    It's the best plugin on planet earth!!!!! Read More

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    Not cheap but great on master bus
    by S. Swanson(Monday 25 April, 2016)

    I don't use it every time on master but try it every mix Often glues and adds some high end sparkle Read More


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    One of the most in-demand producers in music, Diplo has crafted hits for M.I.A., Snoop Lion, and Beyoncé. Read More

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    Producer, engineer, and musician Jay Joyce has developed a thriving career in both the rock and country recording scenes. Read More

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Features & Specs
Ampex® ATR-102 Mastering
Tape Recorder Plug-In.

Key Features
  • Ampex®-authenticated plug-in emulation of the ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder — the most popular professional 2-track machine ever made
  • Provides rich, cohesive tape sound, without the hassles of calibration, maintenance, tape degradation, etc.
  • Models entire ATR-102 electronic path, including transformers, amplifiers, Repro, Sync, and Input paths
  • Features multiple tape formulas, head configurations, and calibration levels
  • Adjustable Wow, Flutter, Hiss, Hum, Crosstalk, and (L/R) Tape Delay
  • Requires a UAD-2 DSP Accelerator Card or Apollo Interface available from authorized dealers worldwide
  • Independent L/R Input Gain (Record) and Output (Reproduce) Level
  • IPS Speed/Emphasis Curve chooses between 3.75 NAB, 7.5 NAB, 7.5 CCIR, 15 NAB, 15 CCIR, 30 AES
  • Independent L/R record Bias, Record EQ, and Playback EQs, with Auto and Manual Cal capabilities

See the UAD Instance Chart here

  • Input (Record) dual mono controls provide ∞ (off) to 9.48 dB gain
  • Output (Reproduce) dual mono controls provide ∞ (off) to 9.3 dB gain
  • Signal Path Selection
    • Thru provides plug-in bypass with metering
    • Input provides machine electronics-only path without tape
    • Sync provides path of audio being recorded to tape via record head and playing back via record head, plus machine electronics
    • Repro provides path of audio being recorded to tape via record head and playing back via repro head, plus machine electronics
  • IPS Tape Speed provides selection between 3.75, 7.5, 15, and 30 IPS (inches per second) operation
  • Head Width
    • ¼" Ampex
    • ½" Ampex
    • 1" Custom
  • Tape Type provides selection of various tape formulas with availability based on Head/Speed selection
    • ¼" at 7.5 or 3.75 IPS: 250, 456, 35-90, 111
    • ½" or ¼" at 15 or 30 IPS: 250, 456, 900, GP9
    • 1" at 15 or 30 IPS: 250, 456, 46, GP9
  • Calibration Level provides +3, +6, +7.5, +9 dB operating levels
  • Emphasis Equalizer selects between NAB and CCIR curves at 7.5 and 15 IPS (AES at 30 IPS, NAB at 3.75 IPS)
  • Bias dual mono controls provide a continuous recording head oscillator voltage from 0 to 19.5 volts
  • HF EQ dual mono controls provide a continuous "boost filter" gain when setting bias
  • Shelf EQ dual mono controls provide additional make-up for high frequency loss when setting bias
  • Repro HF EQ dual mono controls provide a continuous high frequency filtering gain
  • Repro LF EQ dual mono controls provide a continuous low frequency filtering gain
  • Noise Off/On provides global enabling and disabling of noise components
    • Hiss provides independent control for the noise floor component of the tape system -25 to +50 dB
    • Hum provides independent control for the 60 cycle (NAB/AES) or 50 cycle (CCIR/AES) AC component of the Ampex ATR-102 system ±25 dB
  • Wow & Flutter Off/On provides global enabling and disabling of modulation distortion components
    • Wow provides a continuous control from 0-1.44% (7.5 IPS)
    • Flutter provides a continuous control from 0-3.69% (3.75 IPS)
  • Crosstalk Off/On provides global enabling and disabling of L/R crosstalk components
    • Xtalk provides a continuous control of -50 to -10 dB of L/R crosstalk
  • Auto Cal Off/On provides automatic calibration for HF and Shelf EQ, Bias, and Repro HF/LF EQs when switching IPS, Tape Head, Tape Speed, Tape Type, or Emphasis Equalizer
  • Manual calibration provides tones to create custom user tape machine calibrations
    • MRL tape tones enable Output Level and Output EQ calibration
    • -16/-6/+4 dB function tone generator enable manual Bias and Bias EQ calibration
    • Function generator/tape tones available (Hz): 50, 100, 1k, 2.5k, 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k
  • Transformer Off/On provides enabling and disabling of transformer modeling
  • Tape Delay Off/On provides enabling and disabling of dedicated delay mode feature for slap, phase, or double tracking effects
    • Independent L/R variable delay adjustment provides 0-1000ms range)
    • Dry/Wet provides a 0-100% blend of dry and wet components
  • Switchable Input (post Record Gain) or Output (pre Reproduce gain) metering
  • Switchable VU or Peak metering
  • Electronics overload LED provides indication of modeled internal electronics clipping
  • Close/Open buttons reveal/hide the calibration and other setup controls
  • Unlink/Link provides independent or ganged dual mono L/R operation for all L/R gain or calibration controls
  • Power Off/On provides global bypass of entire plug-in
  • DAW transport stop/start stops and starts reels animation; clicking capstan knob disables reels animation movement

 Hardware & Software Manuals