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Customer Reviews 424 Reviews

4.88 out of 5 stars

by M. Nigro (10/11/2016):

Oh, boy! This is an incredible versatile tape emulation plugin! The sound character is… Read more

391 Reviews
25 Reviews
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4 Reviews
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 old Ampex machine is set up, dialed in the gains, switched back and forth… and 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, Jill Scott, Estelle)

    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've never 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 (424 Reviews)
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    Best Tape plugin
    by M. Nigro(Tuesday 11 October, 2016)

    Oh, boy! This is an incredible versatile tape emulation plugin! The sound character is amazing and you can have a lot of fun with the tape delay option. I think I have test the main tape emulation plugins available. Ampex ATR-102 is by far the best! Read More

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    by G. Link(Friday 23 September, 2016)

    I am all about that analog tape vibe -- I love mixing lofi analog sounds along with hifi digital recordings in a mix, creating that contrast. So when it comes to analog-simulation vsts, I like the ones that REALLY give it that tape vibe -- even when it's to the point of destruction. The… Read More

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    Great analog warmth!
    by s. bjornsen(Friday 23 September, 2016)

    If you want "past and future! warmth on your songs, this is it! Only thing i would have loved was a simple "tape hiss" button to click on and off in case it was a song i would liked to be "all silent" but still get the warmth of the plug in:) but well, its just to… Read More

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    Hear the difference!
    by R. Blum(Thursday 22 September, 2016)

    I am a great fan of UA plugins. I own about 50% of all their available plugins and can't wait to purchase more. As with all other UA plugins, the Ampex ATR102 Mastering Tape Recorder is a great tool and brings the advantage of being able to use several instances at the same time - as opposed… Read More

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    Great results !
    by P. BLIN(Wednesday 14 September, 2016)

    It adds the nice analog touch to your masters. Its impact on bass is great. Mix sound powerfull and it gives dimensions. It's an addictif tool ! Read More


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    Grammy-award winning producer, player, and artist Buddy Miller details his workflow with Apollo and UAD-2 plug-ins. Read More

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    Diplo on crafting mega-hits with UAD plug-ins.

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

    Neal Cappellino on mixing Brad Paisley

    Grammy-winning engineer Neal Cappellino has recorded and mixed hits for Nashville's biggest stars. Read More

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    WIth multiple platinum-selling records under his belt, Zook is one of the industry's most sought-after mix engineers. Read More

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    Ariel Rechtshaid and Rostam Batmanglij produced Vampire Weekend's latest album with Apollo and UAD-2. Read More

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    Top acts call on Ken Lewis to turn their musical ideas into platinum hits. Read More

  • Nashville Producer Jay Joyce Brings the Rock Edge

    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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    If you were stuck on a desert island with your recording studio, what UAD plug-ins could you not live without?… 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