Stephen Smith’s Studer A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder Plug-In Presets

Back to UAD & Apollo Tips March 9, 2012 6:13:24 PM PST
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Mastering Engineer and friend of UA, Stephen Smith, is at it again. This time, he’s compiled a stellar custom collection of "ULTRALINEAR" mastering presets for the different available tape formulas of the Studer A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder for the UAD-2. Also included in the package are detailed response graphs for each preset to demonstrate how flat he's managed to get each one. Enjoy.

Some guys have been messaging me to do presets for the Studer as I did for the Ampex, and after awhile, I began to wonder, “Why not?” So, here you go. There is only one head width for a simpler calibration. This time I did not do presets for 7.5 IPS. For types GP9 and 900, I did presets for both CAL +6 and CAL +9, from which switching to +7 works fine on either one. But there was too much difference between +6 and +9, so I thought they each needed one.

These presets allow you to audition tape that has been calibrated to give you a flatter, more extended response for commonly used mastering tape formulations and speeds (15 and 30 IPS). This lets you focus on subtle differences attributable to characteristics other than frequency response. You should hear a fairly neutral response, at a relatively uniform level throughout the ULTRALINEAR series.

Accompanying the presets is a set of frequency response graphs. Note that the presets themselves have default noise settings. The actual presets are optimized for loudness, while the Reproduce Level for the graphs was adjusted for easy visual comparison. These are also close to unity gain, so it should be a very simple matter to jump from one to another to evaluate differences in character between tape types and speeds.

ULTRALINEAR Presets By Tape Type

  • Extended HF and LF range and linearity, to the limits of the various tape formulations, heads, speeds, etc. (derived with full-range sweep tones, starting from AutoCal settings).
  • Due to differences in harmonic generation between presets, they are level-compensated by ear (for full range musical source material) so that as you step through the presets, apparent loudness level should stay about the same.

Download Stephen Smith's ULTRALINEAR Presets & Graphs

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Stephen Smith's Studer A800 Preset Graph of the Studer A800’s 250 Tape Formula at 15 IPS

Where to Install the ULTRALINEAR Series Presets

Here are the locations where the UAD Toolbar Open/Save functions default to (where you should install any extra .fxp presets)


MacHD/Library/Application Support/Universal Audio/Presets/UAD pluginName/ (eg. UAD Studer A800)

PC (32bit):

C:\Program Files\Universal Audio\Powered Plug-Ins\Presets\UAD pluginName\

PC (64bit):

C:\Program Files (x86)\Universal Audio\Powered Plug-Ins\Presets\UAD pluginName\

Important Notes:

  • On the Windows side, "C:\" is going to be whatever your system drive is labeled. It's usually C, but it could be D, E, F, B, etc.
  • On both Mac and Windows, the "UAD pluginName" folder may not already exist. It's created whenever you first load/save a preset from the UAD Toolbar of a particular plugin. If it does not already exist, you can manually create it (just make sure to type the full name correctly, eg. "UAD Studer A800", it can't just be "Studer" or something like that.)

— Stephen Smith

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