The 542 tape emulator acts as the ultimate “color box.” In addition to the 100% analog tape emulation circuitry – great for bringing out 3rd-order harmonics – the 542 incorporates a soft-clip circuit that tames the harshest sources and enhances 2nd-order harmonics, variable Silk Red & Blue for an infinite variety of transformer tones, and a blend control to dial in in the perfect amount of saturation.
Unlike digital emulations, the “True Tape” drive circuit works by feeding a custom-designed interstage transformer acting as a “record head”, which in turn is coupled to a correctly-equalized replay amplifier. As the voltage rises on the “record head”, saturation increases, and a soft clip circuit engages at higher levels to round off peak transients. The sound of the tape circuit can be further modified with selectable 15 / 30 IPS modes and a pre/post-tape blend control.
In addition to the tape circuit, the continuously variable Texture control with Silk Red and Silk Blue modes provides a whole other level of control over the harmonic density and tonality of your tracks & mixes. The Silk Red mode accentuates transformer saturation in the high and high-mid frequencies to amplify the vibrant midrange harmonics associated with Rupert’s vintage equipment, while Silk Blue accentuates saturation of the lows and low-mids to add thickness and weight to any source – especially useful for “thin-sounding” tracks or mixes. Unlike EQ, these Silk & Texture controls saturate the output transformers, and add highly musical harmonics to the source material according to the amount of Texture applied.
Drive the 542 hard, choose your Silk flavor, and crank the Texture knob for a rich, saturated, vintage vibe – or disengage Silk entirely for a more purist, hi-fi tape effect. The choice is yours.
Rupert Neve 542 Features
- True Tape circuitry
- +/-12dB adjustment of level prior to the tape circuit with Trim
- Saturation controls signal level being sent to "tape head" circuit
- 15IPS mode for significant "head bump" in low frequencies around 60Hz and more pronounced roll off in high fequencies
- 30 IPS mode for flatter response through high-end with "head bump" around 120Hz
- Blend control
- Tame overly transient material with soft clip
- Silk and texture buttons
- Silk Blue mode more saturation in lows and low mids
- Silk Red accentuates saturation in high mids and highs
- Output level and drive metering from two eight-segment LED meters