In these days of high-tech digital recording, it might seem almost laughable that some producers still enjoy the wonky, lo-fi sound of old 4-track cassettes, but they do.
Robotic Bean’s new Portatron plugin channels the PortaStudio sound and serves as a 4-track tape loop machine that lets you combine your own samples or use the hundreds that are included in the library. Your loops can follow the playback of your DAW – like a “drone” or restarting every bar, second or fourth bar – or you can play them monophonically in a Mellotron style on your MIDI keyboard.
Portatron lets you adjust tape speed, noise, dropouts, wobble, and start/stop lag, and you can switch between normal tape and chrome tape for different noise types and frequency response . Pushing the Drive control, meanwhile, lets you dial in the characteristic saturation and compression you’d get when recording a “warm” signal to tape.
You also get delay and reverb send effects, plus EQ, level, and pan controls on each track. The samples provided cover the likes of piano, vibraphone, vocals and synths.
Portatron is available now for an introductory price of $89 (regular price $129). It works on PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats, and you can learn more and download a demo on the robotic bean website.