Rupert Neve Designs 542 Tape Emulator

500 Series Processor with "True Tape" Silk/Texture Circuitry
Rupert Neve Designs 542 Tape Emulator image 1
Rupert Neve Designs 542 Tape Emulator image 1
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Rupert Neve Designs 542 Tape Emulator
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Put the Portico Sound in Your 500 Series Rack

Rupert Neve Designs brings their acclaimed tape emulation (from their Portico 5042) to the 500 Series format with the 542 module. Add the thick, musical sound of tape to your tracks, with the added bonus of Neve's Silk/Texture circuit to fine-tune your sound. Once you hear the 542, we're pretty sure you won't want to mix without it.

Rupert Neve Designs 542 500 Series Tape Emulator Module Features:
  • Add the rich, musical sound of tape to your digital tracks
  • True Tape circuitry uses real tape heads to emulate the characteristics of tape recording
  • Versatile Silk/Texture circuit gives you additional sonic-sculpting potential
  • Wet/dry control lets you fine-tune the amount of tape saturation
  • Soft-clip circuit helps you tame the sound of harsh, transient signals

Additional Media

500 Series Buying Guide
Signal Processing Buying Guide
500 Series: Why You Should Add One to Your Rig
Industry Legend Rupert Neve Turns 90
Hands On: Rupert Neve Designs 500 Series

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Solid State
Number of Channels 1
Frequency Response 5Hz-60kHz
Manufacturer Part Number 542

Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
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Magical tool. I have two of these set up in mid-side mode (using a plugin to encode/decode) that lives on my master bus. I use it to fatten up and glue together drums and samples... easy to get that classic hip hop sound by driving the mid channel on 15 ips mode with full blend/silk red. Mixing is a lot simpler now, no more stacking plugins to chase that full/saturated sound of boom bap. A++++

Vintage Saturation & Tape Warmth

If you want a true, vintage saturated tone.....don't mess with virtual plug-ins. You get everything from a subtle sweet-spot for vocals to rock girt for drums or electric guitar. I purchased 2 of these for 2 channel strips I have. I placed them after the preamp and before the compressor, with the EQ at the end. These emulators are superb.
Music background: Always learning


Music background: PLAYED WITH SLY & THE FAMILY STONE 1974-77

It's true.

You may be skeptical looking at this unit, but it really does what everyone says. When it's in your signal chain, everything sounds richer, warmer, and bigger. It's awesome.
Music background: Audio Engineer

Love At First Listen

People either love these things or hate them. I love them. Don't expect an over the top audible difference at first. Listen closely to the top end smooth over as you increase the saturation. Listen to the mid range come to life, and the low end get bigger. It's all very subtle, but the cumulative effect is pretty striking. I don't think I could live without my pair after using them for the last few sessions!

Sweetwater Advice

Mitch Gallagher

Watching the studio-gear paradigm progress has been interesting. Years ago, of course, everything was analog. Then the digital era hit, and many of us switched to completely in-the-box systems for the advantages they provided. But these days, many studios (including mine) are switching to a hybrid approach - using the best of both digital and analog. A big part of the growing popularity of the hybrid approach has been the rise of the API 500 Series format, which condenses pro studio gear into compact modules that can be loaded into a rackmount or portable chassis. Rupert Neve Designs recently released a family of modules, including two brand-new pieces that were first shown at the 2013 Winter NAMM show. I was able to load up all four into a chassis and take them for a spin. There are two preamps: the 517, which combines an RND preamp with an opto compressor and RND's signature Silk control, and the brand-new 511, which is a preamp with Silk and a variable highpass filter. The 517 actually has two paths, mic and DI, which can be blended. Both modules sound phenomenal, with a full but open tone. The Silk control allows you to shape the tone, adding a subtly smooth texture. The 543 is RND's mono VCA compressor. It offers full control over all parameters, plus a choice of RMS or peak detection, feed-forward or feedback operation, and the ability to sidechain with or without a highpass filter in the path. I found it to be transparent, with just a touch of added "polish" - the tracks I ran through it sounded subtly enhanced in that beautiful Neve fashion. Also brand-new is the 542. This tape emulator module can do great things to your audio, adding beef and rounding out harshness while adding desirable harmonic content. You get a saturation control, a blend control for mixing in the effect, and the choice of 15ips or 30ips tape-speed simulation - as well as the ability to add Silk to the signal. Here's my favorite setting: 30ips, fairly heavy saturation, the blend set to around 50%, and a good amount of the "blue" texture setting. It's analog heaven! Rupert Neve has really hit the mark with these modules. All the Portico sound is there, with plenty of control and powerful sound-shaping options, but in the compact, affordable 500 Series format. Outstanding!
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See also: 500 Series Compressors, Rupert Neve Designs, Rupert Neve Designs 500 Series Dynamics, Rupert Neve Designs Other 500 Series Processors, Rupert Neve Designs Exciters / Enhancers