Baby Audio TAIP: Tape fuelled by AI
TAIP from Baby Audio uses the power of AI to fuel a new tape plug in
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AI for plugins: a gimmick?
In another smooth move by Smooth Operator maker Baby Audio, the young software team trained an AI (Artificial Intelligence) system to create a new Tape plugin called TAIP*.
There are more tape emulations on the market than I have fingers, toes and hair. Well, maybe not the latter, but where Baby Audio TAIP* tries to set itself apart is authenticity. The team tried to get closer to the magic sound that tape can imbue by training an AI algorithm to help them decipher the nuances of complex analog circuits.
How did the AI help Baby Audio? By feeding the AI neural network with hours of processed audio recorded from a real tape machine, as well as the dry signal fed into it, Baby Audio claims to identify more closely the complex characteristics that make up the difference with TAIP. Once the AI has learnt these differences, the team was able to code what the AI discovered into the final algorithm.
Baby Audio have added a suite of suitable parameters that help shape your tape sound from subtle to super heavy:
- DRIVE: Traditionally, tape machines were designed to colour the sound as little as possible. TAIP is not. You can use the DRIVE knob to add just as much colour as you need - from a subtle touch of heat to heavy distortion.
- MIX: Let's run your tape in parallel. If WEAR is engaged, you can use MIX to get a classic ‘tape flanging’ effect. This is caused by the wow and flutter of WEAR, which runs parallel to the dry track when MIX is below 100.
- MODEL: While SINGLE is a regular tape emulation, DUAL creates a series of two tape emulations chained together under the hood, each applying half of the DRIVE value. This will add slightly more weight to your signal.
- LO-SHAPE / HI-SHAPE: These sliders let you saturate the low/high end more or less than the rest of the frequency spectrum. (Example: you want to warm up a drum buss without adding too much distortion to the low frequencies).
- GLUE: Tape machines are known to introduce a pleasing compression-like effect due to their low dynamic range. TAIP lets you add this effect – or even exaggerate it. Use GLUE for subtle cohesion or as an actual compressor.
- NOISE: Lets you add tape noise to taste – or avoid it altogether.
- WEAR: Combines wow, flutter and an altered frequency response curve to emulate a malfunctioning tape machine.
- PRESENCE: Part of the tape warmth comes from an attenuated high-end. PRESENCE allows you to decide how much of that attenuation you want. It can bring back the sharpness and brightness that is sometimes lost on tape.
- INPUT: Choose between NORMAL or HOT (more distorted) input levels without affecting the output volume.
- AUTO GAIN: Allows you to add more DRIVE while maintaining a consistent plugin output level.
If you want to get started straight away, Baby Audio included 135 presets, some of which were created by artists the company collaborated with, including:
- Mark Needham (Fleetwood Mac, The Killers,Bloc Party, Elton John)
- Max Jaeger (Ariana Grande, Kanye West, Drake, Calvin Harris)
- Eestbound (Travis Scott, Young Thug, JazzCartier)
- Rob Kleiner (Sia, Britney Spears, DavidGuetta, Cee Lo)
- Cesar Sogbe (Prince, David Byrne, Jennifer Lopez)
Baby Audio TAIP* is available now in VST, VST3, AU, AAX formats, and Mac M1 native compatible.
I have to say I was sceptical when I heard that Baby Audio used AI to create this tape emulation plugin. It sounded like a marketing gimmick, with AI so "now", without making a difference.
But in the short time I have had with it so far, Baby Audio TAIP left me impressed. As you can hear in the demo below I created during my tests, the drum glue compressor can go from subtle to saturated, helping the drums come out. And I didn't expect this plugin to create such a convincing tape-like chorus effect that XLN Audio RC-20 Retrocolor* is known for. While Retrocolor* may be more versatile as a full fledged retro multi effect, it is also considerably more expensive at $99.95. And as you can hear in the piano demo below, I knocked together Baby Audio TAIP sounds pretty good indeed. Baby Audio TAIP looks reasonable value at $69 and quite enticing at the introductory price of $39.
With the Baby Audio CEO Caspar Bock promising to use AI more in future development, I look forward to seeing what this innovative small company can conjure up in the future.
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I was so impressed with TAIP that during our thorough testing, I created a few tracks for you on drums and piano. All tracks switch between dry and wet effect sends, using presets only, with no other effects used.
- Drums: 4 bars dry, 4 bars Drum Bus Glue preset, 4 bars dry, 4 bars Drum Bus HOT preset
- Piano: 4 bars dry, 4 bars new setting (chorus, noise, wear, glue), 4 bars dry, 4 bars new setting
- Full Demo: 4 bars dry piano only, 4 bars piano wet only, 4 bars drums & piano dry, 4 bars drums (Drums Glue) + piano wet, 4 bars dry, 4 bars drums Drum Bus HOT + piano wet
Tutorial by Dacci Pucci
Tutorial by CJ Beatz
Baby Audio CEO Caspar Bock previews TAIP at Superbooth 2021 interview with Sonicstate
Trained in classical and jazz piano, Christof has over 30 years of experience in songwriting and music production. In 2021, he founded musicmanta and is now its Editor-in-Chief. Christof has worked in marketing for 25 years in Unilever and Kimberly-Clark. He is now the Head of Performance Marketing UK for Andrex, Kleenex, and Huggies, leading a team of 10 to create award-winning marketing campaigns, writing effective content, reaching millions of people.