So what is the tape stop effect? Well if you have been listening to modern music over the last couple years there is no doubt that you have heard it in a song or two. The effect is basically the slowing down (or pitching down) or stopping of a track or parts of a track. Sometimes this effect is only used on vocals for example and sometimes a tape stop effect can be heard on the whole track itself. In this tutorial we will take a closer look at how to achieve this effect for your next song.
IN THE BEGINNING
The tape stop effect as it is now called has been performed for a long time. It really got it's origins from old reel-to-reel machines and tape recorders that when powered down would continue to play the tape (at a continuously slower speed) until coming to a complete stop. The the tape stop effect is not really a new, but has however gain a lot of popularity in recent years in hip hop and dance music productions. The very first time I heard it was at rave party. The DJ played with the tempo and pitch of almost every song he played, going from fast dance tracks to pitching them down to a style much like DJ Screw. He used an old reel to reel and the brake button on his turntables throughout his set. His set was fantastic! I must admit I stole some things from him that night and started using them in my own DJ sets. The powering down or tape stop effect was pretty easy to perform on a good pair of turntables. I am not sure who started this effect, but chances are it was a DJ many years ago. This is also a great effect to transitions from one song to the next for you DJ's out there.
Today the effect can used for many different reasons. To build excitement before a chorus or exciting part of the track or to add to a vocal for some type of special effect are just a few reasons. There are no rules for when you should or should not use the tape stop effect. If it sounds good in your track then use it. My only caution would be that just like other effects if you over use them in your song it might become a little annoying for the listener to say the least.
When it comes to the tape stop effect there will be some that say it has been over used and some that say that it hasn't. I don't really have an opinion on the subject either way. I will tell you that if you are a producer of hip hop, pop, electro, glitch, etc., at some point you will get a request for it. It has really become an effect that producers must know how to perform much like the Auto Tune effect a couple of years back.
Performing this effect in DAW's like Logic and Pro Tools make it really quite easy. Just a few clicks and you are well on your way. But what about if you are using something like FL Studio? Well with the help of some third party plugins it can be just as easy in FL too.
SO LET'S GET STARTED
There are a couple of different plugins that you can use to make this happen in FL Studio. I will list some of them at the end of this tutorial. But for this tutorial we will be using dBlue Tape Stop plugin. This is because it is really easy to use and because it is free!
This tutorial is not about installing plugins into FL so I will assume that you know how to do this already. If you do not then you may want to Google or use You Tube to find out how to do this. This tutorial will begin with the Tape Stop plugin already installed on your system.
After you have opened your track in FL Studio, select dBlue's Tape Stop from your list of plugins.
Next you want to take a look at the Tape Stop interface. There are only three knobs on this plugin (trigger,slowdown and declick).
The slowdown knob controls how fast the effect will slow down your track or sound. The trigger knob will control how much of the effect is happening. The 0.00 setting means the track will play normally and the 1.00 means the effect is working fully. These should be adjusted to meet the needs of the track and the amount of effect that you are going for.
Next you want to select the trigger knob and create an automation by right clicking your mouse. A dialog box will appear allowing you to create an automation for Tape Stop.
Now by going into song mode you can add your automation in the playlist section of FL Studio. By adding points in the automation timeline you can make this effect trigger when you want it to. In the example below the effect starts and then stops once the instrumentation comes in for effect.
This is a track that I just started working on for a local artist. It is not mixed or mastered or anything like that, but it will give you an idea of how you could use the tape effect in a song. Take a listen to the example and make note of where I put the tape stop effect found in the picture above. Again, there are no rules....so just have fun with it!
HERE IS A SAMPLE OF THE TRACK
dBlue's Tape Stop is one of the easiest ways to create this effect. Download yours and play around with it! That is really one of the best ways to get to know this plugin. The more you use it, the more you will get used to using it. So try it out......it's FREE!
Tape stop effect plugins.....
dBlue's Tape Stop - DOWNLOAD HERE
dBlue's Glitch - DOWNLOAD HERE
TL's Tape Stop - DOWNLOAD HERE (scroll towards the bottom of the page)
Diverse Slower - DOWNLOAD HERE
Sugar Bytes Effectrix - DOWNLOAD HERE
JB Ferox - DOWNLOAD HERE
Article written by Alex Butler
Alex is an audio engineer, studio producer and freelance writer based out of Seattle, WA.