The Stereo Tape Simulator by Soundskulptor is, in the words of Soundskulptor themselves, "an analog processor that recreates the sonic imprint of vintage tape recorders. The effect provides the roundness, the punch, the compression and the saturation of magnetic tape."
A bold claim maybe but they are very, very convincing processors with a wide variety of uses from adding a bit of warmth and saturation to a mix to processing individual tracks or instrument - it's utterly sublime on drums and bass and man it can do fat and nasty really well!
This is the third one I've built but it's the first time I've been asked to make a custom enclosure for one. The client in this case wanted the STS in a 1U 19" rack box so I had to design a completely new front panel and mounting for the LED VU meters. He also wanted it to have a bit-of-a retro look with skirted knobs and rotary switches. Cool stuff!
Since I've started using Google Sketchup for designing enclosures and panels I've found it extremely useful to be able to create an accurate 3D representation - it helps so much with layout and came in very handy here as the space in the rack box (especially for the VU meter assembly) was very tight. No room for error!
Here's a screen grab from the Sketchup during the design phase. It's also handy to be able to send visualisations to clients like this. Takes a lot of the guesswork out of selecting knobs, graphics and layout.
Did the final calibration and setup this morning and shortly going to box it all up to go off to it's excited new owner later today.
DIY Soundskulptor STS custom