saturator, tape machine

Telefunken M15

2-track stereo master recorder – a legendary mastering-grade tape machine from the 70s. It represents the German answer to the Studer A80.

This model was sought after in the 70s and the 80s as the go-to machine for recording mixdowns and masters. Running at 15IPS, it has a unique warm signature and a very interesting, lively low end. Driven just a bit hotter and consequently adding subtle harmonic distortion, it can help mixes translate better to smaller devices and achieve loudness without over-compression.

Designed for professional use, it sports transformer balanced inputs and outputs, an all-discrete transistor audio path and sought-after “butterfly” tape heads.  The nominal input level is calibrated to +6dBu and the converter inputs and outputs to +18dBu. This allows for hitting the tape hard, if so desired. 

Where to use Telefunken M15?

Generally on sources that could do with some additional “content” or “thickness”. All the subtle non-linearities distributed throughout the signal path of a tape machine will gently shave the sharp, harsh transients and convert them to pleasant harmonic content. The lowest frequencies are saturated a bit more and in that manner get a helping hand to be heard through a busy mix, while the highs get a bit of a softening treatment without sounding dull.

Favourite use cases include all kinds of beats and other percussive tracks, all kinds of amplified guitars with any number and thickness of strings and all groovy 70’ style music (think Austin Powers). Yeah baby. 

Telefunken M15 Video Tutorial

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