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Waves Tape Plug-in J-37 Review

Waves Tape Plug-in J-37 review

As audio engineers, we all know that having the right tools is essential for producing a high-quality sound. Waves has long been considered one of the top names in plugin technologies, and the Waves Tape Plug-in J-37 is no exception.

This plug-in was specifically designed to accurately replicate the sound of vintage analog tape machines. It offers users a variety of features to help them achieve the sound they're looking for. In this blog post, we'll be reviewing the Waves Tape Plug-in J-37 and exploring its many features. We'll look at its ease of use, sound quality, and its potential applications in the studio. We'll also discuss the pros and cons of the plug-in and how it compares to other tape-style plugins on the market. 



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Why use a tape saturation plugin?


One of the biggest challenges with modern music production is that digital recordings can sound sterile and lifeless. That's because back in the day, all music was recorded to tape instead of hard drives, and tape imparted unique harmonic distortion behavior that became part of the sound. 

So if you're looking to add warmth and depth to your recordings, you should consider reaching for a tape saturation plugin.




Overview of the J-37 Tape Plug-in


The Waves J-37 Tape Plug-in is a classic emulation of a vintage analog tape machine.  Specifically, the Waves J-37 offers a precision model of the very machine used at Abbey Road Studios to record the greatest masterpieces of classic rock and pop, like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

It has a variety of user-adjustable controls, so you can quickly dial in the perfect sound for your recording. 

It also includes a comprehensive tape delay unit, which you can use separately as an effect send, or use as an insert with the included wet/dry knob. The delay section features a high- and low-pass filter, and three different delay types: slap, feedback, and ping pong. It also adds the ability to adjust the delay time separately on the left and right channels. 


How to Use the J-37


The J-37 Tape Plug-in from Waves is an intuitive and powerful plug-in that allows you to add authentic analog warmth to your digital recordings. It is based on the classic and sought-after J-37 tape machine, and offers the same sound quality without the need for a physical tape machine. To use it, simply install the plug-in, open up your DAW, and select it on the insert track. You then have the ability to control the gain, saturation, input and output level, and bias of the plug-in.

The plug-in also includes a variety of different types of tape and two tape speeds, so you can find just the right sound for your project. Changing the tape type lets you select between three exclusive oxide tape formulas which each have their own unique frequency response. If you change the tape speed, the most noticeable effect is a that the slower 7.5 speed emphasizes the low end and rolls of some of the high frequencies.

So by placing a J 37 tape on individual tracks and finding perfect combination of tape speed and formulation, you can sculpt your sound in different ways than simply using EQ and compression.

With its faithful emulation of vintage tape sounds, the Waves J-37 Tape Plug-in is a must-have for any recording engineer or producer. 

For a more subtle effect, one of my favorite tricks is to add the J-37 to the entire mix bus or the master bus to emulate master tape. Then I just dial in a touch saturation. That way you can add another subtle layer of warm tones to your track. The whole secret to using to tape is to stack lots of subtle changes. All the minor distortions add up to create something that feel much more organic.


Pros and Cons of the J-37


It takes the sound of classic analog tape machines and blends it with digital processing to provide a unique and compelling sound. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the J-37 Tape Plug-in to help you decide if it’s the right tool for your project.

On the plus side, the J-37 offers an fairly authentic analog tape sound thanks to its emulations of classic tape machines. It also comes with a wide range of knobs and controls to customize your sound. Furthermore, the plug-in is very easy to use and can be used with any DAW. It's also affordable and relatively CPU light. There are better choices out there, but they cost more and use up more processing power, which can be a real issue if you plan on placing a tape plugin on every channel!


Audio Quality of the J-37


The Waves J-37 Tape Plug-in delivers a realistic analog tape sound, thanks to its authentic emulation of the classic J-37 analog tape recorder. The plug-in accurately reproduces the distinct warmth and color of the J-37's circuitry and heads, and it has a variety of useful features like tape saturation, compression, and EQ. In terms of audio quality, the Waves J-37 Tape Plug-in is a great choice, delivering a faithful and accurate representation of the J-37's character. The sound is vibrant and full-bodied, with a pleasing and natural warmth that adds character and depth to any track.




If you’re looking for an alternative to the Waves Tape Plug-in J-37, there are some great options out there. Firstly, if you want to stick with Waves, you can check out Waves' Kramer Tape, which has a slightly duller and more vintage feel . Alternatively, the Softube Tape plug-in offers an excellent emulation of a vintage reel-to-reel, giving you all the dirt and warmth of analog recording without the fuss of having to maintain a physical machine and is probably the best tape plugin in terms of overall value. Finally, if you want to get one of the best tape plugins available, period, check out the UAD Studer A 800 plug-in that adds obscene amounts of warmth and fatness to your track.




In conclusion, Waves Tape Plug-in J-37 is an excellent plug-in for adding vintage warmth to your recordings. It is versatile and easy to use, allowing you to shape your sound to exactly what you desire. Waves J-37 is an excellent tape emulation plugin at a great price, which earned it a spot on our list of the best tape plugins and one of the top 10 Waves plugins. Whether you are recording, mixing, or mastering, the J-37 is a great addition to your arsenal of plug-ins that will help you achieve a professional sound.

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