How To Make A Tape Stop Effect (Free VST, Any DAW)


Thales Matos


Want to create a Tape Stop Effect in your song? Here's a quick tutorial on how to make that dramatic sound to spice up your production — using a free VST plugin.

This technique works no matter which DAW you use. All you need to do is draw a simple automation.

how to make a tape stop effect

Tape Stop Effect VST Plugin

The plugin you're looking at — which is my favorite to achieve that sound effect — is the Cassette Transport, by this awesome company, Wavesfactory.

And this is not a sponsored post. I just like their products and use this plugin all the time.

How to Use Cassette Transport by Wavesfactory

So how does this work? 

As you can see, this plugin has a few buttons and knobs.

But the ones you'll use to create that effect are the "play time" knob,  the "stop time" knob, and you'll automate the "play" and the "stop" button.

You can ignore these two knobs at the bottom: "switches volume" and "rotor volume".

They are actually pretty interesting to recreate that old tape sound, but you don't need them for the tape stop effect. You can keep them OFF.

The automation for a tape stop effect

Find the section of the song that you want to slow the tape down then speed up again, like I did with all my synthesizer sounds (watch the video above). 

Then it's pretty simple: just select the "Transport" parameter and draw an automation on it.

It has only 4 positions: it can go from "Forward", on the top, to "Rewind", to "Play", to "Stop", at the bottom.

The trick here is to draw a line that goes from "Play" to "Stop" whenever you want the Tape Stop effect to begin.

cassette transport tape stop automation

Then draw a line from "Stop" back to "Play" whenever you want to resume normal playback.

cassette transport tape play automation

Tape Stop Effect Speed

Now, the "Play Time" knob and the "Stop Time" knobs determine the speed at which the effect is going to happen. 

tape stop effect speed

In this case, it will take one quarter of a bar for the effect to go from normal playback to a complete stop.

Depending on what sounds you want to achieve, you can make this faster or slower.

This is what worked best for my song, but you're free to play around, listen to different combinations of those parameters and figure out what's your favorite.

Tape Stop Effect on the Bass

Note that I also have this plugin running on my Bass Group effect chain.

tape stop effect on the bass

It starts at the same time, but it ends earlier. that causes an interesting contrast, since it's not in sync with the synthesizers. The bass comes back first.

It's a neat effect to enhance the message the lyrics are delivering.

And it puts huge spotlights on the harmony that the vocals and backvocals are creating — while all the other instruments are paused.

Otherwise, the instruments would get in the way and the harmonies would not have as much impact.

How to get this Tape Stop VST for free

To download Cassette Transport for free, go to the Wavesfactory website and sign up.

wavesfactory website to download cassette transport

Then install it just like any of your VST plugins and have fun with it.

Now it's your turn

Now it's time for you to create amazing tape stop effects in your songs.

If this article helped you, please let me know in the comments below.

And if you're looking for resources to create Pop Music, make sure to visit my website.


Thales Matos

August 7, 2022


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