Magnetic recording has been around for a lot longer than you think. Before tape, recording was done on thin magnetic steel wires, an idea that goes back as far as 1898. The technology really came into its own during WWII when the military used it extensively, and its use peaked between 1946 and 1954, after which magnetic tape took over. Wire recording does have a unique lo-fi sound though, and that’s why AudioThing released its emulation of the unit as its Wires plugin.
Wires is modeled around a Soviet-style wire recorder from the 1970s originally built in East Germany (yes, the Soviets were a little behind technology-wise). On a side note, the phrase that you’ve heard in every gangster movie about “wearing a wire” refers to a wire recorder, not the cable attached to the microphone (Yeah, I didn’t know that either).
Wires features dedicated parameters to ratchet up the lo-fi that include Noise (Hiss and Motor), Playback Speed, Wow/Flutter, Drops, Clicks, Tilt EQ, and a dedicated Echo section with the standard Time, Feedback, Level and Mix/Wet controls.
The original unit’s mic input and built-in speaker have also been included so you can really go back a few eras in sound, as well as tube emulation at the output stage. Start and stop effects are made possible thanks to a Playback Stop/Start switch.
The big thing here is that wire responds entirely differently than tape. Since you usually don’t care about the fidelity of an echo, this means that Wires can be much more useful tool than you might believe. If you’re trying to produce a 1950’s-style sci-fi sound, I’ve never heard anything better at it.
Wires is priced right at just $39. It’s available for Mac and PC on all plugin formats. There’s also a free demo, but it does have the limitations of silence for 3 seconds every 45 seconds, with saving disabled.
Find out more details here, or watch the very cool video below.