15IPS Tape Saturation Colour
The compression, saturation, and tone of analog tape. (Everything but the hiss.)
For decades analog tape was the sound of records. Then the technology changed, but our ears didn't. Things tracked on tape just sound fuller, warmer, and more "finished" by default than things tracked digitally. Bring the sound of tape back to your recordings with the 15IPS Colour.
The sound of tape comes from three things—compression, harmonic saturation, and filtering—and the 15IPS does all three.
Tape has a "built-in" compressor; that is, it can only take so much signal and anything above that limit is compressed. The 15IPS' ladder of germanium and silicon diodes recreates this soft clipping, making sounds fuller and more present in the mix adding more volume.
The "warmth" of tape comes from the harmonic saturation of both the tape itself and the electronics of the tape machine. The 15IPS' germanium diodes emulate the harmonics generated by the tape, while the discrete transistor circuitry creates the complex harmonics of a vintage tape machine.
Part of tape's distinctive sound is its non-linear frequency response: a low-end roll off with a "bump" at the cutoff frequency. The 15IPS features a 40Hz resonant high-pass filter that simultaneously makes the low-end tighter and larger-than-life.
In 2019 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Colour Format, we redesigned the first three Colours, the 15IPS, CTX, and JFT, to use only discrete, class-A transistor circuitry. You could think of this as the opposite of an update—we’ve reversed the technology of the Colours back to the late 60’s. The result is an authentic vintage character that’s more nuanced and refined.
For the 15IPS we also re-tuned the amount of saturation on-hand in order to widen the sweet spot of the Colour. The 15IPS mkII can still provide aggressive tape saturation when pushed hard, but is now much easier to "set and forget" than before.
- Tape-like soft limiting with NOS germanium diodes
- Multiple class-A transistor stages for richer, more complex harmonic saturation
- Resonant high-pass filter simultaneously clarifies and magnifies low end
- Compatible with the Colour format
- Yellow PCB
- Full, step-by-step assembly instructions and support
What the Pros are Saying
"Even a little bit of the 15IPS adds a warm vibe and a huge low end. Just switching it in can thicken up a kick drum, bass or even a whole mix. With more drive, 15IPS gives a great saturated tape-like squash."
-Paul "Willie Green" Womack
Wiz Khalifa, The Roots, Donnie McClurkin, Billy Woods
Real analog plugins.
Colour is a new format for analog audio gear designed for and by the DIY community. We took our favorite sounding analog circuits and put them on modules that are small, affordable, and swappable.
The Colour format consists of Colours and Palettes:
Colours are ultra-compact, pluggable analog circuit blocks that impart various types of analog color. Check out our ever-growing selection of Colours. Colours can be designed and released by anyone.
This adds a warmth and low end bump that nothing else in the digital domain can. Livens up bass tracks and guitars. You could probably use it on everything. The warmth and harmonic distortion it adds is that 10% you need to turn something from good to perfect. It was very straightforward to build and of course super fun.
The mkII 15ips modules are so good! Kick, Snare, Bass are insane through these, but my favorite way to use it, is for problem solving. If an artist comes in to my studio and they have a thin, clicky acoustic guitar. BOOM! 15ips shaves off the attack and adds weight perfectly. It warms up any audio source in just the right way. LOVE THESE!!
15ips is such a lovely colour module, I hardly track anything without it these days.
I A/B'd MkII vs. MkI with older recorded drum tracks (SSL4000 pre's) and the difference is subtle but there. With MKII, it feels like there is more definition in the low mids.
Anyway, old or new, 15ips is amazing.
15 IPS is solid magic. I've been using the mk1s for five years and finally had the opportunity to use the mkIIs. These updated versions add a little bit more of that famous and desired tape bump the originals offer. I will NEVER mix my drums and bass without 15IPS. Nothing "in the box" can come close to what these offer.
Pop them in a CP5 for instant vibe and heft of kick, bass, snare, overheads, guitars and the kitchen sink. If you don't own a pair, your are missing out.
The mkII 15IPS, CTX, and JFT all very broad stroke tone changing pieces that really do a beautiful job of shaping sounds in a really natural way. 15IPS rounds out transients in such a tasteful way. I really like what it does on cheap mics and recordings of less than stellar quality.