Using Phaser for longer stretches of audio to create a "grubby old tape" effect distorts, lookin for a faster way!


I do a lot of hobby narration and I really dig a “old cassette tape found in a wet dumpster behind the public library” vibe. I can achieve that using the Phaser effect with these settings:

but what I’m finding is that if I apply it to more than about 30 seconds at once it first loses the specific edge I like and then rapidly becomes massively distorted (which sounds like this, if you’re curious linked at time–think it gets even worse than that). I assume this is the effect running through its “phases” and is Working As Intended, but–it ain’t what I intend!

I figure my solutions are three:

  1. Convince Phaser to apply its effect homogeneously to long stretches of track.
  2. Use a different effect to generate a similar sound that I can safely apply to a 90-minute track at once.
  3. Find some kind of keyboard shortcut or other macro-type thing that will let me very rapidly select the next 30 seconds of time, then the next 30, then the next 30, hitting control-R every time.

Right now I’m doing this by hand, which is fiddly and can have bad results if I accidentally select too much or double-select a section of track. Really pleased with the results on this little project I’m working on, though, so I hope I can find a way to make it less menial!


Try Helmet radio plugin …
dumpster cassette.png

There’s no tape speed-wobble though, need another plugin for that …
e.g. https ://

Mmm that iiis pretty good, I’ll give it a shot! I’d still like to either persuade Phaser to be good or figure out how to rapidly deploy an effect in chunks of X seconds to a whole file, though. Being defeated by machines feels dangerous.

Your very slow phaser is applying a bandpass-filter which is slowly changing.
An equalizer can produce the same bandpass effect, (centred around 1kHz-2kHz), but unchanging.

EQ equivalent of start of slow phaser.png
The bottom two sliders on helmet-radio plugin can also produce a bandpass effect.

Thank you! I figured it was it phasing through its phases and in fact doing what it was supposed to do, but I’d screwed around with other effects and couldn’t find one that got quite the Old Wet Sound I crave. I couldn’t quite get where I wanted with the helmet, either, although that’s probably just being prejudiced toward what I’ve been using so far–I’ll give your approach a shot!

What I did in the meantime was to find a macro tool and just have it select and modify 30 second segments–still took maybe five minutes for a 2-hour track, but that works! So absolute worst case I’ve got a solution, but I’ll def mess around with the effect you provided, see how it feels!