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Posts Tagged ‘how to integrate analog tape with your DAW with CLASP’


Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

In theory it might sound a little confusing, but in reality, SIMON TILLBROOK finds that there’s simply nothing to compare to CLASP.

Pro Sound News Europe - CLASP

“It is not very often that you get to have a look at something technically unique in this business, but I have had the opportunity to do just that recently with a visit to KMR Audio and a demonstration of a unit, designed by one Chris Estes of Endless Analog, called CLASP. ”   –   Simon Tillbrook, Audio Media Magazine


CLASP stands for Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor and, in simple terms, integrates real analogue tape recording into your DAW signal and workflow.

The concept can be quite confusing when looking through the literature and diagrams associated with CLASP, but the system is, in practice, much simpler when demoed, with some very clever stuff going on in the background.

CLASP currently allows your Pro Tools or Nuendo/Cubase DAW (other DAW support is being talked about but not available as yet) to integrate a number of analogue multi-track options from Studer, Otari, Ampex, 3M, MCI, Tascam, Scully, and Sony.

CLASP is packaged in a 2U box with a front panel consisting of a large display (usually set to display tape time remaining) and five large buttons.

These buttons are labelled IPS, MON, SYNC, and RTZ. IPS (inches per second) enables you to select the tape speed for the counter (you need to manually change the speed on your multi-track). POST allows additional post roll after recording. MON is selected for latency-free input monitoring; SYNC is used during the initial setup of CLASP with your DAW (more later) and, finally, RTZ (return to zero). The rear panel of CLASP is a sea of Tascam protocol

25-pin DSUB connections for use with any multi-track machine. The first three accept input from your console buss outputs or feeds from pre-amplifiers (for example), then the next three deliver the signal to your analogue multi-

track inputs. The analogue multi-track outputs (that come from your multi-track REPRO head) would then feed your A/D converters into the DAW system, completing the input connection configuration.

Output from your DAW D/A converters then feed back into CLASP through the three DAW return DSUBs, and then finally the Monitor DSUBs get the signal back into your console’s tape returns.

In addition to these audio connections, we have a Tape Control 15-pin connection to connect to your analogue multi-track to control transport, track arming, etc. You can specify which machine you are using and the appropriate cable will be supplied.

XLR connections for sync in and out sit next to MIDI in and out sockets.

It is through MIDI machine control and the HUI protocol that CLASP translates machine control information from your DAW to your analogue multi-track through an appropriate USB to MIDI interface.

It is worth noting that you can chain up to three CLASP units together for control of three analogue machines for 72-Tracks.


We have our CLASP hardware configured; now we need to sort out the software side of things.

I am talking about the set-up with Pro Tools specifically, but remember that Cubase/Nuendo are also catered for.

For the system to work in terms of machine routing and control, as well as delay compensation (more soon), we need to have a master fader for each DAW output used in the session.

Once you have created this, you can hide these and just run your session as normal, they just need to be part of your session set-up to give routing and arming control to each specific analogue track.

Within your Pro Tools session itself you need a single instance of the CLASP Bridge control plug-in to be present. This can be on any track and is used to communicate through MIDI/HUI transport and track arming information to your analogue multi-track.

The CLASP Bridge plug-in is used to store delay compensation and transport control data for up to three tape machines, each with three different speed options. The display in minutes and seconds then behaves according to the selection you have made.

Initial Set-Up & Use

Audio runs through the system input, recorded onto your analogue tape, and then played back via the REPRO head into your DAW where it is recorded. There is obviously a delay between heads on your multi-track, and this is the really clever bit with CLASP.

CLASP needs to learn the specifics of your multi-track machine from a control, speed, and head delay standpoint, so you run a sync setup for each tape speed for your system to learn.

This is a simple button push affair, and CLASP informs you when the process is complete and successful. From then on you simply run your session as normal.

When you record the audio from your analogue machine, it is recorded into your DAW in real time and, with input monitoring alongside your DAW output, you enjoy zero latency.

When you push ‘stop’ at the end of your recording, CLASP time stamps and realigns your audio into the future on your timeline based on the delay compensation calculated during the initial set-up…very clever.

You can select between different speeds from one take to the next, taking advantage of the different characteristics of your machine, tape, and speed at the push of a couple of buttons and, because you are storing your audio directly into your DAW system, one reel of tape can be constantly reused across multiple sessions until you deem it to be no longer of optimum use to you.

Summing Up

The CLASP system works. It does exactly what it claims to do, and there is nothing else to compare it to. It is a system that is almost impossible to get your head around in theory but, when seen in use, it becomes surprising simple in operation.

The initial set-up with CLASP in terms of

session layout and synchronisation is the tricky

part but, done once, you are good to go.

Studios with tape machines that have become idle will love the opportunities CLASP offers, bringing them back into service and offering clients an even greater sound pallet to incorporate into their projects.

For those who have had the experience, CLASP lets you rediscover all that you loved about tape and its interaction with sound but which, maybe, had just slipped from your memory.



INFORMATION £ GB£5,000.00 (exc.VAT)

A Endless Analog, 3212 West End Ave, Suite 500, Nashville, TN 37203, USA

T +1 866 929 4446 W www.endlessanalog.com

A UK Distribution: KMR Audio 1375 High Road, Whetstone, London, N20 9LN

T +44 (0) 208 445 2446 W www.kmraudio.com


Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

ProSoundNews Nathan Chapman Adopts CLASP 03.31.2010

by Clyne Media

Nashville, TN (March 31, 2010)–Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Chapman recently purchased the CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) system.

Chapman recently garnered an Album of the Year Grammy for his work on Taylor Swift’s album, Fearless, and has twice won nominations for Producer of the Year by the ACM. He has recorded as a multi-instrumentalist for artists, including Trisha Yearwood and John Oates, written songs recorded by Martina McBride and other hit country artists, and produced artists ranging from Jewel to Point of Grace.

CLASP was developed, invented, manufactured and is exclusively distributed by Nashville-based Endless Analog. Chapman says that CLASP gives him the ability to tap into analog warmth on his classic MCI 24-track deck and still have all the speed and convenience of his Pro Tools DAW.

"The thing that put me over the edge would be the direct monitoring,” he explains. “When you hook up the CLASP system, the singer is hearing their vocal instantaneously. You’re not dealing with converting in and out of Pro Tools and the latency you get from that. It’s miniscule latency, but it’s significant enough to make a singer uncomfortable. This totally eliminates that; it’s just easier to sing, it’s easier to play, and that’s a really good thing.”

He continues, “The vintage microphones, pre amps, compressors that we love [were] designed to hit tape and have that color added to it. You have to hit tape [or else] you take away one [critical] ingredient that the original designer intended. I find that my preamps and my compressors open up and they sound better when they’re getting the tape ‘love.’ The really important thing that CLASP is bringing to modern recording is helping vintage gear sound like it’s supposed to.”

Eric Greedy

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Eric Greedy

Engineer and Producer

Hurt, Atomic Solace, Destiny’s Child, Smashing Pumpkins, Barbara Streisand, Ringo Starr

"This is the greatest thing to come along since I can remember…. TAPE AGAIN!! …it works seamlessly. It makes ‘the difference’ more than any plug-in, or any other piece of outboard gear, I can think [of]. Now I am only bummed it’s not in every studio I visit. I just recommend it hands down… especially of you already have a tape machine and you do any form of rock. I used to love tape… haven’t had it in a few years, and I love it. This made using it with pro tools so easy and kept the work flow smooth as well as making it so you only need one reel per project."
Eric Greedy


Eric Greedy CLASP Recording

FUTURE MUSIC – Endless Analog Readies CLASP

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

future music

Endless Analog Readies CLASP Tape Signal Processor

Endless Audio is readying their new CLASP, Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor, for its official release on September 15th. Endless claims that CLASP bridges the gap between analog tape and digital recording, “changing the way music is recorded forever.” A big claim, indeed. Endless Analog has developed and created a new product provides the warmth of analog tape recording by simplifying the process. No more time code, transfers, buying multiple expensive reels of tape, or worrying about storage and archiving. Now you can have the warm and expressive sound of real analog tape combined with the speed and editing capabilities of your DAW.

The basic idea behind CLASP is to achieve all the benefits of analog tape warmth within the normal workflow of your digital audio workstation. According to Endless Analog founder Chris Estes, the two basic components of the CLASP system are a hardware interface and control unit, and a companion VST plug-in. Rather than making analog connections directly to the A/D converters feeding the DAW, the signals are first connected to CLASP, which is interfaced with an analog tape machine. When a track is armed inside the DAW, the VST plug-in automatically sends track-arming and transport control information via MIDI Machine Control (MMC) to the tape machine through the CLASP interface. When any DAW track is armed, pressing Play on the DAW rolls the tape machine, and when Record is punched in, corresponding tracks on the tape machine enter record. Armed tracks are recorded on tape and the playback head signal is then immediately fed to and recorded by the DAW.

Endless claims that CLASP has been used successfully with a Studer A827 and A800, and an Otari MTR-90 and MX5050 two-track. Endless believes that as long as a tape machine has a rear panel control port, they can ship CLASP with the appropriate cable. In addition, CLASP will reportedly work with any DAW as long as it supports VST and MMC.

Endless Analog’s CLASP system, which includes the control chassis, interface cable and plug-in software is expected to cost around $9000.

Endless Analog - Digital Controlled Analog Tape Recording