Jatin Chowdhury has released CHOW Tape Model, a new free, open-source tape machine emulation effect plugin for PC & Mac (VST/VST3/AU/L2 & standalone). Although the plugin was initially intended to model the Sony TC-260 tape machine, the algorithm was later changed to be a more flexible, versatile simulation of a wider variety of analog reel-to-reel machines.
CHOW Tape Model is based on a physical model of an analog tape machine that was created as a class project for Music 420 at Stanford University. So the plugin is not a commercial product but part of a research project. Also good to know is that the user interface is based on JUCE graphics and is freely resizable what is a handy feature.
CHOW Tape Model sounds super authentic in the first run and offers a good amount of parameters for tweaking the tape simulation algorithm. It emulates all the essential sonic components of an analog tape machine: saturation, non-linearity features that can enhance the sound as well as the lovely lo-fi aspect of analog tape. The user can also go deeper into the engine by tweaking the bias, drive, saturation (hysteresis section) but also the depth and rate of the wow and flutter that is applied to the input signal.
The plugin can be used to add the classic sound of an old tape recorder to your tracks but also as an analog-style double-tracking effect thanks to its wow and flutter simulation.
CHOW Tape Model is available as a free download as a standalone effect, as well as a VST, VST3, and AU plugin for Windows and macOS. A macOS Catalina version is also available, along with an LV2 port.
More information here: CHOW DSP