Kinotone Audio Ribbons, a feature-rich stereo magnetic tape emulator pedal

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Kinotone Audio Ribbons is a new stereo magnetic tape emulator pedal with a five-track asynchronous looper and 4-voice sine synth.

A few years ago, it was trending to have the cleanest sounds from synthesizers. Today it’s going in the other sound direction. More and more hard- and software developers release audio processors to degrade and age audio signals. So to give signals character.

One of the newest processors is a feature-dense tape emulation pedal from the new company Kinotone Audio. The pedal is not completely “new”, it was already presented in October 2022. But I’ve only seen it now and still classified as newsworthy.

Kinotone Audio Ribbons

Kinotone Audio Ribbons

Ribbons is a new intriguing stereo magnetic tape emulator pedal capable of degrading, mangling, and aging incoming audio in real-time.

Visually, the pedal is very colorful (pretty pink or aquamarine), and has a rather compact interface. There are four knobs that can be used to navigate through the internal menu system. The four colored dots in the middle are particularly eye-catching. These remind me a bit of the Mutable Instruments Plaits module.

Ribbons’ core consists of a combination of an advanced, feature-packed Lo-Fi tape emulation and a reverb. Wild Easter Eggs are also included, but more on that later.

The Lo-Fi tape emulation features various effects, including wow, flutter, crinkle, and dropouts. According to the Kinotone Audio developers, they are modeled after a collection of spectral and waveform data from numerous functioning and broken tape players.

Then, it has virtual analog 24dB/octave lowpass and highpass filters to shape the sound. There is also a tape compression inspired by a vinyl simulation and the option to infuse static hiss, clicks, and pops. Additionally, you can dial in vibrato and chorus via a dedicated dry/wet mix.

Besides the tape emulation, you also have a stereo reverb with various parameters (wet/dry mix, decay…) and an infinite sustain option. Nice, you can route the reverb pre or post the tape effects.

Kinotone Audio Ribbons

4 Unique Performance Modes

All these functions can be used with 4 unique performance modes, aka touch modes. You can activate them momentarily or latch them.

  • Magnetic Dance – Creates a drone of sound using a micro-loop. Tune it to chords; play it forward or backward
  • Tape Stop – Slows down the playback of your audio in real-time, with separate controls for start and stop times. Use it to subtly bend the pitch or for dramatic effects
  • Broken Machine – Makes a garbled mess of your incoming audio
  • Repeater – Captures a small slice of audio and divides it into tiny subdivisions for glitchy effects. Synchronizable via MIDI clock. Includes a resampling option that uses transient detection

Easter Eggs

The feature set is already massive up to this point. The pedal goes very deep into sound degradation design. However, that’s not all. The developers have hidden two wild Easter Eggs in the pedal engine.

First, you get a four-stereo track asynchronous looper with up to 40 seconds per loop (at 0.5x speed). Musicians can adjust each loop with independent controls like adjusting the playback direction, the speed, and the track volume. Overdubbing is possible at any speed and looped sounds can also be modified by the tape effects. And very importantly, everything is synchronizable via MIDI clock.

The second Easter Egg is a MIDI-controllable four-voice sine wave Synthesizer that the tape effects can modify. Plus, you can use it in the looper mode.

MIDI, CV, and Presets

Further, all parameters are fully controllable via MIDI or CV. So the pedal is not only suitable for guitarists but also for synthesizers and electronic musicians. Kinotone Audio ships the pedal with a Max for Live device to control the pedal via MIDI.

You can use eight preset slots to save your favorite settings. With such an extensive feature set, presets are only an advantage

This is an inspiring tape emulation pedal. The feature set is super dense and offers a lot of possibilities.

Kinotone Audio Ribbons will be available soon for pre-order for $399 USD.

More information here: Kinotone Audio 

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