First let me help you out of your dream; you are never able to make your Digital Workstation sound Analog. There is a reason why all these analog consoles, tape machines and outboard gear are so expensive so you can’t expect to get that out of some software that costs only a few hundred bucks.
But I got a few tips to make it sound as analog as possible.
1. Use Analog Recordings, Sounds and Samples
Use sounds and samples that already sound warm and analog. Use drum sounds that are already processed thru analog gear. There are a lot sample creators and sound designers (including myself) that create these analog sample packs for producers who work strictly digital. I also like to sample old records and make something new out of it but then you have to deal with sample clearances if you want to release it. So if you don’t want to go thru all that it’s better to use royalty free samples. Or if you got the opportunity create your own samples like I did for my royalty free sample pack “Shroomalicious Instruments“. I recorded a couple of great musicians in big studios and made a sample library out of that.
2. Tape Emulators
Nowadays there are a lot of plugin versions of classic outboard gear including tape machines. Somehow tape machine emulators like J37 and Kramer get a sense of analog when you put them on a track. I use tape emulators all the time. It doesn’t sound exactly like the real thing but it definitely helps with (re-)creating an analog feel. I rather put them on individual instruments than on the master bus. My favorite tape emulator is the J37.
One of the plugins that also really helps to get an analog feel is Lo-Fi. You can use it to add some saturation, add noise, distortion, crush bits and to decrease the sample rate. I use this plugin all the time.
4. Vinyl Crackle
Record the part of an old vinyl where you just hear the crackle (no music) and loop that thru out your song. This adds a little bit of warmth and give the sense that you sampled from an old record.
5. Overdrive and Distortion
Amp emulators, overdrive and distortion plugins can also help to add some harmonics to your track and make it sound warmer and more analog. Maybe not even throw these plugins on the main sounds but create busses for them so you can add them very subtle.
6. Analog Outboard
You can also buy one piece of analog gear like an SSL Channel Strip and run all your channels thru it one by one. It might take some time and you have to record every channel back into your DAW after processing, which makes it hard to make changes. But it’s definitely not a bad idea if you are on a budget and still want some analog in your life.
It’s not easy to get an analog sound out of your DAW. Only a combination of these tips will help and it will never sound exactly like the real deal. Just keep tweaking till you get it to sound right. And be creative! Maybe you got an old cassette recorder or so and you want to record certain channels on there and then record them back into your DAW and parallel that with the original signal. Whatever works. The possibilities are endless. Like I said be creative!