Nov/Dec 2010

Welcome to issue #80 of Tape Op.

 

I recently did three one-day sessions in a row with three different artists whom I had minimal contact beforehand. I thought of these as "cold call" sessions, as we hadn't done preproduction or much chatting before recording, and in two cases I had no real idea of what the music would sound like. For at least four years I hadn't been working in this fashion, as I'd been busy with moving to a new home, moving my studio to a new building, working on Tape Op and some of our books, doing archive work and attending to multiple overwhelming personal events in my life. The recording sessions I'd done were either with repeat, long-time clients or on jobs lasting at least several days or more. But this time in Portland I picked up some of these "shifts," and it was enlightening. In all cases I felt that I learned something about myself.

Working with several artists who were studio neophytes and a band that was very young, I felt that my patience and steadiness in the studio was my biggest asset. Sure, I can always get great sounds and coach a good performance out of someone, but the ability to negotiate a question like, "What is mixing?" without coming off like a know-it-all jerk is real talent.

I feel like in my recording past I may have been curt with clients at times, impatient of folks that didn't understand the process or dismissive of what I thought were useless ideas. I find as I get older and more experienced that I'm more patient and secure in my own work, and it is reflected in how I work with others. Maybe these are the hardest skills to attain.

Larry Crane, Editor

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Dawn Landes

by Larry Crane

Years ago I met a young woman who was assisting at several studios and working with music people around New York City. She hooked Tape Op up with an interesting interview with stomp box designer John...

Columns See more →

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #80

by Andy Hong

Up until a few years ago, efficient switch-mode DC-to-DC converters were too noisy to use in audio applications. That's why until recently, you didn't see 500-series modules that require internal...

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Gear Reviews See more →

R-101 ribbon mic

by Royer  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

When the Royer R-121 ribbon mic (Tape Op #19) came out in 1998, word on the street from working engineers was overwhelmingly positive. I borrowed one from Jeff Stuart Saltzman and soon bought my own....

Isotools

by Primacoustic  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

ck when they were first introduced, I was skeptical of the Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizers monitor pads (Tape Op #62) that have since become something of an industry standard. Having little or no...

Dual Vandergraph

by Shadow Hills  |  reviewed by Eli Crews

Next on the 500-series hit parade is Shadow Hills Industries' gorgeous Dual Vandergraph! It's a stereo compressor with roots in Shadow Hills' own Mastering Compressor, a behemoth that has found its...

Sibelius 6

by Avid  |  reviewed by David Hidek

When contemporary music intersects with the world of classical music, certain things can be lost in translation. How many times have you heard a guitar player mention that he doesn't really know...

DIY500 mkII Minimal Kit

by Eisen Audio  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

If you've mastered the skills necessary to build something like a Seventh Circle Audio preamp (Tape Op #35, #54), you might want to move to something a little more challenging. Eisen Audio has just...

Regensburg Dom microphone

by Cathedral Pipes  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

How many good vocal mics are there out there today? Probably way too many, but how many are truly great vocal mics? Now we can narrow the field, with the choice mics being mostly of the vintage or...

Chameleon Bass Trap

by Ready Acoustics  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

I can't think of a recording studio that doesn't require acoustic treatment. Like many Tape Op readers, we've done our fair share of DIY blended with commercial off-the-shelf solutions. If you run a...

Saffire PRO 24 DSP

by Focusrite  |  reviewed by Joseph Lemmer

Focusrite's compact, 16 in, 8 out, 24-bit, 96 kHz FireWire audio interface includes 4 analog inputs (2 mic/line/instrument, 2 line/instrument), 6 analog outputs, S/PDIF I/O, and ADAT in. Under the...

Dragon Dynamics Processor

by Slate Pro Audio  |  reviewed by Thom Monahan

If you've heard of Steven Slate and his sample libraries, you're aware of one thing; Steven Slate loves drums. All kinds of drums - big ones, small ones, drums up close, drums far away...... drums,...

DDP Player OEM

by Sonoris Audio Engineering  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

This standalone, cross-platform application allows mastering engineers to provide complete evaluation masters to artists. If you're wondering why this matters, it means that artists can review masters...

Alchemy soft synth

by Camel Audio  |  reviewed by Alan Tubbs

There are many jobs for which hardware still rules the music roost. But there are some that software does better - synths, for example. Though no software will replace my analog Minimoog, many...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

Majesty Shredding

by Superchunk | reviewed by Larry Crane

In issue #76 I cornered Mac McCaughan in a donut shop and picked his brain about different recording scenarios. Mac hinted that producer/engineer Scott Solter (issue #67) would be an interesting...

Music Reviews

Personal Life

by The Thermals | reviewed by Larry Crane

For album number five, The Thermals hook up with producer Chris Walla (issue #19) at Jackpot! Recording in Portland, OR (I know, that's my studio, but screw you if you think I'm doing this to serve my...

Music Reviews

The Age of Adz

by Sufjan Stevens | reviewed by Larry Crane

In issue #70 we got the scoop on Sufjan's unorthodox recording techniques. This new album is more "electronic-y" with some "real" instruments mucked around with in some crazy ways. I think I like it a...

Music Reviews

Rubber Soulive

by Soulive | reviewed by Larry Crane

I interviewed drummer/recordist/producer Alan Evans in issue #76, and found his positive, creative attitude infectious. Here the band delivers instrumental versions of Beatles songs (not all from...

Music Reviews

Band of Joy

by Robert Plant | reviewed by Larry Crane

With guitarist/co-producer Buddy Miller (issue #34) and two surprising covers of songs by Low (issue #31) it's a Tape Op love fest here. Fans of Plant's collaboration with Alison Krauss will love...

Music Reviews

The Seven Degrees of...

by Stephen Egerton | reviewed by Larry Crane

In issue #12 we chatted with guitarist Stephen about the Blasting Room Studios and his time recording in The Descendents and All. Here he delivers an album chock full of guest vocalists (members of...

Music Reviews

Love of the Amateur

by The Slummers | reviewed by Larry Crane

Dan Stuart (Green on Red) and JD Foster (issue #34) got together and recorded this interesting, kinda low-key collection of songs. I've worked with JD in the studio, and I can hear the touches that he...

Music Reviews

Mines

by Menomena | reviewed by Larry Crane

In issue #47 we chatted with these guys about their unique way of constructing songs on their first album using member Brent Knopf's Deeler program. Four albums later their sound remains similar yet...

Music Reviews

A View of the Sky

by Paleo | reviewed by Larry Crane

In issue #66 Roy Silverstein checked out Paleo (David Andrew Strackany) and his song-a-day for a year project. Here he presents comparatively modest set of 13 songs in his ragged, enthusiastic style....

Music Reviews

Skyscraper Crow

by Anders Parker | reviewed by Larry Crane

The leader of Varnaline and a member of Space Needle, Anders was interviewed way back in issue #2. Wow. Here he presents two albums for the price of one: Skyscraper and Crow. It's pretty cool, as...

Music Reviews

Content

by Gang of Four | reviewed by Larry Crane

In issue #71 I interviewed guitarist Andy Gill at his private studio in London. He mentioned Go4 would be working on new material. Here it is. They made it at Andy's. It rocks.

Music Reviews

Pine/Cross Dover

by Masters Of Reality | reviewed by Larry Crane

In issue #63 I found head Master Chris Goss working on an album at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, CA (along with Dave Catching, who pops up here on guitar). Here Chris gets back to his band and...

Music Reviews

The Beginner

by Zea | reviewed by Larry Crane

I interviewed Amsterdam's Zea (Arnold De Boer) in issue #52 at his home studio, where most of this fun, hyperkinetic album was recorded. Other sessions took place at Next to Jaap Studio in Voorhout,...

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