Mar/Apr 2013

Welcome to issue #94 of Tape Op.


I spend a fair amount of time pondering what to write about for the End Rant of Tape Op. We are 94 issues in, and sometimes it's difficult to think of topics I haven't covered before. Being that I own a commercial recording studio, I frequently consider the way in which it's run. But I also wonder about the relevance of writing about owning a service business like this, and whether lessons learned there would be of interest to all of our readers. This issue I thought of a topic, something so obvious and right in front of me I feel there are aspects of this that would apply to anyone working in a creative field, and maybe — just maybe — I could drive home a point about recording that's been very important to me from the beginning. Check it out here.

At Tape Op we rarely have "themed" issues, but in 94 we go on a journey into the deepest heart of Texas. For a number of years I've made the springtime trek to the fine city of Austin for the South By Southwest Music and Media Conference. I love going to Texas, and visiting Austin — such a vibrant music town. If you’re down there I hope we see you at our Tape Op Party (Thursday, March 14th at the Lucky Lounge) – it’s always a blast. Enjoy!

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Tony Rancich: of Sonic Ranch

by Larry Crane

In the middle of a pecan ranch in Tornillo, Texas — 30 miles east of El Paso — you'll find Sonic Ranch, the largest residential recording studio in the world. The studio's owner, Tony...

Columns See more →

End Rant

Reaching Out

by Larry Crane

A couple of years ago I purchased a download package that a friend's band, Blue Skies for Black Hearts, was offering up. It was a generous offer, proceeds went towards a good cause, and the band is...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #94

by Andy Hong

When an aspiring producer expressed her goal to remain in the analog/tape domain as much as possible, I played her a song I had recorded some years ago — "You Know" by Nedelle & Thom from...


Gear Reviews See more →

iXY stereo mic for iOS

by RĂ˜DE  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I have to admit I'm really not one of those people that lusts after recording equipment. I'm sure one reason is that I have a well-equipped studio with a lot of gear that I've amassed over the years,...

FC-387 Atlantis condenser mic

by Lauten Audio  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Every now and then, I acquire a product that's so unbelievably awesome, that I have a difficult time penning a review of it. The FC-387 Atlantis - Lauten Audio's newest multi-pattern, large-diaphragm,...

3500MP mic preamp

by Moon Professional  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

Many of you may be wondering who Moon Professional is and why you should pay any attention to another company making mic preamps. These too were my first questions when their first product was...

ELiTE ProPanels absorptive panels

by Auralex Acoustics  |  reviewed by Brandon Miller

If you're in the market for sound treatment, then you've certainly come across the Auralex name. They've been a staple in the industry for ages, and their product range is vast. Their ELiTE line is...

Level 3 Reference Series speaker wire

by AntiCable Audio  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

AntiCable speaker wires are a high performance yet affordable alternative to boutique speaker cables. Created by Minnesota's Paul Speltz, the AntiCable design flies in the face of just about every...

A840 active ribbon mic

by AEA  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

AEA makes some of the world's finest ribbons mics, including their recreation of the RCA 44-BX (the AEA R44) and their groundbreaking active A440, which carry hefty price tags. Wes Dooley, the founder...

Relay G30 wireless guitar system

by Line 6  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

During the process of setting up some new guitar amp rigs at NightBird Recording Studios, I was provided a Line 6 Relay G30 wireless guitar system. The system is comprised of a battery-powered...

Alloy 2 plug-in

by iZotope  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

When the original version of Alloy was released, Dave Hidek, Chief Recording Engineer of Treelady Studios, wrote an informative review [Tape Op #76] stating: "Alloy, like its name suggests, is a...

Production Bundle plug-ins

by Metric Halo  |  reviewed by Eli Crews

I have been a user and fan of Metric Halo's hardware and software for quite a few years now, having gotten my first Mobile I/O 2882 +DSP [Tape Op #34] almost a decade ago. My two 2d-upgraded 2882s are...

Pro-DS plug-in

by FabFilter  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

As a fan of all things FabFilter, I jumped at the chance to check out Pro-DS, a new de-esser plug-in that claims both intelligent and transparent de-essing as well as high-frequency limiting. As luck...


by MDI PrecisionMotorWorks  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

MagREELS are precision auto-centering NAB adapters for the ATR-100 series tape machines. Machined from a solid block of 6061-T6 aluminum alloy, these hubs boast concentricity and axial run-out...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews


by El Ten Eleven | reviewed by Larry Crane

I've always felt that the best way to check out an artist is to see them perform live. In the current age of digital nip and tuck, a great performance carries even more weight in my opinion. When I...

Music Reviews

Sorry to Bother You

by The Coup | reviewed by Larry Crane

Is this a hip-hop record? What is considered a hip-hop record, at this point in time? These days some rock albums are made from the same amount of bits and pieces as any sample-based production....



Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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