For those of you interested in how Tape Op gear reviews are produced, I'd like to relate what happened with a particular review published in the previous issue, and springboard to a summary of the whole gear-review process, and to some extent, how reviews relate to advertising. Longtime contributor Joseph Lemmer contacted us to point out that his review of a mic kit from Microphone Parts [Tape Op #100] had been improperly edited: "A misunderstanding during fact-checking led to an error in the Microphone Parts review. I think the kit is very doable and worth the effort, but there are some steps that even an experienced technician will probably find challenging the first time they try. The words 'very easy time' in the conclusion of the review do not apply to my overall experience. Now that I've done it once though, I expect future builds to be easier." Joseph also noticed that his review had been quoted in an advertisement on the facing page, which to the average reader, might look a little fishy. Joseph is an ex-industry "insider" (I first met him when he was on the marketing team of a pro-audio company), so he was very understanding of how this mistake came to be. But, many of you haven't been privy to the review and advertising processes, and really, it's not anything secret or surreptitious. Tape Op relies on revenue from advertising to cover the costs of publishing a magazine — one that subscribers receive for free. Many of the advertisers are eager to see their products reviewed in Tape Op, and unabashedly, if an advertiser asks us to review their products, we take that request seriously. But, we don't let a company's status as an advertiser affect what we say in the reviews. When I assign a product to a writer, I don't tell the writer anything about the manufacturer's advertising plans — I myself have no clue most of the time. Moreover, when companies pitch products to us, we often decline. Because our page-count is limited, we strive to raise awareness of products that excite and inspire our readers — and our writers too. Our writers aren't paid for gear reviews (I also work for no pay), and because they're tasked with using the products in real productions, it would be a waste of their valuable time if we asked them to review anything that didn't truly merit attention. When Joseph pointed out the quote in the Microphone Parts ad, that's the first time that I knew that the company had purchased advertising. When a writer sends me a draft, a whole sequence of events is triggered. I work with the writer to make sure the review speaks to how readers might use the product (and not just to how the writer would use it), while also championing a theme that LC made clear to me a decade ago — reviews should be educational, and not just about the product. Then the review is shared with the manufacturer for fact- checking to make sure we're not publishing misinformation. Sometimes, the fact-check comes back from the manufacturer with a green light. Other times, like it did with Joseph's review, there's some back-and-forth between the writer, the manufacturer, and me. And every now and then, a manufacturer decides to purchase an ad to go along with review — but again, that's completely outside my department. What I set my sights on is completing the final edit. In the case of Joseph's review, this is where I made an editing mistake. Apologies!

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

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