16 years after first taking on my role here at Tape Op, I'm stepping aside, and starting with this issue, Scott McChane is the new Gear Reviews Editor. Scott has penned close to 50 reviews for the magazine in the past 10 years, and he's also spent countless hours at Tape Op HQ, not only as my assistant editor, but also as John's right-hand man in the production department. I'm confident that Scott will excel in his new job, but he does have his work cut out for him. Some of his tasks are a matter of logistics — for example, keeping abreast of all the new product releases; prioritizing and sequencing review assignments; and managing product deliveries and returns. Other responsibilities require more forethought and creative vision — like matching products to writers, so that the products are employed in actual sessions by real recordists; and offering direction to our writers to ensure that each review is not only informative about the specific product, but also educational and inspirational, so readers can take what they learn in the review and apply it to their own efforts using whatever tools they have on hand. ... What prompted me to step aside? A number of changes in my life have limited the amount of time I can spend in my studio, so I knew I had to simplify if I wanted to continue producing music. But letting go of certain things — including my daily responsibilities at Tape Op — was difficult, because I felt so tied to those duties. Unexpectedly, an audio-related product helped me to overcome encumbrances so that I could refocus my energy on earnest aspirations. That product was created by Michael Joly of OktavaMod [#51] and Michael Joly Engineering. In the years that I've known Michael, I've always understood him to be an exacting person. As an Empirical Engineer for David Blackmer (founder of dbx and Earthworks), Michael tweaked circuits to the nth degree. As the founder of OktavaMod, Michael developed optimizations for every component in the mics he serviced. Meanwhile, his passion for making music became clouded by what he calls the "incessant naggings" associated with the pursuit of perfection. Realizing this, Michael and his partner Alene Sibley, an intuition counselor, created N.O.W. by solu www.nowbysolu.com, a unique tone-therapy system for relieving stress, breaking down mental roadblocks, and enhancing consciousness. I think of it as the "bias tone" to mindfulness, in the same way that a tape recorder's bias function loosens the magnetic particles on the tape to allow the record head to do its thing. Michael prefers to call it "noise reduction for your mind." Regardless, N.O.W. is an abbreviation of New Origin Waveforms, a patent-pending "aural neuromodulation tech." Physically, it's a pair of weighty pucks that you can hold in your hands or place on a nearby surface. Each puck incorporates a speaker that plays sequences of beautiful, earthy tones — similar to the sounds of resonating ceramic bowls. Dozens of tone sequences are stored on each puck, and each sequence starts with about 3 seconds of silence, followed by tones lasting for roughly 3 minutes, ending in a long fade-out. With both pucks producing tones, subtle wave-interference patterns (beat frequencies, which are the auditory equivalent of moiré patterns) that are unique to each experience are generated. The premise is that setting aside 3 minutes, twice a day, to listen to these tones without distraction will bring you to a higher state of self-awareness. I can attest to the legitimacy of this premise, and I would recommend N.O.W. to everyone, especially fellow audioworkers. And with that, I say goodbye to you as Gear Reviews Editor, and hello as Gear Geek At Large.