Larry's review of Wings of Nature Organic Health Bars (Tape Op #81), in which he discussed healthy, in-studio snacking, inspired me to comment on another important means of staying happier and healthier in the studio — hydration. And by that, I mean keeping all your expensive equipment dry without having to suppress your fluid intake needs! Perhaps the most immediate solution is to keep a glass of water outside of the control room and step out whenever you're thirsty — zero chance you'll spill liquids onto your bajillion dollar whatever. This doesn't work for me because many hours can go by before I realize I haven't had a drink of water. That's why I prefer to keep a spill- proof bottle at my side. Specifically, I use a Camelbak Better Bottle ($9-$30 MSRP; It's available in three sizes; plastic or stainless steel; and either insulated or single-wall. There are two options for screw-on caps: "classic", without any doodads; and one that utilizes a Camelbak Bite Valve with an internal straw. For everyday use, I prefer the basic 16 oz, plastic (BPA-free, Tritan brand copolyester) bottle. It's perfectly sized so that I take multiple sips per hour, and when it runs empty, I know to take a break and stretch my legs. I also like its shape; a slight "hip" allows it to fit nicely in my hand and into any vehicle's cupholder — even smallish ones. The Bite Valve will not spill or drip when the bottle is tipped onto your console, and the valve folds away with a single-thumb operation to stay clean and out of the way when not in use. Once the cap is screwed off, a full-diameter opening allows easy cleaning by hand or in a dishwasher; plus, the Bite Valve and internal straw are removable. At home, I have multi-stage filters plumbed to dedicated drinking-water faucets on every floor, so I'm never without water. What about when I travel? I carry a Camelbak Groove ($25-$35 MSRP), which has a built-in water filter made from coconut-based carbon; as long as I have a supply of potable water — a hotel sink will do — I have great (neutral) tasting water to keep me hydrated. The Groove is also perfect for airline travel — just fill it from a fountain or sink after you've gone through security. All of the cap designs incorporate a comfortable finger loop for easy carrying (or to attach a clip), and all of the bottles use the same size opening, so the caps are interchangeable. Spare parts are easily purchased from retailers.  ••• Longtime readers may have noticed many of our reviews today are longer and more in-depth than ones we’ve published in years past. Also, we are lucky to live in a time when our options for recording gear and software continue to multiply. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, in the past year, we’ve accumulated a backlog of reviews awaiting publication. Therefore, starting with this issue, some of our reviews will be available online only. For example, if you visit now, you can read reviews of Avid HEAT (“a whole new dimension of analog-esque mojo”); Rupert Neve Designs Portico II (“mythical desert island channel strip?”); Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic and Saffire PRO 40 (“I would buy either of these units for the preamps alone”); Thermionic Culture Fat Bustard valve summing mixer (“thicker, meatier, dynamically ‘locked down’”); Ultrasone PRO 900 headphones (“broader, more natural headspace”); Manley Laboratories Mastering Backbone (“hearing, rather not hearing, is believing”); Camel Audio Alchemy soft synth (“total, nasty noises under your thumb”); and many more products.      –AH

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

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