How do we get better at the craft of recording music? For me, and from what I've gleaned over the years from other producers and engineers, there is one simple fact: I am never 100 percent happy with the work I have done. Every studio session presents unique challenges, and each time I end up making a few choices I am less than thrilled about or other times maybe I don't take action when I should. Mind you, the records I make aren't ruined by my decisions, and I'm probably the only one that notices these issues. This isn't about some perceived goal of perfection — I don't labor under the belief that every drum hit should be in exact time or that every note has to be impeccably pitched. For me it's about the small details that could have been captured better: the choice of a certain mic, the tone of an amp, the tempo of a song or length of a chorus. I keep a mental log of all the times I've let myself down in any way. And, as I start a new session, I push myself further to look out for anything that might need more attention. This is how we get better — because we never look back and think that we've done the perfect job. Never.

-Larry Crane, Editor

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

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