Sep/Oct 2015

Welcome to issue #109 of Tape Op.


I was invited to speak in front of a recording class that a friend was teaching recently, and one of the topics I brought up was the concept of being a fan of music. I find it hard to believe that anyone reading Tape Op would not be a music fan, let alone someone that was studying music recording and looking to become a professional. 

The kind of fandom I was discussing is one that borders on the obsessive, but it's one that has served me well. My thought is that there is a lot to be learned about music and making records, and one can partially accomplish that by studying every detail of an artist's career. Start by listening to all of their albums, then look for odds and ends that didn't get released on these records. Do a bit of research and find out why these tracks were not on albums. Look into side projects, and note the different styles or sounds these might have versus the main career path. Find articles, interviews, and books about the artists you like. Study the thoughts and stories that went into each album or session. Learn about the arc of an artist's career. Take a close look at records that were critically slammed, or didn't sell well, and try to understand what is different about these releases. 

All of this leads to information that can serve you well in the studio. An artist's first album is different than their second, third, or fourth release. A highly controlled session might be followed by a looser album project. By studying many artists' careers you'll start to see patterns that apply to the people you work with; by paying attention, you can recognize this and use it to your advantage. 

Plus, listening to music is fun! 

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


Columns See more →

End Rant

Negative Creeping

by Larry Crane

Last year I met up for beers with an audio engineer who was passing through town while doing front of house for a well-known artist on a sold out tour. While we were chatting about life and audio, he...


Gear Reviews See more →

Stinger mic & instrument preamp

by Aurora Audio  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

Though I can't remember ever having used any Aurora Audio gear, I have heard of Geoff Tanner, the brilliant tech who left Neve to pursue his own Class A preamp designs. Fellow friend and engineer...

MPDI-4 mic preamp/DI

by UnderTone Audio  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

UnderTone Audio (UTA) is a relative newcomer to the world of boutique gear, the brainchild of producer/engineer Eric Valentine and electronic designer Larry Jasper, both mad geniuses in their own...

Mini K47 condenser mic

by Roswell Pro Audio  |  reviewed by Tony SanFilippo

I received an email from Matt McGlynn of, asking if I'd like to try the mic his new company was releasing. I am never going to say "No" to a new mic. A week or so later, a pair of...

Micro Clock MkIII

by Black Lion Audio  |  reviewed by Allen Farmelo

I've writing about clocks in Tape Op for close to ten years now, and I can sum up my opinion on the often-ridiculously-touchy subject like this: Clocks matter. They make a difference in sound; and...

Real Reverb D

by Demeter  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Back in 2001, I reviewed the Demeter RV-1 Real Spring Reverb. I'm a big fan of electromechanical, non-digital, spatial effects — plates, springs, tape delays, and bucket-brigade delays rule my...

N8 active ribbon mic

by AEA  |  reviewed by Chris Koltay

One of the many things I love about owning a studio and making records is the bonding we do with our clients during the intense collaborations we call record-making. I've been extremely fortunate...

The Rock MkII active monitors

by Unity Audio  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Studio reference monitors. There is no definitive design or one size that fits all. Level of listening experience, room size/shape, speaker location, two-way, three-way, coaxial, ribbon, paper,...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

Instrumentals 2015

by Flying Saucer Attack | reviewed by Larry Crane

Dave Pearce's first album in 15 years consists of processed electric guitar performances recorded at home, live to tape and CD-R. Textures abound, sometimes jarring or noisy, but more often sedate and...

Music Reviews

Songs To Play

by Robert Forster | reviewed by Larry Crane

Unlike the late Grant McLennan, his former partner in the Go-Betweens, Robert Forster [Tape Op #14], has never been the most prolific of songwriters. But for us dedicated fans of his unique work,...



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

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