Jan/Feb 2016

Welcome to issue #111 of Tape Op.


There's a subtle, interesting thought that pops up several times in this issue. Dave Pensado mentions, "I hate it when I hear somebody trying to be clever." Andrija Tokic notes that his "least favorite thing is when you listen to a record and it sounds very 'engineered in the studio.' I love stuff that transcends where it came from." Recording music might be the biggest magic act around, where we find ourselves setting up artificial environments to create recordings that try to sound natural. What is the conundrum of using electronic samples in order to make a recorded drum kit have more impact and grab a listener's attention? We sneak in all sorts of tricks and techniques trying to make a recording seem organic, real, and inviting; but the language of music recording — and what an audience expects — is a constantly evolving dialect. And sometimes clever studio trickery makes record buyers sit up and take notice. You never know...

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Doomtree: Minneapolis Hip-Hop

by Zac Meyer

Doomtree is a hip-hop collective base in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The seven-member band and record label is known for its homegrown DIY ethos, wide range of musical influences, and lyrical complexity...

Chris Walla: Making Tape Loops

by Larry Crane

Way the heck back, in issue #19 ofTape Op, we interviewed Chris Walla, then an integral part of the up-and-coming Death Cab For Cutie. Now Chris is off on his own, and his first music expedition (and...


Columns See more →

Gear Geeking

Audio Analysis Software

by Andy Hong

When I'm reviewing gear, audio analysis software like FuzzMeasure [this issue] gives me the ability to resolve differences in sound quality and consequently use objective language when conveying those...


Gear Reviews See more →

Pro-C 2 compressor plug-in

by FabFilter  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

FabFilter Pro-C 2 is the new and improved version of their Pro-C, a compressor plug-in that captured many hearts back in 2007, in part due to its GUI that was straight out of Star Trek: The Next...

B1 & B1D 500-series mic preamps

by Burl Audio  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Burl Audio is already well known and loved for its two-channel B2 Bomber AD/DA converter [Tape Op #79] and multi-channel B80 Mothership [#84], but maybe less so for its boutique all-analog audio gear....

Firefly tube direct box

by Radial Engineering  |  reviewed by Pete Weiss

Radial Engineering has been creating robust, well-designed, great-sounding audio boxes for decades now. The Canadian company - pioneers in the re-amping game - excels at solving problems that audio...

GTAW4 & GTAW5 sound-hole truss-rod wrenches

by CruzTOOLS  |  reviewed by Pete Weiss

As I barrel toward the half-century mark, I find I am way more active with guitars than in the past. Not only am I playing more than usual, I'm also adjusting, setting up, fixing, and even cobbling...

Celesoníc US-20x20 audio interface

by TASCAM  |  reviewed by Alan Tubbs

Many, um, "experienced" readers have fond memories of their first TASCAM/TEAC analog reel-to-reel or Portastudio cassette decks, while digital whippersnappers will be more familiar with TASCAM's...

FuzzMeasure 4 signal analysis software

by SuperMegaUltraGroovy  |  reviewed by Brad Williams

For acousticians and those engaged in research and development, the ability to measure attributes of rooms, speaker systems, and audio circuits is obviously invaluable. While the need for this...

HEXT headphone extension cable

by Sonic Nuance  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

Every once in a very rare while, a new pro audio product appears that is extremely well designed and fills a very obvious need, yet somehow, the product didn't exist earlier. When you finally get your...

V610 Complimiter

by Spectra Sonics  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

The V610 is an enhanced version of the classic Complimiter from Spectra Sonics. Spectra Sonics was founded by William G. Dilley in 1964 to build products for recording and broadcasting studios. Dilley...

DDL-500 500-series delay

by Eventide  |  reviewed by Eli Crews

Okay, Eventide has just officially become my favorite pro audio manufacturer on the planet. I had almost finished this already favorable review, and then I got something in the mail that made me come...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

The Complete Concert By The Sea

by Erroll Garner | reviewed by Tom Fine

Recorded at the Carmel, California, Sunset Center with a single Altec mic onto an Ampex 600 full-track tape deck on September 16, 1955, this concert became one of the best sellers in the Columbia jazz...

Music Reviews

The Complete Matrix Tapes

by The Velvet Underground | reviewed by Larry Crane

This four-CD box set includes 42 live performances by the legendary Velvets at the San Francisco club, The Matrix, in late 1969. Some of the material was on 1974's venerable 1969: The Velvet...



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

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