Mar/Apr 2016

Welcome to issue #112 of Tape Op.


Right after this issue comes out, April 15th, 2016 will come around. What's the significance of this date? It marks 20 years of Tape Op Magazine. As the founder and editor of this humble mag, I am in shock. The little, hand-Xeroxed periodical that I started in order to learn more about recording (see this month's End Rant), and to discuss the creative aspects of making records, has endured a very large chunk of my life. I think the most important, and lasting, legacy the magazine has generated for myself has been the friendships and collaborations that have occurred along the way. John Baccigaluppi went from being the guy that produced and released my old band's recordings (Vomit Launch, in case you were asking!) to partnering up as my publisher - and becoming one of my best friends. Other folks have joined the fray along the way, and our current production team members: Andy Hong, Laura Thurmond, Dave Middleton, Scott McChane, Marsha Vdovin, and Maria Baker are my friends and will always be important to me. But one other person has contributed to this mag since nearly the beginning. From volunteering to proofread and staple issues many years ago, to tightening up our editorial and putting up with unplanned working vacations, Jenna Crane has been the best friend and a very important supporter in this crazy venture. 

I frequently go on rants about disposing of the DIY myth, and Tape Op is living proof that one needs friends and supporters to make something big really happen. Thanks to all our contributors, crew, and writers; thanks to my lovely wife; and thanks to everyone that supports the magazine with advertising. But the real thanks is to all the readers that see something in what we do, who read every issue, and those that send us thoughts and kind words. Thank you! 

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Val Garay’s Custom Gear

by Jonathan Saxon

Producer/engineer Val Garay is best known for his work on albums by James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Toto, Kim Carnes, Seals and Crofts, Jackson Browne, and The Motels. Interestingly, he comes from a...


Columns See more →


Gear Reviews See more →

Reference Mono Gold condenser mic

by Manley Laboratories  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

To most audio engineers, Manley Labs is best known for its rack gear. But Manley also makes mics. The Reference Cardioid and Reference Gold are hand-built tube mics suitable for critical recording...

10DCF compressor/limiter

by BAE  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

BAE has been making high quality gear in Los Angeles since the '80s, when the company's initials referred to the name of original owner Brent Averill, and Brent got his start racking vintage Neve 1073...

Issue #1 (magazine)

by Women in Sound  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

It's pretty awesome to stumble across a quarterly print 'zine that's "dedicated to increasing visibility for women working in live and recorded sound." Women in Sound is the product of editor...

P-87 condenser mic

by Peluso Microphones  |  reviewed by Francisco Botero

Mics can make the ordinary extraordinary. Mics are the lenses through which we show the listener the picture of what and how we see the world. Along the years, there have been many different...

Workhorse SixPack 500-series frame

by Radial Engineering  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Here's another product from Radial Engineering that has much more to it than meets the eye. At first glance, the Workhorse SixPack has the same form factor as any other six-slot 500-series frame with...

Origin condenser mic

by Aston Microphones  |  reviewed by Brad Williams

While Great Britain's legacy of recording gear manufacturing is rich, it's mostly been devoid of condenser microphones. Although many historic capacitor mics have roots in Germany or Austria, they've...

BC501 stereo bus compressor

by TK Audio  |  reviewed by Scott Evans, Don Gunn

Last summer, I invited myself to Panoramic House, John Baccigaluppi's studio in Marin County. I was thinking about buying a new mix-bus compressor, and Panoramic had a few I wanted to audition. Plus,...

SY Programming (technical paper)

by Herbert Janßen  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

Every rare once in a while, I stumble across something on the Internet that is so unique, overlooked, and vital, that I feel I need to point it out to somebody. SY Programming is one of those finds....

VLA 500 Optical Compressor

by ART  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

Since around 2002, those in the know have held secret appreciation and employed covert application of the ART Pro VLA and Pro VLA II compressors. These 2RU-height, tube-based, optical...

BP40 large-diaphragm dynamic mic

by Audio-Technica  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

One of the last things I think about when hearing the term "broadcast mic" is actual broadcast application. I have never done a podcast or worked at a radio station. Broadcast mics are typically...


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

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