May/Jun 2016

Welcome to issue #113 of Tape Op.


Many times the only obstacle to getting great recordings is simply us. We think before we listen. We convince ourselves that the right mic has been chosen, that the room doesn't sound that bad, and that we've figured out how to work around what we hear from our fallible monitors. We look at the levels and tracks
in the computer. We then decide everything has been captured properly, and that we will have enough to work with in a final mix. 

Stop! Listen to everything with a clear and focused mind. Solo tracks or mics, and turn off every piece of gear or plug-in that doesn't have to be engaged. Is it audibly better? It just might be far better without processing. Try turning off your computer monitor during tracking and playback. Open your mind and close your eyes. 

Really listen. Hit the reset button in your brain. Use your ears, not your assumptions. 

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


Columns See more →


Gear Reviews See more →

32cs channel strip

by Harrison Consoles  |  reviewed by Kirt Shearer

I remember the first time I saw a Harrison 3232 console when I was a young engineer visiting Southern California. At that point, I didn't have much experience on a large-format analog console. That...

Stretch 500-series dynamics processor

by Standard Audio  |  reviewed by Eli Crews

Standard Audio caught my attention around six years ago when I reviewed the amazing Level-Or [Tape Op #78]. With the Stretch, Standard again took the DNA of some hard-to- come-by vintage gear and...

Vari-Cap instrument cable

by UnderToneAudio  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

It's almost annoying. This is the second UnderToneAudio product I've had my hands (and ears) on, and the second to become immediately indispensable to my recording setup. However, to be honest, I...

X1-R & V1 robotic mic mounts

by DynaMount  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

A year ago, I stumbled across a Kickstarter campaign to build a robotic mic mount. I'd always wanted something like this, where I could remotely move a mic from the control room while actively...

Drum ring damper

by DrumClip  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

DrumClips came to me by way of a professional session drummer I'd worked with recently. During our session together, I walked into the live room with a roll of gaffer's tape — an all too...

RNDI active transformer DI

by RupertNeveDesigns  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

The RNDI is an active, transformer-equipped, direct interface. It not only provides the best-sounding DI signal I've ever heard, but it can also handle line-level signals, as well as the speaker-level...


EQ4M 6-band stereo EQ

by Mäag Audio  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

When F. Reid Shippen reviewed the 500-series Mäag EQ4 [Tape Op #88], he gave the six-band EQ high marks while pondering, "I also have to wonder if the EQ4 might not be a really cool mastering...

ATH-M50x & ATH-M70x headphones

by Audio-Technica  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Everything I wrote about the sound of the original ATH-M50 headphone model [Tape Op #63] still rings true for its replacement, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor closed-back headphone....

BG-2 tube compressor

by Highland Dynamics  |  reviewed by Brad Allen Williams

When it comes to checking out new recording equipment, we all bring expectation biases. Some really want to believe that the latest truly is the greatest, while others are skeptical of the new and...

N-8 8-channel active DI

by Phoenix Audio  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Some gear in my studio falls more under the category of "problem solver" and less in the "glamorous" camp. The N-8 is a 1RU-height, rackmount, eight-channel version of the stereo Phoenix Audio Nice...

Sparrow ADC mkII , Sparrow DAC

by Black Lion Audio  |  reviewed by Tom Fine

Black Lion Audio, based in Chicago, started out as a "hot-rodding shop," modifying equipment by other manufacturers to improve the sound quality. After gaining traction in the upgrade business, the...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

You See the World

by Shannon Hayden | reviewed by Andy

This is the most picturesque album I've ever heard. The images it invokes, especially when I close my eyes, are strikingly vivid. I first experienced Shannon Hayden's music a couple of years ago, when...



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

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