Jul/Aug 2016

Welcome to issue #114 of Tape Op.


I’ve always understood music to be a very pure thing. In my mind, the only reason one would play music and create albums was to make art. It wasn’t until I’d been immersed in the music business for years that it really hit me; many people have their eyes on the cash prize. A slow path of artistic growth wasn’t on everyone’s mind, like it was for me. This can work, in varying degrees, but its effect is felt everywhere. I still believe in music and recording as art, but I also know it’s enmeshed with commerce as well. Making records costs money. Getting music in front of listeners costs money. Sometimes there’s a lot of money to be made. Other times there’s very little financial reward.

In this issue we talk with James Farber, who has helmed some of the best jazz recordings over the last quarter century. Jazz currently makes up less than 1.4% of U.S. music consumption, yet we all know it is an important genre, and possibly one of the best cultural exports this country has ever given the world.

We also speak with Jim Gaines, who tracked all those hit songs for Huey Lewis and The News back in the ‘80s. It was busy commerce for Huey and the guys back then, and now their music is embedded in our cultural milieu. I still find myself tapping my foot to it, and Jim did an amazing job recording those songs – they continue to sound fresh on the radio.

Let’s keep recording interesting music. We have to.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


Columns See more →

End Rant

Just Start Over

by Larry Crane

I remember a session, 17 years ago, with the band Quasi, for the album Field Studies. We'd tracked a song, "Birds." I thought the initial take was fine, and I believe we'd started overdubbing on it....

Gear Geeking

Windows 10

by Andy Hong

The nascence of my music-technology career goes back to high school, when I wrote a 1-bit sampling drum-machine program for my Apple ][+, utilizing the computer's cassette-tape storage port as the A/D...


Gear Reviews See more →

Great British Recording Studios (book)

by Howard Massey  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I think a lot of Tape Op readers have been waiting years for a book like this. Howard Massey is the author of the Behind the Glass series and co-author of Geoff Emerick's Here, There and Everywhere...

DAW-specific Backlit Keyboard

by Editors Keys  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Last year, I was recording the upcoming album from Exit Verse (ex-members of Karate, Chisel, Brokeback) at MINBAL in Chicago. Most of the time, the band wanted to keep the lights off in the live room....

VTMP-2B Tube Preamp

by Demeter  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Name me any boutique, high-end, tube preamp that has been on the market for over 30 years. That's right, Demeter's VTMP is the only one that's been around that long. I remember using one in a local...

Lola Headphone

by Blue  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

In my review of the Blue Mo-Fi headphone [Tape Op #105] last year, I stated that it was the most innovative headphone I'd ever seen. Lola is the new, younger sibling of Mo-Fi. It shares the same...

AVAA C20 Active Bass Absorber

by PSI Audio  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

I don't know how many unicorns PSI Audio had to milk to fill up this 20'' tall box full of magic. Actually, it's not really a milk box; it's more like a wedge of Swiss cheese. Coincidentally, its...

PhantomFocus eChair

by Carl Tatz Design  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Carl Tatz is an award-winning studio designer best known for his PhantomFocus System [Tape Op #82], a wholistic approach to optimizing all aspects of a monitoring system in order to achieve the best...

Trio6 Be Active Monitors

by Focal Professional  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

There are many important components of an audio chain. You save your pennies to get a nice mic, a new preamp, perhaps some different flavors of outboard gear; or if you work in-the-box, maybe you...

Stratus Broadband Ceiling Cloud

by Primacoustic  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Primacoustic has been making high-quality sound-control products since 2000. I have owned a pair of Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizer speaker-isolation platforms [Tape Op #62] for many years now, and I...

ZAOR Studio Furniture

by Miza Griprack  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

ZAOR was founded in 2014 by Italian master piano-builder Michele Zullo. His company's product line of stylish, modular, studio furniture came to my attention just this year via Simon Côté...

535-LA 500-series Line Amp

by API  |  reviewed by Thom Monahan

The API 535-LA is a line-amp module based on the company's venerable 325 booster card. It utilizes the same AP2503 transformer, 2510 differential amp, and 2520 op-amp that have been the DNA building...


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

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