Mar/Apr 2017

Welcome to issue #118 of Tape Op.


A lot of times during recording sessions people ask me if I'm able to listen to music outside the studio without being super critical of what I'm hearing. Usually this follows 30 minutes of using iZotope RX to remove little noises that I find egregious on a singer's track, or perhaps meticulously comping vocal and instrumental takes, or some other process that makes me look a bit overly concerned with some of the details of recording. I always answer, "Oh, no. I listen to the music, the songs, and the performances, and I try to always enjoy the experience for what it is." And, to be honest, most of the time I do! But sometimes my "engineer/producer" hat slips back on outside of work, and I hear sounds that I question. It could be out-of-phase stereo guitars, drums and percussion that are out of time, flat or sharp vocals, overly loud mastering, or sometimes just odd arrangement choices. But the truth is, many of these details don't matter. If it's a great song to start with, and the performances do the song justice, then it's highly likely that the song is worth listening to. And then I think back to sessions where we were obsessing over tiny details of timing or pitch, and I think to myself, "In the future, relax. Don't worry about everything. Just make sure it feels good. Make sure it reminds me of records and songs that I love." Every day we have opportunities to learn more.

Another perspective on the Lego Studio built by Brad Boatright and Wes Boatright for this issue’s cover. Thanks to Scott Evans for helping to set this up. Photo by Jason Quigley.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


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Gear Reviews See more →

Type 30 Active Monitors

by HEDD  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Spoiler alert! This active, three-way, midfield monitor from HEDD is so incredible, I purchased a pair for my personal studio. I'll spare you the effort of jumping to the end of the review to see how...

Babyface Pro Desktop USB Interface

by RME  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

Great sound, flexible, tough, balanced, professional I/O, MIDI I/O, expandable, built-in DSP, bus-powered — these features and traits shouldn't have to be mutually exclusive in a compact, mobile...

The Art of Recording a Big Band (film)

by Shevy Shovlin, Director  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

"It's not rocket science — putting good microphones up and getting a balance in a good room." So states Al Schmitt, as we watch him and Steve Genewick lead a two-day master class while recording...

TDI Tuner & DI Stompbox

by Sonic Nuance  |  reviewed by Pete Weiss

It's rare these days for a truly unique piece of gear to rear its head. What is surprising about the Sonic Nuance TDI is that it is such a simple combination of two familiar, somewhat mundane tools...

MFTwenty5 Modular Console

by Purple Audio  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Not long ago, I moved into a new space to mix. It's great. I got it sounding good with some acoustic treatment, and it has a stellar view of the water here in Seattle. It is an inspiring place to...

bx_rooMS Reverb Plug-In

by Brainworx  |  reviewed by Dave Cerminara

bx_rooMS is the first reverb plug-in from the mid-side gurus at Brainworx. Developed in conjunction with Thomas Fiedler, bx_rooMS utilizes Fiedler's TrueSpace technology, which according to Brainworx,...

Shelford Channel

by Rupert Neve Designs  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Rupert Neve is the most well-known name in pro audio, and for good reason. To this day, Neve consoles remain the stuff of legend, and the mic preamp from the Neve 1073 module is arguably the most...

V Series 4 Active Monitors

by KRK Systems  |  reviewed by Jonathan Saxon

The new V Series 4 nearfield studio monitors are the fourth generation of KRK's top-tier V Series, designed to provide high-quality, accurate representation in multiple applications, at a sensible...

Chase Bliss Audio

by Chase Bliss Audio  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I was asked to demo real flanging for some friends a while back, so I recorded the same material onto two tape decks and attempted to play them back at the same time, to create the rich, whooshing,...

EchoBoy Jr. Plug-in

by Soundtoys  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

Tastes great and less filling! I normally am not into the "light" versions of things, whether it's food or software, but I have to confess, I love EchoBoy Jr.! I've always considered EchoBoy (Sr.?) to...

Symphony I/O Mk II Audio Interface

by Apogee  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

Hmm, what metaphor do we go with here? How about: Apogee's new flagship interface is a badass truck that drives like a futuristic sports car. Nailed it. Lemme explain. The new Symphony I/O Mk II is...


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

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