May/Jun 2017

Welcome to issue #119 of Tape Op.


“Despite recording studios being the place designed to capture musical ideas, in many of them it takes far too much effort to get those ideas down as they’re happening.”
From Processing Creativity by Jesse Cannon (see review this issue)

How is it that a professional recording studio is actually one of the most difficult places to capture a spontaneous recording? I know that might sound shocking, but it’s true. Think of the beginning of a typical session, where no mics are set up, no cables are patched, and no tracks are enabled. You wanna throw an idea down really fast? It’ll be a while as we plug all this in, turn on the computer, align the tape deck, and so on.

In interviews we’ve constantly seen engineers mention they use whatever mics were handy in order to record an idea or part quickly. I find myself doing this all the time in the middle of a session. In my home studio, I want to have everything ready to go more and more so I can track parts as quickly as possible. In my professional studio, the space is presented with all mics, cables, and stands put away. It’s a blank slate, and the recordist must decide how to set up for the day.

I’m thinking of starting every session with a couple of mics set up and ready, or a little Zoom recorder laying around in record mode. Who knows, someday I might capture an idea or take that would have been lost forever.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Build Your Own Spring Reverb

by Scott Hampton

I have been a big fan of spring and plate reverbs for decades, and over the past three years I have spent a significant amount of time diving into the wormhole of designing and building them,...


Columns See more →

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy

by Andy Hong

Until recently, I’d been relying on my headphone system to talk to the band in the live room, or sometimes a PA speaker I’d place on the floor, instead of a permanent set of talkback...


Gear Reviews See more →

V13 Large-Diaphragm Tube Mic

by Vanguard Audio Labs  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

"Smooth like whiskey" — that's how Vanguard Audio Lab's main man, Derek Bargaehr, describes the sound of the V13 large-diaphragm condenser mic. Vanguard, a small company based in Upland,...

HG-2 Tube Processor

by Black Box Analog Design  |  reviewed by Scott Craggs

So, what we have here is a big (3RU-height), heavy (26 lb) black box filled with tubes and transformers, from a company called Black Box Analog Design. That's a lot to like already, and I haven't...

F765 Compex 500-Series Compressor

by Q2 Audio  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

You may already know the story behind the legendary ADR Compex dynamics processor, which for many of us, is noted mostly for the drum sound on Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks." Q2 Audio, the...

API 2500 Bus Compressor Plug-In

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by Dave Cerminara

The online audio community always cheers when Universal Audio announces a software update with new plug-in emulations. This happened again when the company announced UAD version 9 with the...

Resonator A & B Dynamic Mics

by Placid Audio  |  reviewed by Joel Hamilton

When a piece of equipment comes along that challenges the norms of the day, I always take notice. "Normal" is an ever-shifting sandbar in the harbor of consensus, and it never holds still for long in...

KSM8 Dualdyne Dynamic Mic

by Shure  |  reviewed by Chris Koltay

My original plan was to write a typical Andy Hong review of the new Shure KSM8 mic, with measurements and thoughts from empirical testing accompanying my commentary of actual in-studio use. But soon...

Element Acoustic Panels

by Primacoustic  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

The Element broadband absorber panels are a new product from Primacoustic. I have a Primacoustic Stratus ceiling cloud [Tape Op #114] installed in my mix space, and I have been happy with its...


611EQ E Series EQ

by Solid State Logic  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

At Panoramic House, we have various EQ modules installed in the 500-series slots of our API 1608 console [Tape Op #81]. Until recently, none of them had sweepable frequencies. I love the sound of the...


530 Parametric EQ

by dbx  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

I've been looking for 500-series parametric EQ modules for our API 1608 console [Tape Op #81] for a while now. I love the sound of our API 550 EQs, but sometimes, I want to hit frequencies in between...


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

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