Mar/Apr 2018

Welcome to issue #124 of Tape Op.


Sometimes I feel like maybe I've faked my way into the world of audio recording. I'll be talking to a group of engineers, usually peers around my age or younger, and they'll be rattling off classic, cool gear they own or use. "Oh, that Neumann U 47, into the Neve 1073, and mixed on the SSL G-Series. It sounded great." And I'll be thinking, "I've barely used any of this gear, if at all. Maybe I don't belong in this conversation? I haven't earned the right to be here."

My path came up through small studios, prosumer '80s gear, and making do with what I could get access to. No one has ever fronted the cash to put me in an expensive, classic studio with racks of Pultecs, Fairchilds, and Neve gear, or original Telefunken E LAM 251 mics and vintage Studer tape decks. The best mics I usually have access to are newer, boutique brands that are within my financial reach, and my favorite outboard gear is of similar origins. In fact, you'll see ads in Tape Op for a lot of this equipment. In fact, editing this magazine is how I learned about most of it; including everything from reviewing gear to meeting nice folks at trade shows.

I never interned at a high-end, professional studio with the opportunity to use all the classic gear. But eventually my modest studio has acquired some amazing, new-school gear, and at this point I can get quality sounds that are on par with any studio in the world. Sure, there might be some magic in a rare microphone, but I'm getting records done over here and I think I've figured out what I need and how to do it.

None of us need to use the same gear as everyone else, and no one needs to feel insecure about what they have available. There are a million ways to make a great recording.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Dan Molad: Emotional Output

by Larry Crane

Dan Molad may be best known as part of the band Lucius, or for his current solo release as CHIMNEY, but he's also been involved as a producer, collaborator, and musician with a lot of interesting...


Columns See more →

End Rant

Who’s Dropping By?

by Larry Crane

After 32 years of attending, visiting, and helming many studio recordings, I've come to recognize the impact that guests dropping by can have on a session. In Tape Op #73 I described my take on...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy

by Andy Hong

In 2012, I wrote about the P-touch PT-1290 label maker in “Gear Geeking” [Tape Op #90]. I've printed countless self-stick labels with the P-touch, using its mini QWERTY keyboard and...


Gear Reviews See more →

DrumCore 4

by Sonoma Wire Works  |  reviewed by Will Severin

I do a fair amount of video scoring on tight deadlines, which often makes tracking drums impossible. As a result, I find myself employing drum plug-ins pretty regularly. I've been using a few other...

Nu Mu Stereo Limiter Compressor

by Manley Laboratories  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

Manley makes audio gear in Chino, CA, for audio enthusiasts and audiophiles. In the same manner that drivers who love to drive (and have lots of money) drive Aston Martins, audio professionals who...

R10 500-Series Frame

by Rupert Neve Designs  |  reviewed by Chuck Zwicky

I must admit that I have never been a huge fan of the 500-series format. I have spent too much time repairing my friends' racking frames, usually due to the voltage regulators frying, and I always...

Modular Channel Stereo Model 8755DS

by Overstayer  |  reviewed by Thom Monahan

With most pro audio gear, there's never enough control right where the gain-staging starts to get interesting. The upper range of the operating levels of a circuit is often where full-bodied...

Mixcraft 8 DAW

by Acoustica  |  reviewed by Alan Tubbs

SONAR [Tape Op #116] is dead, long live… which DAW? The shutdown of Gibson-owned Cakewalk sent thousands of users looking for a new DAW. It may be that SONAR's demise has been grossly...

GrooveTech Guitar/Bass Multi-Tool (2018)

by CruzTOOLS  |  reviewed by Pete Weiss

Yes, I'm a bit biased. I'm a fan of CruzTOOLS' solid line of problem-solving musical instrument tools. I own and use one of their Guitar Player Tech Kits [Tape Op #69] (awesome for general guitar tech...

m900 Headphone Amp/DAC/Preamp

by Grace Design  |  reviewed by Tom Fine

As we all know, it's a new "personal listening" world out there. The majority of consumers, especially younger ones, listen to most of their music on earbuds or headphones, instead of full-range...

AI-1 Complete Studio Kit

by RØDE  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

After focusing on making microphones for 50 years, our Australian friends at RØDE have just released the AI–1 single-channel, high-resolution (24–bit, 96 kHz), portable...

R-10 Ribbon Mic

by Royer Labs  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Twenty years ago, Royer Labs unleashed the "now classic" Royer R–121 mic [Tape Op #19], and (along with AEA) helped point digital-weary engineers back towards the welcome old-school sound of...


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

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