Sep/Oct 2018

Welcome to issue #127 of Tape Op.

TOC 127
"Organising is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up."
- A. A. Milne
Very organized writing utensil space at Power Station. See interview here.

Months ago, I was asked to produce a track for an artist who had previously done all of his own recordings himself. He sent me some tracks to overdub on, and I hired musicians and a vocalist to add parts under my guidance. When it came time to do a simple triangle overdub (it was a bossa nova styled tune) I grabbed two mics that had been used as drum overheads, and had the percussionist play in front of the stereo pair. When I sent off my first mix of the song, the artist noted, "I really enjoyed the movement of the muted triangle. It drew my attention in different directions, whether it was panned or not, which was enjoyable." I felt that he assumed there was some sort of intentional, or automated, panning going on, when all that was happening was the percussionist leaning slightly left or right as he played.

With the proliferation of plug-ins, online tutorials of processing overkill, and in-the-box everything, people sometimes forget that the simplest act – like recording percussion in front of a stereo mic – can create so much interest, and captivate the listener.

Many times it pays to remember that simple techniques often work best, and have the most impact.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Ben Fowler

by Larry Crane

I first met Ben Fowler in 2011 while working on a record for a new up-and-coming country artist, Charlie Worsham. I was the assistant engineer during tracking and overdubs, and Ben was going to be...


Columns See more →

End Rant

Set Yourself Apart

by Larry Crane

I'm worried about the current state of how people are learning recording. When I first started tracking myself (and others) out of my home studio, learning how to record on a budget was a difficult...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy

by Andy Hong

I recently received a product for review that included a USB cable in the box. The cable worked for charging, but it would not pass data. That got me thinking. Before there were standards for...


Gear Reviews See more →

Montage 6 Synthesizer

by Yamaha  |  reviewed by Alan Tubbs

About 40 years ago I purchased monitors for a home studio before such things were common. I still use those Yamaha NS-500s and matching amp in my home studio. Now, I can't promise your Montage will...

Tverb Plug-In

by Eventide  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

For me, a massive highlight from a recent trip to Berlin, Germany, was a visit to the legendary Hansa Tonstudio [Tape Op #95], where the majority of David Bowie's Low and Heroes albums were tracked...

Scheps Omni Channel Plug-In

by Waves  |  reviewed by Scott McDowell

With the Scheps Omni Channel, Waves has delivered a next generation channel strip that plays to its unique strengths in the best way possible. Over the last few years I've really embraced channel...

SigMod Plug-In

by NUGEN Audio  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

My new favorite plug-in, SigMod, is a routing toolbox with various "modules"– Mono, Trim, Phase, DC Offset, Mute/Solo, Switch, Tap, Delay, Mid/Side, Crossover, and Protect– that you can...

P3100 Studio Power Amp

by Hafler  |  reviewed by Tom Fine

As Canada's Radial Engineering continues to revive the Hafler brand (acquired in 2014 from Rockford Corporation), its latest move is into power amplifiers. First out of the gate is a revival of...

C9 Custom-Fit In-Ear Monitors

by Stealth Sonics  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

I've been in the music industry for several decades– and writing for Tape Op for a significant portion of that time. Along the way, I've met countless manufacturers, as well as their hired...

Soothe Plug-In

by Oeksound  |  reviewed by Scott Evans

I think I first heard about Soothe from mastering engineer Brad Boatright. "Just try it!" I did, and a day later I bought it. Note: never demo a plug-in you're not ready to buy. Soothe is a "dynamic...

BM9 Ribbon Microphone

by Extinct Audio  |  reviewed by Scott Evans

In audio, we're lucky to have a handful of obsessive experts on specific, niche topics; Stewart Tavener is one of these people. I first met Stewart five years ago while shopping for a stereo ribbon...

DT 1770 & DT 1990 PRO Headphones

by beyerdynamic  |  reviewed by Tom Fine

A couple of years ago beyerdynamic debuted the latest versions of their top dynamic studio headphones. The DT 1770 PRO closed-back and DT 1990 PRO open-back versions feature what beyerdynamic calls...

WaveLab 9.5

by Steinberg  |  reviewed by Scott Craggs

Longtime readers with amazing memories may recall my review of WaveLab 6 [Tape Op #62]. I was already a veteran user of this mastering suite at that point, and back then I said, "Writing about WaveLab...

HPH-MT8 Headphones

by Yamaha  |  reviewed by Harris Thurmond

As a guy who spends a lot of time recording, traveling on airplanes, and occupying open floor plan office spaces that many tech companies favor these days, I use headphones a lot – and being an...

PSP E27 Plug-In

by PSP Audioware  |  reviewed by Greg Gordon, Garrett Haines

The PSP E27 is a multi-stage equalizer plug-in modeled after the Avedis Audio Electronics 500 Series E27 [Tape Op #121] units. Also included is the PSP E27 SE, a simplified version of PSP E27. Note,...

Aurora(n) Interface

by Lynx  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Good digital conversion has come a long way in a relatively short time. There are now so many great options, ranging from streamlined 2-channel desktop interfaces and modular systems all the way up to...

Pro-L 2 Limiter Plug-In

by FabFilter  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

FabFilter's Pro-L 2 is the updated version of the company's acclaimed limiter plug-in. With features shared among the FabFilter line (stereo or mid/side processing, dual-ring gain controls, user...

RM5 Active Monitors

by ART  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

During the past few years, many manufacturers have introduced innovations in speaker design that include technology and composite materials developed for the aerospace industry and interesting designs...

LAB Optical Compressor Stompbox

by Union Tube & Transistor  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I love stompboxes as much as the next studio rat, but if we reviewed all of them there'd be no room for the other swell recording gear we chat about in Tape Op. But when respected pedal builder Union...

MiC + USB Microphone

by Apogee  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

Studio-quality; rugged; super-portable; easy to use across multiple platforms – it's nice to find a microphone that checks all of those boxes. I was a fan of the original Apogee MiC, and this...

TranZformer GT & LX Pedals

by API  |  reviewed by Pete Weiss

Designed around the celebrated 2520 discrete op-amp that has kept Automated Processes Inc. gear in hot demand since the early '70s, the legendary company's new "channel-strip-in-a-pedal" series...

1073 SPX Preamp & EQ

by AMS Neve  |  reviewed by Joel Hamilton

When I first opened the box to take a look at the 1073 SPX, I immediately saw a lot of familiar knobs that represented the exact same functions as those on any of my vintage Neve 1073s – or even...

R44CE Ribbon Microphone

by AEA  |  reviewed by Joseph Branciforte

With its unmistakable visual presence, enormous versatility, and famously silky smooth top end, the original RCA Type 44 (continuously produced from 1932 to 1955) has secured its place as one of the...


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