May/Jun 2019

Welcome to issue #131 of Tape Op.


Since founding this magazine 23 years ago, it's been interesting to me the many ways Tape Op reflects my own journey through music and audio, but also the many facets in which it doesn't. Sure, I own and run a professional studio, just like many of the people we interview, and it grew out of a small basement studio in my home, as do a portion of our readers and some of our interviewees. Catherine Vericolli and I share many of the same hurdles in running a studio in a smaller market, but when I compare my experiences mixing records,

I definitely don't have any credits like Michael Brauer's, with albums by the Rolling Stones or Coldplay to his name! I fell into this career by being in an underground band, which lead to making albums in affordable studios on small budgets. And I may have been in a group with a small, loyal fanbase, but I never toured the world or kept a band going for nearly 40 years, as Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance has skillfully done. And my musicianship? I'm a rank amateur compared to a player like Mark de Clive-Lowe!

Catherine Vericolli does not want her tape machine used as a table! See her interview here.

But we get to talk to so many people involved in many parts of the record-making process, and I learn something from every conversation. Sharing what I've learned (and continue to learn) is the best part of all of this, and I'm grateful to our readers for being a part of this journey.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


Columns See more →

End Rant

Think Like Tape

by Tony SanFilippo

A while back, Larry Crane – Tape Op's editor – tweeted an observation implying that many producers, engineers, and artists fill up their productions with tons of tracks simply because the...


Gear Reviews See more →

DirtMic-01 Microphone

by DrAlienSmith  |  reviewed by Ben Bernstein

The DrAlienSmith DirtMic-01 is an awesome "outside the box" mic for creating rich harmonic distortion effects without a plug-in or guitar pedal. It's very useful for blending with clean vocals, bass,...

Fusion Master Processor

by Solid State Logic  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

Solid State Logic has dominated the analog mixing console world for rock, pop, and R&B records for over three decades, and while DAWs have mostly taken over as production and mixing environments,...

Crescendo Mic Preamp

by SPL  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

(Cue Bon Scott howling "HIGH! VOLTAGE!") The Crescendo, andSPL's proprietary SUPRA high voltage op-ampsare an exciting innovation, and I believe it's a first of its kind: an 8-channel mic preamp...

Stealth Microphone

by Aston Microphones  |  reviewed by Ben Bernstein

The Stealth is the latest addition to Aston's product line. I've been an admirer of their revolutionary designs since reviewing their Starlight small diaphragm condenser [Tape Op #123]. I then...

Gullfoss EQ Plug-In

by Soundtheory  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I'm old enough to be wary of devices that claim to be cure-alls for making audio sound good. Processing devices, such as Aphex's Aural Exciter and BBE's Sonic Maximizer, abounded in the '80s, but most...

EMI Abbey Road Studios TG Microphone

by Chandler Limited  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

Leave it to Wade Goeke at Chandler Limited to come up with a new mic circuit unlike any I (and probably anyone else) have ever experienced. The full name of this new mic from the folks in Iowa is the...

dBooster Mic Preamp Booster

by Royer Labs  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

The recent history of audio has seen many companies come out with outboard phantom powered microphone amplifier devices intended to be used prior to the input stage of a proper mic preamplifier since...

TK-lizer 500 Equalizer

by TK Audio  |  reviewed by Justin Mantooth

My mix bus is a little crowded. Generally, I have three to four units doing very subtle things. I enjoy the cumulative effect of several stages of iron and discrete op-amps soaking up transients and...

DM20 DrumMic / CMK4 Mic Kit

by Earthworks Audio  |  reviewed by Scott Evans

Earthworks has made well-regarded condenser microphones for over 20 years. I've been curious about their drum mics for quite a while, so I was stoked to receive a CMK4 mic kit for review. The CMK4 kit...


by Audionamix  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

Welcome to the brave new world of DSP! Along with folks like iZotope, Audionamix is on the cutting edge of spectral based DSP technology that can do previously unheard of things with audio. These...

BDA4 4-ch D/A Converter

by BURL Audio  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

This "daughter card" works with the BURL B80 Mothership [Tape Op #84] and B16 Mothership configurable audio I/O systems. When the B80 Mothership was introduced, the BDA8 was the choice for D-to-A...

On the Record: The Magic Behind the Music (Book)

by Al Schmitt (with Maureen Droney)  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

This wonderful book tells the story of master engineer/producer Al Schmitt's career, along with many of his thoughts about the art of making records, with a smattering of interesting photos to boot....

Reference 4 Plug-In

by Sonarworks  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

When producing, mixing, or mastering, how frequently do you go out to your car and check your mix? Do you listen on three different headphones and a few different Bluetooth speakers? My answer to this...

PBR-8 500 Series Rack

by Black Lion Audio  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

Most 500 Series racks are just that – a hunk of rack gear that's not the sexiest piece of kit in the studio. They're mostly just a utility piece that's simply designed to interface other...

Cubase Pro 10

by Steinberg  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Cubase is my primary DAW. It offers me the best performance and user experience for recording and mixing music – whether I'm running it on my Microsoft Surface hybrid tablet/laptop with a...

Brooklyn DAC+

by Mytek  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

I have to stop and reflect on the way we listen to music today versus how I did growing up. It used to be a trip to the now defunct Tower Records or whatever local record store was in my town at the...

MixPre-10T & 10M Interfaces

by Sound Devices  |  reviewed by Kerry Rose

To piggyback on John Baccigaluppi's End Rant musings "Give Me a Hammer" [Tape Op #102 and #115], I have been looking for a particular hammer that might serve as my aspiration to get back to what fired...


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

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