Jul/Aug 2019

Welcome to issue #132 of Tape Op.


"How do we stay interested in the art of recording?" It's a question I was considering recently, and I feel fortunate that I remain excited about mixing songs, producing records, running a studio, interviewing recordists, and editing this magazine after twenty-plus years. But how do I keep a positive outlook on something that has consumed a fair chunk of my life, and continues to take up so much of my time? I believe my brain loves the intersection of art, craft, and technology. I love the problem solving. I love taking a song in its raw form and making it into something bigger, more dramatic, and able to reach more listeners. I'm proud to help inform and educate others through Tape Op, my instructional videos with LinkedIn Learning, and the occasional recording workshops I offer at my studio. I like staying busy.

But it's the act of putting art and knowledge back into the world that keeps me going. I adore that I can help others leave artifacts and albums behind for future generations to hear. I cherish every email Tape Op gets from an appreciative reader, and every person I've met that tells me they love this magazine. It means a lot. I don't take anyone's enthusiasm for granted – I feel we have to earn it with every issue.

I'll keep making records, and I'll keep doing interviews. Thank you, everyone.

Extra special thanks to Zoran Orlic for providing more amazing photos from The Loft than we could possibly run. Here's one more of Jeff Tweedy and Nels Cline talking shop. Interview with Jeff starts here.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Spencer Tweedy

by Larry Crane

Being that Spencer graciously helped Tape Op set up our interview with his dad, Jeff Tweedy, and that he sat patiently as I asked so many questions, we thought it'd be fun to talk to him about growing...


Columns See more →

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy

by Andy Hong

After reading Tom Fine's informative review of the Mini Maglite Pro [Tape Op #130], I realized that it's been a while since I've talked about flashlights. My favorite task light is the Bosch FL12 Max...


Gear Reviews See more →

Synergy R1 500 Series Reverb

by Audified  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

Audified is a hardware and software company from the Czech Republic that may be somewhat unfamiliar as a brand name in the US, but for more than 20 years they have been creating audio products under...

Weiss DS1-MK3 Bundle

by Softube  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Softube is one of the most acclaimed emulation developers, so it was a surprise that their release of the Weiss DS1-MK3 mastering compressor was not a model – it's a line-by-line source transfer...


Pro-Q 3

by FabFilter  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

FabFilter's Pro-Q 3 is the best sounding, most powerful, most flexible EQ plug-in that I've ever used. If you're familiar with FabFilter's line of products, you'll be glad to know that the Pro-Q 3...

iD44 Interface

by Audient  |  reviewed by Alan Tubbs

Audient jumped headfirst into the premium class interface market with their release of the iD22 [Tape Op #104]. The premium classification gives more attention to component and design quality than...

A32 Converter

by Ferrofish  |  reviewed by John Bologni

Admittedly, I'd began this review with a bit of frustration by hooking up the MADI optical outputs of my interface to the MADI optical inputs of the Ferrofish A32, routed 16 channels of audio and......

SpringBox Plug-In

by PSP  |  reviewed by Vince Chiarito

There are plenty of great emulations of upscale vintage reverbs out there, from plates and chambers to coveted early digital units. While there is a time and a place for these elegant designs, many...

El Rey Plug-In

by Acustica Audio  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

The debate between hardware versus plug-ins has cooled over the last couple years as plug-ins are getting better and better. However, Acustica Audio seems happy to stoke the fires with their El Rey...

The Bakersfield Sound (Book)

by Robert E. Price  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

The children of Dust Bowl migrants who’d resettled to Southern California in search of farm and oil production jobs redefined their cultural significance (c. 1951) and fostered a music scene...

C-100 Microphone

by Sony  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

Sony, widely known for their consumer entertainment products, takes pro audio very seriously. In the professional microphone market, Sony previously produced three remarkable microphones: the C37A...

ValhallaDelay Plug-In

by Valhalla DSP  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

Full disclosure; while I’m going to review Valhalla DSP’s latest plug-in, ValhallaDelay, I’m also one of the two product designers of the plug-in, along with Valhalla DSP founder...


by Tone Empire  |  reviewed by Ben Bernstein

Tone Empire’s LOC-NESS (aka “the Smash-Box”) is a dedicated channel plug-in designed for processing individual drum hits, a drum set’s room sound, or the entire drum bus. It is...

STUDIO PRO SP-5 Headphones

by ADAM Audio  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

Since building my mixing space last summer, I’ve been looking for a solid pair of headphones for mix referencing that wouldn’t break the bank. When I heard that ADAM Audio, maker of highly...

RAM System 5000 5.1 Monitoring System

by Heritage Audio  |  reviewed by Brian Bender

In my mind, one of the greatest shortcomings of the hybrid/in the box era in which we find ourselves is the loss of a coherent, thoughtful approach to the monitor section of a studio. The center...

DBC-20 Diode Bridge Compressor

by Buzz Audio  |  reviewed by Liam Judson

When I first heard that Tim Farrant of New Zealand’s Buzz Audio had designed a new stereo compressor based around a diode bridge gain reduction circuit, I immediately knew that this was...

Lexicon 480L Plug-In

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

There was a time in the ‘80s and ‘90s when the word “Lexicon” became synonymous with reverb. Like Kleenex, Photoshop, or Google – if you heard, “Just add some...

Studio One 4.5 Professional

by PreSonus  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner, John Hong

It’s been nearly a decade since we published a review of the original version of Studio One [Tape Op #76]. Over the years, the DAW’s feature set has grown significantly, and, impressively,...

AXR4 Thunderbolt 2 Interface

by Steinberg  |  reviewed by Scott McDowell

Steinberg is on an impressive roll with sexy hardware interfaces, collaborating with Yamaha and Rupert Neve to deliver products that lean into the strengths of all three. The AXR4 is clearly meant to...

44-A Ribbon Mic

by Cloud Microphones  |  reviewed by Justin Mantooth

In the recording industry, there is a long list of iconic microphones that every experienced recording engineer has at least heard of. The RCA 44-A, is one of these. Built in the 1930s, and known for...


The Wall

by Boz Digital Labs  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

I expect many readers are going to want to buy this plug-in within five minutes of trying it. In addition to being a nice limiter for general use, The Wall is superb for adding last minute level to...

NDH 20 Headphones

by Neumann  |  reviewed by Tom Fine

Neumann made its bones on the microphone side of the audio business. From its 1928 founding by Georg Neumann, through its 1991 acquisition by the Sennheiser family-owned company, Neumann was...

AT5047 Cardioid Microphone

by Audio-Technica  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

In 2012 Audio-Technica released the AT5040 [Tape Op #95] microphone, which was a special mic in several ways. The hand-built mic uses four 2-micron rectangular capsules, positioned next to each other...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

Joy Techniques

by Nate Mercereau | reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

When I saw the list of artists' albums and songs that LA based multi-instrumentalist/producer and songwriter Nate Mercereau has contributed to I had to take his new release for a spin. He has worked...



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

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