Sep/Oct 2019

Welcome to issue #133 of Tape Op.


Is there a simple answer to this? Does a quick proclamation that explains everything one needs to know about music recording in a nutshell exist?

I keep deluding myself, thinking that I can somehow clearly sum up everything about the art of capturing music as sound recordings. Maybe it could be a philosophy; a simple mantra to accept what is and change what one can. Or maybe it's a way to reset one's mind and expectations; to be open to beautiful accidents. Or maybe it could be a way to lightly hold onto the rudder with an eye on the course ahead.

I wake up in the middle of the night, with fleeting thoughts that seem to lead to the summation of this absolute truth of recording – "Now I can pass on this knowledge!" But, as I gain consciousness, it all slips away – a fantasy that is unattainable. My own personal, unreachable enlightenment.

Maybe there is no golden truth. Maybe there's no way to encapsulate so much knowledge that would have to take far too many variables into account. We have to work hard, adapt, listen, suggest, learn, be hyper-aware of everything, change our methodologies, and strive for the best work we can do in every moment – and accept every situation for what it is.

But tomorrow I will work harder and become stronger at my craft. It always gets better.

— Larry Crane, editor

When laying out Tape Op we often never seem to have enough photos, but in issues like this one we had too many to choose from.

Here are two outtakes from this issue:

At left is a photo, by Brian Silak, with a full view of Arun Pandian's Siemens/WSW rack that includes a pair of ELA 75-15 Siemens Universal Equalizers as pictured on this issue's cover (story on page 44).

At right is Tchad Blake in his home studio with his son Stan from a 2012 photo by Victor Levy-Lasne of [].

More photos from much of this issues' content are at [] and in our digital PDF edition. -JB

In This Issue See more →

Tchad Blake: Mixing it Up

by Larry Crane

In Tape Op #16, my pal Stephen Murray interviewed Tchad Blake while he was in the middle of co-producing Pearl Jam's Binaural album in Seattle. Nearly two decades later, Tchad and I sat down in New...


Columns See more →

End Rant

Zip it Up

by John Baccigaluppi

It was a simple thing, really. Just a short one-page lease agreement I'd helped broker between a beekeeper and my adjacent neighbors, whose property I help manage. I had sent two copies of the...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy

by Andy Hong

A few nights before sitting down to write this column, I had a fascinating discussion about speaker design and acoustics with Eric Blackmer, son of the late David Blackmer (whose initials are in dbx)....


Gear Reviews See more →

MODX Synthesizer

by Yamaha  |  reviewed by Alan Tubbs

You might think that the new MODX synthesizer from Yamaha is just a compact version of their flagship MONTAGE keyboard [Tape Op #127], and on the surface you might be right (the MODX sound engine is...

thEQorange Plug-In

by MAAT  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

MAAT's thEQorange is an update of the famous Algorithmix PEQ Orange linear EQ plug-in. The original Orange EQ (along with its Red sibling) were very popular with mastering houses. Users suggested that...

5N2 Network File Server

by Drobo  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Drobo is a US-based company specializing in data storage solutions. More than a drive enclosure, the 5N2 provides data protection, web-based file management, and scalable capacity. My photography and...

PodMic & PSA1 Boom Arm

by RĂ˜DE Microphones  |  reviewed by Thom Monahan

Unusually heavy for its size and price point, the RØDE PodMic dynamic broadcast microphone feels overbuilt to the very meaning of the word. With an industrial black and silver look and...

Opto Compressor

by AudioScape  |  reviewed by Kevin Friedrichsen

AudioScape is run by Chris Yetter in Daytona, Florida, and currently produces six different compressors and an EQ, all based off of classic, well-known designs – including an SSL style bus...

KU5A Ribbon Microphone

by AEA  |  reviewed by Chris Koltay

It's no secret I'm a big fan of AEA microphones. When my studio High Bias Recordings first opened the Michigan Ave. location, I bought a pair of AEA R84s [Tape Op #38] and the rest is history. In the...

MP500A 500 Series Mic Pre

by Hamptone  |  reviewed by Don Gunn, Chris Koltay

When I asked a handful of reviewers to consider writing about Hamptone's 500 Series JFET microphone preamp, the prolific Don Gunn from Seattle and stalwart Detroit gear nerd Chris Koltay were among...

Elevate Mastering Plug-In Bundle

by Newfangled Audio  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Dan Gillespie founded Newfangled Audio to merge his digital processing experience with his interest in machine learning. Drawing on 15 years of writing DSP code for Eventide, Elevate is a suite that...

Vintage 67 Microphone

by JZ Microphones  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

A little over a year ago I was finishing up a session when a producer I was working with handed me a mic and said, "Hey man, have you heard of this? You should really try it." He put a JZ Microphones...

H47 Large Diaphragm FET Mic

by Heiserman  |  reviewed by Thom Monahan

Coming from a family of jewelers in Iowa, and growing up fascinated with small scale measurements and attention to detail, Eric Heiserman became a DIY community mainstay by manufacturing an...

LP-6 Active Monitor

by Kali Audio  |  reviewed by Jonathan Saxon

Kali Audio's first product line, the Lone Pine Series, debuted in mid 2018. Charles Sprinkle is Kali's Director of Acoustics, and before joining Kali Audio was Principle Systems Engineer at JBL...

MK1113BK Pro Pack 1

by Latch Lake Music Products  |  reviewed by Eli Crews

Come close for a minute. Let's talk about mic stands. You know the type – the kind that look like someone with a doctorate in industrial engineering designed them; the kind that you can truly...

Nuendo 10 Recording Software

by Steinberg  |  reviewed by Michael Romanowski

Where to start a review of a product or software is especially tricky when you have been working with it for almost 20 years. I began using Nuendo v1.5 in 2000 when it was first released for Mac OS....


by sE Electronics  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

sE Electronics, at just under two decades old, has become well known in the microphone field, with over 25 models in production. The attention to detail and build quality of the microphones they...

AxeMount Mic Clip

by Royer Labs  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

I love simple, thoughtfully-designed tools for the studio that solve a common problem, and do so inexpensively. The Royer Labs R-121 [Tape Op #19] ribbon mic is one of the few products made in the...

Sphere L22 Microphone Modeling System

by Townsend Labs  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

When working in studios all the time, using a plethora of gear, and getting comfortable using certain expected pieces of equipment, it's sometimes difficult to feel genuinely excited about something...

Rose Modulated Delay Pedal

by Eventide  |  reviewed by Chris Koltay

It's no real secret how I feel about Eventide. As I'm writing this, I'm fresh off of an insane 36-hour road trip to and from Montoursville, Pennsylvania. Why? A guy was selling a huge pile of gear as...

Trio11 Be Near-Field/Midfield Monitors

by Focal  |  reviewed by Wes LaChot

Focal's professional monitors have become quite popular in recording studios over the past several years, from their smaller 2-way systems like the Solo6 Be [Tape Op #60] to larger 3-way systems like...

535 Diode Bridge Compressor

by Rupert Neve Designs  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

The Rupert Neve name has always been on my list of desirable gear to own. His Rupert Neve Designs has taken the best elements of his older, coveted designs and jettisoned the compromises of...


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

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