May/Jun 2020

Welcome to issue #137 of Tape Op.


None of us exist in a vacuum. Building tracks, mixing, editing, and mastering can sometimes feel like a solitary existence, but it shouldn't always be so. As I write this, in April of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world. We've all been asked to work together, yet stay apart, in order to slow the spread of this deadly virus, and hopefully we can succeed.

In this spirit of working together, see my End Rant for this issue. And in the spirit of collaboration and support, I also offer a profile of my close friend, Craig Alvin. We started recording in the Portland area several decades ago, and the early years were full of long conversations, gear sharing, and lots of time spent helping each other out as we learned together. I still treasure his friendship and advice, and I am proud to have known him for this long.

Some 24 years ago I randomly ran into Craig in a bookstore [the famed Powell's, which you can still support by ordering online]; today we're still checking in all the time about clients, gear, albums, and life. To me, the fact that creative recording has brought the two of us together for this many years is a testament to what it means in our lives. This is what music means to so many of us – communication, emotion, sharing, and friendship.

Turkish street musicians Korkmaz

Let's hope that our world, and our creative lives, recover soon, and that music will once again facilitate a wonderful shared experience for us all. While music can, and does, thrive at home, it is still our communal spaces that will continue to be the heartbeat of our work. The day we can all gather together again in recording studios, clubs, record stores, and more will be a great one.

In the meantime, all of us at Tape Op are wishing you and yours health and safety.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

John Kurlander: Take Note

by Danny Turner

Joining Abbey Road Studios as a runner at the age of 16, John Kurlander swiftly moved up the ranks to become a tape operator and assistant engineer. Working under the tutelage of Geoff Emerick [Tape...

Emily Wells: Just Use Your Ears

by Larry Crane

I met Emily Wells years ago and we immediately hit it off, talking about gear and careers. She's released a number of albums of her unique compositions and excellent musicianship (her violin playing...


Columns See more →

End Rant

Future Collaboration

by Larry Crane

The history of humankind shows that only in recent centuries have we have become less social creatures. I've long advocated in the pages of Tape Op that we all need to find time to get together...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy

by Andy Hong

A few weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, JB sent an email to the Tape Op staff: "As studios are hopefully able to re-open in a few months, what will the cleaning protocols be? The SARS-CoV-2 virus...


Gear Reviews See more →

5020 Stereo FET Limiter

by M House Studios  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I've always wished there was a recreation of the Urei 1178, the stereo version of the Urie/Universal Audio 1176. With its FET-based compression and simple stereo link controls, the fresh-faced lads at...

Mezcla en el Audio Professional (Book)

by Author, Juli├ín Zafra  |  reviewed by Maria Elisa Ayerbe

Audio engineering was almost a non-existent academic career when I was growing up in Colombia during the nineties. Few universities in Latin America offered an audio engineering program, and the...

Spring Reverb Plug-In

by Eventide  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

These days, we have more reverbs than ever before in our various DAWs, all available under our fingertips (trackball tips? mouse tips?!?) whenever we want them. More rooms, halls, plates, and...

Stellar X2 & X2 Vintage

by TZ Audio Products  |  reviewed by Jason Ribadeneyra

Two large-diaphragm FET microphones have been released from TechZone Audio recently; the Stellar X2 and X2 Vintage. I received a single X2, and a matched stereo pair of the X2 Vintage mics mere days...

Cubase Pro 10.5

by Steinberg  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Michael Romanowski, Alan Tubbs, and I reviewed the December 2018 release of Cubase 10 [Tape Op #131] last year. On time with its annual half-point release schedule, Cubase 10.5 was published at the...

HypeMiC USB Powered Mic

by Apogee Digital  |  reviewed by Ben Bernstein

The Apogee HypeMiC is a compact, premium quality, USB-powered cardioid condenser mic designed for use with iOS, Mac, and PC. It records up to 24-bit/96 kHz, plus it is 100% plug and play. The design...

4B3 Pro Dual Mono Amplifier

by Bryston  |  reviewed by Tom Fine

Bryston, based in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, has been around since 1961. The company straddles the border between pro audio and the part of the audiophile/home theater world that gravitates to...

Daking MKII Console

by Daking Audio  |  reviewed by Erika Earl

The Daking MKII is a full-featured, large-format mixing console engineered for modern recording with the artist in mind – which makes sense as it was designed by producer, engineer, and...

Spiff Plug-In

by oeksound  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Oeksound (pronounced "oh-ek") created the exceptional soothe2, which Larry covers in our next issue. I made the mistake of dismissing the soothe [Tape Op #127] concept as merely a dynamic EQ with...


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

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