Sep/Oct 2020

Welcome to issue #139 of Tape Op.


To the average person, the recording studio can be one of the more confusing creative spaces to imagine, due to the daunting technological aspect of our trade. Most people can conjure up a mental image of an artist’s studio, with an easel for painting, or a wheel for throwing pottery. Many have even seen glass blowing in action, or a mural being painted. When they read a book, most will imagine a writer sitting at a desk with a laptop, or even a typewriter, in front of them. But what magic happens in a recording studio? What is the definition of a recording studio even, when so many projects happen in homes and private spaces? As we know, records are captured all over the place, especially in the unusual times we live in right now.

Almost everyone across the world likely listens to recorded music daily. Songs that were created somewhere; yet most listeners have no idea what a studio or a tracking session really feels like, how a recording session goes down, or how and why technology was utilized. Most non-recordists have massively incorrect assumptions about the process, likely fueled by movies, music videos, and other distorted information fed to them through popular culture.

But that’s fine. They can put on something to listen to, get lost in it, and simply enjoy the music. We’re the ones immersed in the other side of this world, capturing the emotions and ideas, and helping each other get the music to the listeners. Let’s keep at it. The world needs some new art to enjoy, now more than ever.

— Larry Crane, Editor

PS: This issue features a number of New York City-based recording folks. On a normal year, our Tape Op crew would be visiting NYC for the annual AES convention, where we interview people, sell advertising, find new gear to review, and meet up with many of our friends in the audio world. There’s no AES gathering this year, but we’re proud to talk to a bunch of our music-making peers from one of our favorite cities. -LC

PPS: This issue is also a bit of an homage to iconic NYC graphic designer Milton Glaser, who designed the I Heart New York graphic and passed away on June 26 of this year. -JB

In This Issue See more →


Columns See more →

End Rant

Forest for the Trees

by Larry Crane

What would be the most important concept I would explain to someone just starting out recording music? There’re a lot of things I’d like to say, but one of the most salient is,...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy

by Andy Hong

Last month, I purchased my own HEDDphone Air Motion Transformer headphone after I received a tmesis-laden email from Heba Kadry [see this issue]. “Absolutely ---king amazing”...


Gear Reviews See more →

SV33 Microphone

by Earthworks  |  reviewed by Brendan Connors

I have used Earthworks products since early in my career, and have always wondered what a flagship Earthworks studio vocal microphone would be like to use in one of my sessions. Much to my delight,...

A12t In-Ear Monitors

by 64 Audio  |  reviewed by Lars Fox

I use in-ear monitors (IEMs) to really dig down deep into the details of mixes I’m tweaking – most especially vocals. You can clearly hear weird breaths, overly loud esses, plosives on...

VISO & PIB Isolation Booths

by GIK Acoustics  |  reviewed by Matt Anderson

I was told early on in my career, “Start at your source and work your way back,” and it’s never let me down. If I get stuck on a problem for too long, it’s usually because...

ICE Cube-12 Subwoofer

by Carl Tatz Design  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Did you know it’s possible to spend $4000 on a 12-inch powered subwoofer? Wait, no, that’s not what I’m reviewing here! While writing this review I ended up scanning Sweetwater and...

SEQ-S Linear Phase EQ Plug-In

by NUGEN Audio  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

NUGEN Audio, in case you’re not familiar, have been making sizable inroads in the post-production and mastering worlds over the last 16 years with plug-ins that I generally characterize as...

Clearmountain's Spaces Plug-In

by Apogee Digital  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

Late last year, Apogee Digital released Clearmountain’s Domain [Tape Op #135], a plug-in that allows users to emulate the effects that renowned mix engineer, Bob Clearmountain, has been using on...

Crystals Plug-In

by Eventide  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

Crystals is Eventide’s latest port of its iconic H3000 Harmonizer algorithms into a simpler plug-in GUI – similar to their Blackhole, MangledVerb, Spring [Tape Op #137], MicroPitch, along...


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

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