Nov/Dec 2020

Welcome to issue #140 of Tape Op.


As a music recording magazine, certainly one of the aspects of what we do involves recommending and mentioning the tools used in our craft. The variety of recording equipment and range of cost has changed drastically in the decades since Tape Op began, with everything from incredibly affordable computer interfaces to top-of-the-line, over-engineered analog consoles and monitors now available to anyone with $100 or a ready credit card. In the early nineties, when I began doing a lot of home recording, a few of us would chat about what gear we could utilize and what was out there. The choices were minimal, and most paths could be easily defined by budget and the tasks at hand. Not so anymore.

These days, when someone asks me about setting up any sort of studio or recording scenario, there are never easy answers for choosing recording equipment. Even after figuring out a budget and what they wish to achieve, the sheer amount of products available means sifting through hundreds of reviews, querying friends who've never heard of half the items you are curious about, and poring over interviews to see "what the professionals use." I'd always meant for the Gear Reviews section of Tape Op to read more like a post-session chat over beers, where you can get casual, yet unbiased, opinions on what to use when recording. I think we sometimes pull that off! And, on that note, I'd like to announce that we've started the Tape Op Buyer's Guides – an online-only section where staff and others can chime in with a handy list of helpful tools. Check it out and let us know what you think. I know I have a fun one up now!

— Larry Crane, editor

Larry working hard on the new Buyer's Guides at Jackpot!

In This Issue See more →

Jacquire King

by Geoff Stanfield

I first met Jacquire King in 1997 at Toast Studios in San Francisco when he was the second engineer on my band's record [Black Lab's Your Body Above Me], produced by David Bianco [Tape Op #104]. I...


Columns See more →


Gear Reviews See more →

SILIKA Compressor Plug-In

by Kush  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

Kush has been consistently developing plug-ins that have major vibe with analog character for years now. Even their partner company, California's Sly-Fi Digital, has made some of the go-to plug-ins...

0-CTRL Controller

by Make Noise  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

This thing is beautifully bat-shit crazy. The 0-CTRL is a patchable step sequencer and touch-sensitive tabletop control surface designed tobe used primarily with Eurorack-standard modular gear (or...

Tangerine Automation Interface

by THD Labs  |  reviewed by Brad Allen Williams

Veteran engineers occasionally wax nostalgic about mixing as a "community" act. Until the DAW's rise to prominence, it wasn't unusual to have half a dozen people engaged in a game of Twister above a...

Filepass File Sharing Utility

by Filepass, LLC  |  reviewed by Ben Bernstein

If you mix records for a living and are spending too much time digging through texts, Facebook Messenger posts, and bottomless email threads from various band members looking for mix notes, then...

SixTen Monitor System

by Atomic Instrument  |  reviewed by Adam J. Monk

Occasionally, a piece of gear comes along that impresses me enough to reach out to Tape Op and make an effort to write a review. The Atomic SixTens have done just that. Founded in 2014 by Norman...

023 Bomblet FET Mic

by Soyuz  |  reviewed by Chris Koltay

Russian-made mics have been a healthy part of my recording life since the mid-'90s. Back in the days when the local six-string retail chain had an excess of Oktava mics and managers were armed with...

BT-Pro V2 Bluetooth Direct Box

by Radial Engineering  |  reviewed by Tom Fine

Radial Engineering, of Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada, has built its business by designing clever solutions for stage and studio, including an extensive line of direct boxes. The BT-Pro V2 is their...

Electric Consumption Monitor

by Sense  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Every electrical device has a power consumption signature. If your service is a split-phase 120/240 V residential panel up to 200 A (and many studios are), a Sense is compatible. About the size of a...

AudioFuse Studio USB-C Interface

by Arturia  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

Manufacturers are still pumping out recording interfaces during this global pandemic, but self-imposed isolation has many of us contemplating and planning how we might best move forward with audio...

ROOMS Stereo Reverberator

by Death By Audio  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

In Tape Op #104 we chatted with the fabulous Oliver Ackermann from the band A Place to Bury Strangers and the head of Death By Audio. His Death By Audio still makes some of the best stompboxes out...

Parallel Aggressor Plug-In

by BABY Audio  |  reviewed by Mike Kosacek

BABY Audio's new Parallel Aggressor combines elements of some of their other plug-ins to add punch or weight to a track or mix. But this isn't simply a straight rehash. According to the company, the...

Spectre Enhancer Plug-In

by Wavesfactory  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

Wavesfactory's Spectre is a unique take on a saturation plug-in, coupling powerful distortion profiles with the familiarity of a parametric EQ. The thought is that you can add distortion or saturation...

Apollo Solo Interface

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

Universal Audio has a reasonably broad audio interface offering within the Apollo range, including the Apollo Twin X and Apollo x4 series [Tape Op #136], which have been marketed as the "desktop"...

Comp II Two-Channel Compressor

by Daking  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Through my (now Virtual) Recording Workshops, I've spent a lot of time advising home recordists on how to track and mix for better results. One of the equipment choices I urge is to have an actual,...


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