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!