Nov/Dec 2021

Welcome to issue #146 of Tape Op.


From a recent letter to Tape Op: “Would it be possible to do some interviews where the subject matter deals more with the technical side of equipment usage? I'm sure the experience and technical knowhow from the pros that you are able to interview would be invaluable.”

#146 TOC
See Clarke Rigsby's letter this issue for the story about this cartoon!

1. With minimal instruction, it’s not hard to learn how to set a basic mic preamp level, find usable compression settings, or even bias and calibrate a tape deck.

2. It’s incredibly hard to teach or describe when to pick one mic preamp over another, to be correct on mic placement on the first try, or to know when a mix is done.

I’ve rarely seen any books that have done a perfect job of instructing even the most basic skills of recording, let alone what an experienced engineer knows in their bones. I’ve sat with people like Michael Brauer [Tape Op #131], Sally Browder [#57], and Tchad Blake [#133], picking their brains on mixing techniques but never getting any simple, easy-to-apply answers. Instead, I’ve walked away with philosophies, concepts, goals, and ways to behave with others; thoughts that I have spent days, months, and years applying while finding what works for me, and making them my own. There’s never a magic “recipe” for any of this recording craft. However, through patience and consideration I find the answers via others’ stories, attitudes, and the exciting music that they help create. It’s really all in there; you just have to keep reading, thinking, and doing.

— Larry Crane, editor & Founder

PS: Check out my End Rant this issue for more thoughts. Thanks to Freddy K for the letter and instigating this.

In This Issue See more →


Columns See more →


Gear Reviews See more →

409 Opto Compressor Plug-In

by MIA Laboratories  |  reviewed by Chris Hughes

A problem I find with many plug-ins is either a lack or overabundance of controls. I’m either one parameter short of accomplishing a goal, or I tweak functions just because they are available...

DA 87i DIY Kit Microphone

by Dachman Audio  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

Dachman Audio is a New York-based company that began by importing and selecting mic capsules for upgrading, replacing, and DIY, and has now added additional premium capsules using American-made...

UT FET47 Microphone

by United Studio Technologies  |  reviewed by Dan Knobler

The allure of a classic microphone design is powerful, and the emotional tug of a modern clone, that closely resembles its forerunner is undeniable – probably more valuable than many of us would...

Epic 5 Active Near-Field Monitors

by reProducer Audio  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

The Epic 5 is a fascinating powered near-field studio monitor from reProducer Audio Labs of Laupheim, Germany. Its noteworthy appearance features an anodized aluminum front panel that is trapezoidal...

Tupe Plug-In

by Goodhertz  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

Goodhertz is on a mission to help give your recordings vibe and character, and they’re doing a stellar job with the plug-ins they’ve put out so far. Tupe is another brilliant addition to...

dialtune Maple Snare Drum

by dialtune  |  reviewed by Slater Swan

As soon as you get your hands on a dialtune Maple snare drum, you know it’s a serious piece of equipment. At 21 pounds, the weight alone will give you an indication of how sturdy and robust this...

Timeless 3 Delay Plug-In

by FabFilter  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

FabFilter has a reputation for taking common effects plug-ins, such as compression and EQ, then elevating them to new, mind-blowing levels of utility and complexity. I’m used to thinking,...

Drum Sound and Drum Tuning (book)

by Rob Toulson  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

This book, subtitled Bridging Science and Creativity, covers everything that its title implies: How do drums work? Why tune them? How can we record them? What about mixing drums? Author Rob Toulson is...

Template Mixing and Mastering (book)

by Billy Decker and Simon Taylor  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I finally built my own mixing template for mixing in the box with Pro Tools. I based it on workflows I’d built up in the analog realm, with the goal...

Royal Q & Royal Mu APB Plug-Ins

by McDSP  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

A few months after releasing the MC-3 multi-band compressor plug-in [Tape Op #142] for APB (Analog Processing Box) users, Colin McDowell and the rest of the McDSP crew introduced the Royal Q...

RedNet R1 Desktop Remote

by Focusrite Audio Engineering  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

Focusrite continues to grow its professional line of studio products by introducing the RedNet R1 desktop remote source selector and monitor controller for their Red range of interfaces. Building off...

EXTC-Stereo Effects Reamper

by Radial Engineering  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

This new box from Radial has saved my bacon. I’ve become a bit of an effects pedal hoarder, with a desktop pedalboard rig that has grown to an unwieldy size and become somewhat of a staple for...

Pollock Stereo Optical Compressor

by Hendyamps  |  reviewed by Matt Anderson

Raise your hand if you like gear that sounds colorful and big. Funnily enough, a lot of early engineers would have killed for sounds we take for granted these days, the clean ones that might seem...

ETHOS Broadcast Microphone

by Earthworks Audio  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Recently, I reviewed Earthworks Audio's USB broadcast mic ICON [Tape Op #142] and stated in so many words that it looked and sounded incredible while being easy to use. Since my initial review, I've...


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

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