Jan/Feb 2022

Welcome to issue #147 of Tape Op.

 
#146 TOC

I’m obsessed with the history of recorded music. Many nights are spent sitting in bed, reading biographies of musicians and recordists that I admire. Sometimes they are about the people that changed history on a massive scale, like Peter Guralnick’s Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll. Other reads might be about obscure yet groundbreaking artists, like Cosey Fanni Tutti’s Art Sex Music on her life and experiences in the group Throbbing Gristle. While creating this issue, I had the pleasure of reading Bill Schnee’s book, Chairman at the Board: Recording the Soundtrack of a Generation as I was also editing his interview. It’s a fascinating and even-keeled account of a golden era of classic albums and big studio budgets, a time even its author admits we will never see again. See my review of David W. Hewitt’s book, On the Road, in this issue for more insight into this era. On a wholly different front, I also read through some of Sandy Stone’s writings on transgender studies, a field and discourse she entered into after attacks against her were made as she was recording groundbreaking albums for the women’s label, Olivia Records.

In all this reading I learn a lot about music, recording, culture, and society. Everything is interconnected in so many ways; by looking at the whole world and taking it in, this understanding only enriches the art we are all are lucky to help create.

— Larry Crane, editor & Founder

PS: My End Rant this issue has even more thoughts on music history.

In This Issue See more →

Bill Schnee: Serve the Music

by Mark Rubel

Bill Schnee has earned his place in the pantheon of recording engineers, with credits like Three Dog Night, Ringo Starr, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Boz Scaggs, Huey...

Sponsored

Columns See more →

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy

by Andy Hong

Explaining in the previous issue that I’ve returned to my pre-9/11 habit of always keeping an EDC tool (Leatherman Skeletool CX) in my pocket jogged memories of when I used to prefer cargo...

Sponsored

Gear Reviews See more →

BB N105 V2 Plug-In

by KIT Plugins  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

John McBride [Tape Op #97], owner of Blackbird Studio in Nashville, woke up from a nightmare one night thinking his studio had burned to the ground. Although his studio contains countless pieces of...

PATCH Patchbay

by Flock Audio  |  reviewed by Eli Crews

Earlier this fall, I was joking with a couple of other engineers about designing and building a patchbay that was all wired together inside – all you needed was a simple digital interface to...

USB IV Interface

by ART Pro Audio  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

Applied Research and Technology (ART) has set the “bang for the buck” bar with equitable pricing and affordable innovation in professional audio products for nearly 40 years. Whether...

VNE Tube Compressor

by Hazelrigg  |  reviewed by Jeremy Wurst

I believe we’ve all been overlooking Hazelrigg Industries for quite some time as a purveyor of excellent audio equipment. I recently had the opportunity to demo the Hazelrigg Industries VNE...

Vintage 12 Microphone

by JZ Microphones  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

The JZ Black Hole [Tape Op #71] and BB29 [#141] are mics that are often used in my studio. They have purpose across many applications, and my Black Hole mic has performed reliably, without issue, for...

Bitmap 2 Bit-Crusher Pedal

by Red Panda  |  reviewed by Ivan Anderson

The Red Panda Bitmap 2 is a bit-crusher for people who love bit-crushing, made by people who are obsessed with bit-crushing. The instruction manual begins by describing designer Curt Malouin’s...

Clearmountain’s Phases Plug-In

by Apogee Digital  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

Earlier this year, I called Tape Op editor Larry Crane to ask if he could help me with a mixing dilemma. I wanted to recreate the vocal effect on Steely Dan’s “Daddy Don’t Live in...

VLB525 Compressor Plug-In

by LSR Audio  |  reviewed by Jeremy Wurst

LSR Audio has managed to emulate an authentic ‘70s American peak-detecting feed-back style console compressor circuit (the API 525) and bring it to the digital world with their VLB525 Classic...

MTRX HD 64-Channel Interface

by Avid  |  reviewed by Brendan Connors

Recently, I’ve been shopping around for an upgrade from my DigiLink-compatible interface. After mixed experiences with a few of the all-in-one (and by that, I mean non-modular) interfaces, I...

CT-3 Cable Tester

by DBX  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Cables are the brakes of our “studio bus” – necessary to get anywhere and ignored until they malfunction. There are numerous ways to troubleshoot: continuity meters, known good...

CH02 Modular Chassis

by Seventh Circle Audio  |  reviewed by Brad Allen Williams

Recording and DIY electronics have a long history together, as most early studios had custom-built consoles and in-house technical departments. Even though a near-comprehensive array of commercial...

Fireface UCX II USB Interface

by RME  |  reviewed by Tom Fine

RME has raised the bar on value with the Fireface UCX II. This German-made ADC/DAC is an all-in-one recording tool of bits and bytes, with no compromises on hardware quality or software functionality....

On the Road (book)

by David W. Hewitt  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Subtitled “Recording the Stars in a Golden Era of Live Music,” this book follows the mobile recording career of the esteemed engineer David W. Hewitt. With early days at The Record Plant...

Select T25 Tube Compressor

by API  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

API consoles, 500 Series modules, and their underlying technologies have been a staple of professional recording studios for over five decades. In 2021, API unveiled a new sub-brand called API Select,...

A127 Microphone

by Audix  |  reviewed by Dan Knobler

When a pair of Audix’s new high-end A127 omnidirectional small diaphragm metal film condensers arrived in the mail, it took me a minute to put them into rotation; I felt as if I was waiting for...

SplitEQ Plug-In

by Eventide  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

Eventide has released its new innovative EQ plug-in, SplitEQ. I use the word “innovative” because, after only a few minutes of messing around with it, I couldn’t help but wonder how...

Ecoplate Plug-In

by HEAR360  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

HEAR360 has modeled the Ecoplate I, a well-known analog plate reverb designed by Jim Cunningham in the ‘80s. At the time, it was not uncommon for producers and engineers familiar with the...

EQs

V2 Equalizer

by Iron Age Audioworks  |  reviewed by Joel Hamilton

In an incredibly saturated market, where there is a piece of equipment for every possible scenario – like a mic pre or EQ for hi-hat top and bottom on a full moon with 57% humidity – I am...

 

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

Or Learn More

Sponsored