Sep/Oct 2022

Welcome to issue #151 of Tape Op.


When this magazine began, one aspect of the music creation process I decided not to write about was how the finished recordings actually get to the listener. I’d already seen several iterations of how music was physically delivered come and go, such as 8-track cartridge, flexi disc, cassette, Digital Audio Tape, Digital Compact Cassette, MiniDisc, and Super Audio CD, which basically left us with vinyl LPs and 45s, as well as optical-based CDs. Do we even need to discuss landfills full of iPods, PonoPlayers, and those ugly Rio units?

This ever-shifting landscape has never felt like something I’d be interested in continually discussing. Instead, I chose to focus the pages here on the creative aspects of capturing and working with music during the recording process. The exciting part to me has always been where the art is born.

In my opinion, the main point of recording music is to capture something to share with the world. To present to the audience a vetted version of the song or album that is meant to be heard, far and wide, by potentially anyone. How this audio gets to the listener will always change over the years, but the fact that it gets heard is what is important. Did the music reach someone? Good!

But what if the audio that’s captured and labored over is not allowed to be heard by the public-at-large? What if it’s a one-off “piece of art” sold to a millionaire? Flip to the End Rant John Baccigaluppi and I composed this issue for a terrifying example of the battle between high art and distribution. It’s pretty interesting…

— Larry Crane, editor & Founder

Bob Clearmountain's cat, Walter
Bob Clearmountain's cat, Walter, photographed by Aya Muto in Los Angeles, CA August 21, 2022. See interview (with Bob, not Walter) here.

In This Issue See more →

Lyle Lovett

by Larry Crane

During the early pandemic lockdowns my wife, Jenna Zine, and I searched out interesting online streaming performances as a way to keep connected to the experience of going out to see live...

Craig Leon: Repeated Listening

by Ian Brennan

Craig Leon produced a host of who’s who New York band debuts in the mid-1970s, including Blondie, Richard Hell the Voidoids, and Suicide. He went onto work with many stalwart artists such as Guy...

Will Yip: Sheer Will Power

by Sam Retzer

Will Yip’s rise to fame is the stuff of legend. After digging for production credits on locally-produced hip-hop by Schoolly D and Fugees, he discovered that Studio 4’s Phil and Joe...


Columns See more →


Gear Reviews See more →

Cell Alpha Triphonic Speaker

by Syng  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Why review a wireless speaker aimed at audiophiles? Well, because we record, produce, and mix music that people will ultimately listen to. More and more, what they are listening on are not the...

Mavis Analog Synthesizer Kit

by Moog Music  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

What if we wrote this review in a 1940s radio announcer mode? Where every sentence is obnoxiously alliterative... “The minuscule monophonic Moog Music’s Mavis makes many massive melodies!...

UT Twin87 Condenser Mic

by United Studio Technologies  |  reviewed by Tony Vincent

Introduced in the mid-1960s, the Neumann U 87 was a gift to engineers and producers because a separate power supply was no longer needed due to its tube-replacing FET (field effect transistor)...

Density Effect Plug-In

by Sound Particles  |  reviewed by Kevin Friedrichsen

Sound Particles is a software company based in Portugal, and is most known for the immersive audio software aptly named Sound Particles 2. Their new plug-in, Density, creates multiple sounds based on...

V13 Gen2 Tube Mic

by Vanguard Audio  |  reviewed by Tony Vincent

I was first introduced to Vanguard Audio Labs before they even brought a microphone to market. The gentleman who tipped me off about this company was a trusted friend in pro audio. He told me...

ControlHub Mixing Plug-In

by STL Tones  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

STL Tones is best known for their guitar amp modeling software, AmpHub, ToneHub, Tonality, and Libra, which bring signature amp models, pedals, and cabinets, to user’s fingertips. In addition,...

LCT 1040 Microphone System

by LEWITT  |  reviewed by Matt Anderson

I’m going to immediately annoy a lot of people by describing this microphone with the worst cliché and overused marketing term ever: Innovative. The only difference here is that LEWITT...

Wood Studio Racks

by Carpenter Studio Gear  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

When I was in the process of rebuilding our studio’s B-room last year, I began rethinking some of the racks we were currently using. I wanted to get something sturdier that would also fit the...

PG-1 MKII Power Conditioner

by Black Lion Audio  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

Since setting up my mix studio in Portland, I’ve been a bit annoyed by the noise floor of my Ocean Way Pro2A monitors [Tape Op #116]. It wasn’t until I saw an ad for Black Lion...


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

Or Learn More