Jan/Feb 2023

Welcome to issue #153 of Tape Op.

Intro / TOC #153

This issue’s guest End Rant, “Industry Standard,” by my pal Garrett Haines, led me to recall a session and album from nearly two decades ago. John Vecchiarelli was a busy, gigging musician around town, and had previously released a great record called Tiny Rooms. When he approached me to produce and record his follow-up album, he asked if he could use one reel of 2-inch tape and track multiple songs parallel to each other, using only 4 or 8 tracks per song while carefully leaving open tracks between the songs as buffers. It was hilarious, kind of like playing a game of Tetris, but we made it work as his music was beautiful and austere. We kept that ethos throughout the entire recording process, even when there were drums, in which case I’d use a simple stereo mic and nothing else to capture them. I had a really great time making the record, and forged what felt like the beginning of a friendship, though many events in both our lives would soon lead us on different paths.

Intro / TOC #153

John’s album, Songs from Whoville, came out in 2004, and soon after we met up for dinner. He mentioned a few reviews had come out, but that some were calling it “lo-fi.” We discussed this at length, as to our ears it was a very warm and detailed album. The vocals had been sung into a top end tube condenser mic. I’d used my rare, high end Silverbox Hamptone tube preamp. Nothing about the record screamed “lack of fidelity” to either of us. Later that night, we both decided that critics were calling it “lo-fi” simply because it wasn’t an ornate, dressed up album. Or simply because they might have been feeling lazy.

I put the album on as I wrote this, and the power of the songs and performances still stuns me. There is nothing about the recording one should call low fidelity. Nor is there anything present that hinders the album from connecting with a listener. “Industry Standard” or “lo-fi,” be damned! I know in my heart I did the right thing in the studio for this album.

— Larry Crane, editor & Founder

In This Issue See more →

Russ Gary: Lookin’ back

by Mike Robbie

Russ Gary is a self-professed countrified rocker and a recording legend who is still working and actively making original music today. Whether working at Wally Heider Studios, Fantasy Studios, DSR...

Don Lewis 1941-2022

by Ian Brennan

As an electronic instrument pioneer, and one of the designers of the Roland TR-808 drum machine, Don Lewis had an irreversible impact on the trajectory and sound of popular music. On November 6th,...

Herb Deutsch, 1932-2022

by Alex Maiolo

I’m sure a lot of you are asking “who was Herb Deutsch and what does he have to do with rock ‘n’ roll?” The short answer is sometimes it’s the people behind the...


Columns See more →


Gear Reviews See more →

Type 20 MK2 3-Way Monitor

by HEDD Audio  |  reviewed by Tony Vincent

I have a polarizing position regarding monitors. Either I really dig them (when my mixes sound good across many sources post-mix), or I simply don’t have time for them. I also think we can all...


by Mixland  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

This steampunk-inspired plug-in certainly lives in its own world. Featuring “super rad steampunk GUI because traditional gear is lame and is for nerds,” opening up the STEAMDRIVER is a...

London 10 Room Treatment Kit

by Primacoustic  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Every time one moves into a new studio space, which I have done several times for various reasons, we’re presented with new challenges in treating the room sonically. My new studio is one large...

Clarett+ OctoPre ADAT Pre/Expander

by Focusrite  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

There will surely come a time when we no longer use ADAT Lightpipe cables as a digital signal carry method. Until that day, the ADAT protocol seemingly remains the preeminent affordable and painless...

Joe Chiccarelli Signature Plug-In

by Leapwing Audio  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

Following the successful launch of their Al Schmitt Signature plug-in [Tape Op #145], Leapwing Audio recently released a Joe Chiccarelli Signature plug-in, offering 11 different profiles that emulate...

Surfybear Reverb Studio Edition

by Surfy Industries  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I love the sound of spring reverbs and have three stereo units (two Demeter [Tape Op #21] and one Benson Amps [#126]) in my racks already. So, when my old pal, Ted Miller from Satan’s Pilgrims...

4K B Channel Strip Plug-In

by Solid State Logic  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

Before the widely known SSL 4000 G and E series consoles, Solid State Logic built six 4000 B series consoles. They have modeled the entire signal path of a hardware channel strip from the 4000 B, and...


SV 14 EQ

by API  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

As an owner of an API 1608 console [Tape Op #81] loaded with a bunch of API 550As, 550bs, and 560s [#26], I’m pretty familiar with API’s EQs in general, and I think they sound great. My...

LiN76 Limiting Amplifier

by Lindell Audio  |  reviewed by Mike Kosacek

I’ve been looking for a hardware compressor for tracking purposes, so when I saw the attractive price of Lindell Audio’s LiN76, I decided to grab one. I’ve owned a few 1176-style...

Power-2 Power Conditioner

by Radial Engineering  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

There are not a ton of superlatives to use when reviewing a power conditioner – it’s well built and effective, or it is not. The Radial Power-2 surge suppressor / power conditioner is both...

A7V Active Monitors

by ADAM Audio  |  reviewed by Daniel Ryan Morse

Like many home recordists, I work out of the smallest bedroom in my house: a glorious 10 x 10 x 8-foot room. Palatial, it is not. My “control room” dimensions would reduce even the...

DUB-1 Tube Direct Box

by Crucial Audio  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Initially, I was turned onto Crucial Audio via their excellent Studio-Nugget Tube Delay [Tape Op #147]. I love that piece of gear and all the magic sauce it imparts. Knowing what I know about that...


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

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