May/Jun 2023

Welcome to issue #155 of Tape Op.


While brainstorming the "Not So Oblique Strategies" End Rant for this issue, I was reminded of a very simple, but truthful (and not so oblique), thought I've been trying to convey via Tape Op for decades:
Creating a place and time for music to be recorded is as important as the tools used to capture the sounds. In fact, I think it's more important.

Whether it's in a commercial studio, setting up a personal space at home, or using other locales as tracking rooms, we all must decide on the place where music will be made and recorded. Then, even more important, comes the task of setting a start and stop time for when the session will take place, as well as determining the goals to reach and what methodology to use. But there are always so many distractions that can deter us.

I don't know how many "solo albums" I have meant to start that end up getting pushed aside for other tasks. When I work at home, I often find myself distracted with daily chores. When I visit my studio on an open day, I might find myself unintentionally getting wrapped up in updating software, repairing headphones, or sorting out cables. Before I know it, the time that I'd hoped I would spend recording my own music has filled with tasks. We all have work to do, and keeping any studio space running is important. However, despite the many myths, creativity often doesn't "just happen." It needs a set time and place to flourish.

Find a place, pick a time, and work on the music you wish to capture or create. This simple act of focusin g is the first step towards getting results.

— Larry Crane, editor & Founder

In This Issue See more →

Tony Hoffer: Stirring it Up

by Larry Crane

For years I had seen the name Tony Hoffer on album credits. In addition to producing Belle & Sebastian albums, he’s also mixed hits for M83, co-produced Beck's Midnite Vultures, mixed...


Columns See more →

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy...

by Andy Hong

During my attendance of the NAMM Show in April 2023, I saw many new and unique products. Audiomovers showed me Inject, a plug-in for recording iPad virtual instruments directly into a DAW using only a...


Gear Reviews See more →

This Is What It Sounds Like (book)

by Susan Rogers & Ogi Ogas  |  reviewed by Ben Bernstein

This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You is a must read for any music producer, recording artist, audio engineer, or consumer of art in any form. Susan Rogers [Tape Op #117]...

The Inner Ear of Don Zientara (book)

by Antonia Tricarico  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Subtitled, "A Half Century of Recording in One of America’s Most Innovative Studios, Through the Voices of Musicians," Antonia Tricarico's photo-filled (250!) book on Don Zientara [Tape Op #8]...

Gemini Dock & RAID Enclosure

by OWC  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I've been using OWC RAID drives at my studio for around 15 years, and the Gemini is the latest version we purchased. Ostensibly simply used as an external hard drive to store data, this unit is...

Active Mic Cable

by Umbrella Company  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Late last year, I received an awesome email from Takeo Yamamoto, who had stumbled across Tape Op #4 when he was living in NYC ages ago. He now owns the pro audio sales/distributor and development...

Wellspring Stereo Spring Reverb

by Teaching Machines  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Oh, I remember… outboard gear can be fun! I am fortunate to have 31 flavors of compressors, EQs, tone-makers, and boneshakers. I even own a few studio spring reverbs, but nothing quite like the...

MDWDRC2-Native Plug-In

by Massenburg DesignWorks  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

The MDWDRC2-Native represents a paradigm shift in dynamic processing for plug-ins. Rather than a traditional compressor or limiter, this is a comprehensive dynamic conditioning tool. Massenburg...

Claro EQ Plug-In

by Sonnox  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

The Sonnox Claro equalizer (from their Toolbox range of plug-ins) is a fantastic sounding, intuitive EQ for professionals and beginners alike. Multiple interface options provide visual feedback in...

Mulligan Plug-In Control App

by reFuse Software  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Touted as a "hands-on plug-in control for Pro Tools," this standalone application could be a frustration-killer for anyone who finds themselves tweaking the multitude of parameters within plug-ins via...

SSL 12 Interface

by Solid State Logic  |  reviewed by Daniel Ryan Morse

Ever since I acquired a rack-mounted DAW interface, I didn’t think I had much need for a smaller, portable interface. However, when I recently had the opportunity to record a grand piano outside...

RS660 Tube Compressor

by Chandler Limited  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

What I didn’t need was another piece of gear to help drain my bank account, but what I always need is a compressor that helps me do my job while making me look good. On both fronts, the new...

Sphere LX Modeling Mic

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

In 2019, I reviewed the Townsend Labs L22 Sphere mic [Tape Op #133] and raved about its versatility and innovation. Universal Audio acquired Townsend Labs in 2021 and has rebadged the L22 as the...

Cards for Creativity

by Infinite Directions  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

This fun deck of creativity-sparking cards – with inspiration from Brian Eno [Tape Op #85] and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies – was created by Isaac Karns of The Marble Garden...

EC5B Limiter

by Electric & Company  |  reviewed by Scott Evans

I’ve been looking for a one channel, high-end tube compressor for a few years – mostly for vocals. When Austin, Texas', Electric & Company announced the EC5B, their take on Universal...

Kaleidoscope Creativity Cards

by Laura Veirs  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Songwriter Laura Veirs has made a number of engaging albums over the years, including last year's Found Light, tracked at my Jackpot! Recording Studio where Veirs co-produced the album (with...

3122V Preamp

by API Audio  |  reviewed by Kirt Shearer

The API 3122V 2-channel mic preamp is certainly not a new and revolutionary design, but rather a new version of a tried and true classic, originating in consoles from the late-'60s. This preamp...


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

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