Nov/Dec 2023

Welcome to issue #158 of Tape Op.


Every issue of Tape Op comes together in slightly different ways. John Baccigaluppi and I will juggle different interviews to run, looking for some magical balance of genres, styles of recording, and interesting people. We'll dig through the Gear Reviews submissions, looking for a variety of price points, varying items, and unique products. Sometimes we'll begin to see small themes develop naturally in the background via connected artists, engineers, and producers – or from shared thoughts about working methods in the studio.

This issue features a longer piece I began writing months ago, "Working With a Mix Engineer," with many layers of advice. I hope it helps anyone that hires mixers to gain more insight into the process as well as facilitate better communication. After completing that piece, it seemed an End Rant also about mixing would be a great idea, so I roped in a bunch of contributors and colleagues to toss their thoughts in the pot. Then, after looking at the rest of this issue's content, I realized I'd better explain that even though we ended up with a lot of mixing-focused content this time around, this is still not an issue only devoted to mixing! Tape Op rarely gets completely theme-orientated, as that concept always feels too restrictive to me. Plus, would that mean we wouldn't write about mixing the rest of the year?

Luckily, we ended up with a bunch of fun content rounding out this issue, and I'm especially excited about finally seeing seminal hip-hop producer Prince Paul in these pages! His records with Stetsasonic and De La Soul have captivated me for decades, and it's amazing to hear his thoughts on studio techniques and equipment.

Enjoy this issue, and keep on collaborating and creating!

— Larry Crane, editor & Founder

In This Issue See more →

Prince Paul: Happier Than Ever

by Sam Retzer

Prince Paul is happy. Happy to be back in New York, happy De La Soul is finally on streaming services, and happy to chat about the difference between the E-mu SP-12 and SP-1200 samplers. At 56 years...

Working With a Mix Engineer

by Larry Crane

For over 25 years, I have done an extensive amount of mixing of music that I didn't track or produce. This work has been for home recordists, artists that used a studio for tracking but wanted...


Columns See more →

End Rant

When is a Mix Done?

by Larry Crane

I sat down to try and write an End Rant describing how to know when a mix is done, and then I became stuck. Everyone’s experience with this can be different, so I dropped a line to some...


Gear Reviews See more →

GroundControl SPHERE Monitor Control App

by Ginger Audio  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

I recently expanded my mix studio into a Dolby Atmos surround room. The cost of a multichannel speaker system is substantial, covering speakers, stands, wiring, and a controller to handle at least 12...

Clyde Stubblefield - The Funky Drummer Bundle

by Yurt Rock  |  reviewed by Corey Reidy

As James Brown's drummer from 1967 to 1970, Clyde Stubblefield is one of the most important figures in modern popular music, yet most people don't even know his name. Estimates show that his work...

Tweezer 500 Series Compressor

by Kush Audio  |  reviewed by Scott McDowell

Gregory Scott's Kush Audio has done their 10,000 hours when it comes to designing audio compressors. It was a decade ago that Kush released the UBK-1 [Tape Op #86] hardware unit and subsequent...

LVX Modular Delay Pedal

by Meris  |  reviewed by Dan Knobler

The Meris LVX is exactly the delay unit I have been dreaming of. Lucky for me, it’s also the delay unit that the folks at Meris have been dreaming up for over two years, and it's a masterclass...

PolyMAX Synth Plug-in

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

Universal Audio (UA) is one of the giants of the plug-in world, and their emulations of classic analog gear are among the most hallowed. With the release of their PolyMAX synth, UA is showing...

Remix Stem Separation Plug-in

by Acon Digital  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Remix is a plug-in that "uses cutting edge technology based on artificial intelligence" in order to un-mix a stereo track into five stems of Vocals, Piano, Bass, Drums, and Other. There have been a...

PUMP 500 Series Compressor

by Empirical Labs  |  reviewed by Scott McDowell

The latest compressor from Empirical Labs is similar to Ike and Tina Turner’s classic cover of “Proud Mary,” in that it ranges all the way from nice to rough. Like its older sibling,...

Voca Vocal Processing Plug-in

by Sonnox  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I've been wary of "all-in-one" vocal processing plug-ins that claim to deliver "pro-level vocals" for your mixes with minimal work. I've tried a few, and every time I've been better off removing the...

BT202 SDC Microphone Pair

by JZ Microphones  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

It's no secret that I am a fan of JZ Microphones. In the past, they've offered exclusively large diaphragm microphones, but with the BT202 they have entered the small diaphragm condenser [SDC] market...

SR117 Supercardioid Condenser Mic

by Earthworks Audio  |  reviewed by Geoffrey Knecht

I work in studio recording, location sound, and live performance. For me, versatility is king, and I'm constantly searching for tools that allow me to minimize my kit and do more with less. With this...

SK10 Subkick Simulator Plug-in

by Wavesfactory  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

The kind folks at Wavesfactory recently offered up the free SK10 plug-in, which simulates having a speaker-based mic as an extra low frequency kick drum track. Insert it on your kick track, dial in...

DDK4000 Drum Mic Kit

by DPA Microphones  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi, James Neil

DPA's DDK4000 is a selection of their mics packaged as a complete drum recording solution, including the 4055 kick mic, a 2012 compact cardioid mic intended for snare, two 2015 wide cardioid mics for...

Pro-G Gate Plug-in

by FabFilter  |  reviewed by James Neil

Mixing drums can seem like some sort of magic. Mysterious, delightful, revelatory, fascinating, confounding, and confusing all at once. My experience begins with the love of playing drums. The power...


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

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