Jan/Feb 2024

Welcome to issue #159 of Tape Op.


In this issue, we present the second of our interviews with recording engineer and producer Donn Landee, as first seen in issue #157. To say I was thrilled to get Donn into Tape Op is an understatement, as I'd searched for years to find a way to get ahold of him. With credits like Montrose, The Doobie Brothers, Neil Young, Captain Beefheart, and Van Halen, Donn helped define the sound of rock music for all time.

Ted Templeman and Donn Landee in Amigo Studios, circa 1972.
Ted Templeman and Donn Landee in Amigo Studios, circa 1972.

When I read Ted Templeman's autobiography, Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer's Life in Music, written with Greg Renoff, I enjoyed hearing about Ted's adventures working on so many classic albums, many with Donn as his engineer and co-conspirator. From there, I read Greg's book, Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal. Donn Landee showed up all over that fine tome as well, and his presence added a lot of information and color that no one else could have. When I dropped Greg a line to tell him how great these books are, he offered up the fine article with Lee Herschberg in #154, and after some pestering from me he asked Donn Landee if he'd be up for more interviews. Now we're proud to feature more about the making of classic albums with Van Halen and many others. Hats off to Greg Renoff for his generosity, and many thanks to Donn Landee for his valuable time!

— Larry Crane, editor & Founder

In This Issue See more →


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Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy...

by Andy Hong

I've written here before that I own dozens of cordless power tools from Bosch, Milwaukee, and Ryobi for the never-ending list of projects around the house, inside the garage, out on the dock, and of...


Gear Reviews See more →

Pro-R 2 Reverb Plug-In

by FabFilter  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

It wasn't that many years ago that my staff at Jackpot! Recording Studio kept mentioning FabFilter's Pro-Q 3 [Tape Op #132] so much that I began using it on everything; they were correct –...

FT-1 Freqtube

by Freqport  |  reviewed by Scott McDowell

In what seems to be a growing trend, Freqtube FT-1 is a saturation plug-in for DAWs that uses an outboard analog processor in conjunction with software. This is my first experience with anything from...

SM7dB Microphone

by Shure  |  reviewed by Danielle Goldsmith

The Shure SM7 microphone [Tape Op #36] is an all-around workhorse mic that has been ubiquitous in the recording industry since its introduction in 1973. Subsequently, many engineers have recognized...

The Immediate Family (film)

by Denny Tedesco, director  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

In Tape Op #107 I interviewed Denny Tedesco about The Wrecking Crew, the documentary film he had recently directed. I'd always wonder how Denny would follow up that fantastic doc, and now we have The...

Transit Transition Plug-In

by Baby Audio  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

Baby Audio collaborated with producer Andrew Huang [Tape Op #85] to create the Transit transition designer plug-in. Like most Baby Audio plug-ins, Transit aims to simplify a complex task, offering an...

MT 48 USB-C Interface

by Neumann  |  reviewed by Alan Tubbs

The MT 48 isn’t just another desktop interface; it is Neumann’s redevelopment of Merging Technologies’ high end Anubis interface as Neumann and Merging Technologies both now operate...

Snare Mic

by Lauten Audio  |  reviewed by Mike Kosacek

I have quite a few snare mics, but none that are actually named “Snare Mic.” That's about to change. I'm a drummer, and I've mic’d a lot of snare drums. I usually rely on dynamic...

MG20 Small Diaphragm Condenser Mic

by SAMAR Audio Design  |  reviewed by Liam Nelson

SAMAR Audio is a refreshing voice of innovation. Dr. Mark Fouxman founded the company on his passion for electronics engineering, classical piano virtuosity, and pro audio expertise, and has...

A27M Stereo Mic Adapter

by Shure  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

While scouring Sweetwater's website for a stereo bar worth purchasing to try out, I recently stumbled across the Shure A27M stereo microphone adapter. Note that it's not referred to as a "stereo bar"...

FlexBar Stereo Mic Mount

by Royer Labs  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I'm a stickler for using stereo mounts for setting up pairs of microphones or grouping two mics on an amp when recording, and I am usually completely unhappy with how all these stereo bars and mounts...

Stereophonic (play)

by David Adjmi, writer  |  reviewed by Sam Retzer

Recently, I was lucky to catch Stereophonic, David Adjmi’s off-Broadway (Playwrights Horizons in New York City) hit, featuring songs by ex-Arcade Fire member Will Butler and directed by Daniel...

32Classic Console

by Harrison Audio  |  reviewed by Dan Knobler

If you took at face value the mythologizing of recording consoles as it stands today, you could be forgiven for thinking that Neve, API, and SSL made all the classic desks used for record production...


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

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