Mar/Apr 2024

Welcome to issue #160 of Tape Op.


What are the personal rewards of making and recording music? Or, maybe more tellingly, what are the rewards of recording other people's music?

Steve Albini & Lil BUB
Steve Albini & Lil BUB — Mark Pallman from Lil BUB's Big SHOW

In this issue, with Kyle Nicolaides' "What is Success in Music?" piece, we see how misunderstanding what success and fame truly are (or could be) can sometimes be debilitating. In John Baccigaluppi's "One Degree" End Rant, we get a perspective on how our day-to-day recording studio work can, at times, become intertwined with important albums we've always admired. In our interview with Mike Bridavsky, he discusses taking a few years doing less recording to take care of his special cat, Lil BUB, and coming back to the studio with a renewed sense of purpose.

Our pride and our egos can get wrapped up in any activity we get involved in as humans. As we move though life, it's important to look for the aspects of our activities that we take pleasure in and feel proud about. I love helping a great album get recorded or mixed and eventually out into the world for people to hear, and I hope that I bring something special to my work that the artist appreciates. There's always something to learn from any studio session, and it makes me feel better to have strengthened my collection of technical, musical, and psychological skills to use in the future. I can look at a stack of albums, all of which I worked on, and feel proud that I have worked on records that I would have likely gone to a record store to purchase if this hadn't become my career.

None of this has anything to do with top-of-the-charts successes, winning major awards, or lots of money rolling in. Knowing that I've enriched a music fan's listening experience, inspired someone to record themselves, and simply getting to be a part of the amazing world of music is reward enough for me.

— Larry Crane, editor & Founder

In This Issue See more →

What is Success in Music?

by Kyle Nicolaides

If there was a Grammy awarded for comparing one's life with others and then suffering about it, I'd be a superstar by now. I have a long history of picking up a magazine, such as this one, comparing...

John Morgan Askew

by Larry Crane

I dropped by to see John's studio, Bocce, and ask him about working with Sera Cahoone (see Sera interview here) and Margo Cilker (see Margo interview here).


Columns See more →

End Rant

One Degree

by John Baccigaluppi

I’ve been fairly obsessed with Promises, an album by Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, and the London Symphony Orchestra that came out in 2021. Maybe "obsessed" is a strong word, but I put it on...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy...

by Andy Hong

In 2023, I sold my Boston studio to Brian Charles, whose Zippah Recording facility was destroyed in a 2021 fire. Brian shared Zippah for many years with longtime Tape Op contributor Pete Weiss [Tape...


Gear Reviews See more →

Live 12 Suite

by Ableton  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

The importance of organization, functionality, and preparedness is central to the work we do when making music with/for others. From my perspective, DAWs are getting more comprehensive and less...

Recirculate Echo Plug-In

by Newfangled Audio  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Former Eventide coder/engineer Dan Gillespie, who runs Newfangled Audio (distributed by Eventide), has developed some pretty wild plug-ins. We've reviewed the fantastic virtual synth, Generate [Tape...

Stick Station

by Bopworks Drumsticks  |  reviewed by Mike Kosacek

For drummers, while playing it’s sometimes a challenge to change between brushes, sticks, and mallets. Of course, studio magic allows us to do that with punch ins, but if you are tracking live...

H44 Ribbon Mic

by Alder Audio  |  reviewed by Chris Koltay

The first thing you see when encountering Alder Audio’s H44 online is their slogan: A Better Ribbon For Less. This statement may seem underwhelming against the backdrop of today's pro audio hype...

DM6 SeisMic Kick Drum Mic

by Earthworks Audio  |  reviewed by Geoff Stanfield

Earthworks Audio has always been known as a maker of extremely high-quality microphones, historically aimed at studio use. I have used their mics for years, including the kick drum mic included with...

Vocal Reverb Plug-In

by Auto-Tune  |  reviewed by Scott McDowell

Call me an AI pessimist, but my initial reaction was lukewarm when I considered trying out the Vocal Reverb plug-in from Antares Audio Technologies. Haven’t I already got enough reverbs? How is...

MDR-MV1 Headphones

by Sony  |  reviewed by Scott McDowell

A few months ago, I was hired to work on the audio engineering team at a production camp put on by Sony. One of the events at this camp was a demo of Sony’s immersive audio tools, and this was...

Grandchild 670-500 Compressor

by Heritage Audio  |  reviewed by Matt Anderson

There’s an age-old philosophical question in the audio community: “If a Fairchild compressor/limiter falls in the woods and loses over two dozen tubes and transformers, is it still a...

Gorilla Midfield 3-way Monitors

by Telegrapher Loudspeakers  |  reviewed by Mike Bridavsky

In 2002, during an internship at Electrical Audio in Chicago [Tape Op #87], I was introduced to Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi (consumer) bookshelf speakers being used as studio monitors. Working on them...

Coil Audio CA-70S Plug-In

by MixWave  |  reviewed by Matt Anderson

Last year, at least once a week, I heard someone mention Coil Audio. Even a few engineers I knew who never hype gear were straight-up saying, "These are the best preamps on the planet.” My...

Subloom Kick Drum Plug-In

by Mixland  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Ostensibly a drum mixing tool especially built for kick drums, Subloom is one of those plug-ins based on a mixer's workflow, specifically Jesse Ray Ernster [Tape Op #151], and combines several...

Mercury 666 MKI Limiting Amplifier

by Mercury Recording Equipment  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

The single-channel, three rack space Mercury 666 MKI is inspired by the Fairchild 666, a later cousin of the Fairchild 660/670 limiters. Unlike those units, the 666 was a hybrid solid-state and tube...

Loudspeaker Design Cookbook

by Vance Dickason, author  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

For those that don't know, Vance Dickason has been the editor of Voice Coil Magazine ("the monthly periodical for the loudspeaker industry") since 1987, and the author of the Loudspeaker Design...

V120 Monitor Ceiling/Wall Mounts

by IsoAcoustics  |  reviewed by Don Gunn

In what might possibly be the sexiest review ever published in Tape Op, let’s talk about monitor mounts! I was recently in need of upgrading my Atmos monitoring, and I required a better solution...


MR3eq 500 Series EQ

by Harrison  |  reviewed by Dan Knobler

As noted in my review of their new 32Classic console [Tape Op #159], in the of classic records, Harrison Audio had just as formidable a studio presence as console standard-bearers like Neve, MCI, API,...

Scarlett 4i4 Interface

by Focusrite  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

We live in a time where ADC conversion is quite good. I remember when our studio was first getting into digital recording, the sonic differences between analog to digital/digital to analog converters...

Footprint03 Powered Monitor Pair

by Barefoot Sound  |  reviewed by Gus Berry

Many studio monitors are based on what we call "2-way" configurations, featuring a woofer/driver (usually a cone speaker) and a tweeter handling the low and high frequencies, but a growing number of...


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

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