May/Jun 2003

Welcome to issue #35 of Tape Op.


I recently had a great visit with a former Tape Op writer and fellow studio owner from another town. When I asked him about possibly writing reviews of some of the cool gear he was using he responded that he didn't feel he had the authority or knowledge to really speak about these things, and that this was the reason he no longer wrote about recording music. I've been thinking about that, and what drove me to found Tape Op and keep doing it all these years (seven now). Many times in our letters section you will find a correction or rebuttal of something we have printed. I look back on what I wrote in older issues and cringe at what I didn't know about gear, producers, and making records. But who cares? Tape Op didn't set out to be THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY on recording music and making records. This magazine is an appreciation of jobs well done and the sharing of knowledge so we can all do our jobs better in the future. Think of it more as a forum if you want. Hopefully we all learn and grow as we do what we want with our lives, and no amount of fear, insecurity, condescension and mistakes will ever stop me from helping others make music and editing Tape Op. Full steam ahead!

Larry Crane

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


Columns See more →

End Rant

Good Will?

by Larry Crane

A few months ago I started a session with a local band. While booking the time, the singer/guitarist told me one of the main reasons he was coming to record with me. It turns out that a year...


Gear Reviews See more →

Variax modeling guitar

by Line 6  |  reviewed by Pete Weiss

Love it or hate it, the Pod by Line 6 is here to stay. And now it's got a companion, the Variax modeling guitar. Just as the Pod was intended to replace a warehouse full of amps and effects, the...

M-80 Bass D.I. +, Limiter pedal

by MXR  |  reviewed by Scott Craggs

Something old, something new from MXR. New first. When I was shopping for an affordable bass DI, I was intending to pick up the Sansamp on Larry's recommendation in these pages long ago, but somehow I...

Tube Amplified Direct Box

by Valvotronics  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

If you didn't know, musician-wise I'm primarily a bass player. As a bass player, I have always been somewhat unhappy with the sound of my bass when recorded. I've accumulated a stack of moderately...

Lo-Fi Loop Junky stompbox

by Z.Vex  |  reviewed by Geoff Farina

For a recent project, I needed to find a portable replacement for my delicate Roland RE-150 Space Echo that I was reticent to trust in the hands of Air France. A few hours at various music stores...

6176 Channel Strip

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

What do you get when you combine the UA 610B tube mic preamp and the 1176LN compressor? The 6176, of course. Beyond the mic pre and compressor, the 610 section also boasts simple low and high shelf...

C 1000 S microphone

by AKG  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

With fellow engineer Scott Craggs giving away all his secrets in the MXR review, I figured I should come clean and give away one of my recording secrets too. My all-time favorite guitar amp microphone...

D-2 Microphone

by Audix  |  reviewed by Eric Broyhill

Since drummers are always destroying tom mics, it's not uncommon that the necessity to try something new on the toms arises. This time it was a Sennheiser 421 that was destroyed and an Audix D-2 that...

Doc?s Proplugs ear protectors

by International Aquatic Trades  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

If you've read my past reviews about hearing protectors and noise-canceling headphones, you know that I'm careful with my ears. A few months ago, I discovered an ear protection system that was...

Dangerous 2-BUS

by Dangerous Music  |  reviewed by Joe Chiccarelli

Mixing out of the Box, Part 1: High End Mixer Shootout In recent months, there's been a bunch of talk on the various online forums about mixing digital audio tracks within your DAW vs. through an...


by DaveSmithInstruments  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

Having cut my teeth on a big Buchla modular synth back in my college days, I have always wanted to put a modular analog synth into my control room. Two things kept me from doing this: space and money....

M3A DAW Monitor

by Coleman Audio  |  reviewed by Mike Jasper

Like many small studio owners, I don't use a true mixing board. Instead, I use the Pro Tools virtual mixer along with a MotorMix digital mixer worksurface attached to the MIDI ins and outs of a Digi...

ADL 670 stereo tube limiter

by AnthonyDeMariaLabs  |  reviewed by Pete Weiss

Crazy as it sounds, well-financed producers, engineers, and studio owners have for years been willing to pay upwards of $30,000 for a genuine Fairchild 670 stereo compressor. These back (and bank)...

N72 mic preamp

by Seventh Circle Audio  |  reviewed by Collin Dupuis

I recently had the opportunity to check out the Seventh Circle Audio N72 mic preamp with the CH01 chassis and PS01 power supply. The N72 is available fully assembled or in various kit forms. With the...

TR8 Tuned Reference biamped monitor

by Event Electronics  |  reviewed by Eric Tischler

Two or three years ago, I read a review of Event's 20/20 monitors in this very magazine and promptly bought a pair. (I had been using a pair of Infinity home stereo speakers, not entirely...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

Follow Your Bliss

by The Production Club | reviewed by Larry Crane

Wally Gagel spent many years engineering at Boston's Fort Apache Studio, working on many cool records with bands like Belly, Sebadoh, Old 97's, and Pell Mell. Now he lives in L.A. and has a home...

Music Reviews


by The Clean | reviewed by Larry Crane

Remember the interview with New Zealand's David Kilgour a while back? This is what all the fuss is about. The two disc set starts with their early singles and EPs, 4-track heaven of grinding pop songs...

Music Reviews


by Kennedy | reviewed by Larry Crane

Full-bore, crunchy one-man-band home-recorded (Kennedy Space Station) masterpiece. He used one Audio-Technica stereo condenser mic and three SM57s through a Tascam M108 board through a 20-bit Layla...

Music Reviews

Copying Machine Music

by Xerophonics | reviewed by Larry Crane

Dr. Stefan Helmreich recorded the rhythmic sounds of photocopy machines on a Realistic Minisette-20, manipulating the sounds in an Ensoniq EPS 16 Plus. The songs have titles like "Xerox 5828". This...

Music Reviews

The Acid Gospel Experience

by Scenic | reviewed by Larry Crane

Bruce Licher and company deliver another fine instrumental album, this time with more electronics and fuzzier guitars in the fore than before. Harold Budd makes a guest appearance with spacey piano on...

Music Reviews

Log 22

by Bettie Serveert | reviewed by Larry Crane

I finished writing all these "reviews" and then realized that one of the CDs I'd been listening to most was this one. Bettie Serveert have been around for years now, and is a great guitar pop band....

Music Reviews

Say You Will

by Fleetwood Mac | reviewed by Larry Crane

I admit that I'll buy occasional big budget, major label records just because I am curious about what can happen when lots of time and money (something I never get to see) are spent making a record....

Music Reviews

Hand Clappin’

by Dub Narcotic Sound System | reviewed by Larry Crane

Calvin's Dub Narcotic return to form with this EP after a long, dormant recording period. Issue #32 had an interview with him about the studio, and here's a prime example of roomy, groovin' music with...

Music Reviews

Summer Sun

by Yo La Tengo | reviewed by Larry Crane

According to Roger Moutenot, "It was recorded here in Nashville at Alex The Great Studio, mixed in N.Y.C. at Shelter Island Sound. Just the band and myself." Dreamy tunes, cool instrumentation,...

Music Reviews

Republic of Two

by Nedelle | reviewed by Larry Crane

It's funny how I won't let anyone write in Tape Op about CDs I work on, but I'll go on and on about albums our contributors have worked on. Nedelle is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter...

Music Reviews

Ambient Metals

by Tone | reviewed by Larry Crane

Produced and engineered by J. Robbins, this is Tone's most "rock" record yet. Instrumentals with massive pounding drums (two kits) and more pronounced guitar hooks and riffs (four guitarists) pull it...

Music Reviews

Feast of Wire

by Calexico | reviewed by Larry Crane

I had to correct the publicist for this record when I received an email telling me that the new Calexico was recorded in "the band's studio, WaveLab." As any astute reader of Tape Op should know,...

Music Reviews


by Califone | reviewed by Larry Crane

Recorded and mixed by Graeme Gibson at the band's own Clava Studio in Chicago with additional recording by Mikael Jorgensen and Joe Ferguson. Recorded on 16-track 2" 3M, M79 with an Amek Big28...

Music Reviews

The Studio One Story

by The Studio One Story | reviewed by Larry Crane

This CD and DVD combo is the size of a two-CD package, plus it has a nifty little booklet. The DVD is four hours of documentary on Studio One, the legendary Jamaican reggae studio run by Clement "Sir...



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

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