Jan/Feb 2005

Welcome to issue #45 of Tape Op.


Last issue I wrote this intro page while visiting Amsterdam and hanging out at The Paradiso. This issue I'm sitting on a plane while heading to New Orleans to mix some songs I started with Big Blue Marble (and to mix some others they've tracked as well). Since last May I've been thinking a lot about what I want in a career in music recording, and I'm slowly working it out. There have been times where I felt like I was almost on an assembly line — rock bands coming in one after the other with me trying to do the best job I could given what they brought in as songs, arrangements, talent and gear. I've pulled back from that, fielding many of the calls I've gotten at my studio to other engineers while taking on things that interest me. Last week I recorded a quartet of Tongan ex-patriots doing traditional "island" music with guitars, ukulele and sweet harmony voices. I thought it would be interesting, and a different challenge, and it was — especially having to track, overdub and mix 12 songs in 9 hours! The next day I worked with an old friend, Sean Croghan, who I've done several albums with before. It was fun and creative — only tackling the tracking and rough mixing for one song we came up with cool sounds and arrangements that we were both real happy with. And now I'm off to work with a band in New Orleans that I really like (musically and as people), in a funky studio with a resident cat (and engineer). I feel like I'm getting close to a career that won't burn me out (I hope) and will keep me interested in music recording for a long time. Wish me luck!

P. S. Some folks might think, "Of course Larry can pick and choose projects." But, this is the first time I've really been able to do this, after ten years of "charging" for recording and eight years of owning a studio. And just so you know, at some points I am turning down work when I need the money — I'm just trying to keep my sanity and find time to work on Tape Op as well. I feel like I'm barely getting by and that makes me nervous!

P.P.S. Right as we went to press, Quantegy closed their tape plant. Rumours and truths are flying, and almost the entire stock of recording tape in the USA was sold in two days. Will tape remain only as an anchronistic word that's part of the title of this magazine? We don't think so, and we'll keep you posted in future issues as things develop.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Larry Levine

by Greg Sullivan

Amidst the flash and glitz of the expensive, superficial hype that sells today's hits to the mainstream, it might seem as if the art of songcraft is at an all time low. Larry Levine remembers a...

Stereo Microphone Techniques

by Bruce Bartlett

Want to pump some air and life into your recordings? Try mic'ing some instruments in stereo with two microphones. To create a stereo effect, the mics can be angled apart, spaced apart, or both. In...

Alesis 3630 Mod

by Jeff Laity

The Alesis 3630 is a very popular, full-featured compressor. It offers up RMS and peak compression, variable knee, adjustable attack and release times, and great metering for under a hundred bucks....

Studio Security

by Anthony Collins

There is an epidemic sweeping the music industry. No, it's not an STD or computer virus, but something just as bad: Studios are falling prey to equipment theft. Audio gear is being stolen from...


Columns See more →


Gear Reviews See more →

Vintage Synthesizers, 2nd edition

by Mark Vail  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

You may have noticed from reading the last few issues of Tape Op that we have a soft spot in our hearts for vintage synths, with interviews of Malcolm Cecil (keeper of TONTO), Bob Moog, and Larry...

DD-2 K-Stereo Processor

by Digital Domain  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

The DD-2 K-Stereo Processor is referred to as an "ambience recovery device" in literature and on the Digital Domain website. The brainchild of mastering engineer Bob Katz, the DD-2 is built using...

VAC-6c Popless Voice Screens

by Popless Voice Screens  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

The VAC-6c pop screens provide a unique solution to the "How do I tame those damn plosives?" dilemma-you know, the overbearing "P" sounds that create huge low- end peaks on vocals when mics are in...

BAE 312A mic preamp

by Brent Averill Enterprises  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Before I built up my own studio, I used to carry around a portable case with original Neve 1272 and API 312 mic preamps that Brent Averill Enterprises had racked for me. These now sit permanently...

Blue Tubes Bundle 2.0

by Nomad Factory  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

This set of 16 plug-ins works in RTAS (Pro Tools LE), HTDM (Pro Tools HDTM/TDM), VST (Cubase, Nuendo), and AU (Logic, Digital Performer) and will run on MacOS X, Win98, NT, 2000, and XP. It seems like...

M930, UMT70S

by Gefell  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Recently, I was asked to record a private concert featuring acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Paul Cantelon (who is also an accomplished violinist and composer). The concert took place in a New...

B4D Drawbar Controller

by Native Instruments  |  reviewed by Rich Hardesty

The B4 has been one of my most regularly used and cherished VST plug-ins, so just for the sake of nostalgia, I took a look back in the archive of Tape Op reviews and saw that my original review of the...

Onyx 800R 8-channel mic preamp

by Mackie  |  reviewed by Craig Schumacher

As most people know, Mackie has become a leading manufacturer of affordable audio products. The company is perhaps best known for its great line of simple but clean- sounding mixers. The company has...

e250, e49

by Soundelux  |  reviewed by Craig Schumacher

David Bock is very serious about microphone making. In ten short years, he's built up a reputation as a builder of some of the best sounding mics you can buy. His primary focus has been on...

Mic-Pre IV

by Geoff Daking  |  reviewed by Craig Schumacher

The name Geoff Daking has become synonymous with quality-built, great-sounding studio recording gear. He is well respected for his FET Compressor II, Mic-Pre/EQ, and custom consoles. He recently...

The Culture Vulture

by Thermionic Culture  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

What is this box? I've had it for almost a year, and I'm still not sure how to answer that. For one, it's basically two channels of tube circuitry that can be run in normal or overdrive modes. The...


by Earthworks  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

One of the coolest things I saw at the AES show this past October is this little inline XLR barrel that's both a pad and EQ designed for kick drum mic'ing. For rock drums my go-to scenario is an AKG D...


EQ-2NV two-channel equalizer

by Great River  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

First off, a story: I was tracking some songs in New Orleans this summer, and Dan Kennedy of Great River was cool enough to send me this new EQ to the studio I was at; plus, he sent one of his MP-2NV...


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

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