Sep/Oct 2005

Welcome to issue #49 of Tape Op.


As we go to press (actually this issue is already at pre-press) hurricane Katrina has battered the coastlines of Louisiana and Mississippi and caused massive flooding and destruction to the city of New Orleans. For the last two years we've hosted the TapeOpCon in this city, making many friends in the area in the recording and music scenes. New Orleans is one of America's unique cities, one of the birthplaces of jazz and rock and roll and a cultural center of unique art, food and a different lifestyle from the rest of this increasingly homogenized country. At this point we've heard from our friends at Piety Street Recording that they are all safe in other cities waiting to return to survey the damage, we've heard our pal Andrew Gilchrest is okay, and conference event planner Jon Kardon is staying at his sister's home. But many of our friends are unaccounted for at this point — Sara and the Big Blue Marble band, Chris and Daniel from the Living Room Studio and many other studio owners and musicians. We worry and wait.

I'd never been to New Orleans until three years ago planning for TapeOpCon. Since then this city has become very special to me and close to my heart. All of us at Tape Op are concerned and offer our support in returning this city to life.

Many people have contacted me asking where to donate. Please visit the Red Cross — they have donation systems in place and are equipped to help. As of this time we have no idea what we will be doing for TapeOpCon in June 2006. At times the art and commerce of recording music seems so secondary to caring for friends and the rest of humanity. All our love and support goes out to the residents of Louisiana and Mississippi impacted by hurricane Katrina.

-Larry Crane

PS: August 2005 saw the passing of two of our greatest sonic pioneers, John Loder and Bob Moog. John Loder, the founder of Southern Records and Southern Studios who engineered and mastered some of the most important independent recordings of the last three decades, died of complications that arose from a brain tumor on August 13th in London. Bob Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer and champion of the Theremin, died of brain cancer at his home in Ashville, North Carolina on August 21. Both were true innovators who inspired a generation of musicians and engineers, and both will be missed dearly. -Geoff Farina

PPS: We recently also saw the passing of Clancy Eccles, one of reggae's unsung "rock steady" production heroes.

We'll miss him. -LC

In This Issue See more →

Ethan Johns

by Larry Crane

An eye-catching and imposing centerpiece of Ethan Johns' studio is the unique wraparound console he inherited from his father, Glyn Johns. We sat marveling at the console and picked Ethan's brain...

Analog Summing

by J.J. Wiesler

Recently, we've seen an influx of analog summing mixers on the pro audio scene. Products like the Dangerous Music 2-BUS, Chandler Limited Mini Rack Mixer, Audient Sumo, and Folcrom RMS216 are examples...


Columns See more →


Gear Reviews See more →

LA-3A Audio Leveler (reissue)

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by Craig Schumacher

Sound the trumpets; Universal Audio has done it again! With the reissue of the LA-3A, UA has brought back one of the best, solid-state, optical compressors ever built. Originally designed as a...

Lil FrEQ

by Empirical Labs  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Empirical Labs is a company that seems content to offer a few outstanding pieces of gear rather than a wide array of average products. You won't see them rushing to push out new devices every six...

Portico 5012 dual mic preamp

by Rupert Neve Designs  |  reviewed by Mike Caffrey

I'll start this review by reading your mind. I can tell you're thinking two questions. The answers are: the 5012 sounds great; and yes, you should buy one. If it's still at the introductory price of...

AT4031 cardioid condenser mic

by Audio-Technica  |  reviewed by Chris Garges

The discontinued AT4031 was an early microphone in Audio-Technica's extremely popular 40 Series. It is a small- diaphragm, end-firing microphone that was eventually replaced by the AT4041. It is...

Mini Rack Mixer

by Chandler Limited  |  reviewed by Mike Caffrey

A rack mixer wasn't initially on the Chandler design agenda, but designer Wade Goecke ("Behind the Gear," Tape Op # 46) got so many calls saying, "There are a lot of summing boxes out there, but I...

Active Snare Dampening System

by Remo  |  reviewed by Mike Caffrey

$25 bucks to a better snare sound right this way... A couple of months ago, I produced an album with Omar Hakim on drums, and he turned me on to the Remo Active Snare Dampening System. In most cases,...

Alphabet Soup

by Oz Music Code  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

I haven't had this much fun with audio software in a long time. Imagine an application window that displays a graphic representation of a computer keyboard. Onto each key you can drag-and-drop any...

PEQ1R New Revision ?A?

by Wunder Audio  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

I wrote a pretty positive review of the Wunder Audio PEQ1 preamp/EQ in Tape Op #41. At that time, the unit was available as either a replacement module for some vintage consoles or in a custom rack...

G5 Vertical Rackmount

by Redco Audio  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

I hate how the Mac G5 is too big to mount in a 19'' rack sideways unless you cut off its handles. And no one seems to make a rackmount case that you can fill with the parts of a gutted G5 like you can...

AT2020 cardioid condenser mic

by Audio-Technica  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

With inexpensive mics seemingly as common as guitar picks, one must ask, "Does the world need another cheap mic?" But after testing the AT2020, my answer is a resounding, "Yes!" Because the AT2020 is...

Pacifica 2-ch mic preamp

by A-Designs Audio  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

The Pacifica by A-Designs is a two-channel, solid-state, transformer-balanced mic preamp. Its front panel is simple-each channel has a DI input, phantom-power switch, 20 dB pad, polarity switch, and a...

Machinedrum SPS-1

by Elektron  |  reviewed by Inverse Room

Drum machines get a bad rap. And why not? Much of what comes out of them is sterile, repetitive, and mechanistic. In some cases, it's the machine's fault. Most of them aren't very versatile, pumping...


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

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