May/Jun 2007

Welcome to issue #59 of Tape Op.


As you read this we're finishing up moving my studio, Jackpot! Recording, to a new building. Many thanks to the Hamptone company (our "landlords", but really more like co-conspirators and friends) for going the extra step and putting together a building especially designed to host a studio. Thanks to my friend Ryan Heise for numerous trips to Home Depot and his construction skills. Thanks also to the volunteers who've helped move, solder, de-solder and build sound treatment. But most thanks are due to Jackpot!'s studio manager Kendra Lynn, who put in ridiculous hours and dealt with numerous issues. Special, special thanks are due to Jenna Sather, without whom I'd be a lesser man. (Plus she learned to solder!) Now to get the first sessions underway, and hopefully all the bugs worked out...

As we were gathering supplies and information for this move we ordered thousands of dollars worth of new equipment, cabling, computers, Owens-Corning 703, fabric, connectors and such. Many of the products could not be purchased locally, so we initially went to some well-known mail order companies and to some smaller specialty companies for certain items. I had some really crappy experiences with a couple of places (ironically neither of which advertise in Tape Op). One place put some DB25 cables on backorder for a month and a half without ever informing me that they had done so. I kept wondering if they had arrived and we had misplaced them, until I called and was informed of this. After quizzing the representative about why I was never contacted, I cancelled the order and he tried to shuttle me over to the recording department to place another order! "Uh, no thanks." Another company was able to ship the goods ordered, but didn't bother with decent packaging — the mic stands arrived spilling out of their boxes, and the rack rails have still not arrived after two months, due to the packaging disintegrating! I moved on to another retailer, one known for good customer service. I was able to get calls back, emails, better quality products and fast (usually free) shipping. I did pay a bit more (in the case of the DB25 cables it was for much better quality), but I also got everything I ordered, and faster than projected by the salesperson. I also got great service from smaller companies (like Redco, Gepco, BTX and Small Parts, Inc.), where ordering was easy and products arrived on time. Some local stores also really came through in a pinch, SuperDigital and Pacific Pro Audio both delivered with the goods. Dealing with knowledgeable salespeople was what really made the difference in the end. When I could call someone and talk through what we were looking for and get suggestions for what would work best — that was when the rest of the process went smoothly.

The worst experience? Don't ever buy used patchbays on eBay. We've ended up with all sorts of wire wrap, punch point and just plain odd TT patchbays through eBay, even after asking questions of the sellers. Out of eleven purchased, three were the right kind (thanks to Roberto Sanchez)! Obviously I'm partially to blame for not asking enough questions, but I will warn you: "Buy new patchbays, buy them long before you need to wire them up, check them out as soon as you get them, and don't buy them used!" And if you're looking for TT to solder point bays — start looking early. If anyone does want some weird, used patchbays drop me a line!
Okay, I'm getting ready for some down time. But first, see you at TapeOpCon.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Gabriel Roth / Bosco Mann

by Vijith Assar

Sharon Jones may be the reigning matriarch of revivalist funk, but when I first interviewed her a year and a half ago, she was very clear about her role: she's the face and voice of the operation...


Columns See more →


Gear Reviews See more →

Building Spectrum Recording Studios

by Jim Kalamasz  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Jim Kalamasz has owned and run Spectrum in Florida for over twenty years. Over a decade ago, they were forced to move to a new location, and Jim documented this process on a home video camera. On this...

Portico 5043 Compressor/Limiter Duo

by Rupert Neve Designs  |  reviewed by Mike Caffrey

Like the rest of the Portico series, the 5043 two-channel compressor is a half-width, 1RU-height design that can be racked horizontally or vertically. Each channel has the expected controls for attack...

DV-RA1000HD CD/DVD/HD recorder

by TASCAM  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

I love my Alesis Masterlink! It's super convenient to be able to record audio to its built-in hard drive and then burn audio CDs or hi-res CD-R archives. I hate my Masterlink! The user interface is...

Channel G plug-in

by McDSP  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

When I first read about McDSP's Channel G, I made the mistake of dismissing it as a repackaged application. We already own McDSP's Compressor Bank, Equalizers, and Analog Channel, so I figured Channel...

The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film

by Richie Unterberger  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Unterberger, who wrote the great books Turn! Turn! Turn!, Eight Miles High, and Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll, tackles the unreleased Beatle media in this 388-page book. Mostly it's a yearly...

003 Factory

by Digidesign  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

I'm sure a lot of you were checking out the online rumor mills about the Digidesign's new 003. Many of the rumor mongers claimed that it wouldn't be much more than a re-skinned Digi 002 (Tape Op #33)...

CM7 tube mic

by Wunder Audio  |  reviewed by Mike Jasper

When Wunder Audio owner and CM7 creator Mike Castoro was asked to describe his mic, he said it was similar to a Neumann U 47 but better. I would agree. The Wunder Audio CM7 is the best vocal mic I've...

RSM-3 ribbon microphone

by Nady  |  reviewed by Pete Weiss

Thrifty New Englander that I am, I often check the daily "Stupid Deal" at It can be pretty hit-or-miss. Usually, the item is something kind of useless, like an entry-level...

P28 small-diaphragm tube mic

by Peluso  |  reviewed by Henry Robinett

Let me start out by saying that my experience with small-diaphragm tube condensers has been limited. I've never owned one but had on occasion used the McHugh Military tube pencil that The Hangar owns....

P22A active monitor

by ADAM Audio  |  reviewed by Drew Townson

I love great-sounding speakers. I guess you could call me a monitor guy. Ever since I blew up the studio's last pair of NS-10Ms in 1990, I've been on a quest for the perfect tracking and mixing...

link direct S & link protect S cables

by VOVOX  |  reviewed by

For this review, I concerned myself with one question. Can three "blindfolded" listeners tell the difference between Mogami and VOVOX XLR cables? Wow-yes. Test methodology is detailed at the end of...

FaderPort DAW controller

by PreSonus  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

I hate dragging a mouse to move an onscreen fader during an automation pass. It just seems obtuse-almost as much as dragging a mouse in a circle to turn a virtual knob. I'll draw out the fader moves...


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

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