Jan/Feb 2008

Welcome to issue #63 of Tape Op.


Nashville, Los Angeles and New York:

to many people these are the epicenters of recording in the United States. One cannot deny that many records are made in these cities, but the history of recorded music brings many more places to light, such as New Orleans, Memphis, Boston, San Francisco and others. But what about recording in even more rural locales? In this issue we visit two California locations — RadioStar Studios in Weed and Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree. We also talk to The Books who've recorded in a basement in the Appalachians as well as their shack in the woods (see the photos). Chris Stamey also brings us part one of his four part "Fixing It Before the Mix" guides — his studio is in beautiful Chapel Hill, North Carolina. But we also talked to Barry Conley and Chris Goss this issue, who've worked all over Los Angeles and other major cities, as well as recording out in Joshua Tree.

Music is recorded everywhere these days. Sure, there will still be records made in the "big three" cities, but with the proliferation of affordable and decent sounding digital recording gear in the last decade, we see people making records all over the world in unique locations. And a unique location, an interesting building or space and a one-of-a-kind environment are aspects you cannot simply hire a studio designer to build for you.

I also wanted to check in regarding my intro to last issue. I was able to spend a week at my new Jackpot! Recording Studio space in Portland making an album for my friends in System & Station. All the planning that went into creating this new space paid off — everything worked right, gear was laid out logically and I was able to get some great drum sounds in the new live room. Any ideas for changes I've come up with are very minor, and I feel like all the planning, four months of solid work, the attention to detail from my landlords at Hamptone and my personal financial expenses were all worth it. But would I ever go through the process of moving or opening a studio of this scale again? I hope I never have to, to be honest! See you in March.

Larry Crane

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

John Buckman: Creative Commons

by Garret Hope

Creative Commons, or CC, was launched in 2001 as a means to help artists and creators of intellectual property deal with the increasing pressure of a "Permission Society." In an effort to bypass...


Columns See more →


Gear Reviews See more →

8801 channel strip

by Neve  |  reviewed by Neil Mclellan

The 88RS console-inspired 8801 incorporates a mic preamp with hi and low-pass filters; four-band EQ; and a compressor and gate. You can reorder the functions as you like and assign the filter and/or...

SuPRE mic preamp

by Groove Tubes  |  reviewed by Craig Schumacher

Following on the heels of the success of the ViPRE, Groove Tubes has created another fantastic tube-based microphone preamplifier. Called the SuPRE, it looks like the twin little brother of the ViPRE....

Pro Tools LE 7.4 upgrade

by Digidesign  |  reviewed by

I've been a fan of the UK band Senser ever since their first full-length (Stacked Up) was released in the US, around the time the band began to lose members. Now that the original lineup are back, I...

ATH-M50 & ATH-PRO700 SV headphones

by Audio-Technica  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

The ATH-M50 "Professional Studio Monitor Headphones", as Audio-Technica like to call them, really are usable for recording and mixing applications. They sound amazingly clear. The top end has a...

Mbox 2 Micro

by Digidesign  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

In my "Gear Geeking" column in Tape Op #57, I discuss an ultraportable Pro Tools M-Powered system running on a handheld Sony UMPC connected to an M-Audio Transit USB interface. At the time, the...

Analog Synthesizers

by Mark Jenkins  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

What recording geek doesn't have a soft spot for analog synths? All those knobs and patch cables! All those textured sounds! Running audio through filters and ring mods! Good analog synths are a...

Master Restoration Suite

by Wave Arts  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

In Tape Op #60's "Gear Geeking" column, I discussed my very positive experience with Wave Arts MR Noise after receiving an email from Thom Monahan that he considers the MR Suite of plug-ins essential...


by Elysia  |  reviewed by Joel Hamilton

Please read this with the "movie guy" voice in your mind. Many years have passed since the invention of the compressor, and the world has seen many incarnations of this piece of recording history....

Horizon tube condenser mic

by Lauten Audio  |  reviewed by Allen Farmelo

The Lauten Horizon is a cardioid tube mic with a shock-mounted, large-diaphragm capsule and a two-step pad. The mic ships with a shock mount, a hard mount, a power supply, and a 20 ft Gotham Audio...

Headpod 454

by Aphex  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

We have a small B-Room here at The Hangar with a Digi 002 and a Rolls HA43 4-channel headphone amp. So when Aphex asked if we'd be interested in reviewing their HeadPod unit, I said sure, I can do...

Pullet mini passive EQ

by Thermionic Culture  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

This is one of the best sounding EQs I've ever used. I'm a big fan of passive EQs for their smooth sound, especially when boosting. The Pultec is one of the best-known examples of a passive EQ. In...

R-09 handheld recorder

by Edirol/Roland  |  reviewed by Jessica Thompson

I had to record an interview for an audio documentary and didn't want to lug around my laptop and Mbox. What could I use that would offer portability and decent-though not necessarily...

Emigre No. 69: The End

by Rudy VanderLans  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

Warning: For those readers who get upset when we deviate a bit from matters strictly audio, you should skip ahead to the next microphone review that fits your budget. These next paragraphs will only...

FireStudio firewire interface

by PreSonus  |  reviewed by

The brunt of this review focuses on a shootout between the PreSonus FireStudio and the RME Fireface 800. Why? Because I already owned a Fireface and I needed a second interface. Not fair you say? The...

Solera dynamics processor plug-in

by FLUX  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

FLUX is a French company that specializes in high-quality audio processing tools. Solera is the company's flagship dynamics tool. And there is a reason for the name; it comes from solerais, which is a...

HM-1 compact condenser mic

by KEL Audio  |  reviewed by Steve Silverstein

I always like having a lot of options in my mic closet. There are times that I lean heavily on my most expensive microphones, but I often find it far more helpful to have as many effective,...

XioSynth 25

by Novation Music  |  reviewed by

A few months ago, while Neil Mclellan and I were having dinner at his place and listening to some tracks he'd been mixing on his home rig, he started to show me webpages of some big old synths that he...

DIY Ribbon Microphone tutorial

by Rickshaw Records  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Sometimes not knowing what you're getting into is a good thing. I don't know what Rick Wilkinson was thinking when he decided to whip up a ribbon mic from scratch, but it's a good thing he's not...

H2 Handy Recorder

by Zoom  |  reviewed by Geoff Farina

The inexpensive Zoom H2 Handy Recorder makes quality WAV or MP3 recordings on removable SD media. It's loaded with features, comes with many useful accessories, and is easy to interface with a...

Logic Pro 8

by Apple  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

If you followed my "Gear Geeking" columns in year 2007, you know the epic story of my move from Pro Tools HD to various native DAWs running on a souped-up Mac Pro, including Logic Pro 7. Well, soon...

UAD-1e & UAD-Xpander Xtreme

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by

I'm not a plug-in hound. I tend to stick to a few families of plug-ins that I know and trust. These days, I think I could do 99% of my work with plug-ins from Universal Audio and Wave Arts (Tape Op...

Shane Wilson's Guide to Mixing

by Audioinstruction  |  reviewed by Mike Jasper

Shane Wilson's Guide to Mixing was produced by Chris Graffagnino, Russ Long, and Michael Valletta for Audioinstruction, LLC in Nashville, and in the interest of full disclosure, I should add that I...

Game Boy Camera

by Nintendo  |  reviewed by Roy Silverstein

I've been messing around with video game music since about 1997 with my good friend Joseph Majalca in Chicago under the moniker Royal Space Force. We started off by using sound tests and otherwise...

Midines Cartridge interface

by Wayfar  |  reviewed by Roy Silverstein

I've been messing around with video game music since about 1997 with my good friend Joseph Majalca in Chicago under the moniker Royal Space Force. We started off by using sound tests and otherwise...

Synthcart for Atari 2600

by Paul Slocum  |  reviewed by Roy Silverstein

I've been messing around with video game music since about 1997 with my good friend Joseph Majalca in Chicago under the moniker Royal Space Force. We started off by using sound tests and otherwise...

E-Trap electronic bass trap

by Bag End  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Along with other acoustic treatments, I've employed RealTraps bass traps (Tape Op #36, #38, #48) in my personal studio with a good deal of success. The payoff for careful placement of traps,...


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