Mar/Apr 2009

Welcome to issue #70 of Tape Op.


A good question could turn out to be your best teacher. Sometimes one simple query will make you sit down to ponder, discuss, critique and possibly even re-evaluate something in your life. I was recently reminiscing about how my past interns and students had asked me about something that confused them, and often I would need to think a bit harder about what I "knew" or didn't "know."

Some of these questions would send me off to my collection of audio reference books or the Internet in search of facts. Other queries would make me look at my recording practices and wonder if I could do a better job than I had been. But being able to admit that you don't know the answer, you might have been wrong or even made assumptions — that's VERY important. Collaborating with others might also change the way you approach a situation. Spending time listening closely to albums you enjoy can pay off handsomely. And carefully considering everyone's questions about music and recording will make you better at your craft. It's all about keeping your mind open to new thoughts and experiences — and learning more along the way. 

Larry Crane, editor

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Carpal Tunnel

by Liz Brown, Sarah Murphy

For all of the benefits computers bring to the modern recording studio, wrist health isn't one of them. The repetitive motion typically required to operate music software using a mouse and keyboard...


Columns See more →

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #70

by Andy Hong

How many of you have a USB or FireWire device-hard drive, effects processor, control surface, keyboard controller, whatever-sitting on your desk or console with a cable awkwardly sticking straight out...


Gear Reviews See more →

Stickers para Pro Tools

by Calma Estudis  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

On the Spanish isle of Majorca, in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, there lies a luxurious recording studio and production facility named Calma Estudis, who recently made available for free...

SCM16A active monitor

by ATC  |  reviewed by Kirt Shearer

Control room monitors are a tricky thing. They need to really perform to allow us to hear the nuances in the mixes we obsess over. At the same time, they need to help us deliver a mix that will...

Ear Wax Removal Syringe

by ACU-LIFE  |  reviewed by Joseph Lemmer

This is the only ear wax removal method I have tried that is both safe and effective. Ear wax is my least favorite bodily secretion, especially because it affects hearing. I get a lot of it. (No, I...

AxePort Pro USB instrument DI

by CEntrance  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

This handy item is a USB bus-powered instrument DI with integral headphone monitoring that's about three-quarters the size of an SM57. On one end of the anodized-aluminum housing is a 1/4" jack that's...

Obsidian stereo compressor

by Dramastic Audio  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Several months ago, I noticed the Dramastic Audio Obsidian compressor on the Mercenary Audio website. The units had not shipped, so I had little to go on. After a while, I started to think it was just...

T-RackS 3 Deluxe plug-in suite

by IK Multimedia  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

My first lesson in audio mastering consisted of reading the documentation included with an early standalone version of T-RackS 24 that I purchased in 1999. The manual read like a "mastering for...

AM-20 500-series EQ

by Alta Moda  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

I have been looking for a fully-sweepable EQ for two channels of our API 1608 console that sounds as good as the classic stepped API 550 EQs. I prefer the sound of stepped EQs in general, but...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

Schoolyard Ghosts

by No-Man | reviewed by Larry Crane

Steven Wilson (also of Porcupine Tree) presents one of his many side projects here, No-Man, a 22-year old collaboration with singer/songwriter Tim Bowness. The music is melancholy, layered and...

Music Reviews

The Empyrean

by John Frusciante | reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

When I interviewed John and his engineer Ryan Hewitt for Tape Op #61 in February of 2007, they were in the middle of making this record. Between John's touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and...

Music Reviews

Hold Time

by M. Ward | reviewed by Larry Crane

For sake of honesty I should confess that I recorded a few songs for Transistor Radio, M. Ward's 2005 album, and I consider Matt a friend even if our busy schedules make hanging out difficult! But one...

Music Reviews

Black Monk Time

by The Monks | reviewed by Larry Crane

This is a reissue of the first album by the group of former U.S. G.I.'s with the tonsure haircuts who baffled audiences in Germany with their droney garage rock with weird lyrics and noisy guitar...

Music Reviews

To Be Still

by Alela Diane | reviewed by John Baccigaluppi, Larry Crane

I grew up near a magical town in the foothills of California called Nevada City. Back when I was in high school we'd see Jonathan Richman walking down the street or Gary Snyder reading his poetry, and...

Music Reviews

Living Thing

by Peter Bjorn and John | reviewed by Larry Crane

Remember the fun interview Thom Monahan did with Björn Yttling in #65? He and his famous whistling band (with Peter Morén and John Eriksson) return with their fourth album. It's catchy,...

Music Reviews

Ancients Speak

by Melvin Gibbs’ Elevated Entity | reviewed by Larry Crane

You may remember Melvin as the thoughtful bassist (with a back catalog and history to die for) whom we interviewed in issue #54. Here he unleashes an inspired mix of African music, hip-hop, Brazilian,...

Music Reviews

The Safecracker

by The City Champs | reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

Since we last talked to Scott Bomar for Tape Op 44 he's done the soundtracks for the movies Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan as well as opening up his Electraphonic Recording Studios in Memphis....



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

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