Jul/Aug 2009

Welcome to issue #72 of Tape Op.


We get all sorts of emails from Tape Op's readers, and most of them are interesting, entertaining and/or informative. Many of these letters get printed in our "Letters to Tape Op" section, but there is a certain type of letter I won't publish. It usually starts out with the writer explaining what they are up to ("I'm a songwriter") and then gives us a little bit of information about what recording equipment they do have ("a PC with an XXXX interface") and maybe a few thoughts on what they might like to own ("ribbon mics and a compressor") and then the clincher — the writer will ask for us to select and recommend what their next purchases should be ("can you give me a few of your trusted brands?").

Why doesn't Tape Op run these letters? Several reasons: 1. This sort of personally detailed response could suck up hours of our workdays. I need time to edit this magazine, work on sessions, answer emails and live my life. Shouldn't someone be paid to handle this type of work? A professional studio consultant? 2. I'm wary of recommending specific brands to people. I know what gear I have that I like — and as you read in last issue's "Gear Geeking" column, I'm not afraid to mention some equipment at my studio that I find useful — but to give someone a list of the items and brands they need to buy isn't something I feel comfortable doing in the pages of Tape Op. 3. People need to do their own research. Read reviews, read about what other people use and go on forums. Ask questions of your peers. Talk to one of the many respected pro audio dealers, some of whom help support your free subscription to Tape Op. You could hire someone to try to sort out what you should buy, but in the end you'll have a better idea of what you need if you do the research and the work yourself. Trust me.

Larry Crane, editor

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


Columns See more →

End Rant

Jay Bennett

by Jason T. Lewis

I feel like I have to say a little about Jay's passing. He was one of those rare people that came into my life at a time when I was ready to learn and he taught me more than I can say about recording,...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #72

by Andy Hong

No doubt many of you sit on a Herman Miller Aeron (www.hermanmiller.com). In the fifteen years that it's been available, it's become an icon for high-end task- chairs in both the dot-com and...


Gear Reviews See more →

SM27 & SM137 condenser mics

by Shure  |  reviewed by Mike Jasper

Shure's new SM27 replaces the KSM27 (the "Dixie Chicks mic"), but it isn't just a clone with a new color and new name. Nope, this charcoal grey microphone has a much better self-noise figure than the...

SPL Meter

by Studio Six Digital  |  reviewed by Allen Farmelo

The number of applications for the iPhone that could be useful for people doing recording is growing faster than any one of us can keep up with, but a recent find for me is the 99-cent SPL Meter from...

GT 050Q external hard drive

by Glyph  |  reviewed by Steve Silverstein

I trusted Tekserve in New York when they recommended the Glyph GT 050Q. It definitely ranks among the best recommendations I've ever received (not just because I like the convenience of it taking an...

SC-1 mk500 mic preamp kit

by FiveFish Studios  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

FiveFish Studios is a Tennessee-based company that offers pre-packaged DIY audio kits. For this review, I'm covering the SC-1 mk500, a preamp designed to fit in 500-series racks and lunchboxes. The...

SONAR V-Studio 700

by Cakewalk  |  reviewed by Alan Tubbs

V-Studio 700 is a complete and integrated digital recording system-just add computer-that's designed around SONAR 8 (Tape Op #69), Cakewalk's flagship DAW, which is included with the complete V-Studio...

Live 8

by Ableton  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

Less than twelve months from the last major upgrade to their sequencing, composition, and performance DAW (Tape Op #67), the folks at Ableton are at it again with Live 8. This latest version has a...

P12 multi-pattern tube mic

by Peluso Microphones  |  reviewed by Henry Robinett

Over the past several months, I've been using a pair of Peluso P12 microphones. I can't say enough good things about them. They sound great no matter what the instrument. I love them as drum...

G5790 modified SM57 mic

by Granelli Audio Labs  |  reviewed by Allen Farmelo

Here's a simple yet brilliant product-a Shure SM57 that's been modified with a right-angle bend between its head and body. The bend allows for far easier positioning, especially on drums. When you...

e 609 dynamic mic

by Sennheiser  |  reviewed by Steve Silverstein

Mic'ing a snare drum is always a challenge, because it's hard to avoid bleed from the hi-hat. I've developed a preference for not very sensitive, super or hypercardioid dynamics, because they seem to...

VTP-100 tube preamp

by Edax Audio Labs  |  reviewed by Kirt Shearer

From an equipment point of view, we live in a wonderful time to make music. Although there is an ongoing "vintage gear" craze, we now also have an amazing array of choices in new equipment-really...

MC416 multi-pattern condenser mic

by Nevaton  |  reviewed by Allen Farmelo

Nevaton is a Russian microphone manufacturer that formed in 1947 when an acoustic laboratory established itself at the Leningrad Optical and Mechanical Association (LOMO). In 1954, the laboratory...

PDI 500 passive direct box

by Mooktronics  |  reviewed by Joel Hamilton

Sometimes a simple piece of gear can make your life so much easier. Think about a TT to TRS adapter-handy for patching in something that you will use once on a project or maybe once this whole year....

Meter plug-in

by Sonoris Audio  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

If you take away one engineering concept from this issue, I hope it's the following: serious recording engineers calibrate their monitor paths. Readers with tape machines paired with analog boards...

n12 digital mixer

by Yamaha  |  reviewed by J. Robert Lennon

For the past two years, I've been looking for the perfect home-studio mixer. I've been through three or four of them, each inadequate for various reasons, and sold them all. The mixer of my dreams has...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

Les Retrouvailles

by Yann Tiersen | reviewed by Larry Crane

My favorite contemporary French composer and lover of toy pianos, Yann is probably best known for his charming score to the film Amélie. Les Retrouvailles is his most recent studio album, from...

Music Reviews

Pink Mountain

by Pink Mountain | reviewed by Larry Crane

Kyle Bruckmann, Sam Coomes (Quasi), Gino Robair (Electronic Musician's former editor [their loss] and great drummer), Scott Rosenberg and John Shiurba (Eskimo) comprise an odd man out collection of...

Music Reviews

Rose City

by Viva Voce | reviewed by Larry Crane

I love this band. Not only are Kevin and Anita Robinson great people (and they just added two more great folks to their lineup), but they write amazing songs and play them right. Their fifth album,...

Music Reviews

Yours Truly, The Commuter

by Jason Lytle | reviewed by Larry Crane

Grandaddy frontman debuts his first album since that band's demise - and guess what? It sounds like Grandaddy. Duh. That means it's absolutely worth listening to and buying a copy. Jason is one of the...

Music Reviews

The Hazards Of Love

by The Decemberists | reviewed by Larry Crane

This is proof that signing to a major label doesn't mean your band starts making bad pop music. This sprawling, folk-prog story about fantastical love gone bad (or good? I lose track) seems like a bad...

Music Reviews

Romanian Names

by John Vanderslice | reviewed by Larry Crane

For this, his seventh proper album, John set up a home basement studio to work on basic demos and ideas before venturing back into his Tiny Telephone studio (issue #10) in San Francisco with...

Music Reviews


by Dead Weather | reviewed by Larry Crane

Sometimes White Stripes and Raconteurs member Jack White stays busy (on drums and co-vox) with a new group with his pals Alison Mosshart (The Kills), Jack Lawrence (Raconteurs) and Dean Fertita...

Music Reviews

Middle Cyclone

by Neko Case | reviewed by Larry Crane

She can sing a mountain down and write circles around most songwriters - it's always a pleasure to hear a new Neko album. Basic tracks were started where many of her albums have begun - Tucson's...



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