Mar/Apr 2010

Welcome to issue #76 of Tape Op.


When I sit down at my computer for the task of editing articles and writing my bits and pieces for an issue of Tape Op, I invariably spend a good chunk of time researching musicians, producers, engineers, studios and record labels in order to get facts like names, album titles and places correct. This research always sparks a curiosity that sends me in search of more music. Is reading about music like dancing about architecture? Maybe, because my hunger to actually hear all the music mentioned in the interviews and reviews spurs me on. I'm always stumbling across music I'd heard of but never actually listened to yet. Other times I hear albums I hadn't thought of in decades, and it sends me off rethinking previous perceptions of stuff I'd heard so long ago. I still hit brick and mortar record stores (or Best Buy — thanks a lot Tom Petty) to pick up CDs, and I order more obscure titles via Amazon online.

But for that instant gratification, I'll purchase lossy files through iTunes, Amazon or eMusic, and even use sites like or to audition music (for free) that I'm curious about. It's so amazing to have this much music at my disposal via the Internet — something I could never have imagined when I was a teen, saving up my allowance to hit Tower Records (after a one and a half hour drive) and buy one carefully chosen LP. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's all still about the music in my world. All the wonderful and crazy ways people can put songs and sounds together still fascinates me to no end. And then I'll hear something new and wonder, "How was this record made?" and the whole process gets flipped around...

Yours in Music,

Larry Crane, Editor

Willie Mitchell — We lost one of the great architects of Memphis soul when producer, arranger, studio owner and musician Willie Mitchell passed away in January this year. Unfortunately Tape Op never featured an interview with Willie, although John and I did drop in on him (courtesy of local journalist Andria Lisle) once at his Royal Studios (issue #44), and got to interrupt him as he was arranging string and horn overdubs with Lester Snell for Al Green's album Everything's OK. He was charming and hilarious as he (and his grandson Boo) accommodated two recording dorks lurking around his studio — an amazing man. We miss you Willie. -LC

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

DIY Reverb

by Nicolas Collins

In the disembodied world of today's computer-based multitrack mixing, one can spend a lot of time crafting a unifying sense of "space." Despite the dozens of reverb plug-ins and rack devices...


Columns See more →

End Rant

Proprietary Information

by Thomas Day

Forty years ago I began my career repairing industrial electronics equipment. Right out of tech school with a wife and a kid on the way, I worked on precision measurement equipment by day, and played...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #76

by Andy Hong

Longtime readers know that I am a keyboard geek — a QWERTY keyboard geek — and my expectations for the perfect keyboard are hard to satisfy. I demand full-size keycaps throughout, as well...


Gear Reviews See more →

UAD-2 Powered Plug-Ins

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by Neil Mclellan

When I recently wiped the system disk of my primary music computer to replace Windows XP Pro with Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, I installed only the applications that I knew I'd be using regularly....

Studio One Pro 1.0.2

by PreSonus  |  reviewed by

My primary music DAW is now Studio One Pro. When I first saw the advertisement for it, I thought, "That looks cool, but not cool enough to spend the time learning a new DAW. My DAW's working fine." I...

Mellodrama: The Mellotron Movie

by Dianna Dilworth(Director)  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I would imagine most of our readers are familiar with the Mellotron, a tape-playing keyboard that became popular in the late '60s on songs like The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever." Ms. Dilworth...

PT2-500 mic preamp

by TRUE Systems  |  reviewed by Craig Schumacher

New at the 500-series lunchbox cafe this week is the PT2-500. TRUE Systems' Tim Spencer has managed to take the clean, full sound of his P2analog (Tape Op #44), create an even more full-bodied,...

Max for Live

by Ableton & Cycling '74  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

Cycling '74 and Ableton have introduced a fascinating new version of the Max programming environment tailored specifically for instrument and effect creation within Live (Tape Op #72). Max/MSP and its...


EQSM1 500-series EQ

by S&M Audio  |  reviewed by Kirt Shearer

Even though the format has been around for decades, there has been an explosion of products in the last few years produced for the 500-series format. About the only thing that hasn't been shoved into...

TT/DB25 patchbay & cabling

by Redco Audio  |  reviewed by Allen Farmelo

With ubiquitous products like Digidesign's converters (now Avid) having adopted the balanced 8-channel DB25 connector as standard, these jacks have found their way onto all kinds of pro gear. There...

SRH840 headphones

by Shure  |  reviewed by Brandon Miller

Shure just launched its first line of headphones aimed specifically at music-making applications -the SRH series. The idea's been to fill a growing demand for pro-level gear by an audience that's...

Alloy plug-in

by iZotope  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

I've been hesitant to write this review, as I'd prefer that no one else know about iZotope's Alloy but me. Being a long time iZotope fan, I was excited to work with their new do-it-all plug-in, and it...


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

Or Learn More