May/Jun 2010

Welcome to issue #77 of Tape Op.


It's interesting how an album's recording origin can swiftly take on some sort of perceived, tangible importance and become mythical. Every day I receive emails and CDs from artists, labels and publicists where the background on the tracking of a record is trotted out as if it has played a huge part in what the record is. Publicists and journalists seem to love discussing recording mediums, time frames, recording environments, numbers of tracks and various supposed details in simplistic, general terms. Of course many of us do think the details of a recording session can be interesting, and obviously we have a whole magazine here devoted to discussing and understanding the art of recording music, but to constantly suggest that small details ("recorded on 4-track cassette" certainly comes to mind) really tell us anything about the music being created or what we should expect of its emotional and melodic qualities is certainly misleading. Creating, writing, recording and thinking about music is what brings us together in a magazine like Tape Op, but let's not assume that the limitations or specifics of a recording scenario also define the art being created.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Yeasayer: Cymbals and Blood

by Zac Meyer

So you play in a band and you produce your own stuff. Awesome — me too. And like a 5 foot 6- inch aspiring football player watches Rudy, I listen to Yeasayer. Their 2007 debut album, All Hour...

Jamie Stewart: of Xiu Xiu

by Jonathan Meiburg

As the principal writer, performer and engineer behind the group Xiu Xiu, Jamie Stewart has been responsible for some of the most exciting and unsettling indie music of the last decade, attracting a...


Columns See more →

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #77

by Andy Hong

Allen Farmelo, who reviewed the Euphonix MC Mix, MC Control, and MC Transport ( for Tape Op #76, emailed me recently to clarify some points in his article. He wrote, "This is just a...


Gear Reviews See more →

KSM353 ribbon mic

by Shure  |  reviewed by Alex McKenzie

I first came across the KSM353 at the Shure booth at the 2009 New York AES Convention. After two long days of pretending that I could hear anything in a discerning way in this huge, bustling expo...

Creation Station computers

by Sweetwater  |  reviewed by

I've been building my own PCs for two decades. It all started when someone bequeathed a 5 MB Seagate hard drive to me. (At the time, it was valued at $499; I still have the JDR Microdevices catalogue...

CM7 FET mic

by Wunder Audio  |  reviewed by Mike Jasper

Thanks to Top Hat Recording, a few of us Austin engineers, producers, and studio owners got to listen to one of the first Wunder CM7 FET mics alongside its inspiration -the Neumann U 47 fet. Top Hat's...

VL-M3 Monitors

by TASCAM  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

I'm a big fan of small monitors for mixing and referencing my mix away from the larger hi-fi monitor systems. I've been using Auratones for decades and won't mix without them. When I saw these little...

Ohm 64

by Livid Instruments  |  reviewed by Josh Boughey

It all started in 2006 when I bought a Monome 40h (Tape Op #62) and plugged it into my computer's USB port. (After a lot of configuring) I held in my hands a box of blinking buttons -each light...

Tube Saturator plug-in

by Wave Arts  |  reviewed by

Wave Arts claim that Tube Saturator, "a basic circuit consisting of a Baxandall-type three-band EQ feeding two 12AX7 triode preamp stages... is the world's most accurate real-time tube-amp plug-in."...

VP26 preamp

by Classic Audio Products of Illinois  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

As an owner of a 1976 API model 3232 console, Jeff Steiger has years of experience restoring, repairing, and modifying his desk. The modular build of those APIs is modification-friendly. Being a...

Platinum, EX, and Essential Rock/Pop Vol 2

by Steven Slate Drums  |  reviewed by

The thought of replacing drums may seem outright offensive to many of us. After all, aren't we supposed to be recording things? But sometimes, we're called to mix projects that we did not track. Other...

Batt-O-Meter battery tester

by Keith McMillen Instruments  |  reviewed by Pete Weiss

Keith McMillen Instruments has hit the nail on the head with a very simple, yet oh-so-handy gadget that measures the voltage and remaining life of batteries. The Batt-O-Meter can test any 1.5 V...


ODD & TAV 500-series EQs

by Purple Audio  |  reviewed by Marc Alan Goodman

Finding myself in what seems to be the largest surge of interesting studio gear development in history, I'm always surprised when someone asks me if a piece of gear does enough. Maybe it's the fact...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

Let’s Build A Roof

by LAKE | reviewed by Larry Crane

Produced by Karl Blau and LAKE. For anyone who thinks that K Records might be all lo-fi, out-of-tune troubadours (which isn't true anyway), here's a group that offers lush, beautiful songs and a great...

Music Reviews

Dark Matter

by The Lost Patrol | reviewed by Larry Crane

Here's the eighth proper album and second album with new (since 2008) singer Mollie Israel. I've been a fan of this much-overlooked band ever since meeting them and catching a show years ago, but with...

Music Reviews


by Jónsi | reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

Never one to sit still, Sigur Rós vocalist Jónsi has finished his second record outside of his band since Riceboy Sleeps by Jónsi and Alex was released last year. While that album...

Music Reviews

Smokey’s Secret Family

by Smokey Hormel | reviewed by Larry Crane

Smokey is a first-rate guitarist who's played with artists like Johnny Cash, Beck, Tom Waits, John Doe and Joe Strummer. This album, described as Congolese dance music (a field I have to admit no...

Music Reviews


by Freematik | reviewed by Larry Crane

An album created completely from iPhone instruments, samplers and beat generators? Yup, here it is, courtesy of Freematik (Tom Freeman). Apps used include iDrum, Beatmaker, miniSynth, Thereminator,...

Music Reviews

Though the Light Seem Small

by Art of Flying | reviewed by Larry Crane

Journalists talk about Giant Sand and Calexico as if the desert informs and sculpts their recorded output, but I'd like to point anyone looking for some really lost-in-the-high-desert music towards...

Music Reviews

A New Clear Route

by My Dad Is Dead | reviewed by Larry Crane

I've been a fan of Mark Edwards and his long-running band My Dad is Dead since I heard his first album in 1986. A short stint on the legendary Homestead Records produced some of his best work, but...



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

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