May/Jun 2011

Welcome to issue #83 of Tape Op.


It's such a simple thing. Maybe some people don't think about it. Maybe others honestly don't hear it? But everyone needs to know about it.

Most days I sit in front of a decent set of speakers and listen to music. If I'm editing Tape Op, I'm checking out new CDs and downloads. If I'm in the studio I'm obviously listening to what I'm mixing or tracking, unless we take a break. But the point is that I'm always listening to music. And, as I've spent years training myself to discern sounds and make decisions based upon what I hear, I pick up on possible issues in other people's productions.

The most common problem that I've heard lately are massive phase errors in mixes — the horrible sound of left and right speakers carrying signals that are 180 degrees out of phase. This makes my ears squirm and I'm hearing these errors on a lot of current CDs. If I kick on the "mono" button on my monitor controller, massive amounts of information disappear. This is not good.

If you are making records and don't know what I'm even talking about, you are part of the problem. You need to educate yourself — I had to learn this simple procedure years ago. Perhaps you're in need of better monitors? Be sure to double-check your work, even if you think your mixes never suffer from poor phase relationships. If you're aware of what I'm talking about and you're using this as a trick to make elements sound wider or crazier, then more power to ya — but I have a distinct feeling this is usually not the case. I'm finding this problem on so many albums lately that it seems like a virus spreading across recordings. Let's all try to get this right.

Hit the mono button, please. 

Larry Crane, editor


— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

DIY Diffusors

by Brad Williams

While hardly a glamorous concept, room acoustics represent a critical link in the recording or playback chain. While comprehensive room design is a complex cocktail of science, math and chance...


Columns See more →

End Rant

End Rant #83

by Larry Crane

So you just graduated from recording school? Congrats to you! But here are a few things you might not have learned in school: You will initially blame the musician for not having the right sound,...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #83

by Andy Hong

Back in Tape Op #69, I reviewed two products from CruzTOOLS - the GrooveTech T-Handle Drum Key and the Guitar Player Tech Kit — and I was impressed with the quality and engineering evident in...


Gear Reviews See more →

DT50 HD head and 412 cabinet

by Line 6  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

This is a review of the Line 6 DT50 guitar amplifier, but, like most people in Hollywood, instead of telling you about the topic at hand, I'm gonna tell you about me. What can the DT50 do for...

Traktor Audio 2 audio interface

by Native Instruments  |  reviewed by Brandon Miller

The world of the digital DJ has undergone tons of changes in a relatively short time.  Much like the realm of mobile phones, there are new technologies, hardware configurations, and...

Traktor Kontrol X1 controller

by Native Instruments  |  reviewed by Shane Thomas

How in the world do you get away from the stupid trackpad and keyboard while DJ'ing from a laptop?  This has been one of the bigger questions since DJs began moving from CDs to computer-based...


by Fabien Lefebvre  |  reviewed by

Many of us have iPhones, your BFF when it comes to connecting to your tribe. That little dude, along with his bros iPod and iPad, also makes a good and very portable audio test set. There are...

Mikey 2G for iPod & iPhone

by Blue Microphones  |  reviewed by

Less than half the size of my iPod Touch 3G, Mikey 2G is the generation-2 model of Blue's Mikey external coincident stereo microphone. It works with most iPod models as well as iPhone 3GS and...

FET III stereo compressor

by Daking Audio  |  reviewed by Craig Schumacher

Ah compressors… those wonderful helpers that make our lives easier. It seems like the more you learn how to use compression to your advantage, the more you want different types and flavors to...

KSM42/SG mic package

by Shure  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

The KSM line represents Shure’s premium recording microphones. The newest member is the KSM42, a fixed-cardioid side-address condenser mic. With a similar “giant almond” shape to the...

Translator inline transformer

by Broadcast Pro Audio  |  reviewed by Thom Monahan

The Translator is an interesting little passive device that purports to add “vintage tone” to your stale signals. It’s a small, bright red, inline XLR coupler with a transformer...

UAD-2 Satellite QUAD

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

I’ve used and/or reviewed almost every permutation of the UAD platform over the years, and let me say that I find the UA-developed plug-ins to be some of the finest sounding digital tools on the...

4-710d mic preamp

by Universal Audio  |  reviewed by Craig Schumacher

Universal Audio just keeps on coming up with great products for both the pro and home studio. Their latest entry is the 4-710d microphone preamp. It’s basically four channels of UA’s 710...

Zen and the Art of Mixing

by Mixerman  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Are you completely happy with all of your mixes and see no reason to attempt to learn more or get better at this craft? Then read no more — you might not need this book.Foreword: I’ve been...

DC-96C condenser mic

by Milab  |  reviewed by Mike Jasper

Usually when I get a microphone sent to me from a manufacturer, I’m allowed to keep it for a ridiculously long time, sometimes two months or more. Normally I return the mic within three or four...

In-Ear Reference Monitors

by Ultimate Ears  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

As far as I know, these are the first custom-molded, in-ear monitors developed for pro audio engineers. As these are custom-molded to fit your ears, I first had to go get my ears molded by an...


EQN 500-series equalizer

by LAZ Electronics  |  reviewed by Marc Alan Goodman

During the last couple years, the 500-series format has developed into an industry standard among audio manufacturers, but over and over, I’ve found myself reading online that Neve clones would...

Micro Clock Mk2

by Black Lion Audio  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Black Lion is a small company best known for tearing apart and upgrading off-the-shelf gear. They also manufacture pro audio items. One of their offerings is the Micro Clock Mk2, a small footprint,...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

From Blue to Green

by YRLK | reviewed by Larry Crane

Brad Kelly is YRLK. When I put on a partially homemade, self-released album I don't usually expect to hear something as big, epic and textured as an Elbow or Coldplay album (go ahead and chip away at...

Music Reviews

Party Store

by The Dirtbombs | reviewed by Larry Crane

It doesn't get more hypnotic than an hour of Detroit techno covers played by a band known for garage rock fun. Maybe the 21-minute take on "Bug in the Bass Bin" is a bit much, but overall this left...

Music Reviews

A New Kind of House

by Typhoon | reviewed by Larry Crane

This 10" EP limited edition vinyl and download release features Portland's 12-piece Typhoon, one of the many interesting bands around town right now. I liked the sound of this album; it's big and...

Music Reviews


by Les Chauds Lapins | reviewed by Larry Crane

We reviewed the Lapins' previous album, Parlez-Moi d'Amour, in issue #63, and like that album, Amourettes was recorded and co-produced by Pat Dillett (Tape Op #79) at the now-closed Kampo Studios in...

Music Reviews

Coming Home

by Maggie Björklund | reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

This solo album from Ms. Björklund, a pedal steel session musician, showed up in the Tape Op PO Box and being a fan of her chosen instrument I put it on expecting at best some instrumental...

Music Reviews

Ways of Escape

by Great Lakes | reviewed by Larry Crane

This long-lived project has become the sole vehicle for songwriter Ben Crum in the last few years. The country-infused songs feel very "natural" with a band-in-a-room sound, great pedal steel, strings...



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

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