Sep/Oct 2011

Welcome to issue #85 of Tape Op.


As I was nearing the end of one of the bigger album projects I've done this year, I had
this thought: "What is my job?" Now first off, don't get on my case about professional engineer/producer versus "part-time" recording folks. That doesn't matter. In the end it's all about the music that gets captured and presented. Anyone can be part of the album making process regardless of experience, skill or fame. What I mean by "job" is the role a person takes on when they offer to help record someone else's music. What is our responsibility to the artist and the music?

Maybe our job is to protect the art. To shield the artist from outside worries that could derail better performances. To be the cheerleader when someone isn't sure of his or her work. To stop someone when they are nitpicking music that has already reached its peak. To hide technology from the artist in order to keep the flow of a session moving forward.

Many times I've had a client ask me questions like, "So, do we have to lay down drums first to a click and then overdub everything?" or, "Do you always double track the vocals?" Sometimes they are the scarred survivors of some studio nitwit that imposed inappropriate or odd recording choices on their music. ("We gotta record your bluegrass music with MIDI.") Other times they've read (and maybe misunderstood) something in a book or magazine about making records. ("Butch Vig says you have to record with this mic.") Or maybe they've only ever recorded at home, one track at a time. Whatever it is, our job is to inform, educate, support and benefit the people we work with. Anything else is shameful, in my mind.

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →

Valgeir Sigurósson

by Allen Farmelo

It's not an exaggeration to say that most non-Icelandic people come to know of this tiny island country through the records Valgeir Sigurðsson made with Björk, and there's no denying that...


Columns See more →

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking w/ Andy...

by Andy Hong

While recommending various hand tools for maintaining studio wiring in the previous issue, I thought of also covering flashlights, but being the tool geek that I am, I realized I wouldn't have enough...


Gear Reviews See more →

IsoDI Direct Box

by Avenson Audio  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

DI boxes are just not that sexy. However, the more sessions I record, the more I grow to really appreciate the simple pieces of gear that I can consistently rely upon. After repeated use, the Avenson...

SRH940 headphones

by Shure  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

When I initially donned these headphones, I was reminded of when I heard ADAM Audio S3-A active monitors (Tape Op #33) for the first time at the now defunct Bomb Factory Studios in Burbank. I was...

MPA685 mic preamp

by Ingram Engineering  |  reviewed by Kirt Shearer

I had seen the ads for a while in Tape Op. There were these preamps I had never heard of by a company I had never heard of — Ingram Engineering. They looked cool and somewhat retro. I had always...

Stereo Tape Simulator

by Sound Skulptor  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Sound Skulptor is a division of the Synchronia Company, which also runs a studio in southwest France. They offer a line of DIY audio kits. We jumped at the chance to review the Stereo Tape Simulator...

611-B Complimiter

by Spectra Sonics  |  reviewed by Pete Weiss

These days, fans of the much-loved (and much-misunderstood) Spectra Sonics 610 compressor/limiter (dubbed “Complimiter” by the company) have much to be happy about. In addition to the...

Pro Audio Splicing Tape

by Splicit  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

I’ve been using that same crap splicing tape that most everyone uses. You know, that thin white stuff that holds better to skin than tape. I found a much better solution sold by Splicit....

RNR1 active ribbon mic

by SE Electronics  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

SE Electronics has been busy building a loyal fan-base for their wide range of microphones, and they recently teamed up with Rupert Neve to design some new microphones for SE's lineup. The SE RNR1...

Music Reviews See more →



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

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