Jul/Aug 2012

Welcome to issue #90 of Tape Op.


I remember my first experiences of being captivated by actual studio creations; not simply drawn in by the songs as I had been before, but instead intrigued by the sound of the recorded music. It was as if a whole new level of listening had opened up. Why did ELO's Out of the Blue sound so exciting and bright? What story was Pink Floyd's The Wall trying to steer me towards with all those crazy sound effects and atmospheres? How did the Flipper's guitar player make that wall of noise on "Sex Bomb"? What could possibly be the setting of The Beatles' "I Am the Walrus"? It didn't sound like four guys in a room singing love songs to pretty girls! Why did the Sex Pistols' debut album, Never Mind the Bollocks, sound as if there were 100 guitar players, when I knew there was only one guitarist in the band?

Albums and music became a place to lose my teenage self. Far away from the petty, boring world of high school I could listen to King Crimson and imagine an abstract, brilliant realm they were coming from. I could crank Wire's 154 on my cheap RadioShack headphones and wonder why this rock group sounded like they were beaming me songs from a dark void, somewhere unknown. I still lose myself in music all the time, but now most of the sounds and studio techniques that seemed so alien to me some 30-plus years ago have revealed themselves asobvious tricks of the trade. These mysteries may be solved for me, and the people behind this magical curtain appear in our magazine every issue. But now I also get to be one of the people creating new mysteries and soundscapes. Maybe listeners can lose themselves in records I've helped record and mix and wonder how they were made. And that's probably the best honor I could ever earn.


— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


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End Rant

You Have a Credit Problem

by Anu Kirk

Your magazine was not the first place I'd seen Count's "I Have a Credit Problem" essay [Tape Op #89], but I feel compelled to respond. I agree with his general ideas — credits should be shown,...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #90

by Andy Hong

Why is it that pretty much every studio I've visited that doesn't employ a full-time receptionist also lacks a working doorbell? Without a doorbell to ring, I usually have to call the mobile phone of...


Gear Reviews See more →

SRH1440 headphones

by Shure  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

For mixing and critical listening, my favorite headphones in the studio are Shure SRH1840 (Tape Op #89), Shure SRH940 (#85), and Audio-Technica ATH-M50 (#63). As I've stated in my previous reviews,...

Hilo A/D D/A converter

by Lynx  |  reviewed by Allen Farmelo

After years of reviewing gear, I have come to the conclusion that A/B comparisons are not able to tell me what I want to know about a piece of equipment. While I understand the value of A/B...

Fed+ Tube Compressor

by The Schmidlin  |  reviewed by Chris Koltay

The Federal AM-864/U was made for the US Army in the '40s and '50s for use in AM radio broadcasting. Like most obscure, vibey pieces of vintage gear, these have recently become prohibitively...

Making Rumours book

by Ken Caillat  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album Rumours sold over 40 million copies, topped charts around the world, and won a Grammy for Album of the Year. Ken Caillat, along with Richard Dashut and the band, produced...

Small Signal Audio Design

by Douglas Self  |  reviewed by Joseph Lemmer

This book presents a large body of knowledge and countless insider-tips from an award-winning commercial audio designer. Before this book, complete information about original audio circuit design was...


Q3 500-series induction coil EQ

by Radial Engineering  |  reviewed by Marc Alan Goodman

First looks can be deceiving, and the Radial Q3 is anything but what I initially imagined it to be. My first impression upon seeing the 500-series module was of an Auditronics-style 3- band inductive...

M-502 PRO preamp & EQ

by Spectra Sonics  |  reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

I have not been excited about a new mic preamp in a long time, especially a solid-state one. You know what I mean? Doesn't it feel like in the last 10 years or so, we witnessed an explosion in the mic...

Cubase 6.5

by Steinberg  |  reviewed by Scott Evans, Andy Hong

This venerable DAW, which was introduced originally for the Atari ST in 1989, was last covered in Tape Op in 2010 (Tape Op #75); Garrett Haines and I cowrote the Cubase 5 review. For this latest...

Monofilter plug-in

by NuGen Audio  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

Monofilter is a useful tool for managing bass frequencies and correcting phase-coherence issues. Monofilter re-aligns and balances low frequencies, resulting in a louder, more focused, and better...

MS series monitor stands

by Ultimate Support  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Last year, I upgraded the pair of Ultimate Support MS-45B2 monitor stands (Tape Op #49) in my personal studio to the current, second-generation model in Ultimate Support's studio lineup, the...

SoloPRO disaster-proof hard drive

by ioSafe  |  reviewed by Andy Hong

Past reviews in Tape Op have covered external hard drive storage systems with RAID capability for redundancy in case of drive failure. Even if you're doing daily backups, the loss of one day's worth...

Music Reviews See more →



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

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