Jan/Feb 2013

Welcome to issue #93 of Tape Op.


Imagine that you've become somewhat comfortable recording songwriters and bands in your very modest home studio. It's been fun; you've pushed the gear to its limits to get half-decent results, and you've already got a few loyal clients. Then you get the call, "Hey, we've been working in a pro studio and aren't happy with the mixes. Could you come down and help us out?" Panic and fear take over. How will you be able to figure out all this unfamiliar gear, in a different room? What will the speakers sound like? Certainly they should just find someone else. But this is also the moment you've been waiting for. What do you do?

This is the exact situation I found myself in nearly 20 years ago. I took the challenge. The studio manager gave me his home number on the way out the door saying, "You'll be calling me." He said it with a bit of resignation, capped with a raised eyebrow and a grin. He knew I was green as heck. What did I do? I asked that the house engineer (who seemed wholly unhappy with this situation) explain the signal routing to me, and I made sure the console output fed the DAT machine before he left for home. I brought headphones along that I knew well, and a boombox with some blank cassettes in order to make sure the mix would hold up in the real world. I only used EQ or compression when it was needed, and I listened closely to what was happening to the tracks. But mostly I tried to sculpt the mixes closer to what had been working for us previously in my basement studio. I kept everything very simple and worked with what I knew — and I didn't spend any extra time exploring gear I wasn't familiar with. The mixes came out pretty good and they made the cut for the CD release, along with tracks from my home studio. But no matter what I did that night, I made sure I never called the studio manager for help. No way would I do that. I had to prove I could do this, and I did.

-Larry Crane, Editor 

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


Columns See more →

End Rant

Embrace the Chaos

by John Baccigaluppi

After reading Larry's "Eliminate Variables" End Rant from last issue, I was compelled to write a response. Don't get me wrong, I agree completely with everything he said; so before you read any...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #93

by Andy Hong

With the purchase of several Radial Workhorse 500-series frames [Tape Op #85, #92], I decided to add a new rack as well as rewire one of my four Audio Accessories 96-point TT patchbays...


Gear Reviews See more →

Sportsman guitar amp

by Carr Amplifiers  |  reviewed by Alex Maiolo

As PAs get better and more people record at home, classic, lower wattage amps are gaining in popularity - and thus becoming more expensive. Anyone who has priced even a Silverface Champ lately...

Lap Steel guitar

by Moog Music  |  reviewed by Walt Szalva

My relationship with lap steel guitars has been long and rewarding. I first bought a 1956 Fender lap steel on eBay years ago, when I was working on video-scoring project, and I was looking for an...

Quartet USB audio interface for Mac

by Apogee Electronics  |  reviewed by Jeff Elbel

Timing is everything. Apogee's latest audio interface reached me barely a week too late (my fault, not theirs) to make my life considerably easier. I spent my evaluation period counting the...

SpeakerAngle for iOS & Android

by Genelec & AudioApps  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

This is perfect. A simple and effective way to adjust the toe- in or angle of your speakers for perfect symmetry. How did we do this before? With protractors? I was pretty much guessing with a tape...

Boiler Ultra-Compressor

by Ridge Farm Industries  |  reviewed by Steve Silverstein

One day, while listening to Roxy Music's Manifesto, I noticed that it was recorded at Ridge Farm Studio in England, and I did a bit of Internet research. While the studio no longer operates, I learned...

ADL 700 channel strip

by PreSonus  |  reviewed by Eric Tischler

When last we spoke, I told y'all how I overcame my bias against PreSonus the manufacturer (based on my experience with their old M-80 preamp [Tape Op #26]) and digital the medium to find that the...

CM67 condenser mic

by Wunder Audio  |  reviewed by Mike Jasper

Mike Castoro at Wunder Audio released his take on the Neumann U 67 early this year with the Wunder CM67, a multi- patterned tube condenser mic optimized for capturing vocals. The first thing I noticed...

Lola 500-series mic preamp

by Hairball Audio  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

airball Audio is the Seattle Company responsible for bringing us key elements for the DIY version of the 1176 Blue Stripe [Tape Op #84]. This is their first product designed from scratch. Named Lola,...

Ocean Way Microphone Locker for iOS

by Metal Sidecar, LLC  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

In the '90s, Allen Sides created a CD-ROM featuring his extensive Ocean Way Recording mic collection. Jump to this year, and guitarist extraordinaire Steve Vai went back and produced an app based on...

Zen and the Art of Producing (book)

by Mixerman  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

Mixerman [Tape Op #34], the authorly alter ego of producer/engineer/mixer Eric Sarafin, first gained notice with a crazy online diary that eventually saw form as a book, The Daily Adventures of...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

Beasts of the Southern Wild

by Benh Zeitlin & Dan Romer | reviewed by

While Tape Op is a magazine about music recording, I can't help but notice the parallels between great albums and movies made outside of the major music and film industries and their respective...

Music Reviews


by Brian Eno | reviewed by Larry Crane

When we interviewed Brain Eno [Tape Op #85] one of the questions surrounding Eno and Peter Chilvers' iPhone app, Bloom, was whether one could record their own instance of the generative music Bloom...

Music Reviews


by Radar Bros. | reviewed by Larry Crane

Jim Putnam [Tape Op #24] and crew have been turning out quality records exactly as long as Tape Op has been publishing, and I can guarantee you that our offices have been buzzing with the sublime...



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

Or Learn More