May/Jun 2013

Welcome to issue #95 of Tape Op.


Are you recording local artists? Are you a musician? Are you a fan of music? Are you a fan of great recordings? Does a vibrant live music scene mean a lot to you? I'll bet you answered "yes" to more than one of these questions. Now ask yourself, "How much do I know about the music history of the area in which I live?"

I moved to the Pacific Northwest from Northern California twenty years ago. At the time I'd made friends with some of the bands from Portland, Seattle, and Olympia, as well as other artists I'd played gigs with on tour. Moving to Portland, I felt I knew a bit about the music history here: The Wipers, Poison Idea, The Kingsmen, and Quarterflash all hailed from the Rose City. Through ensuing years I've learned more of Portland's musical past, especially as we've worked on the Jackpot! Covers Portland project at my studio. I thought I knew a bit, but I got a good kick in the pants last week as I read Peter Blecha's book, Sonic Boom! The History of Northwest Rock: From Louie Louie to Smells Like Teen Spirit. It's certainly focused more on Seattle, but a lot of Portland's history became unveiled to me. For example, the place I used to buy tape from was the same company that ran the studio that had recorded "The Kingsmen's" Louie Louie. That's crazy! There's certainly plenty of history to discover, and I'm on a quest to find out more.

We may assume that the music and recordings we are creating will become a part of history. But always remember that we also follow in the footsteps of everyone that made music, ran studios, and played shows in the past. Find a way to honor and learn more about your town's musical history; you may find your experience will become that much richer.

-Larry Crane, Editor

— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


Columns See more →

End Rant

Recording as a Career?

by Larry Crane

Here's a recent email I received: "I am interested in what you do and how you do it. I guess I am not the average person looking to get into audio engineering. I am 44 and I am an anesthesiologist...

Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #95

by Andy Hong

Years ago, I mentioned in "Gear Geeking" the ErgoMart SAA7000 LCD monitor arm [Tape Op #56]. Back then, it was state-of-the-art — and the best LCD arm that I had seen. I recently upgraded the...


Gear Reviews See more →

F660 Valve Limiting Amplifier

by Fredenstein  |  reviewed by F. Reid Shippen

There's a really strange little song that's been stuck in my head for most of my life - "The Means Are The End" by Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame). It was released when I was about 5...

AT5040 cardioid condenser mic

by Audio-Technica  |  reviewed by Eli Crews

At face value, Audio-Technica's new AT5040 large-diaphragm condenser looks like a standard, cylindrical, side-address mic, although the grille-to-body ratio suggests it may be a ribbon mic, since the...

Live 9 Standard

by Ableton  |  reviewed by Dana Gumbiner

The whip-smart team at Ableton have finally released the long-awaited update to their sequencing, composition, and performance DAW, Live 9. New feature-sets include 64-bit support, Session View...

True Blumlein stereo ribbon mic kit

by Austin DIY Microphones  |  reviewed by Garrett Haines

In Tape Op #63, I reviewed the plans for a DIY ribbon mic sold by Rickshaw Records, the parent company of Austin DIY Ribbon Microphones. Since then, Austin launched two ribbon mic kits based on those...

Fat Head II Active/Passive ribbon mic

by Cascade Microphones  |  reviewed by Scott McChane

These days, in nearly every working class studio worth a spit, you'll find a couple of Fat Heads in the mic closet. I'm not talking about the Grammy Award winning janitor or the drummer with the head...

One-Wrap 8" x 1/2" cable ties

by Velcro Industries  |  reviewed by Joseph Lemmer

I recently noticed that Amazon has a great deal on Velcro 8'' x 1/2'', reusable, self-gripping, cable ties. The ties are made of two-sided material - hook on one side, loop on the other - that is much...

VP28 two-stage mic/line preamp

by Classic Audio Products of Illinois  |  reviewed by F. Reid Shippen

This is going to be a short review. Pretty much everyone on the planet knows about Jeff Steiger's Classic Audio Products of Illinois stuff by now; these are DIY kits that began with a renewed version...

Fox QuadTone mic preamp

by Slate Pro Audio  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

Over the past few years, Slate Digital plug-ins have become de rigueur tools for music production and mixing in the digital environment. Steven Slate also produces a couple pieces of all- analog...

MIDI Splitty, Master Control

by PedalSync  |  reviewed by Allen Farmelo

These days, I work with more than a few artists who use MIDI-based electro-rigs as part of their sound, including synths, sequencers, samplers, and drum machines. These rigs are fast becoming the norm...

Music Reviews See more →

Music Reviews

The Next Day

by David Bowie | reviewed by Larry Crane

Sessions for Bowie's 24th studio album, his first in ten years, began several years ago "in secret" at The Magic Shop, New York City [owned by Steve Rosenthal, Tape Op #29]. Long-time collaborator...

Music Reviews

Old Yellow Moon

by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell | reviewed by Larry Crane

This excellent collaboration between Emmylou and Rodney, her former Hot Band cohort, presents a clean, straightforward recording of two legendary country singers laying down some great takes. Emmylou...

Music Reviews

Silver Silver

by Simone White | reviewed by John Baccigaluppi

This is one of my favorite records I've heard lately, with some of the most interesting production and arrangements. It reminds me of some of the best work of Mitchell Froom [Tape Op #10] and Valgeir...



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

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