Jan/Feb 2014

Welcome to issue #99 of Tape Op.


Why record?

It's always good to remember that music recording isn't only about the making of albums and songs to send into the commercial marketplace. Sometimes we simply need to capture a unique point in time, like a live show or a rehearsal. Other times it's so we can keep a log of musical ideas, knowing the performances aren't intended to be heard by the rest of the world. Or maybe recording can be just for fun; something friends can do together with no pressure.

I must have had the instinct to capture performances and ideas from birth. When I was in my teens I recorded silly (and serious) stuff with my friends all the time. I still have boxes full of cassette tapes from 1981 onward. Some of the recordings I captured formed the basis of recent releases by the groups I was in, including The Protons, Idler Arms, and Vomit Launch. It may not be the most important music in the world, but if it hadn't been captured there would be no chance for anyone to ever hear it. It makes all those years of lugging around boxes of tapes worth it, and now it can be shared with the world.

I guess that's why we record.


— Larry Crane, editor

In This Issue See more →


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Gear Geeking

Gear Geeking #99

by Andy Hong

As a studio owner, I'm constantly battling entropy. Whether it's everyday gear, or rarely-used tools and accessories — stuff tends to pile up randomly in corners and cubbies. When I decided to...


Gear Reviews See more →

SRH1540 headphones

by Shure  |  reviewed by Larry Crane

We always ask our gear reviewers at Tape Op to take the product in question into the studio and use it on sessions. I think this is a good thing. To me, there's not much use in the real world for key...

521 ZDT 500-series mic preamp

by Earthworks  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

Earthworks, while best known for its catalog of super- accurate microphones, also produces a line of microphone preamps based on the philosophy of extremely-low distortion and fast-responding...

SF-2 active ribbon mic

by Royer Labs  |  reviewed by Dave Hidek

The SF-2 is a phantom-powered version of Royer's discontinued SF-1 ribbon mic, which means you get to press the +48V button without feeling like you've brought about the end of humanity. After that...

SONAR X3 Producer

by Cakewalk  |  reviewed by Alan Tubbs

Cakewalk has been in the news a lot lately. First, Gibson agreed to buy them from Roland. Having a guitar maker buy a DAW company is not as odd as it first seems, since Gibson also owns TASCAM, maker...


DRS-EQ/500 equalizer

by Phoenix Audio  |  reviewed by Steve Silverstein

The Phoenix Audio DRS-EQ/500 is a 4-band equalizer in 500-series format, loosely comparable to the API 550b. Each band offers fewer frequency points than a 550b, without overlap between the bands. The...

19-09 Optical Compressor

by Western Dynamo  |  reviewed by Adam Kagan

Western Dynamo is a relatively new manufacturer, based in Austin, Texas. Started by J. Morris, an experienced studio tech and recording engineer, Western Dynamo aims to produce audio products using...

Music Reviews See more →



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

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