At the time I am writing this, despite vastly different and confusing advice and regulations from governments around the world, almost all doctors and scientists agree that if you care about the people around you, you should wear a face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As we emerge from shelter-in-place and try to restart our lives and the economy, this makes things tricky. It's especially difficult to work in a recording studio while everybody is wearing face masks. My friend, recording engineer Matt Cohen, turned me on to BUFF's Multifunctional Headwear. It's a fine mesh cloth tube made out of 100% recycled Microfiber that you pull over your head and wear around your neck. I've tried several different face coverings, but the BUFF seems like an ideal studio solution face covering. It's soft and comfortable enough to wear all day, and then when you need to cover your face you simply pull it up. For casual use – like when you're not that close to people and for just a few minutes – you can pull up one layer and it's much more comfortable and easier to breathe through than most masks I've tried. If you are going to be around people for extended periods of time, you can double or even quadruple the layers for extra protection. BUFF's Multifunctional Headwear seems like a great solution for studios as it's re-usable and washable. Get a dozen of them in different colors for clients to utilize, and you can wash them when the session is over. I even experimented with cutting some vocals through the Multifunctional Headwear (with one layer) on the vocalist I was tracking. There was, as expected, a very slight attenuation of the very top end on the vocal track, but no problem that would keep a vocal from being a keeper take, and nothing that a very slight nudge from a decent EQ wouldn't put back. The low end and midrange were imperceptible between the Headwear on and off, with the exception that the BUFF track had very few plosives. You're not only getting some COVID-19 safety benefits, but the Multifunctional Headwear is also acting as pop filter! For overdubbing a final lead vocal you would probably want do it without a mask on, but for cutting basic tracks or a scratch vocal, a band would be much, much safer with the BUFF than without. It's a no brainer; if you care about the people you make music with, you need protection.

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

Or Learn More