Ah, vintage recording equipment. Where did this world come from? In the late-‘60s and into the ‘70s, cheaper electronics and manufacturing filled the market of pro audio. As the ‘70s rolled along, people like Dan Alexander and Allen Sides [Tape Op #106] sought out the best of the previous generations’ recording gear. Dan’s quests across the Atlantic, as well as wheeling and dealing across the U.S. are reknowned. In Dan Alexander Audio: A Vintage Odyssey we get a blend of recording history, gear information, crazy stories, Dan’s autobiography, and more. There are over 80 stories, 400 photos and re-printed brochures and ads, and info on 22 classic pro audio manufacturers. The truly classic studio gear – consoles by Neve, API, Helios, and Trident, plus Telefunken microphones – are focused on. This book is not a compendium of everything, but the stories and facts are informative as hell. The forewords by the likes of Sylvia Massy [#63], Shelly Yakus [#31], and your humble editor are pretty hilarious. I don’t know why Dan chose to fill 85 pages with a list of 7,500 products he sold between 1979 and 2000 – not exactly the most engaging reading despite some big-name clients, but the rest of the book offers a glimpse into sonic obsession and a singular quest for locating the recording gear that sounds the best. As Dan told me recently (see my online bonus interview with him this issue), “The situation today, with so much boutique custom gear, is different. Back then, that gear didn’t exist. There weren’t any outboard mic preamps.” I’m glad Dan has documented some of this history, and I hear he’s working on a book about tape decks next. Oh boy!

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

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