This is such an ingenious, useful, and simple product that I'm surprised nobody came up with it earlier. But Auralex continues to figure out new ways to make acoustic foam useful in the studio, so it's no surprise that they were the ones to bring this to market. The Xpanders kit is made up of two main elements, both of which work as advertised. The first is a set of Platfeet-slotted pieces of foam with a heavy plastic insert on the top of the slot. Purpose: prevent low frequency vibrations from moving through the mic stand to the microphone. My studio is about 75 ft from a very heavily-used railroad track, and it's on the second floor. The entire building shakes when a train goes by, not too much of a problem for most of the loud music we record, but I was recently recording some quieter vocals, and the trains were a total pain. I stuck the Platfeet under the mic stand, and most of the problem went away. The second component of the kit is a set of Xpanders and Trap-Xpanders-small pieces of foam designed to fit on a mic stand right behind the mic. Purpose: reduce off- axis sounds and reflections. The smallest Trap-Xpanders fit perfectly on a snare mic and are worth the price of this package alone. No, the hi-hat won't completely disappear, but it is attenuated enough to be much more manageable. Between this kit and Transmod, your snare tracks will reach new levels of isolation. ($69.95 MSRP;

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

Or Learn More