A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

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Knights Who Say Neve
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A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by Knights Who Say Neve » Sun Feb 13, 2005 10:15 am

...I was reading the new issue and pretty much everything reviewed is high-end stuff. I checked some earlier issues and noticed a definate trend in the review sections...they used to be more balanced, with low and high end equipment. Now it's pretty much all high end. I'm not accusing anyone of selling out, but I do wonder what this means for Tape OP? It's a drag to receive my beloved magazine and have all the reviews be of things I just can't afford. Are the impovrished home recorders of the world being left behind?
"What you're saying is, unlike all the other writers, if it was really new, you'd know it was new when you heard it, and you'd love it. <b>That's a hell of an assumption</b>". -B. Marsalis

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by cgarges » Sun Feb 13, 2005 10:33 am

Then how about reviewing some low-end pieces that haven't been reviewed yet and submitting them? That what most of us who write reviews for the mag have done.

Chris Garges
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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by AlSmith » Sun Feb 13, 2005 10:45 am

I find that that fewer and fewer of the articles are about knuckleheads like me who use Mackie's in their converted bedrooms (not out of choice), and more about guys like Eric Valentine who makes 10 grand a song. It seems like some of the reviewers are keeping more of the high-end units they review (won't mention any names), which raises a bit of suspicion on my part about a potential for a conflict of interest. I still like Tape op alot, though, although I'm reading fewer of the articles, because I think the focus is changing a bit.
Knights Who Say Neve wrote:...I was reading the new issue and pretty much everything reviewed is high-end stuff. I checked some earlier issues and noticed a definate trend in the review sections...they used to be more balanced, with low and high end equipment. Now it's pretty much all high end. I'm not accusing anyone of selling out, but I do wonder what this means for Tape OP? It's a drag to receive my beloved magazine and have all the reviews be of things I just can't afford. Are the impovrished home recorders of the world being left behind?

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by Shawn Simmons » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:00 am

As long as the people being interviewed in TapeOp have something interesting to say, I don't care what kind of gear they use or how much money they make per song. And as long as the gear reviews are honest and useful, I don't care what TapeOp chooses to review (be it cheap crap or expensive shit).

You have to remember, TapeOp is the magazine for Creative Recording, it's not just the lo-fi, DIY bible. The reason the magazine interviewed basement recordists and reviewed $50 mics in the early issues is because they (TapeOp) were growing and gaining a reputation. And now that the recording community knows about and respects the magazine, TapeOp is able to get bigger and bigger interviews and more and more gear manufacturers want their products reviewed. Change is good, embrace it.

shawn

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by TapeOpLarry » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:03 am

Prices of gear reviewed in issue #45:

$2999
$1999
$2750
$96
$1995
$2895
$2995
$3000
$1279
$449
$179
$3000
$200
$200
$27
$499
$899
$1000
$63
$100
$3500



We work our hardest to try and cover as much variety of gear as possible. One thing we will not do is tell you ow great some cheap piece of shit gear is, and the other thing we try not to do is a review section full of negative reviews. The reviews should be like one engineer talking to another, "What do you think of the new ____?" "Oh, it's great on ____ and _____." You get it? It's amazing how many reviews are of products who don't advertise and then AFTER we get a positive review from a user/writer/owner they come aboard.

If you can explain how getting sent a piece of gear for review, finding out that it is an asset to your work, writing a review and then buying it from the manufacturer is ethically wrong, you know something I don't know.

Also, keep in mind that this issue was post AES and pre NAMM. Many new high end products were introduced at AES and some inexpensive ones debuted at NAMM in January.

And read the sidebar on Eric Valentine about how he's basically doing a record for Deathray for free because he likes the band. THAT'S why we wrote about him, not Smashmouth. And didn't this same issue have an article on a guy recording at home in Hawaii (in a condo!) and the Residents?

Tell me we've sold out when John and I sell Tape Op offf to Primedia for a million dollars. If someone wants to go over that last year and average out the prices of gear we've reviewed I'd be curious as well.

Shit, I gotta stop looking at this damn message board anyway and get the next issue done...
Larry Crane, Editor/Founder Tape Op Magazine
please visit www.tapeop.com for contact information
(do not send private messages via this board!)
www.larry-crane.com

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by Girl Toes » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:22 am

TapeOpLarry wrote: Tell me we've sold out when John and I sell Tape Op offf to Primedia for a million dollars. If someone wants to go over that last year and average out the prices of gear we've reviewed I'd be curious as well.
Looks like it all over, folks.

I thought this last issue was a great issue, particularly Carol Kaye and Larry Levine. Sure, they may be leaps and bounds ahead financially, but I learned a whole lot from this issue. These are people who made my favorite records, and I thought they were great interviews. When a magazine's cover story is "Avril Levine's Live Sound," that's when I feel alianated. But as long as the interviews are with people I love, and people who have something interesting to say, and the fact that Larry is right here posting on this board along side us, make for something i really feel at home with.

Anyhoo, when is Les Paul going to get a whole issue to himself????

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by Girl Toes » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:23 am

my one suggestion on reviews would be to find random things on ebay and review those. Simply because I never by anything new.[/i]

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by soundguy » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:25 am

here's a review you can use for every single condenser mic made west of hawaii available for under $400 which everyone here seems to love so much:

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing XXX mic. This mic is a real sucky piece of shit. It was such a piece of shit, I asked the manufacturer to send me a few, just to see if my ears were telling the truth. Horrifyingly enough, all the mics were pretty shitty, but they werent consistently shitty at all. The retail priice of this mic is $359. For $359 maybe you'll get a less shitty one, but they are all manufactured with less than ideal sounding capsules using impedance converter circuits that use the absolute cheapest components known to man, exactly what you want your delicate mic level signal passing through and then being emplified exponentially guaranteeing a completely shitty sound even if you happened to get a mic with a decent capsule. You could buy one of these and spend hours and hours performing some mod you read on the internet, but this goes against the whole idea of buying some new thing, for what, to fix it, right out of the box? Screw that. After listening to XXXX mic, for my $359, Id rather buy something off of the list of great, proven dynamics listed in the sidebar on the left. As for gambling, Im not much of a gambling man, so I dont like the idea of "maybe I'll get a good one" but if I were gambling, Id take my $359 bet on roulette, not XXXX mic, that way if I win I'll have enough money to buy a real mic that will not only sound good but will hold its value as an investment (which every broke musician out there should really be thinking about). If I needed a condenser, Id figure out a way to hold out and save money and buy something used and get a real mic than flush my money on a mic that not only doesnt sound good but nobody is ever gonna pay me real money for when realize this review is rooted more in fact than opinion and try to sell it.

You want to read that shit in a magazine? I dont.

dave
http://www.glideonfade.com
one hundred percent discrete transistor recording with style and care.

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by cgarges » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:33 am

Girl Toes wrote:my one suggestion on reviews would be to find random things on ebay and review those. Simply because I never by anything new.[/i]
Then go for it!

Every piece of gear I've reviewed so far has been paid for with my own money. I was actually recently sent my first piece of new gear specifically FOR REVIEW and guess what... I didn't dig it. As such, the review unit is being sent off to another reviewer with the hopes that he'll dig it.

Persoanlly, I don't blame Larry and the gang for not wanting to waste a bunch of space with negative reviews.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by Knights Who Say Neve » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:43 am

I was careful to say, "I'm not accusing anyone of selling out". 'Cause I'm not.
I can't speak for any other poster, but personally, if you think getting a magazine for free sucks, cancel your subscription. Sheesh.

I just wanted to bring up a feeling I had when I read the latest issue.

I was going to do a statistical analysis of the cost of the stuff in the review section, but it's hard to do that 'cause (a) earlier mag issues didn't always mention price, (b) some reviews are "street" price and others are "MSRP", and (c) do you include reviews of books or sample cd's (for example) in the average for recording gear, thus skewing the average? Anyway, I didn't do it before I posted because I thought it was obvious. But I guess it isn't. So here we go- (street price when stated or known, msrp otherwise, excluding books, cd's and utility items)

Issue 33- average price of reviewed items 890.00
Issue 45- average price of reviewed items 1582.00

Again, for the reasons mentioned, these are not hard numbers by any stretch. But I think the trend is pretty clear.

So, having established that the trend exists, the real question is, Why?
I am NOT suggesting a conspiracy here! I am just wondering if the buzz of "real gear" has influenced the editorial staff? Or is something else going on?

Please, let's see some more affordable gear and home recording articles...
"What you're saying is, unlike all the other writers, if it was really new, you'd know it was new when you heard it, and you'd love it. <b>That's a hell of an assumption</b>". -B. Marsalis

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by Girl Toes » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:46 am

I usually to the message boards for reviews anyways.

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by AlSmith » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:53 am

Eric Valentine is an asshole.
TapeOpLarry wrote:Prices of gear reviewed in issue #45:

$2999
$1999
$2750
$96
$1995
$2895
$2995
$3000
$1279
$449
$179
$3000
$200
$200
$27
$499
$899
$1000
$63
$100
$3500



We work our hardest to try and cover as much variety of gear as possible. One thing we will not do is tell you ow great some cheap piece of shit gear is, and the other thing we try not to do is a review section full of negative reviews. The reviews should be like one engineer talking to another, "What do you think of the new ____?" "Oh, it's great on ____ and _____." You get it? It's amazing how many reviews are of products who don't advertise and then AFTER we get a positive review from a user/writer/owner they come aboard.

If you can explain how getting sent a piece of gear for review, finding out that it is an asset to your work, writing a review and then buying it from the manufacturer is ethically wrong, you know something I don't know.

Also, keep in mind that this issue was post AES and pre NAMM. Many new high end products were introduced at AES and some inexpensive ones debuted at NAMM in January.

And read the sidebar on Eric Valentine about how he's basically doing a record for Deathray for free because he likes the band. THAT'S why we wrote about him, not Smashmouth. And didn't this same issue have an article on a guy recording at home in Hawaii (in a condo!) and the Residents?

Tell me we've sold out when John and I sell Tape Op offf to Primedia for a million dollars. If someone wants to go over that last year and average out the prices of gear we've reviewed I'd be curious as well.

Shit, I gotta stop looking at this damn message board anyway and get the next issue done...

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by soundguy » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:56 am

Al,

my life is forever changed now that I have that bit of information.

thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to post that.

sincerely,

dave
http://www.glideonfade.com
one hundred percent discrete transistor recording with style and care.

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by AlSmith » Sun Feb 13, 2005 11:59 am

Sure -- no problem. He's actually one of the few people I read about in this magazine that I've personally met (actually, he was too cool to even look at me, even though he came into the studio while I was paying -- this is before he was a big rockstar).
soundguy wrote:Al,

my life is forever changed now that I have that bit of information.

thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to post that.

sincerely,

dave

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Re: A Disturbing Trend in the Tape OP Reviews...

Post by gaotu » Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:03 pm

You know what I absolutely love about the reviews in TapeOp...and I HOPE THIS TREND CONTINUES... is that they review older gear that has not just been released. That's awesome! Let's not forget that good recording have been made for quite some time now...decades... and that older pieces of gear were used in the making of these recordings. Keep on reviewing that stuff we can only get on Ebay, the pawn shop and such!

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