Category Archives: podcasting

On a Podcast

Well, it was a rainy, cold, shitty weather weekend, but on Sunday I had a really good time talking to David Thornton for his Luchaskate podcast. I’ll post up a link when it comes out on New Years Day. It was fun being on the “other side” of the process, and just talk and have fun with a good conversation. David is a smart guy – a writer – so he’d done some research and was prepared to talk about freestyle.

Toward the end of the recording session, we talked about bearing spacers. I hope that isn’t too boring. If he cuts it out, I totally understand. I used to think bearing spacers was the most nerdy pet-peeve to be obsessed with. Then I met slalom skaters. I felt better about myself.

2015-12-22 20.27.12Oh, so last week I went to practice freestyle in a parking garage. I skated for less than five minutes and broke my rear kingpin. I had just replaced it back in September. My trucks were really tight. I fixed it yesterday, and changed to a softer bottom bushing and soft risers.

Wish the weather was better. Winter kind of sucks. On the other hand, I enjoy sitting in my warm house and being warm, reading, and getting fat.

Podcasting setup update

I thought this would be a good time to update the info on this site about my podcasting rig.

I’m currently using a Rode Procaster Broadcast Dynamic Vocal Microphone. I’d been wanting to get a really nice mic, and was fortunate enough to meet podcasting magnate Adam Curry at a party last year. Adam recommended the Procaster. I must say — I love it. It gives a nice, rich sound. I use it with a shock mount on a swing arm. So thanks, Adam, for the recommendation.

I’m running the Procaster into an Alesis Multimix 8 USB mixing board, which I frankly am not crazy about. The problem is that the USB out on the mixer does not supply enough volume, and you have to jack the gain and all the levels way up to get enough signal into the computer, which of course sounds like shit.  Luckily, the 2007 Mac Mini I use for editing, and my 2006 13″ Macbook, have a normal audio-in/mic port, so I can go from Main Mix Out of the Mixer into the Audio-In on the computers, and not even use the mixer’s USB port. The good old analog connection supplies plenty of volume with a nice clean signal. No gain noise. No weird hum from the USB port.

When I have people in my little studio for interviews, I use the Audix OM2 Dynamic Vocal Microphone, plugged into the mixer for my guests to use. These are great mics, meant for performance, so they don’t pic up much handing noise. They give a nice rich sound for my guests.

For recording the Freestyle Podcast, I use an application called Audio Hijack Pro to capture my Skype conversation with my partner in England, usually running on the old 2006 Macbook. So the mixer is plugged into that machine. For editing I use Garageband on the Mac Mini, and I also use the Mac Mini for solo podcasting, recording directly into Garageband.

My partner on the Freestyle Podcast uses the Audio Technica AT2020 USB condenser mic. This is a great option for getting into podcasting for a low cost. It’s a fantastic microphone, and a very reasonable price, and since it’s a USB mic you don’t have to worry about mixers and the other expenses.


My favorite Podcasts

In no particular order…my favorite podcasts.

I listen to a lot of podcast during my workdays. I like funny ones and also informative ones.

Unless otherwise noted, all of these podcasts will at least occasionally use profanity. Use headphones at work. Actually, there is probably only ONE on the list that is work-safe.

Edit 8/13/2015: Adding the Henry & Heidi podcast, from Henry Rollins. It is mostly just Henry telling stories to his longtime assistant Heidi, but Henry has some good stories. Lots of them.

The Monday Morning Podcast – comedian Bill Burr. Usually Bill and a mic and a recorder. Good.

Pep Talks with the Bitter Buddha – comedian/actor Eddie Pepitone. Love Eddie’s show.

the Nerdist – good podcast – various comedy and nerd topics and guests – by Chris Hardwick.

the Dana Gould Hour – comedian Dana Gould and various guests. Well-produced and thought-out podcast. Dana likes to talk about monster movies.

Point of Inquiry – podcast from the Center for Inquiry, publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer.

Hour of Slack – radio show/podcast from the Church of the Subgenius. Praise “BOB”.

the KunstlerCast – podcast from James Howard Kunstler, who writes about city design, new urbanism, peak oil, and various policy issues.

A Small American City – by Duncan Crary, former producer/interviewer on the Kunstlercast. Duncan’s podcast is about the small city he lives in. He is an expert podcast producer – his show sounds really good. This one is about 99% safe for work. I can’t remember any cursing on it, but I guess it is possible.

The C-Realm Podcast – by KMO. Lots of topics on this podcast. KMO has been podcasting a LOOONG time. Prolific.




Audio Recorders and Podcasting Gear

I don’t usually just post links of stuff to purchase, but here are a few things on massive sale right now that would be good for a podcaster/videographer.

This digital audio is on massive sale, and it a really good one.


This is the one I use, the Tascam DR40. It is a fantastic device, as you will see if you look at my podcasting links. Also on HUGE sale at Amazon.

Finally, this is the USB Microphone I use. It is the “old” model, and thus on bigtime sale, but the newer version just has a headphone jack. Other than that, the old one is the same. Great sound for this microphone. Plugs into the computer. Simple.

Podcasting mic issues…

On the Freestyle Podcast, we finally all have good microphones. As I have written before, I have switched to using my Audio-Technica mic, rather than my more complex dynamic mic/preamp/mixer/computer setup.

On the latest episode I ran into an interesting problem. I record in a room in the front of our house. Depending on atmospheric conditions, there can be kind of a low “road drone” noise in that room. The freeway is at least 2 miles away, and you don’t notice it that much just sitting there talking. However, the Audio-Technica is a condenser microphone, and condensers really pic up a lot more ambient sound than the simpler dynamic mics.

So my point is this: on the newest episode the audio from my mic includes this annoying background noise. Sounds like it was recorded in a plane. My voice sounds fine, but that damned noise is there, and my usual trick of using Audacity to remove the noise just didn’t work well. So…I left it in. It isn’t too horrible, but I want the trend to be toward better quality, not worse!

I have procured a few 1′ x 1′ squares of acoustic foam — the stuff they put on the walls of recording studios.  I’m going to line the inside of a box with this foam, and place my microphone inside it, and see if it improves the quality of my audio by screening out ambient noise.

I have also purchased this ART DTI Hum Eliminator, with which I hope to kill the massive buzz from my mic preamps, and use my dynamic microphones again. I may continue to use the USB Audio-Technica mic most of the time if the isolation box works well, but there are situations when I need to use my two Audix OM2 Hypercardioid Dynamic Microphones.

So I’ll be testing the Hum Eliminator this week, and post the results.

On a different but still podcasting-related note, I’ve been checking out a lot of podcasts about podcasting. The best one I’ve found is the Podcaster’s Studio. Really good podcast with very good advice. I recommend it for all podcasters.