31 1 / 2014
I bought it thinking it would be an upgrade from the current setup with Audio Technica ATR-2100.
The latest episode 30 of rebuild.fm was recorded yesterday with this, and here’s my quick thought.
The gain is pretty low on the Mac, the same as ATR-2100. I had to bump it up to 90% to get a decent level. As explained in the manual, you have to get really close to the mic (about 2 to 3 inches) and speak directly to the mic.
Explosives will be a problem if you use them a lot. Fortunately for me, when I speak Japanese, we don’t usually use much p’s. Some suggests they don’t need pop filters anyway.
Honestly I couldn’t tell much difference between Rode Podcaster and ATR-2100 in terms of audio. I mean, there is a difference, like Rode is more dry, and ATR is a bit more warm, but they both sound great. I guess it’s a very subjective matter after all.
However it is clear that Rode Podcaster records much less noise (as in hiss and electric noise, not the ambient noise) as compared to ATR-2100 using USB. Reviews suggest that this could be much improved if you use XLR interface with ATR.
Rode Podcaster is a dynamic mic, and unlike condenser it is less sensitive to the ambient noise. I was running an air purifier during the recording (forgot to turn it off) and i couldn’t hear it at all. However there are some cars running on the street across my apartment, and i could hear them, which i usually don’t notice when recorded with ATR-2100.
I was using the shockmount (PSM-1) on the Samson desktop stand, so when i use the keyboard and trackpad, the vibration didn’t get caught at all, which is really nice. (and that was exactly what a shockmount is for).
Rode Podcaster has a no-latency monitoring with the 3.5mm audio jack. This works a little different from ATR-2100.
With Rode, when used as an output device, the volume is fixed on the Mac side. You have to use each software (i.e. Skype, iTunes) volume to control the relative loudness, and then use the mic’s monitor knob to get it mixed with your own voice.
There’s no mute or input gain knob on the mic (Blue Yeti does).
With ATR-2100, the monitor knob on the microphone actually doesn’t do anything other than changing the OS X system volume. The input monitoring is off by default and I have to go into Audio MIDI setup to make a pass-thru. Even with that, the monitored audio is very low - it is certainly better than nothing, but not as useful to monitor my own voice.
- Good audio, a bit dry voice, but clear and noise-free.
- A little sensitive to ambient noise for dynamic, if not much as condensers
- Not sure if this is worth spending extra $200 as opposed to ATR-2100 which is available for $45.
- Little more useful monitoring than AT, if not perfect.
- Shockmount and desk stand (or boom) is a good investment if you don’t wanna hurt your back.
So now i have to figure out if i want to keep Podcaster, or return and get a USB/XLR interface for ATR.
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19 1 / 2014
(PS Vita TV left, Apple TV 3rd gen right)
At the end of my trip to Japan, I bought a PS Vita TV for 9500 yen, with 32GB memory card for 4500 yen, after 1000 yen discount applied. The shop in Shimbashi kindly offered 3 month free subscription for PlayStation Plus as well, which I will talk about later.
This is a Japanese model, which is so far the only available model as I know, since the US model ETA is still up in the air.
- It’s very small, even shorter than an iPhone 5s
- Setup is easy, just connect via HDMI and put your Dual Shock controller with USB to pair
- It doesn’t come with a controller, but there’s a bundle for it. I got mine from @drikin (thanks!)
- The video output is 720p/1080i. Games with 720p doesn’t look so bad, but the menu UI is arguably ugly and you can see pixels when you put on a giant TV monitor.
- So far I don’t see a region lock. Signing in with my JP PSN account seems to work with no problems. As with iTunes store, you probably need a credit card with Japanese billing address if you want to buy games from JP store.
- This is basically a PS Vita with HDMI out and wireless controller. Except some games that require touchscreen or motion sensor, most of Vita games as well as PSP and archive games can be played on TV.
- The Japanese PS Plus subscription gives loads of free play games for Vita, PSP and archives. I’m currently playing Stein’s Gate, Yuusha no kuse ni namaikida and LIMBO. With 500 yen ($5) per month, I love this Netflix model of gaming.
So far I’m happy with the purchase. My last game console was PS2, and I’m not a hardcore gamer with the current titles anymore. But I still want to play old titles time by time - This device allows me to play dozens of free games with monthly subscription, buy classic titles for $6-10 or even current Vita titles for slightly less than the package equivalent, download them onto the storage to play on TV.
When Nintendo announced something called “Wii mini”, i was hoping for something similar i.e. a console that requires internet and lets you play only Virtual Console and Wii Arcade titles. The actual product was the opposite - it’s a standard Wii without an internet support.
I’m skeptical whether this gadget sells well though, when hardcore gamers will buy PS4 soon and light gamers like me mostly play games on iOS or Android phones and tablets. But for me, for now, it’s a perfect console to put alongside my Apple TV and Chromecast.
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15 1 / 2014
I already blogged about this a couple of times before, but here’s a current snapshot of my podcast production setup at Rebuild.fm
- Audio Technica ATR 2100 USB Dynamic Mic with On Stage Foam
- Blue Yeti Mic
- (Update: More about Microphones)
My regular guest (Naoya Ito) now uses Blue Yeti which I used before. Blue Yeti is a condenser mic and records great audio, while it’s picky to the background ambient noise. ATR 2100 USB might not sound as good, but because it’s dynamic, it records a clean, almost noise free audio. It definitely needs a pop filter or wind shield like I do.
As a next step, I could probably increase the quality even better by switching to Rode Podcaster, or because ATR 2100 has an XLR output, by using a USB audio interface. Update: I now use Onyx Blackjack with ATR2100.
I use the Call Recorder software to record my voice locally, and record the guest’s audio as a backup. I ask the guests to record their audio using QuickTime and do a local sync.
Caveat: It could cause some drifts, and sometimes an echo when a guest uses a headphone with leaky audio. In that case I fall back to the Skype recorded audio.
- Audacity - Noise Reduction
- GarageBand ‘11 - Editing
- Levelator - Normalize
- LAME MP3 Encoder - Encoding to MP3 (64k Mono)
GarageBand was updated recently, but it doesn’t seem to give any love to podcast producers. Logic Pro X might be worth considering.
Read more about the process at Jason Snell’s article on MacWorld.
My Podcast is organized with Jekyll and hosted on Linode with a simple Nginx setup along with audio files as well. I considered hosting them on S3/CloudFront, but hosting MP3 will cost a lot of money, which otherwise only costs $20 for 2TB traffic with Linode.
Previously I was using Mixlr with its paid account to do the live streaming. It worked quite well, and has a benefit of sending push notifications to its mobile app users upon streaming.
I switched to Icecast and Darkice since i have more control by running the streaming server, and it costs nothing in addition to the regular linode setup.
I run a Skype bot on Mac mini (at my parent’s home actually) and wrote a script to send Soundflower audio to an Icecast server on Linode. Just adding the bot to the Skype conversation starts the streaming.
Go look at more detailed explanation from Dan Benjamin.
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