Lord Admiral Card Club Blog

This weblog is a diary of the backstory to the Lord Admiral Radio podcast.

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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Preparing for the show...

Our weekly interviews are in.

I have a one on one interview with Mark discussing NBCs Poker Superstar Invitational last week. Gus Hanson eliminated every opponent in a bizarre display of luck that, had it happened 100 years ago in a saloon, would have resulted in his shooting his way out of town if he tried to keep any of the money. The interview was done the same night as our "Golden Nugget" this week.

I also recorded two phone interviews. One with the Prof and one with Pauly.
The prof talks about the new Wynn casino in Las Vegas. Pauly talks about last week's Blogger Satellite for the $1500 event in the WSOP.

I hope to have the show recorded by noon tomorrow so I can watch the heads-up championship on NBC. I'll do some post-production after the show with some other errands and try to have it up by dinner.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Card Club "Golden Nuggets"

We've toying around with the idea of adding "extra shows" between the weekly podcasts. The idea being we can expirement with technology or content without making a shambles of our weekly show.

Last night I recorded an interview with HHMark at his condo. Using my new lapel omnis from www.giant-squid-audio.com we talked about the upcoming Lord Admiral Heads Up tourney.

The interview lasts about 10 minutes and is nothing special. It was a chance for me to play with the mics and Cubasis.

This is a perfect chance to throw something up that some people may find interesting, especially if they organize tournaments for their clubs or friends, and at the same time won't take up any of the show we put out on Sunday.

I am targeting releasing it Friday night. If all goes well we'll keep doing things like this.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Anatomy of a podcast

We've published our April 24th show. Like most of our other shows it was done differently than previous episodes. This is because the total time it takes to do a show is still too long and I need to find a way to do this whole thing faster without compromising quality or content.

Quality is the tricky issue. Just when I think I have a piece of the setup down pat I start hearing blips or intereference. This past episode was a good example. I am still trying to track down the intereference we picked up.

This was how this week's show was recorded.

Part 1 - The Recording

I record my part of the show with a Samson C01 microphone.

The microphone plugs into Tascam US122.

For this week's show I had the Tascam plugged into my IBM T20 laptop via USB.

This week everyone was available via Skype - it is rare I can get anyone to my place to record.

I recorded Brent and Mark's section using Skype to Skype - each of them at home running the Skype software linking up with me. Mark's microphone is inexpensive and it comes out in his recordings. Brent's mic is a bit better and it sounded OK but we kept getting interference I can't put my finger on - some blips kept interrupting us. I could hear the blips out of the headphone from the Tascam so if the cause was in my setup it was somewhere in the mic/tascam/laptop.

Pauly and Joseph's sections were recorded Skype to Phone. That means I used Skype on my laptop to phone these gents on their phones. The sound was OK and I don't mind the drop in quality because these guys are being interviewed "from afar" and so the phone-sound makes sense.

The problem with Skype is recording the conversation is tricky. I've tried a few different ways and the easiest I've found is to patch the Tascam output into a second PC. This week it was directly into the Audigy on my desktop (in the past I've used Skype on the desktop and recorded on the laptop).

The desktop was running Audacity - which I have used as both my recording and mixing software until now. This week I only used it for recording.

Part 2 - The Mixing

Once all the segments were recorded and on the desktop I used Cubase to mix it all together. This was my first time using Cubase. I received the LE version free with my Tascam US122. Audacity was good for mixing and mastering - but Cubase is a true professional piece of software and it has a lot more power.

I must have spent four hours trying different sounds and methods when I mixed this week's show. I certainly didn't need all that time but I was enjoying using Cubase.

So, although our quality isn't perfect our show this week is out and I hope everyone enjoys it. I am proud of our work and grateful to all of our contributors.


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Price of Popularity

The little podcast that could drove our bandwith at lordadmiral.com to it's capacity resulting in our being off the air for 12 hours last night.

We are back in business and, thanks to Stacks, we have another 40GB bandwith available for downloading next month.

Thank-you to everyone for listening to the show.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Outage over

Oh yes,

If you get a chance drop on over and register to the brand new forums at Card Clubs.net. There was a small outage today but it is back now.

This is where to find the official Lord Admiral Card Club discussion group!


Saving Time

The most recent step in saving time on the show is getting Brent and I to record our segment with minimal post-production.

I've played with different software types but was never satisfied without doing a double-ender. Namely, having him record his end and uploading it allowing me to match it up adding another step in the show.

I needed a way to record us both with a sound quality that allows us to talk informally. I think we found the answer this past show.

For the first time I tried Skype to Skype communication. I've been playing with Skype for months but only Skype to phone (admittingly a very cool and inexpensive feature). Skype to skype is even cooler and even cheaper (i.e. free).

It worked better than I thought it would and I am happy to say one solution to improving our productivity is complete.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Disaster Averted

We were 60 minutes into the show - running late as we still had another 5 or so minutes left. I reached down and moved the mouse on my laptop, the one recording the show, and my both my mouse and then my heart stopped. The former literally and the latter figuratively.

Ever since I upgraded the video drivers on my S3 Savage graphics card on this 4 year-old PC (to allow me to plug my latop into my TV) I've suffered periodic freezes and now my worst fear has been realized. The show was almost done and the laptop feeze-up means a reboot will lose most if not all of the show.

Under normal circumstances this would result in no show this week due entirely to my temper. As it is this week I had a backup plan. In one of those "what the hell" ideas I patched the headphone from my laptop to the line-in on my mp3 player.

The whole time I was recording on the laptop I was also patching through to the mp3 player making a backup. Yes, there is a quality cost, but in the end it was worth it because I did not have time to do the show a second time.

This was another new setup this week, something I'll explain a little more about in my next post. The ultimate goal for all these new setups (really a new one every week) is to keep the total time per podcast ratio as low as possible. My best sounding shows have required 10+ hours for a 45min show. We can't keep that pace up and so we are trying different things to make the creation process more productive while keeping quality and content a priority.

This week my laptop recording process resulted in some "external" sounds - I never muted the WinXP sounds from the laptop and so when I received an email the whole listener base was notified. Something to remember next week.

Oh, by the way, I've rolled back my graphics drivers.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Podcasters Dream

I've learned a lot about the technical aspects of sound recording and mixing in the five months we've been doing this. I am a computer geek in over my head in sound technology - a more difficult transition than I had originally imagined.

One of the first things I wanted was a professional sound on my own vocal recording. I started the podcast using an Altec Lansing game headset. Fine for a beginner podcaster but my anal retentive side was kicking in. I wanted more.

I soon learned about condenser microphones. A condenser mic is a powered mic that is, in non-technical terms, better. If you heard last week's show Brent had the condenser and he was sitting a good 12 inches from the mic. Scott and I were so close to our conventional cheaper mics you could hear the pops when we spoke.

The problem with those gorgeous condenser microphones (apart from the fact they can be expensive) is they need power. That means that if you grab one, plug it into a converter with an 1/8" plug to fit into your PC your not going to be impressed. You need a pre-amp or powered break-out box to get it to work. More equipment and more money...until now.

Earlier this year Samson released a USB condenser mic. That's right a beautiful professional sound with a microphone that you can plug right into your desktop or laptop.

I already have a non-USB version of a Samson mic(which I love) going into a TASCAM US-122 breakout box. The plan is to be able build on the system (a second mic, a mixer). My show mates, however, are still on the stone age equipment. I hope this provides those who want to have a professional sound an affordable opportunity to create add to or create a high level podcast.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

New Audio Equipment

As I mentioned on the show this week I have some new equipment coming in the mail next week.

Thanks to the podcast Behind the Scenes I've been turned on to an interesting site: Giant Squid Audio.

I spoke to Darren, who runs the show there, and although he has not tried using the powered omnidirectionals with an mp3 player he thinks it should work (my MPIO has a line in).

The hope is we can be more portable with fewer issues. I also hope to be able to use them to get a better sounding three-way interview than we had this past show.