Beefing Up Audio

I’m just posting this because I listened to Tim Ferris interview with Tony Robbins this week and it doesn’t do well in the car or while running because of the mix. Tim has a page where you can submit comments and I wanted to post a sample to show what I’m talking about. For anyone podcasting here are two simple things that can significantly improve your audio. Here’s a screenshot of an audio wave: You can listen to this audio file here: If you cut the picture above in half, the left side is the “Before” and the right side is the “After”. On the left side the recording is not taking advantage of the power available to it. In other words, you are going to have to turn the volume up twice as much compared to the average song, or audio cues on your phone. These are the situations where you turn up a podcast and then when you get a text message, or your running app cuts in to tell you how many miles you are at, it blows your ears out. Now there’s an entire profession dedicated to mastering audio – making it sound great and taking into account the devices it will be played on. I am by no means an expert in this area, but I can give you two simple things to at least get from annoying to sounding closer to an NPR podcast: The Levelator is a free tool that will adjust the entire file so that it uses most of the dynamic range. This includes fixing where one person is louder than the other. All you do is drag and drop your file on to the window and it spits out a second file that sounds better....

Stu-Stu-Studio

Jason Keath posted about building a home studio on Facebook and asked if I would throw in my two cents. Jason is a mensch and I realized that my comment would be one of those annoying five page Facebook comments so it was much easier to write an entire manifesto here. I probably know about 5% of what you need to know to build a studio, but that doesn’t matter because there are two easy options. Either call Parsons Audio and spend the money or talk to some podcasters who are always experimenting with cheap stuff, which is often pretty good thanks to the current level of technology. First things that come to mind: Do you really want to build a studio in your house and lose a room? Renting allows you to not have weirdos in your home, will sound fantastic, and means that you won’t have the UPS guy ringing the doorbell or the General Lee driving by honking the dixie horn. It’s also just like the gym, when you go you will get the job done, if the equipment is in the house it will probably end up as a clothing rack. On the other hand, the big upside is setting up a bunch of stuff and then never having to take it down. Let’s say you’re sold on that. Most people I know have an office and create a studioffice. Or maybe an officudio. Or something. Noise kill: John Federico makes a great point about Dynamic vs. Condenser mics – I’ve found it easier to use dynamic mics in a room with carpet and some stuff on the walls than trying to make sure everyone is out of the house and gluing up foam egg crates. Capturing the room noise before and after recording...

Sound and #MyHeadRoom...

Longtime readers know that I usually check in every six months or so with a sound update. Between loving music and producing the Marketing Over Coffee podcast I keep an eye on what’s happening in audio (and tend to spend more money than I should). I got a push this time from the folks at Headroom, I mention them every time we talk audio because of their great shared testing results. Since I’m writing anyway I can also enter this in their #MyHeadRoom campaign which is giving away 2 sets of Shure SE846 earphones (if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to drop $1,000 on earbuds), and a set of SHR1540 headphones (which I would love to take for a test drive). Listening to music is the only peace and quiet that happens in my house full of kids, and I have worn my Shure’s for a full day as part of work so thanks Headroom! Last time we were talking about getting better sound out of your iPhone. Since then: Bose replaced the QC15 with the QC25 and all reports say they are even better, so if noise reduction is your thing (hello road warriors), that’s the way to go. I also found an interesting app called Dirac. It optimizes the sound for Apple Earphones and EarPods (the freebies that come with your phone and most sound fans laugh at and throw away). For $3 it is no joke, it makes the EarPods sound much better, as in better than some earphones costing $100 or more.  The catch is you have to use their music player, it doesn’t work for all apps (i.e. no movies, games, etc.) If you want to nerd out on it some more check out their site...

Podcast Player Test

Marketing Over Coffee is available on Stitcher if you listen to podcasts on a mobile device. I wanted to test out their...

Marketing Over Coffee Live...

I forgot to mention that as part of my relocation I’m no longer able to meet up with Chris on Wednesday mornings at the Dunkin’ Donuts to record Marketing Over Coffee. We’ve settled on Google Hangouts, which actually works pretty well for two reasons – first, it dumps the recording straight over to YouTube so now you can watch the video, and second, if it’s a normal week you can watch it live on Thursday mornings at 7am! Chris posted the show on his blog this week and I realized I should be doing the same! In this week’s Marketing Over Coffee, we discuss all things Pinterest analytics, Google Reader getting killed off, and much more. Watch it...

Hi, I’m Worthless...

As much as we’d like our products do not work for everyone. In fact, for many businesses you need laser-like focus to separate yourself from the rest of the pack and find a market where you can survive. I saw this clearly this week as I was checking out a blog that had mentioned Glance. I’m always excited to find marketing and communications people that are interested in content to tell them about the Marketing Over Coffee library. This time was a bit different, Anne mentioned that she can’t hear. Suddenly the value of that back library of audio content was approaching zero. The lesson learned is the same one we came to a few years back with the podcast – you need to test other channels to confirm you have the right fit. We got here when we saw that Podcast IPO was a phrase probably never to be heard. We’ve been testing transcripts of more popular interviews (like the one with Seth Godin), eBooks like Chris’ On Heroes Project, and the Marketing Over Coffee Quarterly Report. (Now only 99 cents!) If you have any interesting stories about channel testing, please...

Seth Godin on We Are All Weird...

A few weeks ago I a great discussion with Seth Godin about his new book We Are All Weird. You can hear the original interview over at Marketing Over Coffee  (or just buy the App). I had a request for a transcript, and since I went to the expense of having it written up I thought it was worth posting: John Wall: So your new book here is “We Are All Weird” on the Domino Project available on Amazon. Tell us about “We Are All Weird”, what’s the idea and how did this all come to you? Seth Godin: You know this is possibly the biggest idea I’ve had in terms of it all coming to me at once and I’ve been writing the last couple years about the death of the industrial age and the beginning of a new age. And I’ve been talking about how the industrial revolution created all this wealth. It created a culture around it because the wealth brings culture with it. It created standards, it created public school, it created expectations. But what I realized, just a little while ago, is that most insidious of all, it created a standard of normal. And by that I mean both statistical, normal, the center of the bell curve, and cultural, normal as “just like us”. And so what we do in our society is we make stuff in a factory, whether that factory makes insurance policies or widgets, and by default we have to pick the model we’re going to make. We have to pick whether the scissors are for left handed people or right handed people . We have to pick whether the car has four on the floor or automatic transmission. And what factory owners want, what shareholders want, is for...

Live with Seth Godin

The past month has been insane. Thank you dear readers who keep this in your feed despite my spotty publishing schedule. The good news is that I have been writing like crazy and after about 3 years of Saturday mornings at Starbucks or Tunnel City, the first draft of my book is complete. I hope to have it edited in less than 2 months, more on that as it goes. I also did a session on 10 tricks to improve your photographs at Podcamp Boston 6 last weekend, you can get a PDF of the tips here. Seth Godin was kind enough to talk with me about his new book, We Are All Weird last week. You can check it out on the latest Marketing Over Coffee. There was also a Hurricane in there, Trade Show, some sick people, me breaking the side mirror off the Flex, watching Cars 65 times, new episodes of Dr. Who, some Red Sox games, the wheels falling off the Red Sox, DC Comics doing some crazy stuff, and a lot of work. I can’t forget my personal favorite – going to The Big E (a multi-state fair for those beyond New England) and hearing a marching band in the parade playing Cee Lo Green’s hit “F**k You” and most people not getting it, my wife laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe and was unable to explain why to her...

Audiophile Update

Longtime readers know of my love for music and audio, and regardless of the quality of my marketing thoughts here the linkbait of my headphone review trumps everything else at this site. The original review was in 2007 and is posted here covering Shure, Sony and Bose. I also get a lot of traffic on how to get better sound out of your iPod if you are willing to cough up another $50. So what’s new? I also mentioned the Nike earphones that I use for running, they died a couple of weeks ago at the Falmouth Road Race. After at least 3 years of sweating and pouring water over my head in hot weather I can say they are a superior product and served me well at the price. I have replaced them with the Sennheiser PMX80 running earphones, which I had considered when I bought the Nike set. They are also great but it comes down to sound quality vs. comfort and isolation. The Sennheisers sound much better but they are a tiny bit heavier and they fight much tighter in my ear, this results in a much better sound, but I’m not able to hear what is going on around me as well. It comes down to much better music, or hearing what’s going on around you with out as much in your ear. For now, I’m liking the music, we’ll see how the hold up. Shure Update – I got an email notice that Shure is refreshing the line of products. The big thing I noticed is that the cables are now removable. After a couple of years of heavy use the cord on mine broke because of the way they twist over my ear (and it should be mentioned...

The Last M Show

Back in January of 2005, I started podcasting. Since I was playing with a new technology, I didn’t give much thought to what the show should be about, so I just copied Don Imus and did my own talk radio show. It had a pretty good run, at it’s peak around 2007 it was getting around 16,000 downloads a month. Over the 5 years I just hit a half million downloads. Just over 3 years ago I started doing Marketing Over Coffee with Christopher Penn, and that show has a real niche, instead of me playing Morning Zoo guy. MOC is getting over 20,000 a month now, and it will hit a half million in the next two to three months. For The Last M Show, I invited a bunch of folks who were in town for the MarketingProfs event out to dinner at Morton’s at the Seaport. It was a great night, and it was fun to do one final show. It’s always been kind of a show for insiders, if you’ve never listened before but want to check it out, listen to Show 100, that explains everything. If that doesn’t dissuade you, take a listen:...