Headphone Update – Getting Better Sound Out of the iPod...

Long-time readers of this blog are well aware of my addiction to audio equipment (and in fact, my post talking about Bose vs. Shure vs. Sony still gets a ton of traffic). For some reason it’s always the product marketing guys that get me into new audio equipment. This time Bruce was showing me his iPod set up. For less than $30 you can get a converter that plugs into your iPod port that will give you something closer to a true Line Out. Hardcore audio people that use big expensive headphones are often disappointed at their portable player’s ability to really drive the headphones. By using a line out there are two benefits – being able to use a better quality amplifier than the one in the iPod (a “cleaner” sound, usually more bass that is tight, clearer highs and you can go louder overall), and some believe that bypassing the internal amplifier reduces some noise and gives you better battery life. I cannot attest to those, but I can say that while testing Bruce’s rig the sound is better. So, for less than $50 you get the line out dock (or LOD as they call it on the audiophile boards), and a portable amp that¬† is only slightly larger than the iPod Nano that had the round control on the front. It should be noted that headphone.com makes a killer portable amp which can be a huge upgrade if you are running a PC laptop, but it is a lot larger than the FiiO and takes 4 batteries. I went for the cheaper, more portable amp. I’ll post some pictures when the full geek gear shows up. I also picked up some bluetooth headphones and a BT adapter so I can use...

5 Podcasts that I never miss – 2010 Edition...

In spite of the fact that Podcasting is dead, there are some interesting things to listen to out there. When the craze began I was stuck in my car at least 3 hours a day so I listened to all kinds of stuff. Now that I have been forced to pare down my list, these are the top 5 that make the cut. I could have used iTunes links for these, but nobody every goes to podcast websites (trust me, I know this for a fact) so I thought they could use some link love. This American Life – Amazing production, and stories covering all kinds of stuff. Your politics may conflict with NPR but it can’t be argued that NPR does quality audio, second only to the BBC that produces… The Big Show with Steve Wright – These guys have fun on the radio and land the interviews with the biggest names. The closest thing you’ll find to Johnny Carson. I love Ask Elvis, but I always skip Barry from Watford. This Week in Tech (TWiT)– It’s continued to grow in size, it seems like it’s always 90 minutes, but it’s still a great place to get your tech news. Maybe not as hardcore tech as it used to be, but the place to stop for a once a week fix. Spark – Greg tipped me off to this programme from the CBC. If This American Life and TWiT had a baby, it would be Spark. Groove Radio – R&B is a personal preference of mine, and pirate radio always seems to take more pride in the mix. Another indicator of the problem in the music industry – I buy more tracks from listening to the Groove than any other channel. Of course...

Recording Skype to Skype...

During my trip to The Fortress of Solitude for November to avoid the blogosphere I had a friend ask about the best way to record a phone interview. It was more strategy than tactics and Tim Street called me out for shoddy workmanship. Since I had begged off on blogging for the month this was classic “No good deed goes unpunished”. Now after a few months in my draft bin, here’s how to do the best option – skype to skype: Have a smoking fast internet connection. I use Verizon Fios. There are many ways to run skype and record it via software on the same computer. I don’t trust any of them. Run skype on your PC and have your sound card set up so that you can monitor yourself in your headphones and hear the caller. I use a standard issue Dell laptop but add an external sound card. I use the Mobile PRE USB, which then allows me to record with my E/V N/D767a microphone (this is about $250 worth of stuff). Instead of going to the headphones the audio out goes into a digital recorder. I use the Marantz PMD 660, which is more expensive than a lot of recorders but it is a lot more rugged, gets great sound, and sarcastic news audiophiles say it’s so simple even a reporter can use it. Monitor the sound on the recorder, now you are listening to the final output. If possible make sure your interview subject is using headphones and has a good microphone. One benefit of this method is that if your subject is not tech savvy you can still use Skype Out to get them on a regular phone and they will sound ok, and you will still sound...

Last Week’s Marketing Over Coffee...

If you follow the MoC blog or subscribe then this is nothing new. If not then check out last week’s interview with Seth Godin. I wanted to have a link to send around to a post with a flash player in it to make it as easy as possible. [audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/marketingovercoffee/MoC147-sg3.mp3] Or click here to...

The Beancast

I just realized that I haven’t mentioned the Beancast recently, it’s a great Marketing Podcast with a panel – basically TWiT for Marketing. Last week I was on with Saul Colt, the smartest man in the world, and that in itself is reason enough to listen. Not surprisingly, I get to be sarcastic...

How to Record a Phone Interview...

Even though I said I was taking November off, I’m back again. A friend asked me about recording a phone interview and I wrote so much that I thought it would be a shame not to get a post out of it too. The Phone Tree Option in Order of Sound Quality: Best – Skype to Skype Still good – Skype to regular phone (Skype Out) A lot of people use this if your interview subject can’t handle skype (doesn’t have the bandwidth, or the technical skill). Last Option – Phone to Phone For skype to skype or skype to skype out, use one computer for skype and another, or a digital recorder to record, do not skype and record on the same machine (yes, I know, lots of people do skype and record on one machine, remember that you’ve only listened to their successes, you haven’t heard the files that were lost or ruined). Another benefit of this method is that you get full studio sound on your side. Ways to do phone to phone: like most tech stuff, the trade offs are that cheap and/or easy are at the expense of sound quality. One thing to test is cell vs. land line. Cell can be clearer, but if reception is an issue go to land line. Another important factor – headsets are best, handset next, Polycom conference phone is rough, speakerphones are terrible. Cheapest and easiest: Many conference call services, such as the good folks of TelSpan can record your conference call (I am a customer of theirs). Give your subject the number, tell the service in advance that you want this one recorded, and download an mp3 when you are done. This is as low a quality can go, but it...

Big Stuff

Traackr looks pretty interesting (via Mike Troiano) Even more impossible, there was a new episode of The M Show this weekend:...

The Last M Show

The time has come for the last chapter of The M Show. We’ll be doing one in the next week announcing that the one after that will be the last. With the success of Marketing Over Coffee, and some of the other projects that I have been working on, I really don’t have the time to continue doing the show on a regular basis. It’s been a great trip, but unfortunately I really haven’t learned anything new in the past year from the show. As the frequency has dropped so have the number of listeners. The thing is that the folks that have remained are the real fans of the show, many of them listening for many years. For everyone that has stuck with it I’d like to do a final send off rather than continuing to fade away. What’s next? Unfortunately I find myself being dragging into more projects that are not in the public view, and some not involved with social media (GASP!). There’s still the MOC project, and showing up now and then over on The Beancast, and who knows – I’m not going to kill the feed, that way there will be a place for the less business minded...

Live! From New York! It’s Saturday Night!...

Those are the best words on TV. Nothing else sets up such a sense of excitement and anticipation. Here’s the live Marketing Over Coffee from the PRSA, it was cool to have a crowd bigger than the staff of Dunks for the show. If you are into marketing you may find it entertaining, for everyone else, I’d suggest Hot Rod over this for entertainment...

The Curse of 100 and other Podcasting Tradgedies...

So I thought I would have a decent post for you today. The M Show 200 had been recorded and I was going to include a link to the funniest thing I have ever heard, but alas, I have nothing. Jenny has mentioned more than once that This American Life is a podcast worth checking out. I’ve heard this from a number of people but just never got around to actually listening. Around New Year’s I unsubscribed to a bunch of casts that I never listen to and was looking for some fresh stuff. This American Life (TAL) had a cast about people who measure things with numbers that shouldn’t be measured. One of the segments had an artist who did a survey to see what people wanted in a painting.¬† For the most part everyone in the world wanted the classic mountain lake with big blue sky, except for the Danish who like abstract art. Better yet they took the concept further and surveyed people about what they liked in music. From that they made what should be the world’s most likeable song, and the world’s least. Hearing a Soprano rapping with a tuba in the background is proven to be appealing to less than 1% of the population. People also hate songs about the holidays, and hate to hear children singing. When they played the clip of the kid’s choir singing about Labor Day and Yom Kippur I was laughing so hard in my car that I was crying. The bad news is that TAL does so much traffic that they don’t leave the files up so I have no link for you. As far as The M Show I have found the curse of the hundreds. Show 100 was a huge...