One Option For Recording Phone Conversations

There was a question the other day on the New Media Expo Pathable Community mailing list about how to record phone conversations via POTS connections. 

I use a Telos-One-R (R = rack mountable) that I picked up on eBay and this is a diagram of my setup:

Telos_setup_v1c_2

The Telos One comes highly recommended from two very smart audio gurus at IT Conversations: Doug Kaye and Paul Figgiani

Paul has posted some great resources about the topic over at Podcast Rigs especially this post "Telos One, Talkshoe and Skype." There is also a great podcast with Doug Kaye (MP3) over at Podcast Academy that covers this topic.

Both Paul and Victor Cajiao at the Typical Mac User Podcast helped me setup the configuration of my unit - which is done manually with a small screw driver. I also borrowed Paul's unit diagram of a Telos One for my picture.  Thanks Paul!

I am pretty happy with how this is working now, but I would recommend doing some post production processing on the phone track (usually your guest) with something like SoundSoap.


FIT Halloween Special - Some Thoughts On The Audio Editing Experience

The AztecMedia.net's TechNewsRadio show is part of the great FriendsInTech (FIT) group.  We have been doing special Christmas and Halloween productions since 2005.

The latest one is called "It's the Great Server Chuck and Kreg" and it was posted on 10/24/07.  It is family safe and only about 12 minutes long.

This year I volunteered to be part of the post production and helped with the mix down of scenes into the final version with Kevin Devin.

I learned some great lessons:

  1. Work with the best people possible. The FIT team is giving, helpful, encouraging, insightful, and very talented. It makes the project very enjoyable and you'll have fun doing it.
  2. I did all my editing of my parts (the outside scenes) in Audacity.  I didn't have any major problems or issues other than at times the scenes mix downs were very complicated with 24+ individual segments.  I ended up in situations like this to do 3 intermediate mixes with each one having ~8 individual segments.
  3. Having a vast special effects (SFX) library of audio is very helpful. Using sites like freesound is good, but some of the royalty free material other FIT members had was very impressive.
  4. When recording lines in a remote situation take at least three takes for each line.
  5. It really helps if you can do your remote lines recording with another person saying the other lines around your lines.
  6. Use a wiki to develop the first drafts of the script, but then migrate to a script writing tool for final production.
  7. Scripts file names and titles within the document should have version numbers or clear dates on them so you know what you have is the most current one.
  8. Tools like BIAS SoundSoap2 for cleaning up audio are pretty important if someone makes their recordings in a noisy environment.
  9. All the spoken word parts of a production should be processed with the same RMS settings.  We also ended up running them in bulk through The Conversations Network's Levelator.
  10. Using MP2 files for distribution during post production is very efficient and doesn't diminish quality.

PNME 2007 - Getting Started With Audacity Slides

The Podcast & New Media Expo (PNME) 2007 slides from the "Getting Started With Audacity" session have been posted. 

Some notes:

  • These slides are a PDF output from Apple's Keynote. 
  • There is a QuickTime movie version of the presentation that will be posted soon but it will not have the audio recorded during the presentation sync'd in.  The movie version has all the screen casts used during the presentation.
  • The audio for the presentation is still under the control of PNME. If you were a conference attendee then you should get a link to the audio as part of your conference fee. Ultimately the audio for all the sessions will get posted over the next 8-9 months to Gigavox Media's Podcast Academy channel.
  • Sometime in the future, complete screen casts of each topic will be produced and posted.
  • More information on the PNME Forums and previous AztecMedia.net post.

Feedback, comments, suggestions, etc. appreciated: sholden@aztecmedia.net.


New Apple iPods = Lower MP3 Player Costs

The new recently announced Apple iPods have apparently caused some pretty standard price reductions on a variety of MP3 players from several vendors.

For instance, the advertised price at many stores in the US for the 30-GB Microsoft Zune Digital Media Player is now $199.99.  And the San Disk 8-GB Sansa e280R MP3 player is now coming in as low as $129.99.

The new iPods are definitely pretty feature rich and will have a premium price for a while.

The marketplace continues to be dominated by Apple, and that will probably not change anytime in the near future even with the price drop/rebate that Apple is doing with the iPhone.


Pointer - Olympus DS-50 Recorder

The new Olympus DS-50 ($249) looks like a good potential audio recording tool both for quick podcast segment recordings and for doing mobile interviews. 

It comes with a clip-on stereo microphone and 1-GB of storage, but only seems to only store files in Windows Media Audio (WMA) or MP3 formats which isn't optimal from an post-production standpoint.  Another potential draw back is no stated support for Apple Mac OS X.

It also seems to have some features for Windows users to listen to media including podcasts and Audible content.


Dropping HD TV Costs

Interesting article in the San Diego Union-Tribune today (Sat., 12/2/06) about the falling prices of High-Definition (HD) TVs.  A Panasonic 42-inch plasma HD TV was selling for $1762 in September 2006 at Circuit City.  By October 2006, the price was down to $1687, and then the day after Thanksgiving the same unit was on sale for $1199.

But as of yesterday, the same unit at Best Buy was $999, and Circuit City has announced that they would now beat every advertised price on TVs.

Definitely good for consumers ...


Wolverine Players Get myPodder Software

Podcast Ready and Wolverine Data have announced that Podcast Ready's myPodder software will be preloaded on the Wolverine ESP, Wolverine MVP, and Wolverine FlashPro multimedia players.

This will enable the Wolverine devices to automatically synchronize podcast subscriptions without a tradiditonal computer middleware software package.