Los Angeles, CA (November 19, 2020)—Radio industry veteran Brad Noble has launched Podcave, an all-in-one podcasting management and publishing platform, intended to support users through every step of podcasting, from show planning and guest booking, to publishing and promotion.
Using SaaS technology to provide professional tools and structure on a single platform, Podcast offers audio hosting powered in the background by OmnyStudio with included IAB-certified analytics. Elsewhere in the software is a complete episode planning suite that includes guest management, a segment planner, a music library (powered by radio imaging company Benztown), a trending topic/source finder, and a‘Record Assist’ focus mode for while users are recording an episode.
An internal promotion engine includes scheduling social media, notifying guests of their episode release, email marketing and text/SMS marketing. Users also gert a stable, customizable (including custom domain) website powered by PodcastPage.io. Podcave also offers a 30-day free trial.
Podcave’s founding team consists of radio veteran Brad Nolan, who has created radio shows now heard in hundreds of cities, and coached talent at the highest levels of radio broadcasting. John Michael has worked at some of the most influential radio stations in the US, including KROQ, JACK-FM, and AMP Radio in Los Angeles. Nikki Noble has managed online communities in the thousands, ran operations for major companies, and spearheads Podcave’s women in podcasting and social responsibility initiatives.
Nashville, TN (November 19, 2020)—iCON Pro Audio has released its new Duo44 Live portable recording interface, intended for podcasting, home recording, live streaming applications and more.
The Duo44 Live is a four-input/four-output USB recording interface allowing full duplex simultaneous recording and playback. There are dual mic/instrument preamps accessed via front panel-positioned hybrid connectors (it accepts a standard three-pin XLR plug or a quarter-inch balanced TS connector) alongside potentiometers to control the input level of each of the associated analogue microphone/instrument inputs, while the rear panel also includes MIDI I/O on standard five-pin DIN connectors.
A Master level potentiometer (to control the master output level of the analogue outputs) is available on the front panel, while the topside-sited singular Monitor knob allows for direct monitoring when turned clockwise and ‘computer’ monitoring (complete with effects while recording by using low-latency ASIO monitoring) when turned anti-clockwise. The unit sports DA/AD convertors delivering 114 dB dynamic range and provides 24-bit/192 kHz conversions.
The Duo44 Live is equipped with a +5V DC power supply connector, enabling external power to be supplied when working with a USB-connected iPad, for example, so no need, necessarily, to work with a computer-hosted DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). But beyond that, iCON Pro Audio’s (Windows-only) proprietary ProDriver 4 software lets users redirect audio from any source on their computer and also hosts VST or DirectX plug-ins without a DAW.
iCON Pro Audio’s Duo44 Live is available at $169.99 USD.
Stereophile reviewer Ken Micallef visited (mask on) recently to pick up a turntable for review. He asked if I'd do a video with him showing some of my best sounding records. I agreed and picked a bunch out that I show in these three videos shot during his visit.
New York, NY (November 19, 2020)—There are complex podcast productions, and then there’s Story Pirates. For technical director Sam Bair, editing the acclaimed Gimlet podcast isn’t about simply picking the best content and shaping a narrative—it’s about finding the best takes from a half-dozen actors reading their lines from a script, and then filling the audio spectrum with sounds that advance the story and appeal to kids.
“It really is a true post-production compilation of recordings,” says Bair, whose role includes sound design, producing, and recording and mix engineer. “We’re recording all the takes and pulling specific lines from different takes. We’re also taking whole sections from different takes.”
The Story Pirates podcast—named the 2020 Best Kids and Family Podcast by iHeartRadio and with more than 20 million downloads to its credit—is brought to life by a collective of comedians, musicians, writers and teachers who interpret original stories written by kids into sketches with original songs in each episode. Two cast members, Lee Overtree and Peter McNerney, pull double duty as executive producer and co-producer, respectively.
“Peter is the main producer during recordings of stories,” Bair explains. “He and I work together to pick the best takes of each scene and then fine tune the pacing. Then, over the course of mixing and sound designing, we are still, by the millisecond, really pacing it out to get what we think is the best comedic effect.”
Under conventional circumstances, Bair records the cast live in a studio, with the actors standing in a circle “cartoon-style” around a Neumann U67 with Warm Audio WA87 and WA14 microphones in front of each actor. Since COVID-19 hit, however, they have recorded the podcast over Zoom with live reads as before, and each cast member records locally through a WA87 or WA14 into a Zoom H6 recorder.
For the show’s frequent guest actors—they’ve had 40 since the pandemic hit—Bair gets in touch in advance of the recording session to help them prepare. Some have nice home studios, while others have a simple USB microphone.
“I have a little document for all the actors, [saying], ‘Hey, here is the recommended mic setup for you. Here’s the recommended room setup for you,’” Bair says. “A lot of these actors have no technical experience whatsoever, so we have them send some sample recordings. I critique that and we work together over email to get the best possible quality out of their home systems.”
Despite their efforts to get clean audio, occasionally an anomaly or two will sneak through the iron-clad system Bair and McNerney have established. In a recent episode, the actor playing the lead character, who had 80 percent of the dialogue in the story, “sounded like she was in a tin can” with a distracting buzz through the entire recording, Bair says. “We were kind of up against the wall. What we’ve found works really fast, considering the circumstances, is [to give the actor] an assembled take of the entire story with sound design and everything in it. They put that into, say, GarageBand and give us two or three takes, and we’ll massage those new takes in.”
Story Pirates also employs a live band with guitar, bass, drums and keys to perform a new original song for each episode, which Bair tracks in the 800-square-foot live room at his Chelsea (NYC) studio, The Relic Room. Bair builds out the fictional world of each episode with audio from sound libraries as well as a live piano underscore.
“When we’re tracking in the studio with the cast, there’s a live piano player,” he says. “Now that we’re not in the studio, I send [the pianist] an assembled version of each section of the episode and he’ll underscore the whole thing. It really helps with the actors at home [because] that piano underscore helps mask various room tone differences.”
"The Model 6 brings the legendary SME engineering excellence and craftsmanship to a wider audience than ever before. The turntable chassis is CNC-machined from a high density polymer resin, providing high mass with a small footprint; the result is superb resonance absorption and the musical, dynamic sound quality for which SME is famous.
Impressively specified, with fully integrated Alexa, the Amazon Fire TV Cube is easily the company's most versatile and sophisticated media player to date. But if you’ve already got a Fire TV stick, is it worth upgrading?
I’ve reviewed plenty of experimental albums, both jazz and electronica, that sound like little more than a collection of recorded noises. The real trick in evaluating such recordings is to find the weave of music that’s hidden among the random sounds. It’s always a matter of degree, the balance between Noise v. Music, especially when this is all so subjective. Prickly Pear Cactus from avant-garde instrumentalist-composer Ikue Mori turned out to be a tricky proposition, but one that ultimately led me to a strange, mysterious kind of music that haunted me days after listening to it. Ikue Mori had a great idea when she decided to enlist pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura for this collaboration. The three of them worked through Zoom, with Fujii and Tamura sending sound files recorded at home to Mori so she could wrap them in a blanket of odd synthesized and real sounds. (This is how a lot of music is being made during the Covid Age.) The genius of this approach is enhanced by the exquisite sound quality, so we get very clear delineations between the real and the artificial to the point where it all sounds real, all performed by three [...]