New Media Interchange

New Media Gear 22: Blue Microphones Spark Digital Studio-Grade Condenser Microphone for Apple iPad and USB 2.0

New Media Gear 22: Blue Microphones Spark Digital Studio-Grade Condenser Microphone for Apple iPad and USB 2.0

I don’t often currently have the need to record high-quality audio to my iPad or iPhone, but I know a lot of podcasters who record to their mobile devices as a matter of course. The Spark would certainly add a level of quality to mobile recording while removing the need for mixing boards, phantom power and other encumbrances that make location recording difficult. The Spark plugs directly into the data connection of both older iPads using the 30-pin connector and also newer units with Apple’s Lightning Connector.

I have always liked Blue’s products, including a Blue Snowball that I currently own, and the Spark looks like it could be another great product. 

Listen to audio samples from Blue Microphones web site

From Amazon.com…

  • Features Blue’s legendary studio condenser capsule and electronic components
  • iOS compatible with iPod touch (4th Gen), iPhone 4/4S, iPad/iPad2/iPad (3rd Gen)
  • Use the Apple Lightning Adapter (sold separately) for compatibility with iPhone 5, iPad (4th Gen), and iPad Mini
  • Work with Garage Band and other recording applications
  • Focus Control switch offers two sonic signatures in one mic, plus onboard control for volume, gain and instant mute
  • Headphone jack for zero-latency real-time monitoring

Click for more information and reviews on this product.

Blue Web Site

Previously on New Media Gear:

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Filed under: Audio, Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, Technology, Voiceover

New Media Gear 21: Fancierstudio 3000 Watt Digital Video Continuous Softbox Lighting Kit

New Media Gear 21: Fancierstudio 3000 Watt Digital Video Continuous Softbox Lighting Kit

A few months ago we had need to purchase some equipment for a testimonial project and a series of interviews. First on our list was a basic set of video lights that would provide nice, basic illumination and still be easy to transport, as we would be shooting the interviews at the client sites. As we are just starting to move into the video production business (beyond my own personal productions) and not exactly knowing how far this line of work will take us, I didn’t want to invest thousands of dollars only to have to sell the equipment later for a loss.

Light kit

 

Click for more information on reviews on this product.

I did quite a bit of searching online and came across this kit on Amazon.com. I made a point of reading nearly every review available, both positive and negative to see how this kit might fit our needs. Overall the kit has a 4 star rating over 77 reviews. The one item I kept seeing in the reviews was the fact that this was, indeed, a “cheap” kit. That didn’t mean it didn’t work well, only that you had to be careful when setting up and tearing down and you couldn’t necessarily toss it around. Knobs are plastic, although the screws themselves are metal, the nylon bags holding the diffusion boxes are poorly stitched and things like that. Almost all the review said, though, that if you are looking for a good, entry-level kit, this could be it.

Based on these reviews, I ordered the kit and crossed my fingers that it would work out well. Once it arrived, we did a test setup here in the office so we understood how everything went together before we tried to do this under the time constraints of an actual shoot. It took a little time to learn exactly how to best put the lights together, but now that we have down 6 setups and tear downs, we are pretty good and can set up two lights in about 15 minutes.

Since we had the warnings from the reviews, we have been very careful to treat the kit with a light hand and try to keep the abuse to a minimum. These seems to have served us well, as nothing has broken or been damaged over the course of the last 2 months of transport and shoot.

Everything — stands, light bulbs, fixtures, diffusion boxes and screens — fits back into the original carrying case and allows us to move around quite easily from car to location to car. The kit is small enough that it easily fits in the trunk or back seat of all but the smallest vehicles.

Overall, we have been very satisfied in our purchase and while we may move up to more expensive (and expansive) equipment in the future, it has served us well as we grow. Go into this purchase with the full knowledge that is “cheap” and may require a little gentler care than most, but we have found it quite functional for, albeit limited, needs.

Previously on New Media Gear:

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Technology

New Media Gear 20: Headphone Recommendations

New Media Gear 20: Headphone Recommendations

My old — and rather inexpensive — set of headphones are on their last legs, and since I am moving into more on-location video production I decided I needed at least one new pair. I put out the call for headphone recommendations on both the Podcast Community Group on Facebook and the Podcasters list on Yahoo. As usual, I received a host of great recommendations.

For the time begin, I picked up a rather inexpensive pair of headphones at the local Radio Shack store as I had a discount coupon available and they are nearby. These will get me by for a while and I will continue checking out all the further recommendations for a more expensive set for the future.

Radio Shack: AUVIO® Foldable Headphones

Auvio headphones

Read the main conversation on the Facebook Podcast Community in this thread.

Headphone recommendations:

From this list, I am leaning towards the Sony headphones.  I have used them professional environment before and liked both their sounds and their fit. It was great to be reminded of them as a possibility.

Previously on New Media Gear:

 

Filed under: Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, Technology

New Media Gear 016: Peter Lythgoe of Zzipp and Co. Podcast from Weymouth, UK (Part 3 of 3)

New Media Gear 016: Peter Lythgoe of Zzipp and Co. Podcast from Weymouth, UK (Part 3 of 3)

Peter is the producer and host of the Zzipp and Co. Podcast and uses a variety of equipment in producing his shows. He was kind enough to break out his equipment in 3 parts, including hist audio studio equipment, his video interview equipment and the equipment for the video studio he is currently building. Since her has so much equipment to share, I will present his New Media Gear in 3 parts, too. This posts details Peter’s studio equipment.

New Media Equipment:

If you have any questions about Peter’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments or in the Facebook Podcasting Community.

Previously on New Media Gear:

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Technology

New Media Gear 015: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

New Media Gear 015: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

I first heard about this microphone from Richard Cleveland over at Naked Ape Productions during one of his Podcast U panel discussions. I mentioned this microphone to my personal friend,  Michael Lawshe, who is an expert in all things audio (and multi-Emmy Award winner) and he happened to drop one by when we met for dinner last night.

First Impressions: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Micrphone - 12

First Impressions: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Micrphone - 4First Impressions: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Micrphone - 6First Impressions: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Micrphone - 8

First Impressions: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Micrphone - 14First Impressions: Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Micrphone - 10

The microphone package include the mic itself, a mic clip and small plastic mic stand, an XLR microphone cable and a USB cable. As you might notice from the cables included, the ATR2100-USB, has a special feature which I have not seen in many other microphones. Instead of being a USB-only mic like the Blue Snowball or Rode Podcaster, the ATR2100 includes connections and electronics so it can be used either as a USB microphone connected directly to your computer with out a mixing board or as a standard dynamic microphone connected via XLR to a mixer.

This dual connectivity makes this a great mic for those who are just getting started in podcasting or other audio recording and yet allows them to step up to a mixing board and other equipment while still using the same microphone. Additionally, when recording with USB-only microphones, real time monitoring of your recording can be a problem due to the USB induced processing delay. The ATR2100-USB works around this issue by including a headphone jack directly on the microphone itself, so you can easily monitor in real time even when connected via USB. Other USB microphones have included this much needed feature in the past, such as the Rode Podcaster, and it is great to see other manufacturers alleviating the monitoring issue with their designs. I know for myself that it is very important to be able to monitor myself as I record. It helps me to catch mumbled words, overly fast speech and poor pronunciations which I might not notice otherwise.

As a demonstration, I have recorded this blog post as an audio podcast, too, so you can hear the microphone in a real world situation using both the USB and XLR modes.

Listen to this microphone demonstration

[powerpress]

Everything up to here has been recored using the USB connection on the ATR2100. Now I will switch to the XLR connection using my small mixing board.

As with any handheld mic, shock isolation js important. You don’t want to pick up any noise from your hand on the microphone itself. This is often where many less expensive microphones and recorders with built-in mic fail greatly. As you can hear, I am moving the microphone around in my hand and while it is picking up a bit of noise, if you hold the mic firmly you might not notice it at all. The included plastic mic clip and tabletop mic stand is enough for most beginners to get started, although most would probably want to move up to a more robust, metal, stand fairly quickly.

Unfortunately, the headphone level form the microphone was at a very low level for my own personal tastes. I would prefer much more volume when recording and playing back what I have recorded. The mic has a headphone volume control, but it did not seem to the effect the output volume much at all. Instead the volume control seemed to be trying to change the overall volume on my Macintosh.

The recording level was quite good even when placed on a desktop at some distance from my mouth. If you want more input level, of course, you can move closer to the mic although then you would want to use a pop filter cut down on the popping sounds of consonants and plosives like P’s and B’s. In this podcast I have used the mic at a fairly close proximity and included the use of a pop filter.

Based on my short time with the microphone, and recommendations from others, I would consider this a great microphone for its price. Amazon currently lists it for around $40 US. I have been impressed with the overall recording quality even here in this rough demonstration. I haven’t taken any time to really adjust the microphone in any way, but simply plugged it in, adjusted the recording level and made this recording using Apple’s GarageBand software.

If you’d like more information on the ATR2100-USB, you can find links not the web site as part of this blog post. Visit DouglasEWelch.com/newmedia/ to find them.

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

Product Features from Amazon.com:

  • Handheld dynamic microphone with USB digital output and XLR analog output
  • USB output connects to your computer for digital recording, while the XLR output connects with your sound system conventional microphone input for use in live performance
  • Smooth, extended frequency response ideally suited for podcasting, home studio recording, field recording, voiceover, and on-stage use
  • Built-in headphone jack allows you to directly monitor your microphone output without audible delay
  • Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of unwanted sounds from the sides and rear
  • Dynamic Microphone With Usb Digital Output & Xlr Analog Output
  • Usb Output Connects To Computer For Digital Recording, While The Xlr Output Connects With Sound System’S Conventional Microphone Input For Use In Live Performance
  • Built-In Headphone Jack With Volume Control

If you have any questions about Peter’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments or in the Facebook Podcasting Community.

Previously on New Media Gear:

 

Filed under: Audio, Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcast, podcasting, Show, Technology

New Media Gear 013: Charles McFall, Co-host “Success Freaks”

New Media Gear 013: Charles McFall, Co-host “Success Freaks”

Success freaks

Since its inception in 2011, The Other Side of LIVE! (TOSOL) has lived up to its hype as a comedic motivational talk show. A two-year Podcast Award nominee, TOSOL entertains & edifies with its hosts’ captivating sense of humor and positive, thought-provoking content. With the show’s theme of “helping others be awesome,” TOSOL covers everything from branding your passion to dealing with death to surviving bullies. TOSOL’s R. Mordant Mahon & Charles McFall succeed in giving both mind & spirit something to chew on while putting enough laughter in your heart to make you smile out loud.
 
 
Charles shares his New Media Gear with us in this issue of New Media Gear. 

New Media Equipment:

 Reaper 

If you have any questions about Charles’ podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments or in the Facebook Podcasting Community.

Previously on New Media Gear:

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Software, Technology

New Media Gear 012: Peter Lythgoe of Zzipp and Co. Podcast from Weymouth, UK (Part 1 of 3)

New Media Gear 012: Peter Lythgoe of Zzipp and Co. Podcast from Weymouth, UK (Part 1 of 3)

Peter is the producer and host of the Zzipp and Co. Podcast and uses a variety of equipment in producing his shows. He was kind enough to break out his equipment in 3 parts, including hist audio studio equipment, his video interview equipment and the equipment for the video studio he is currently building. Since her has so much equipment to share, I will present his New Media Gear in 3 parts, too. This post will start with Peter’s audio equipment.

New Media Equipment:

  Audacity logo 

Here is an interview I did with Peter about the special needs and specific uses of local podcasting:

If you have any questions about Peter’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments or in the Facebook Podcasting Community.

Previously on New Media Gear:

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Technology

New Media Gear 010: Brian Herbert of the Indy Autographs Podcast and Hoosier State Sports Show

New Media Gear 010: Brian Herbert of the Indy Autographs Podcast and Hoosier State Sports Show

Brian’s podcasts include:

New Media Equipment:

Soundbooth 

If you have any questions about Brian’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments or in the Facebook Podcasting Community.

Previously on New Media Gear:

 

Filed under: Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Software, Technology

New Media Gear 009: Dan Hughes from The Treasure Corner and others

New Media Gear 009: Dan Hughes of In The Treasure Corner and others

Dan’s podcasts include:

In the Treasure Corner – http://thetreasurecorner.com
In the Softball Corner – http://thesoftballcorner.com
In the Old-Time Radio Corner – http://radiofun.info

Dan uses this equipment in his productions:

Dan also built his own Mic Box for recording. You can check out his build in this post:

New Media Equipment:

 

If you have any questions about Dan’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments.

Previously on New Media Gear:

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Technology

New Media Gear 008: Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder

New Media Gear 008: Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder

This series started with a conversation on the  Facebook Podcast Community Group. You can ask your questions and find lots of podcasting discussion there.

Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder

Capturing great audio for your New Media projects can be even more important that capturing good video The Zoom H1 Portable Digital Recorder makes capturing great audio easy and inexpensive for almost everyone.

Dual microphones bring in high-fidelity in a small package and MiniSD card recording allows you to easily swap in a new card when you need more recording time out in the field. The easy-to-read display with active metering makes it clear when you are recording and how well you have set your levels. Also includes includes external mix input for use with lavaliere and shotgun microphones with 1/8″ audio plug connectors.

If you have any questions about this podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments.

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, Technology

New Media Gear 007: Charley Hays

New Media Gear 007: Charley Hays

Link: Charley Hays on Facebook

This series started with a conversation on the  Facebook Podcast Community Group. You can ask your questions and find lots of podcasting discussion there.

If you have any questions about Jack’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments.

New Media Equipment:

 

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Technology

New Media Gear 006: Chuck Tomasi of Technorama

New Media Gear 006: Chuck Tomasi of Technorama

Technorama logo 100

I have known Chuck for a long time as he is a a fellow member of Friends in Tech our rather informal podcasting consortium. Technorama is one of his long-running shows which he produces weekly with his co-host, Kreg Steppe. Technorama is “a light-hearted look at all things tech, science, sci-fi, and all things geek.” They have a great “studio” audience in their chat room and cover some of the funnier and geekier sides of culture.

Link: Technorama with Chuck Tomasi and Kreg Steppe

This series started with a conversation on the  Facebook Podcast Community Group. You can ask your questions and find lots of podcasting discussion there.

If you have any questions about Jack’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments.

New Media Equipment:

   

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, Technology

New Media Gear 005: Jack “Boom Goes The Dynamite” Heikle

New Media Gear 005: Jack “Boom Goes The Dynamite” Heikle 

Jack heikle

Link: Jack “Boom Goes The Dynamite” Heikle on Facebook

Jack answered my call for Podcast Gear recommendations via the Facebook Podcast Community Group. You can ask your questions and find lots of podcasting discussion there.

If you have any questions about Jack’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments.

New Media Equipment:

  

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear

New Media Gear 004: Mike Phillips from MikePhillips.me and Computers 2K Now podcast

New Media Gear 004: Mike Phillips from MikePhillips.me and Computers 2K Now podcast

Mikephillips

Mike is very knowledgeable about microphones and also has quite a lot of experience working with all the different types in many different situations. During the PodcastU Roundtable a few weeks ago, Mike mentioned these two mics as some of the best for beginning and intermediate podcasters and other New Media content producers. You can find out more about Mike from the links below.

Link: MikePhillips.me

Link: Computer 2K Now

Mike answered my call for Podcast Gear recommendations via the Facebook Podcast Community Group. You can ask your questions and find lots of podcasting discussion there.

These microphones are somewhat unique in the that have both USB and XLR connectors. Beginning podcasters can connect them directly to their computers via USB, without a mixing board, but intermediate podcasts can then step up to a mixer and use the XLR connectors of the microphones in their more advanced setups. Very cool and this is the first time I have heard of such microphones. I think this is a great idea to offer users a bit more flexibility in their setups.

If you have any questions about Mike’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments.

New Media Equipment:

 

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Technology

New Media Gear 003: Clay Dugger of The Righteous Dude’s Dudecast

This is the third installment of a new series here on Careers in New Media/New Media Interchange — New Media Gear. I started collecting information for this series by posting a question in the Facebook Podcasting Community Group — “What equipment to you use?” I know that I like to know what others are using — and finding useful — in their New Media work and ways that it might make my work a bit easier. Over the next several weeks I will highlight a podcaster in each post and let your know what equipment they find useful and provide links to where you can pick it up yourself. — Douglas

New Media Gear 003: Clay Dugger of The Righteous Dude’s Dudecast

Find out more about Clay Dugger of The Righteous Dude’s Dudecast

Here is some of the equipment that Clay is using to produce his shows. He passed along this information via the Facebook Podcast Community Group. You can ask your questions and find lots of podcasting discussion there.

If you have any questions about Clay’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments.

New Media Equipment:

 Macbook air Apple ipads

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Technology

New Media Gear 002: Richard Cleveland of Naked Ape Productions

This is the second installment of a new series here on Careers in New Media/New Media Interchange — New Media Gear. I started collecting information for this series by posting a question in the Facebook Podcasting Community Group — “What equipment to you use?” I know that I like to know what others are using — and finding useful — in their New Media work and ways that it might make my work a bit easier. Over the next several weeks I will highlight a podcaster in each post and let your know what equipment they find useful and provide links to where you can pick it up yourself. — Douglas

New Media Gear 002: Richard Cleveland of Naked Ape Productions

Richard produces a number of shows including Popcorn Lobby: The Real Movie Discussion Show, Between the Pages: A weekly comic book and geek culture review show and a new show, PodcastU, just for podcasters like you.

Here is some of the equipment that Richard is using to produce his shows. He passed along this information via the Facebook Podcast Community Group. You can ask your questions and find lots of podcasting discussion there.

If you have any questions about Richard’s podcasting equipment, please drop them in the comments.

New Media Equipment:

    Edirol r09  

Previously on New Media Gear:

 

Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Software, Technology

2012 Gift Guide: Behringer XENYX X1622USB Premium 16-Input 2/2-Bus Mixer

Behringer XENYX X1622USB Premium 16-Input 2/2-Bus Mixer 

Wow! This would be a significant upgrade from my current podcasting equipment, as I laid out in the first New Media Gear post yesterday. This seems to have everything I want in a mixer. First, it is USB connected, so it plugs right into my computer. Second, it has a ton of inputs for a variety of external devices and microphones. Finally, it has a built-in compressor so I wouldn’t need my current outboard compressor i.e. less STUPH on my desk. (LAUGH)

If you are looking for a new mixer — or know a podcaster who is — this could be a great upgrade for them. 

I found out about this mixer from Richard Cleveland, a member of the Facebook Podcasting Community. I will be highlighting all of Richard’s podcasting gear in an upcoming New Media Gear post. 

More 2012 Gift Guide Items:


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Filed under: Equipment/Gear, Hardware, New Media, New Media Gear, podcasting, Technology

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