[bct] Re: podcast quality

  • From: "Maria R." <malyn87@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 27 May 2006 01:35:13 -0400

MessageNeal, well said.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Neal Ewers 
  To: Bct 
  Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2006 12:05 PM
  Subject: [bct] podcast quality

  I really want to applaud this discussion and the way it is being dealt with 
by almost everyone.  As I have stated many times, I know people have budgets, 
and I also know that some people like to hear good quality.  To some, hearing a 
podcast with so much wind noise that you can hardly hear the speaker is like 
someone writing a wonderful story and using such poor grammar that it is really 
hard to understand.  So, one could just as easily say, there is a good story 
here and deal with the grammar, or they could simply not bother to read it 
because of the poor grammar.  What I find refreshing is that we can talk about 
this without hurting people's feelings.  You have what you have and that's 
that.  Making the most of what you have is another thing.  So, what I am about 
to say is not a must do list of things you need to do to make a good podcast.  
The points I am about to make are simply things that I think might annoy some 
people and cause them, just like bad grammar, to perhaps miss the wonderful 
podcast they delete because it is not up to the quality they like even when 
they consider that people have to use inexpensive recorders.  And one other 
thing.  I am only speaking for myself here.  I'm not attempting to tell you 
that this is what the world thinks of the quality of your podcasts.  Just 
consider it pointers you might want to consider to help make good recordings 
with inexpensive equipment.  And you can certainly feel free to ignore them 
all.  OK, have I qualified this enough now?

  1.  I don't like hearing people playing around with their microphones while 
making a podcast.  I sometimes listen with headphones on and I don't like to 
all of a sudden be bombarded with the loud sound of the mike being dragged 
across the table to have it closer to you.  Perhaps picking it up and putting 
it in front of you would be at least quieter on the ears.  The same goes for 
people fiddling around with their binaural mikes when recording.  Microphones 
pick up a lot of noise and some of them make a lot more noise when you handle 
them, especially if you handle them roughly, like sliding them along the table.

  2.  I know that if you are outside with external mikes, you can't help 
picking up wind.  But perhaps listening back to your cast before you send it to 
make sure that all your words still come through would help.  You know what you 
have said, so you may be able to hear it above the sounds of the wind in the 
microphones, but we don't know what you have said, and I have been unable to 
listen to some podcasts because the loud sound of the wind in the microphones 
makes more noise than the speaker.

  3.  The same holds true for traffic noise.  It's nice to hear where people 
are and to hear the sounds in the background, but when I can't hear you over 
the sounds of the traffic, then I miss important things you say.  Again, 
listening back to the podcast might help.  You might decide that this is 
something you would like to do over when it may be more quiet.  I know that, 
for example, walking through a large city with a recorder that has a limiter 
and no way to record at different levels is hard.  I also know I can delete 
that podcast if I can't hear you.  But there is one thing that I haven't heard 
brought up here.  Yes, people have said, "So, you can just delete it."  Well 
there is another side to that.  I don't like to delete people's work.  You have 
gone to some trouble to let me know something and I would really like to hear 
it.  So deleting it only makes me sad that I couldn't hear it over the wind or 
other background noise.

  So, I guess the bottom line is that we try to maximize what we have and make 
as good a recording as we can.

  And there is another thing that has not been mentioned, at least I don't 
think it has.  People listen to these podcasts on a variety of speakers and 
headphones.  They are likely all different. Some speakers bring out the treble, 
some bring out the midrange and some bring out the bass.  This is way over 
generalized, but the point is that some noises you might think are not there, 
are definitely there to others.  You may not think the mike being dragged 
across the table is all that loud, but if I listen to it on my speakers, it 
sometimes actually makes my ears hurt and I am not listening at that high a 
volume level.  In other words, we may not know how our podcasts sound to 
others.  A set of good speakers will amplify the microphone noise.  A set of 
good speakers will emphasize frequencies that make certain sounds really stand 
out over the sound of your voice.  So, given that we all have different 
listening equipment, I think we all could learn a lot from listening to the 
comments of others regarding quality especially if they make them in the spirit 
of friendliness and a real attempt to help make your message stand out over the 
sounds of wind, other noise, and other things that detract from your message.

  OK, I'll get off my soap box now.  Keep on making podcasts no matter what 
people say about quality, but perhaps a willingness to learn better techniques 
can help all of us.


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