Interview With Dr Microphone

Last week I had the pleasure of getting a lesson in Audio Recording and Microphones 101 from Gardner Campbell. Thanks Dr Glu for spending some time to clue me in, this was purely selfish on my knowledge seeking side, but I am sharing the audio recording for anyone who cares.

http://cogdogblog.com/wp-content/audio/dr-microphone.mp3 [35:19 min, 24.3 mp3]

What follows are just some of the many references Gardner mentioned. It only dawned on me after having set up a time to chat, that I was going to be editing this and posting it as a podcast, and then thinking- “Gardner will learn how sloppy I am on my audio editing…” — the truth is there are audio experts out there that will hear every pop, crack, clip, and there are others for whom those might was well by the whistling of bats (which most humans do no hear).

We had decided to talk via Skype, and my plan was to use Ambrosia Software’s WireTap Pro to record both the audio (WireTap can capture all sound coming in or coming out of a Mac). Some of the goofiness in the beginning was some stumbling as I tried different things to get a better connection. I had tried first on my old 700 Mhz iBook, where the audio was dropping out, and Gardner sounded.. well, a bit in a stupor (which he was not). Thinking it was bandwidth, I switched the connection from wireless to me wired connection (I have a fast DSL connection for the home office, routed both for wired and wireless). Not much better.

So I tried again, switching computers to the newer MacBookPro– and shazam! great sound. The old iBook may need to be put to mild surfing use from now on. Since Audacity does not yet run on the Intel Macs, and I was lazy to restart the MBP to Windows to edit there, I just imported the WireTap recording into Garage Band… which may not have the most full fledged audio editing tools, but wow is it fun to use. There was at least an hour’s divergence into assembling opening music. I also noted my audio inputs (me on my USB headset microphone) and outputs (Gardner through Skype) were not even, so I ended up adjusting the levels for each of our speaking turns. I need to find the right balance (drop the input levels on my microphone) for future use. This is probably a case where the better approach is a 3 way Skype, where the third party is an extra computer that just records the other t2 parties.

Garage Band/iTunes also does a nice job of compressing, getting 35 minutes down to 24 Mb (saving at 96 kbs stereo). It is an extra step- from Garage Band it is Save to iTunes (where my music is AAC), and then I use iTunes to convert to MP3.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. Alan, have you tried (would you like to try with me?) using ecamm’s call recorder for skype on the Mac. I have this on my non-intel PB and the one time I’ve tried it so far, it seemd to work ok. it loads up automatically in the same way their iChat recorder product does.

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