For Music Lovers, Nerds, and with Thanks

Hi, this is the page for anybody who enjoys the technology of podcasts and other media. Here I discuss how I make the LCAST podcasts. I end with heartfelt thanks for those who made the casts possible.

I make the podcasts at home. The content is supervised by me, usually interviewing others, with topics recommended by Loyola University Maryland colleagues (or conjured by me : ). All of the music, editing, mixing, final audio assembly, and so on are performed exclusively by me. (In particular, I write and play all the music.)

Our interviews are generally conducted in my office in Jenkins Hall using a Sony PCM-D50 portable “linear” digital recorder. I use the “narrow” mic-spread settings, finding that they keep the voices focused while still retaining identifiable spatial location.

The mic I generally use at home–for the introductory moments–is an Audio Projects B1. It looks like a figure-8, but it is really a cardiod mic. I pump it through a TC Electronic Konnekt 8 USB audio interface into a spiffy new Mac Pro desktop.

For the podcast recording, I do original (and admittedly simple) music using Propellerheads brand new Record software (which has, as part of it, Reason 4.01). I often rewire that to the Cubase 5DAW (Digital Audio Workstation software). I do the music on Record/Reason and the voice on Cubase. The two are roughly automatically mixed using ducking settings of db-audioware’s Sidechain Compressor. I also recompress the vocal track, relatively softly.

My keyboard controller is a Peavey DPM-C8 (88-key, weighted). I use a Frontier Design Alpha Track for tactile mixing (rather than doing it all with the computer’s mouse). For guitars, I use an ash-body, maple-necked American Standard Fender Stratocaster, usually. For slide, I use a Hamer Sunburst (which I guess has now become “vintage” : ).

None of this could happen in any way without:

Those who interview for the podcast and provide the interesting content and ideas:

  • Joshua Gembicki, who manages to schedule the interviews(!);
  • Rich Sigler, who explained podcasting to me, helped me (and continues to help me!) with tone and length, and helped organize folks who created our ‘casting Web site;
  • Amy Filardo, who, along with Rich, encouraged me, shared my elementary testcasts with colleagues, and figured out how to help you learn that I was doing this;
  • Kim Hall, who promotes the podcasts to the Loyola community and beyond (and continues to modernize the way we do that);
  • David Blohm and Scott Sax, who made the LCAST site happen, including giving us one-button subscription services, (in the past) a blog, and more (including David’s routine and timely uploading of each cast);
  • Jason McMahon, Anthony Tambourino, and all the Loyola Mac-using colleagues (Amanda Thomas, Peter Murrell, Jen Lowry, Anthony Villa, and all our biology colleagues), who convinced me of the virtues and facility of the Mac platform;
  • Anthony Forte, who, along with Jason and Anthony, helped me select and configure my Mac Pro—and who continues to help me learn how to work with it;
  • Hans Underwood, who stripped my Lenovo machine of its boatloads of additional, alarmingly stultifying software, turning it into a legitimate machine, and allowing me to learn how to podcast prior to my conversion to Mac;
  • The faculty and deans of Loyola, who, along with colleagues from student development, do the ultimate teaching of Loyola, in whose honor each of these complementary casts are made; and
  • John Devecka, of the wonderful WLOY, who, while swaddling a flu (but not swine!), recognized my urgency to get going on this project and hung around to select and share some worthwhile mics and cables, while still allowing me to bother the student radio gurus about why they do not worship Radiohead.  : )

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