Friday, November 18, 2005

I'm at CRE824

Myself and a small team from Bridge Worldwide are competing in a 24 hour web design competition for the Web Design International Festival 2006. If our team win we will represent the US in an international version of this same contest in France in 2006.

Here's the poorly translated description of what is happening today...

The Webjam Contest is going to be launched at French hour 2:00 p.m. simultaneously in 10 participating countries. You will (normally) be able to find here a way to live with us and in real time these performing and creative next 24 hours.

Check out the site at CRE824, and wish us luck. I'll try posting some media from the event as it unfolds.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Podcasting Setup for under $150 via a USB Mic

I needed to purchase a small podcasting setup for a project at work and I wanted to keep the budget small enough so it would fly “under the radar” of our sleuthy accountants. I'm also an audio snob so I wanted a setup that was at least as good as my home recording setup that I've built over the years for way too much money. (I'm also kind of lazy—I didn't want to drag my home setup into work to record a day or two of interviews.)

What I netted out with was a nice voice recording setup for under $150 (laptop not included.)

First, I picked up the C01U USB Studio Condenser Mic from Samson. It originally listed for about $225, but Amazon or Sam Ash are currently carrying it for $79. It's not a high end microphone, but the fact that the A/D converter is built-in (and it just plugs into a USB port rather than a crappy sound card) makes it one of the cleanest mics I've ever heard. It's very portable too, I just dropped my Dell laptop into one of the few rooms in our office that has a door, and I was ready to roll.

Next I added add a pop filter and a desk stand. I used my Sony studio headphones, but you could grab any decent set of cheap headphones like the Sennheiser HD 202—even for $20 these will be better than your laptop speakers for playback.

For software I highly recommend Audacity. Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. So no matter what kind of computer you have, this will cut the mustard. It also has built in filters for reverb, compression, equalization, etc. Just don't go nuts with it.

That's it. If you ordered all this stuff from Amazon, your total would be somewhere around $140 and you wouldn't be able to tell you weren't recording in a fancy studio. Well, except for the barking dogs, crying babies, and ambulance sirens that are pretty much 24/7 at my house.