The design and associated aesthetics of Grand Prix cars have always been the slave to safety rules. One can argue that pure, unadulterated racing machinery peaked in the mid- to late-60s. The cars were sleek, clean, and beautiful. Yet the quest for performance led to the governing board reigning in these advancements with safety regulations.Read More
This is just a personal blog post. Nothing to get overly excited about. As the new season approaches fast I have a few thoughts for those of you who would like to know them.Read More
In the sixth part of tech review we take a look at Ferrari's descent and why that was, what toys they got taken away and where they failed to keep up.Read More
In part 5 in the tech review series Matthew Somerfield walks us through Ferrari's impressive launch car and why this year actually could be their year.Read More
In the second part of the tech time review of Red Bull we pick up where we left off - Canada, and the beginning of the team's much needed improvement after their relatively horrid start.Read More
In the third part of the 2017 tech review with Matthew Somerfield we take a look at the reasons why Red Bull started out the season so poorly. In addition we take a look at how they managed to turn it all around.Read More
In the first part in the 2017 Tech Review series we take a bird's-eye view of the 2017 regulations that shaped the current aero era. The panel, spearheaded by tech expert Matt Somerfield, gives an insight what changed, why and how it evolved though the season.Read More
With some days, the anticipation of what is to come is too much. Difficult to get to sleep the night before. Waking up really early and hoping that it's not too early to get up.Read More
When F1 barges in on everyday activities. Nick clearly missing F1 this summer.Read More
BBQ's in the rain, Trusting 8 years ago me, and why I do in fact like parties.Read More
Dear diary; I apparently look 17, stolen Birthday and some stuff about work life balance and the kids.Read More
....You get the idea. I used to silently scream thinking, what are you actually talking about!!! Get to the pointRead More
The actual mechanics of the live stream are a little clunky. I use OBS Studio which is an open source livestream encoder. The interface is a desktop app where I can place my video and the Skype window and anything else I want to appear on the streamRead More
Spanners sits down for some self indulgent monologuing. Today's main topic is the kids sports day and the ever competitive Dad's race.Read More
So I ended the last post by realising that I I’d bitten off more than I realised. I couldn’t even get as far as pressing record on the last blog post because I wanted to talk about my shed for 900 words. In my defence I warned you this was going to be self-indulgent. What I realise now is that I feel very passionately about every choice and investment I’ve made in my set up. Maybe I’d have done just as well if I’d made decisions quicker or just accepted that I needed to spend more money. I also realised I risk coming off as an obsessive. While I’m not going to deny that, I will caveat it by saying I do spend plenty of time with my family as well, I go out for drinks, I watch TV and irritatingly I still have a full time job. There’s no need for an intervention. I just take my hobby seriously.
The process of podcasting has become like a game in my mind. Unlock achievements, increase quality, build skills, and increase audience. So part of the activity for me is not just to produce the show but to progress constantly.
The single nicest thing in my set up is my Heil PR40. It's such a beautiful looking and sounding microphone. I know I haven’t mastered how to get the best sound out of her yet but I know the potential is there and she sits patiently waiting for me catch up with her. The shortfalls I have in my audio are not down to the mic. Leo LaPorte and Scott Johnson have both used them and those guys are my podcasting heroes so I have no excuse. The mic was out of my budget but I decided to buy a second hand one from a shop. At least it had a warranty. The choice was a middling new mic or I could lower myself to the 2nd hand market and walk away with a Jewel.
The initial sound check on my own is the most important reference point for how the evening’s audio will go. If you I don’t get this initial level and gain staging consistent then I find that once the soundboard and Skype call comes in I can find myself chasing the various levels on the desk and get in a muddle. This way I know I set the mic in and the main line audio and I always have this point of reference. Also because I can get quite emotive and jump around the mic I can actually use the visual of the recording software to reacquire my original mic position. If it’s too big I need to back off. Too thin and I get closer. But because I have enough trust in my reference point I don’t start adjusting gain or fade to get the waveform back.
Some of this can be mitigated through compression of course. At the moment I do this in post-production which is fine but I have a live compressor awaiting a mixer to join it that has the proper inserts. The current mixer I have is a Maplins special. ALBA ZMX122FX It was an emergency purchase when the wife’s old concert mixer died. It died 3 hours before a planned show so I had very little time to research. If it wasn’t for patreon support I probably would have cancelled that show. But in this case I was able to just go to Maplins and sit and read reviews of the few models they had. I’ve use that for 6 months or so now. It’s been ok but I wouldn’t buy it again. It has too much inherent noise which I have to pick out of every recording and it lacks inserts to insert the live compressor noise gate that I have gathering dust on a shelf.
My plan is to get a new one and sell this but it’s always a big decision to mess with a set up that is working, even if it’s to make an improvement. Having a live compressor gate will significantly improve my workflow, especially for my audiobooks and freelance audio jobs.
The last piece of hardware I’ll mention is the computer. For years I got by with a laptop. As the scope of the task increased however, the demands on the laptop became too much. At first I upgraded my laptop to have an SSD. An HDD just doesn’t have the grunt required to edit large audio files. Clicking save was a big decision as it would often lock up the computer as it struggled to write a 1GB working audio file onto a spinning disk. The switch to SSD bought me some extra time with it but when it gave up I knew I had to match the hardwire to the requirements. Apart from the audio editing the computer has to run many apps concurrently for the livestream encoder, recording, chatroom, show notes, multiple monitors and various other apps I need running. I decided that here I was looking long term and I needed a machine that wasn’t running at 80% like my old i5 Sony Vaio. I bought an i7 SSD desktop machine. The first relief was that because it was running at less than 30% you never hear the fan. On the old Vaio the fan would kick into hyper spin from time to time and that was a major audio headache.
So now that the audio is set up it’s time to get the live stream ready, open Skype and call the panel.
I’ve wanted to write about my process for producing Missed Apex for a while now but it seemed a little self-indulgent. However, now that over 1 of you has asked me to do so I feel fully justified.Read More
It was my football so even if I was a terrible player the other kids still needed to knock on my door so they’d have a ball to play with. Recording a 5 person recording and producing a quality audio output is very hardRead More
From Spanners Log: Goodbye for nowRead More