PES 204: Chriss Goody Bag
Well hello and welcome to the podcast engineering. Show my name. Is chris kern. I produce podcast for companies. And i teach at podcast engineering school. Every week on this show we bring you podcast production techniques on a silver platter. We alternate between interviews with podcast producers and engineers and daily goody episodes like this one where i'm going to talk about actually today nine of the daily goody blog posts that i write every day. So well actually. I don't write them every day anymore. I do. I think three times a week. And you can actually sign up to receive these daily goodies via email. You can receive a daily or a weekly roundup and you can sign up on the website. Podcast engineering school dot com. But today i'm just gonna talk about nine of these daily goodies and a couple other things and every other week interview someone cool so that's always really fun so first of all next semester of podcast engineering school starts on january twelfth. Twenty twenty one. Yes starting to sound futuristic here january. Twelve twenty twenty one so the daily goodies. We're gonna cover. Today are from between august fourteenth and september third of this year. twenty twenty. and let's get in on it. okay so first one is gain staging with plug ins gain staging with plug ins okay so gain staging is a very fundamental concept in audio engineering and it has to do with you. Know the signal flowing between between hardware between software basically the audio signal comes from somewhere and it goes to the next thing in the chain right so if you think about microphone the signal comes out of the microphone and it has to go to the pre. Am i right. And so then you you crank the level up with the preempt and then it flows from the preempt to the wherever it goes next. Maybe it's an issue or maybe it's your audio interface or whatever and so usually going between these different stages you can adjust the gain. And what happens is if you if one of those gain adjustments is really off. Maybe it's cranked up so much that it ends up distorting the audio. That's not good because you can distort the audio in one step and then in the next step you can turn the level down but the distortion is still going to be there because you already distorted it in the previous the previous step basically. So so. that's what gain staging is in general. There's there's more to it but gain staging with plug ins is actually important as well because when you use plug ins e cues and compressors and things like that if you let's say you're using five plug ins well the signal travels through the first plug in first. It leaves the first plug in and goes into the second plug in and the same thing it leaves the second one goes into the third one so if one of your one of those transitions is not correct. Maybe the levels really low are really high. You're going to try to compensate that in the next step and it can cause problems it can cause distortion. It can close noise. Because let's let's say going from step one to step two or in this case from plug in one to plug into. Let's say the level coming out of plugging. one is really really low. So when it gets to plug in number two you have to crank up the level. We'll guess what now you're cranking up. Not only the level but all the noise right that's in the signal so to gain stage things properly. Each step of the signal processing needs to have the right input level set and the right output level set and that way the signal will travel through all the processors and it'll remain at the optimum level all the time at each step so anyway that's really important and it's one thing is if you ever hear if you're ever hearing distortion on your signal you can just go through your signal chain and see maybe on one of the steps you're you're cranking the level so high that it's distorted right then anyway. That's that's one thing you can do for troubleshooting so gain staging and i'm just saying it again and again because every time i say at ralph m rivera has to drink so and by the way please comment on this episode with two words gain staging all right. Let's move onto the next daily. Goody is a six point soundcheck for internet guests. Yeah six point sound checklists for internet guests. So anyone who's recording podcasts. Over the internet should walk their guests through this six point list. And it's a daily good from august seventeenth. You can see it. And by the way. I linked to all the posts in the show notes here. So wherever you're listening you'll see a bunch of links and you can. You can just go to each of these daily goodies. That i'm talking about directly. So what's in the six point checklist. What are the six points number. One is to have a strong reliable internet connection pretty much there but let's not forget sound. Checking a guest is really important for the simple fact that most guests. They don't know anything about audio. They don't know anything about computers. They don't know anything about any of that stuff and we shouldn't expect them to so the podcast host or the engineer needs to make sure that all these guests have a good setup that they have a good sound good internet and make sure everything is in place so that they can record a nice conversation right so number. One is a strong reliable internet connection. Number two is s them to restart their computer. If they haven't done so recently usually that day i ask him. Have you restarted your computer today. And if they say no. My computer's been on for the last seventeen months. I've never restart my computer will. Then i always tell them to start. And then only open the applications that are necessary for recording number three. Be in a quiet room right. Turn off all fans or air conditioners if there's a window there that's open closed the window. Ask the family to be quiet right. If there's family in the house just quickly go. Tell everybody and say look. I'm about to record a podcast. So everyone if you could just keep you know not make any loud noises for the next hour that would great and anyway. That goes a long way number. Four is microphone technique which basically means having their mouth consistently close to the mic. When they're speaking. So i i usually just remind folks just you know. Hey look make sure when you're talking that you're near the mike you stay very close to the mic. And that's if they have a real microphone. A lot of people have earbuds which leads to the next one number five earbuds make sure they're not rubbing or flapping around this is actually one of the most destructive things that a podcast guests can do if they have earbuds and the earbuds or rubbing against their shirt or flapping around or rubbing against their hair sometimes the ladies with the long hair it rubs against the hair and it makes the sound that you cannot remove. It's terrible so make sure someone has earbuds that you teach them how to make sure it doesn't rub or flap around. Number six is sit quietly in one spot. Don't move around. Don't make any sounds like clicking a pen tapping your foot or slapping papers on the desk. You really have to tell people just to calm down. Sit down. Don't move around and don't make a bunch of noise because again people they don't know average people that don't know these things and so anyway. That's a six point sound checklist. Hope that's helpful all right. Let's move onto the next daily goody which is leaning back from the mike when laughing really loudly leaning back from the mike when laughing loudly all right well. This is just part of microphone technique so basically microphone. Technique says stay consistent distance from the mike at all times. Unless and there's two two things here unless number one. If you're gonna say something really soft and quiet then you can actually get closer to the mic like right. Now i'm a little bit closer to the mic. Little bit closer. And i'm an anyway i was talking very intimately right softly. You can if you're going to speak softly. You can get closer to the mic and conversely number two is if you're going to say something loud or laugh really loud move move a little bit away from the mic. So saw so. I laughed but i moved through my head back. So that's that's just mic technique. That's what that's what that is so you. Can you know you can remind guests to do this. You can practice this yourself just for your own better mike technique and the whole the whole reason for good mike. Technique is because you don't want to laugh really loud directly in the mike because that will actually start all the listeners or ken startled the listeners. Right 'cause it'll be loud. If you laugh really loud right into the mic. That's going to be loud and so the listeners. Gonna it's gonna hit them hard and that's that's jolting and that's jarring and that's you don't wanna do that to the listener so now in post production yes you can use compressors and you can do all this stuff but you know. Nothing beats good mike technique. If you have good. Mike technique you will. You can still use compression and it'll even sound way better so you can't rely on compression to fix all these different nuances of mike technique. It just doesn't work. you can help it. You can fix it a little bit but good mike. Technique is is always way better than using a compressor. But of course you should do both have good mike technique and use compression right okay so the next daily goody this video this video i made how to use plug ins to automate and improve your sound quality how to use plug ins to automate and improve your sound quality so again the link to this video will be in the show notes here so How long is it. I don't i forget how long. Oh it's twenty twenty one minute video so i go over a bunch of stuff. It's a pretty cool video actually so anyway. Check that out. The link is in the show notes. Let's move onto the next daily goody which is non destructive audio editing. Okay for me okay. When i first got into digital recording and digital editing and all this stuff this is back in the late ninety s and this was after i had already been you know engineering music in the music business back in the studios i had worked in some big studios and worked on some records right. I got a bunch album credits you all. I've i've told you that many times. So when i got when i got into digital audio editing and stuff like that when it came to multi-track like i always assumed that any editing that i did in the multi-track was going to be non-destructive and what non destructive means is that let's say you have a multi-track session with let's say four. People are on a podcast. So you have four tracks in your multi-track software like whatever. It is adobe audition. Reaper hindenburg logic. Pro whatever your is right. Let's say a four tracks and let's say you clip out like a minute of conversation. Let's say someone someone had to leave for a second and then they came back and so you could. You could delete one minute of conversation and then like if you really wanted to restore that one minute or bring it back. It's still there it so when you remove that one minute you didn't delete it from the source files. You deleted it in your door. Which which is great because then you can do anything. You can mess around. Try this try that do anything you want. And if you screw something up you can always get back to where you were basically right. So that's non destructive editing. And now once i got into podcast production i re i. I heard and i realized that a lot of people are using odd. Acidy and audacity is a destructive editor when you make edits in audacity if you cut out one minute and then you save. That's it. you can't get the one minute back so anyway. You just have to be aware that. And by the way if you are using audacity. What i highly recommend. And you're probably already doing it when you do anything in audacity right first thing you have to do is make sure all the original recorded files. All the original recordings are backed up. And what. I suggest doing is make a copy of those original recordings and bring the copies of the originals into audacity and then go nuts. Do whatever you want and if you screw up you always have wrote the original raw recordings there and by the way this goes further than our well. This is just in general whenever. You're doing anything with audio. When you record original file you should always keep that original file and never never a edited or adjusted or process. It don't do anything. You should always have a backup of all the original files and then make copies of them and then do whatever you want. But you need the original files always at all times and so if you are using audacity which is destructive. Make sure you have. Backups of all the originals. And never touch the originals. Don't even bring the original file into the audio well. I guess if. You're using reaper. Like i do or any any dog. That's non-destructive i do bring in the raw files. Because it's non destructive. Reaper leaves the original files the way they are. And it just makes a copy for reaper and reaper. Does all that in the background right and so do most dawes. Audacity is the only one i know of that is destructive. Alright let's move on and i'm psyched today. I don't know if you know in this episode. I'm actually covering three weeks worth of daily goodies normally. I do two weeks. But then now that now that i went to three daily goodies a week. That was only six daily goodies. I was covering so for a few of these daily good episodes. I'm going to cover three weeks. And so that'll be nine daily goodies. So that's what we're gonna do today. Nine all right next one. Mastering plug ins. I like okay. So i made a post here about the various mastering plug ins that i like and of course the mastering step is like the final step where you had a little more compression. Maybe slight e. q. Very slight eq-. Or i don't even use the q. In my mastering step basically. I just use compression. And i like aqua marine four which is a in dual stage compressor aquamarine four. Sometimes i use ozone nine nine. And sometimes i use the abbey road t g mastering chain and sometimes i will use saturn to from fat filtered. Saturation and now actually. Since i wrote this post. I bought a bunch of new plug ins from plugging alliance and the shadow shadow hills mastering compressor class a which is just an amazing compressor and a few others. Which i'll talk about soon But yeah the mastering plug ins any. These are the mastering plug ins. I like and don't forget. This is huge. Don't forget you can use any plug in in your mastering step. So if you have any queue or compress anything any plug in you own. You can put it on your master bus and use a little more compression or use a little league you or or use a little saturation. So for instance. If you're a podcast or who uses the ship's omni channel in from waves which is a great plugin you can use that ships omni channel on each voice in the episode and in addition you can use the same well. A different instance of the ships channel on your master bus and add a little more saturation. If you want a little more compression just a little anyway the links in the description if you wanna see the post and click through to the plug ins. I just mentioned. Let's move on to the next daily goody which is true peace of mind for the podcast editor producer and engineer. True peace of mind. What what is that. What is true peace of mind for the podcast editor and producer engineer. okay. I'm just going to read this. Because it's it says it nicely. Well i wrote it nicely. I guess the vast majority of podcast episodes once published will be available to the public for many many years in the future therefore when a podcast editor or producer engineer is careful enough and professional professional enough to produce very good sounding audio. He or she can sleep well at knowing that every single listener. Who here's that audio in. The years to come is guaranteed to have an excellent listening experience and be able to enjoy the content without being distracted or annoyed by bad all the audio quality. I mean isn't that great like when you produce good audio it's going to be good forever so someone five years from now who goes back and listens to an episode that you produced. They're going to have a great listening experience. And i don't know for me. That's true peace of mind. That means that. If i do it right it's out in the world it's correct and everyone can enjoy it and that's it. I love that. I don't know i. I don't know why. I love that. But i just do and the last line of my post here is i believe. Audio production is important and influential. Yeah audio production is important and influential. And that's why i cringe every time. I hear anyone who's a so-called podcast expert saying that oh don't worry about the audio quality just start your podcast. Just start your podcast. Your voice needs to be heard. Don't get caught up on the technical stuff. No you need to at least get involved in the technical aspect to make sure you're not recording garbage audio okay. It needs to be good enough. Doesn't have to be the best in the world but it has to be good enough so that means you have to technically produce the audio properly so anyway that's a tangent i've been on a million times right the next daily goody and by the way i have a couple extra things. I'm gonna mention after we get done with the daily goodies as well. So the next one is ground loop hum eliminator so sometimes when you connect various audio equipment like maybe you have an audio interface and you probably have a computer and you might have a channel strip or something or another piece of audio gear like mixer or a road caster pro or something like this whenever you connect various audio equipment together. There's always a chance that there might be a home. That's introduced that that's coming from a ground loop or a ground home or something like that. And there's been various ways you can try to eliminate like that a eliminate things like that in the studios and me personally right now. I i often use a ground. Lift which lifts the ground connection and gets rid of the ham but some people really really think that's bad because oh you know your equipment is supposed to be grounded. Your equipment might it might break. It might malfunction if it's not grounded properly and in all my experience and audio in over thirty years. That's never happened to me. But i guess technically speaking it could happen so anyway what i found because i wanted to recommend something to people who have a ground home and i'm like well if i can't recommend ground lift because if a bunch of people online are going to be whining about it how technically it's not the perfect best way to solve the problem which again they're correct. I'll give him that. But the real world is often different than than some technicalities right. So i went out and found something that apparently everyone says is really good. And it's this edtech Ex ground line voltage filter. Whatever the links in the post you can click through. This is an actual device. That apparently will it. It's sort of like the ground. Lift that i use. But it's it's technically better and it and it reduces the chance of harm to your electric equipment so i would say this is something if if you're producing a bunch of audio and maybe have a bunch of equipment. I would always recommend having something like a ground lift or this this Eliminator that i'm talking about in this post. You should always have something like that handy. Because electricity is weird everything could be working fine for years and then one day you just turn on your computer and turn on all your equipment and there's a home and you're like what where did that. Come from so for troubleshooting purposes. It's good to have things like this handy. So you might wanna just buy one of these or by aground lift or something just to have it handy in case in case you have this weird home and it happens to everyone. Is you know no matter how good of an engineer you are. Electricity is weird man and just problems arise so all right well. That's that post like. I said the link is in the show notes and okay. This is the last daily. We'll know this isn't the last one. Okay the next one. Harsh critique of a particular episode of a famous podcast. Okay so. I wrote this harsh critique of a particular episode of a famous podcast because i listen to this an episode of this famous podcast and there were like i mean well. I wrote eight different points. Here are horrible. This episode was. I mean horrible. I literally i've never heard episode this bad in not only in terms of technical production and the sound but also the hosting and the editing and by the way the person who was the famous podcast. Well he was one voice on the podcast on but in this particular episode they had some other guy who was sort of like the narrator. Something and he was exceptionally horrible. I mean horrible horrible. So i don't know i i don't know if i should okay so let me continue with the background so i heard this horrible episode and i wrote down everything i heard. That was wrong with it because for me it was almost like an exercise right like because i can use information like that for these daily goody posts and you know i'm the guy who has to stay on top of everything and be aware of everything right so i wanted to write down everything that i thought was wrong with this episode and i did and of course it crossed my mind that maybe i can send feedback to the podcast host and tell them like dude. This is absolutely horrendous. But of course. I decided against that because whenever you give any criticism to anybody they don't like it then they'll just they'll kill you basically they'll kill the messenger you i never. I could give so much constructive feedback to so many different people and i never give any feedback to anyone. You know why because i'm the one who's going to be get killed and get cancelled and get cold a whole and all this stuff right when all. I'm trying to be as helpful so i don't know sorry. I'm not saying anything to anybody ever. Nope won't do it. Everyone can learn on their own. They can have a horrible sounding podcasts. For years and years and then one day there might wake up and say wow my my podcast stinks and then then if someone ever approaches me and says hey i think my podcast really stinks and do you could you. Could you help me figure out how to improve it now. That's a completely different situation right. That's the person asking for help. And then i can. Just say sure. I'll help and then i'll tell them what i need to tell them. But just hearing horrible stuff and trying to contact the podcast host and say hey man this is really bad. You should fix it. I never do that ever. And i never will ever and if you disagree with me. That's fine but that's just what i'm doing and that's what i'm gonna do because i'm not getting involved in that argument right. I'm just not so okay. So let me run through some of the things that were wrong with this really famous persons podcast episode first of all the announcer guy member. I said there's announcer guy. His voice was way louder than the actual famous person's voice like way louder like way louder. It was crazy totally had to ride the volume knob. It was way off. It wasn't even close. Okay number two the hosts. Oh the hosts part were recorded in a river be conference room and the audio quality was okay. Slash barely passable. So this is another instance of some famous person who thinks that they can just bring a recorder with them wherever they go and record a bunch of nasty audio and then i'll put that out as a podcast and it's like well. Yeah but it's pretty nasty barely passable and there were lots of loud distracting thuds and table noises. That were horrible. Like horrible Number four some participants in the room. Were asking this person questions. But you couldn't hear the person asking the question you could barely hear them like they were fifty feet away is horrible. So it's like think about listening to an episode where you can even the host voice. Sounds terrible and now someone in the room is asking them a question and you literally can't hear the question so there's like twenty or thirty seconds of silence while this unknown person is asking question terrible. I'm sure people just literally turned off the podcast. What is this garbage. i can't even hear anything. And they literally. They probably just turned it off number five. The announcer guy had already. This was like he to me. He had the lazy millennial he was lazy. Millennial voice and he had the vocal fry to go with it. He had zero energy. It didn't seem like he cared at all. And i don't understand this i mean. Do people really think that. The lazy millennial vocal fry voice is a good voice. Do people think that's a good voice to have because it's horrible. It was a unlistenable and at one point. The announcer guy abruptly broke in while host was speaking and the announcer guy was like he did st- thing but let me tell you. The thing was so much louder than the the famous guys voice that it literally scared me. I'm not kidding. I literally jumped. My body jolted because of this was so loud. It was unbelievable. I was literally angry at this frigging podcast because of just because of that among the other things and then well and then there was some content stuff like there was a time when the announcer guy asked the audience. Like what's your favorite podcasting platform. And what platform are you listening on right now and it just like it. Just it came off as a podcast that is not trying to deliver content but trying to get information from their from their listeners so that they can market to them better like it just lazy it it to me. It implied that you know what we're too lazy to look up the answer to this these questions so we need you to do our work for us like ultimate lazy marketers and i can't stand marketing people in general and our marketing in general people. The people. I like marketing people. I like it's the marketing itself to me that it's horrible because you have to be like a crazy pushy. Selfish person to be good at marketing. Because if you're just a normal person you'll you don't get through to that many people it's these mark it's people who push and shove and annoy everybody and all that's that they're the ones who get through and it's annoying right. It's annoying to everybody. So and over the course of this twenty seven minute episodes and this is the last point by the way over the course of this. Twenty seven minute episode. The announcer guy mentioned three different times. That he's been working with this famous host for five to six years like he just casually mentioned it three different times. It's like dude. Okay we get it like you're trying to. You're trying to make it sound like you're this awesome guy who's been you know being mentored by this famous guy for the last five to six years but okay we get it and no one cares and you still sound like garbage. Your energies garbage. Everything about this show is garbage. Like so what we're all supposed to be in awe that you you've been working with him for five to six years. Wow horrible terrible. And so anyway. With this critique. I don't mean any disrespect i mean i'm obviously getting a little riled up telling you about it because that's just because i'm passionate about it but i'm not out to disrespect anybody or anything That's why i'm not naming who this podcast belongs to so but anyway in a perfect world. I'd love to reach out to these people and help them solve all the problems. But like i said before that never works right well anyway and if you want to click through to that post it's in the show notes. So recently i posted on social media these two different posts that i made. I'd want it to just remind you the top ten audio plug ins for podcasts. Production and this post is obvious. I actually divided the plug ins up into categories. And i picked one plug in for each category so this is actually a helpful post if you wanna look through it the top ten audio plug ins for podcast production and by the way this. I posted that on august twelfth. Since then i started using a few other plug ins which are not on there. But those new plug ins that i started using. They are on this other post which i call the big list. And if you haven't seen the big lists of podcast audio plug ins. This is a cool post and again the link will be in the show notes. I went through all the different aspects of production and listed. I pretty much listed every plug in use or and it might even be every plugging i own. Now i didn't include every plug in i own but at least eighty percent which is a lot so i go through different Cleanup plug ins mixing plug ins equalizers compressors multi band compressors limiters expanders and gates ds. Saturation exciter 's tape emulation. Leveling transient shapers and monitoring and also a section. That has my current personal favorites. And then i through a few other things like reverb multi effects plug ins. It's a huge post. And there's all kinds of plug ins and you can click through links to each and every plug in so it's a pretty cool post just to reference like even just to look through it once and be like okay interesting Because i do have a lot in there so all right. Well i just wanted to mention those to other posts. And so that does it for the daily goodies. But i just want to say a few things number one is that i appreciate you for participating for sending me emails and messages and sending me potential guests so if you know any guests who you want me to interview about their production leno or maybe you. Are you interested in being guest. Let me know. Contact me. And again i would like to thank daniel hager for the new website design on my website. Podcast engineering school dot com. Yeah it's a whole new layout a whole new. Look it looks. It's so much better than the old website. So daniel hager thank you brother. He's the host of. Let's talk retouching. And he's the owner of hager media. And i interviewed him on this show on episode one hundred nine so i'll linked to all that in the show notes and i don't know if you know about our facebook group podcasters lounge but we have a pretty cool group on facebook podcasters lounge and i used to do livestreams on there all the time once a week but i stopped doing that. I might start again. One of the ideas i had for the podcasters lounges to have musical artists. Perform to hang out so all of us podcasters we can hang out together and enjoy some good music so if you know any artists who might wanna perform do a little mini concert on a livestream. Let's do it. Let me know. I put out a new small course about a month and a half ago. Now it's called getting new clients set higher rates. Yes if your podcast editor or producer and you wanna get new clients higher rates. This course is like oh man. It's so focused it. So what was the word. I would say it's mercenary. It's so focused and mercenary that it because we don't i don't i don't believe in all the fluff i believe in what works i believe. In what gets you new clients and by the way the one main thing is Reaching out to lots of people. And letting them know what you do in a nice unobtrusive non-sales e way right. So also i wanted to give you an update on my songwriting. I've been playing my new guitar. I've had it for a few months. Now been playing it right and riffs. And i'm still writing good riffs but actually saw this woman who was teaching songwriting. I watched some her videos. And it's so funny. She actually was talking about how to write songs and she literally just said it starts with the melody and some words like even just a line or two and she was like you know once you have a little melody and a little hook with a melody in some words then you can write the music and i was like okay. I've never written music like that. Well mostly because. I've never really been a song writer and i've never been a singer or melody writer. I've never been any of those things. I've been a drummer. Mostly a drummer. And i play guitar and bass little bit. So my approach to music was always to write the music first and then put the words on top right but the way she was saying it makes a lot of sense and especially with trying to write like a hit song. If you write the the hook melody i with some with some catchy words even if it's like two lines if you write two lines of lyrics with a catchy melody that's it. That's the song in essence. Believe it or not then you can add all the rest you can add music you can add other words and you can then you can worry about writing verse or two right but anyway that approach to songwriting really. I was pretty surprised by that. Honestly i never heard anyone say it like that. So what. I'm gonna be doing now over the next few weeks. I'm going to try it. I'm gonna just just with my voice in with my mind. I'm going to just try to sing a melody with some words and then you know find something that sounds good that i like and be like okay and then use that to start use that as the song and then right the rest it. I don't know. Maybe i'm crazy but anyway if you've written songs or you are writing songs. Let me know your experience with writing songs. I'm very interested and The last little announcement is that. I'm going to be recording a new episode of the mystic show very soon. I've been reading some books and i have a really cool topic that i want to discuss But i have to do some more and make some more notes before. I record the episode. But if you're not subscribe to my mystic show. If you're into spirituality and meditation and really deep stuff and by the way nothing having to do with religion and all that just deep stuff then you might like the mystic show so check that out if you want so anyway. I'm happy to hang out with you. This was fun. I hope you enjoyed it if you have any questions. Obviously comment on the episode. Let me know. I'll be back next week with an awesome guest which actually at the current moment. I don't have anything recorded. But i'm recording tomorrow. I help with an awesome guest that give me a week to produce it and then you guys hear it so all right. We'll thanks everybody. I appreciate you. We'll see you soon bye.