Episode 8 – 6th November 2009

[Direct MP3 Link]

In this week’s show:
David Nutt’s Sacking and Government Policy by Simon Howard
A.N Wilson’s Attitude to Science by Pete Hague
Irrationality and Environmentalism by Graham Strouts
Collective Worship in Schools by Owen Duffy

Follow-ups from things mentioned in the show:

  • You can find our friends at the Righteous Indignation Podcast here.
  • The Pod Delusion event calendar can be found here.

8 thoughts on “Episode 8 – 6th November 2009

  1. Please please improve the quality of the voice recording. I cycle in and whack the shuffle* volume up to max. The problem is partly volume but partly voice range.

    OK, specifics.

    In this weeks, the A.N. Wilson was impossible to hear. The voice is wheedly thin, too quiet and apparently recorded in the smallest room. The Nutt Sack piece was better – but still on the poor side.

    good examples elsewhere?

    Tom Morris I can hear clearly, all the time.
    He maybe a purile, but I can at least hear Crispian Jago clearly.
    Listen to the Economist podcast. Never a problem.

    *(note to self: don’t use “whack the shuffle” again)

  2. Thanks for the feedback David.

    Due to the way the podcast is put together, audio quality is always going to be variable, but certainly if there were a way to manipulate the audio I’m sent to improve the quality I’d certainly do it – I’m assuming somewhere in Cool Edit there’s a “make voices into a cool booming radio voice” button.


  3. Hehe, no – you need to use the dreaded editorial control. Don’t accept contributions from Skeptics Without Voice chords – maybe they could stick to blogging.

    You have a grand total of 8 casts out now, so you are probably beyond the honeymoon / experimentation period. And the actual content is great.

    I guess you could ask that bloke from Radio 4 to read them all..

  4. I’m a physics student, not an orator, and I do not own any professional sound editing software. I apologise if I am not bellowing BBC English into my microphone, but I thought the idea of a podcast was that people who are not media professionals could get to speak.

    As for the complaints about my voice, I have no idea how you can possibly think my segment was too quiet. I’ve listened to it on an iPod nano, and it was quite audible, even at the volume I normally listen to music. Perhaps you listened on a device that normally plays music with heavy dynamic range compression; if that is the case it is hardly our fault you had to turn it up to hear the podcast.

    And what does ‘wheedly thin’ mean anyhow?

  5. Getting to speak is fine Pete, but I’m sure you want us to listen too. Access on its own is not the sole point of recording.

    Given that there are so many podcasts out there, I’m guessing there is plenty of advice on recording – if not oratory. Sure, professional recordings will always be better. But listening on an iPod shuffle on the underground and wanting to hear the odd word is a reasonable request.

    I’m sure this forum was intended to talk about content, not sound quality, so no from me on this from me. And I’ve no idea what wheedly thin means.

  6. You are you doing all of the things below already, in which case I am trying to teach you to suck eggs, for which I apologise… but I’ll blunder on anyway.

    It should be possible to adjust the gain so that the peak levels are the same in each segment. I realise that the peak level isn’t the be-all and end-all of the perceived volume, but it’s a start.

    I put together a little podcast (http://ofquack.moteprime.org/podcasts.html) using Audacity and a Samson Q1U USB mike which cost me about £30 and which I am pretty happy with. I did have to adjust the gain quite a bit for each section due to the differences in timbre between the silly voices.

    I also found that Audacity’s “noise reduction” feature was worth using, as it cut down on the constant background noise considerably.

  7. Interesting, thanks for the advice Sean!

    I’ve been using a magic piece of software called CN Levelator before now which seems to magically sort out a lot of the problems you mention.

    Might have to splash out on a posh microphone…

  8. Audacity has some useful tools.

    I’ve found the biggest problem is the difference between plosives (p’s and so on that are loud) and other sounds. A pop filter helps for that.

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