Sunday, September 12, 2010

CodeRage - Audio/Recording Equipment

I was just accepted to do two CodeRage Sessions, I am excited about both of them.
  • Building Robust Applications with Customized Exception Management
  • Continuous Integration with DUnit and FinalBuilder
I hope everyone gets a chance to attend some of the sessions, the exact dates and times of my sessions are not known yet. The conference is scheduled for October 4-8, 2010.

What I used in the past and will still
use to monitor broadcast audio
Right after I graduated from high school, I attended university as a theater major. That lasted about 2 years before dropping out to become a full time Delphi programmer. :-) But my love for Theater is still in my life. I volunteer at our local theater, building sets, running shows, and many other things.  As such, I developed an appreciation for quality sound.

One of the things I observed in my past recordings was my audio quality was not what I wanted it to be.     I also don't have a huge budget to turn my office office into a studio, but I did make some investments to try to improve the quality of the sound.  About $280 later this this is what i have:
The New setup

I have now done some test recordings, and I really pleased with the quality of my voice.  If I were only doing an audio podcast I would have a near perfect setup. But with a good microphone comes some problems, related to the acoustics of the room,  I now can hear the keyboard, mouse, the squeaky chair, the fan on the computer, and a slight echo.  I also can hear the kids if they are talking in the room next door.  To get the audio in my office where I would want it would be another $400-$700 not something I am going to spend any time soon.

So some tricks I have learned:   A laptop keyboard is much quieter than my desktop keyboard so I most likely will be presenting on it instead of my desktop.   Strategic placement of hung blankets helps with the Echo of room which reduces other noises.    I suspect some WD-40 on the chair will help with the squeak or I will just switch chairs.     If I am recording noise reduction will remove most of the noise from the computer fan.  This but it won't help with the live presentations, so I might pull out the longer cables I have. to isolate the computer, as I still need it even if I am not typing 100% of the time on it.

Overall I hope that future live and recorded sessions of mine will have better audio for everyone.    Even if I am the only one that may notice the difference in the end .


  1. When are you going to stop all this airy fairy programming malarky and go back to university so you can get a real job in the theatre? ;-)

  2. Note that getting rid of all these background noises, also takes away a lot of the "atmosphere" that set IT-sessions apart.

    I probably would get seriously bored when all CodeRage sessions were becoming studio quality audio.


  3. LachlanG: I am back at university but for Programming this time :-)

    That is a good point, I am quiet typing long enough many times that the keyboard sound is needed. But right now, the keyboard is loud enough to be down right annoying.

  4. No sample audio posting? #disappointed! :) Looks like some good setup. Do you pass your old equipment to guests on the show or does that create an uneven audio quality?

  5. If someone was in my office with me I have other Mics I could run through the board. If they are remote (Skype) they could send them through the mixer to keep levels good, and maybe adjust a little EQ if really needed.

    But most of the time the audio of guests is controlled by GotoMeeting/LiveMeeting and I don't get to control any of it.