Need Wrapping Paper for Those Gifts?

Amazon has a special Cyber Monday deal on Hallmark gift wrap. The bundle of reversible holiday wrapping paper features 6 trendy designs: Holiday dinosaurs / light blue snowflakes; Playful polar bears / red snowflakes; Koalas, zebras, penguins, camels, Santa / Blue and red stripes. Each roll in this 3-pack of holiday gift wrap measures 30 inches wide by 16 feet long for a total of 40 square feet per roll. 120 square feet total in the set.
It’s Cyber Monday, and Amazon has got great deals.

Microphones for Podcasting

Stacy McCain and I have been podcasting for almost three years, and I’ve had several questions about what microphones we use. We’ve been using Electro-Voice RE50B mics. The RE50 is a ruggedized version of the classic 635A dynamic microphone. The mic element is internally shock mounted, and there is a built-in pop filter. It’s an omnidirectional microphone, which means that it can be worked closely without significant bass boost. This allow me to get close to my mic without my bass voice becoming too muddy. If you’re looking for a rugged microphone for speech applications, the RE50B is a good choice. I’ve bought mine from Amazon.

If you need a directional microphone, the AKG P220 cardioid is a good choice. With a external pop filter (like the PEMOTech), I’m able to work one as close as about a foot without too much bass boost. If I have to get closer, the P220 has a switchable bass cut filter that works very nicely. The P220 is a large-diameter condenser microphone and requires 48V phantom power. Again, I’ve bought my P220s from Amazon. Amazon also carries the AKG P420 which is a dual-capsule version of of the 220. The 420 can operate with either a cardioid, omnidirectional, or figure-8 pickup pattern.

The links above will take you the Amazon pages for the microphones and the pop filter. Hogewash! participates in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I’ll be writing about other equipment for podcasting. Stay tuned.

Some Pro Audio Blogging

I had the opportunity to do some recording over last weekend. It was a fairly simple gig, a solo a cappella soprano singing a hymn.  The venue was a small church with nice acoustics.

I wound using a couple of pieces of new equipment that both performed better than I expected.

The microphone I used was an Audio Technica AT2050. It’s a multi-pattern large capsule condenser mic, I used it with its figure-8 pattern and was very pleased with its smooth response. It isn’t a Neumann U-87, but the street price is only around $250. I’ve bought a pair add to my bag of tricks.

Because I was recording without any equalization or signal processing, I used GarageBand on an iMac with a Motu M2 for the mic preamp and A/D convertor. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by the M2’s performance. They’re relatively new and have been hard to find, but they’re currently available on Amazon.The single USB connection between the M2 and the Mac simplified set uo, and I found it convenient to use the M2’s monitor output to drive a pair of powered loudspeakers.

Aside: These days, my go to mike for many voice applications is the Electro-Voice RE-50, and my usual pair of portable powered speaker are a couple of Neumann KH 80 DSPs. Using EV mics with Neumann loudspeakers seems a bit backwards to someone who started out in the audio business in the ’60s.

Back on track: I’ve also picked up an M2. Putting it together with a MacBook Pro, a pair of KH 80 DSPs, and a couple of mics and stands makes a neat, compact portable recording kit.

My Latest A-Salt Weapon

I ordered one these Bug-A-Salt “weapons” for use against insects around stately Hoge Manor. I’ve found mine to be very effective. Click on the image on the left to order one from Amazon.

The Bug-A-Salt shoots ordinary, non-toxic table salt accurately to a range of about 3 feet. No batteries are required. The sights pop up to indicate that it’s cocked and ready to fire.

Mmmmm … Coffee

I’ve had several questions asking which coffee maker I use. Based on a recommendation from Glenn Reynolds, I bought a relatively inexpensive Cuisinart model for use at stately Hoge Manor, and it has provided excellent service—and it makes good coffee. It’s available from Amazon.

There’s no Cyber Monday deal on it, but the price is right anyway.

Mmmmm … Popcorn

Here’s a special deal for today from Amazon. The Microwave Popcorn Popper by MrLifeHack is a BPA-free silicone popper that makes hot-air-popped popcorn in 2 minutes. Click on the image on the left to order one (or more) today.

CYBER MONDAY FLASH SALE COUPON: Save an EXTRA 20% off by using coupon code MRCYBR20 at checkout limited stock expires November 27th at 11:59 pm!

Hate and Defamation

The Southern Poverty Law Center has taken upon itself the role of defining what it is to be a “hate group” and to publicly identify such organizations. As best as I can tell, opposition to the SPLC extreme left-wing agenda will qualify a group for listing. Some otherwise responsible organizations have begun using the SPLC determination of hate group status to filter business decisions.

Amazon has a program called Amazon Smile which allows customers to designate 0.5 percent of the purchase price of qualified items as a donation to a charity registered with the Amazon Smile program. When the D. James Kennedy Ministries tried to register to receive donations, it was turned away because it has been designated as a “hate group” by the SPLC. More info here. The reason that ministry has been designated as a “hate group” is that it opposes same-sex marriage. That opposition is based on the ministry’s religious belief stemming from it’s interpretation of the Bible. The ministry claims that it teaches love, even for one’s enemies, and not hate.

The ministry is suing the SPLC and another organization that collects and reports information on charities called GuideStar for defamation. It is also suing Amazon and Amazon Smile under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under the theory that it has been blocked from the benefit of a public accommodation based on religion. The suit claims that Amazon’s business of providing entertainment such as movies online qualifies the company as a public accommodation just like a brick-and-mortar theater.

This could get interesting.

UPDATE—Corrected the name of the SPLC in the first sentence. I HATE autocorrupt!