Buying a Microphone

I know that I go over the top when I research a new, relatively expensive purchase and choosing a mic to use for podcasting and recording my 5 Towns Radio show for broadcasting is no exception.

I recorded a whole show using my Macbook Pro. It’s one with a maxed-out spec and so it’s up to the task. I used Garageband as the software: three tracks: one for the voice, one for the songs and the other for the bed. I used the built-in mics (there are three of them on this model) on the mac to record my voice and I think it came out pretty well, but it’s obviously not going to be top-notch. Hence my search for a microphone.

My initial research suggested a Blue Snowball mic and so I priced it all up on Amazon and, including a suitable adjustable microphone stand, pop filter and windscreen pack and the USB to USB-C adaptor it came to about £75.

I told someone at work about this choice and he said you should go for road. Road? I said? Yes, he said. Turns out he meant Rode. I completely ignored his advice.

Then I got a call back from Rob Godridge, a fellow presenter on 5 Towns Radio, who also records from home. He recommended the Samsung Go. I looked it up and realised that I had misheard him and he was saying that I should get the Samson Go. It’s a clip-on mic (no, not to your lapel, to your laptop or other structure on the desk) and it’s neat and well reviewed. It doesn’t need a stand and so comes in at only £45 (£50 if you include the USB adaptor). So that sounds good.

Then, when I was comparing reviews and looking at other mics, I came across one called MAONO AU-PM421. The reviews looked fabulous and it was promised to be a mic that exceeded the sound and build quality of items that were three times its price. It also came with a stand, a windscreen and a pop filter, all for a bargain £70. I almost bought it on the spot. I didn’t because when I read the reviews on Amazon, then all talked about the amazing sound quality but said that the stand breaks a bit too easily.

So I thought about it over dinner. I realised that, although having a stand for a mic gives a better quality sound, it’s also the thing about working in the studio that I disliked the most. You see, the mic is always in your face and it obscures the screen where the music is and the phone I want to read my stories from and the pad with my notes on. Suddenly it all became clear. Rob’s recommendation of Samson Go was the way forward.

I’ll think about it overnight and order it tomorrow. It’ll be here on Monday and then I can get on with recording next week’s show. I have it all mapped out and I have the music already. It’s going to be a comparison of the top 12 of this year and the top 12 of 40 years ago (1982 for those of you that can’t do maths). And that’s all I know.

If you have any recommendations for mics then let me know before noon tomorrow. Goodnight.


Update: The Samson Go is on order and, as I said, it’ll be here tomorrow. I wanted it in white and so it’s entirely appropriate that the other two colours were out of stock. Here’s what it looks like:

Samson Go Microphone

Recording from Home

So, something new. Instead of going into the 5 Towns Radio studio in Castleford to record my show live, I’ve recorded it at home on my MacBook Pro. All it took was three tracks on Garageband – one for my chat, one for the songs and one for the bed. A two-hour show is only 170Mb and it’s easy to transfer that to the studio using wetransfer.com. All being well, the show should be on the air on the 13th starting at 4pm. You can either download the app or listen on the website at https://www.5townsradio.co.uk/

Enjoy!

Oh, here’s the playlist on YouTube:

Panto Night – Thursday 16th Dec 2021

There’s no Topical Quiz today because it’s Panto Night (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio!

I’m going to be reading my very own panto live in the air tonight. This will be a proud and significant moment for all of mankind so don’t you dare muss it!

The panto is called Snow White and the Kidnapping of Santa and you can listen to it (and follow along by reading the script on the above link) on the 5 Towns Radio website. Or you can download the app from Google or Apple.

Don’t bother looking behind you because it’s not there. It right here! Right in front of your very nose. 🎅👸👻

Topical Quiz – Thursday 02nd Dec 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

Questions:

  1. Which football team won twenty-nil the other day?
  2. What’s the name of the latest Covid variant?
  3. What just hit Scotland and left a lot of damage and people without power and stuff?
  4. Why is the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree being mocked?
  5. Which UK Prime Minister just got his covid booster jab?
  6. Why has Lake Windermere turned green?
  7. Why are more than a quarter if British birds under threat?
  8. Where’s the real news?
  9. Have you got your Christmas tree up yet?
  10. What do you fancy for number one in the singles charts this Christmas?

Answers:

  1. The England women’s football team beat Latvia 20-0. They have now won six qualifying matches for the World Cup by scoring 53 goals and letting in none.
  2. Omicron.
  3. Storm Arwen.
  4. Because it looks spindly, thin, ropey and unwell.
  5. Boris Johnson.
  6. Conservationists say this is due to raw sewage (what humans flush down the toilet), being pumped into the lake as the nearby water treatment site is struggling to handle the amount of excess storm and rain water.
  7. Experts say that human-made climate change, disease and illegal hunting has drastically lowered the population of many of these species.
  8. Dunno. Must be a slow news day. It’s all about death, disease and destruction and who wants to hear about that!
  9. Nope.
  10. Rage Against the Machine.

Indie Music is Alive!

I just made a YouTube Playlist of the music on the first of these two Post-its Millie gave me last Thursday. You can listen to the Playlist here if you like:

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSUvr2smGHat5yJZqJeJBugRJSOWs3y92

Indie Songs Playlist

Millie was kind enough to volunteer to step upstairs from Reception at The Hut in Castleford where she was working last Thirsday (25th Nov 21) to do the Topical Quiz with me as I was broadcasting from the 5 Towns Radio studio. She got an impressive seven out of ten – well done, Millie! 😃

Anyways, we got chatting about music and she gave me this list for me to educate myself from.

Topical Quiz – Thursday 25th Nov 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

Questions:

  1. Which famous football team came back from one-nil down to claim a fantastic two-one win over MK Dons to boost them into the promotion spots on Tuesday?
  2. Which rocket ship owner just sold another billion dollars worth of his own shares for tax obligations? How many people could it be?
  3. Which major telecoms company has apparently sparked fear in the hearts of millions of elderly customers by announcing plans to switch from analogue to digital technology?
  4. What is 42% (in York) of your council’s budget spent on?
  5. What has just happened in space to save us all from sharing the fate of the dinosaurs?
  6. Which British US Open winner has just has her first holiday in seven years only the Daily Mail to report that seems posed in a bikini (and had a jet ski ride)?
  7. Why do migrants leave France for the UK?
  8. How do I know that Ralf Rangnick, the newly appointed manager of Manchester United won’t do as well as Sir Alex Ferguson?
  9. What’s just passed the ten million mark here in the UK?
  10. What happened to Richard Madeley and why on earth is it in the headlines when the same thing has happened to 10 million other people?

Answers:

  1. Sheffield Wednesday!
  2. Elon Musk
  3. BT
  4. Adult Social Care
  5. The DART missile is on its way to a rendezvous with an asteroid so that it can try to knock it off it’s path by colliding with it.
  6. Emma Raducanu.
  7. I’m psychic.
  8. I don’t know .Twenty-seven people died when their dingy deflated as they tried to cross .Most deadly day ever.
  9. The number of covid cases in the UK since the pandemic started.
  10. Because he’s a celebrity? Please get me out of here!

Topical Quiz – Thursday 18th Nov 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

Answers:

  1. Which otherwise fabulous football team fell to a tragic three-nil defeat to Plymouth in the FA cup on Tuesday?
  2. The first long-acting injection for HIV has just been approved. When did the first case of HIV / AIDS in the world appear?
  3. A national shortage of which snack has caused panic in the UK this week?
  4. What is HS2 and where will it not go?
  5. Does 3D the latest plant-based printed ‘meat’ pass the taste test?
  6. If there are almost 40,000 new cases of covid per day in the UK, how come no-one is making a fuss in the papers?
  7. Who just got an invitation to get a covid booster shot this week?
  8. What will the new ‘busyness’ feature in Google Maps enable you to do?
  9. How much weight has Adele lost since 2011?
  10. According to a Guardian News story this week, that have white collar workers working from home started to do?
  1. Sheffield Wednesday.
  2. 1959.
  3. Walkers crisps.
  4. Well, lots of places really, but this week it has been announced that the HS2 link between the East Midlands and Leeds is being scrapped.
  5. Yes, according to the BBC.
  6. Because 200 people per day are dying from it as opposed to over 1,300 when the death rate was at its peak.
  7. Probably lots of people, but me and the wife were among them and we’ll be getting them as soon as we can.
  8. Find (or avoid) crowds of people.
  9. Seven stone! That’s 100 pounds or 44 kilos!!
  10. Work two full-time jobs simultaneously. Apparently some IT support staff have so much time on their hands that they can comfortably take on another similar job at the same time and get paid twice.

Topical Quiz – Thursday 11th Nov 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

  1. Which two countries, that didn’t bother to rock up at COP, just announced a major climate change agreement to save the world?
  2. Which amazingly marvellous, world class football team beat Harrogate Town on Tuesday to progress through to the next round of the cup?
  3. What was the theme for Becky’s rocking show at 2pm this very afternoon on 5 Towns Radio?
  4. Which group released their first studio album for 40 years this week – Voyage?
  5. Which political group, back in charge in a country I won’t tell you the name of, because that would give it away, have just announced ‘opium is here to stay – it is our lifeline’.?
  6. Why did we all have 2 minutes silence today at 11am?
  7. Who has just shocked the entire known world by painting over a painting by Banksy?
  8. Which former Apartheid president has passed away at the age of 85?
  9. How many patients are awaiting hospital treatment in England? 58 thousand, 580 thousand, or 5,800 thousand?
  10. Geoffrey Cox accrued at least £6m from second job while a parliamentarian. What does Boris Johnson say about this?

Answers:

  1. The US and China.
  2. Sheffield Wednesday.
  3. Number one hits of the 1950s
  4. ABBA.
  5. The Taliban
  6. Armistice / Remembrance Day.
  7. Banksy left his mark on the Bristol set of BBC show The Outlaws – only for it to be painted over by Hollywood megastar Christopher Walken.
  8. Last president of apartheid South Africa, FW de Klerk, dies aged 85.
  9. Record 5.8m people in England waiting for hospital treatment.
  10. Boris Johnson defends MPs’ second jobs but says they must follow ruless. If there is a conflict of interest, for example, then they must be punished.

Topical Quiz – Thursday 4th Nov 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

  1. Which actor plays the guy that turned down Elton John to spend Christmas with his fat friend in the movie Love Actually?
  2. What does the latest, groundbreaking, pill, just approved by the UK, treat?
  3. The latest one is going on in Glasgow tight now, but how many COPs have we had so far? Climate change.
  4. Which team beat Sunderland three – nil in Tuesday this week?
  5. What has the NASA rover just detected on the surface of Mars?
  6. The Space-X lol is still broken. What will the astronauts have to do according to NASA?
  7. What’s an example of the kind of sensationalist headline that is irresistible to men trying to compose a serious news quiz?
  8. As global temperatures rise and permafrost is melting, what’s emerging from the melting ice?
  9. Which major law change for all licence holders will happen in the two weeks?
  10. As reported by The Guardian this morning, who sang: ‘You can shove your climate crisis up your arse’ ar the climate change concert COP26?

Answers:

  1. Bill Night.
  2. Covid-19. UK becomes first country to approve ‘game-changing’ COVID-19 pill that can be taken at home: Molnupiravir.
  3. Twenty six.
  4. Sheffield Wednesday.
  5. NASA Rover Detects Organic Molecules on the Surface of Mars. While it’s an exciting discovery, it falls short of demonstrating that carbon-based lifeforms once lived on the surface of the Red Planet. It is, however, a step in that direction.
  6. NASA: SpaceX Toilet Still Broken, Astronauts Will Have to Pee Themselves.
  7. Jesy Nelson poses up a storm in eye-catching mini-skirt and heels.
  8. Atlantis. No, only kidding. Animal remains and human artefacts. Not even global pandemics can be blamed on melting ice. Yet!
  9. From November 15, anyone who passed their car driving test from January 1 1997, will be allowed to tow trailers up to a weight of 3,500kg, so watch out!
  10. Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate change activist. Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg.

Topical Quiz – Thursday 28th October 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

  1. Which new war has the UK entered into this week?
  2. Which women’s team won ten nil the other day to take their tally to 32 nil in their world cup qualifiers?
  3. What’s good news for travellers to the UK has just been announced today (2 hrs ago)?
  4. Which team lost to West Ham last night to knock them out the Carabo Cup for other for the first time in half a decade or so?
  5. What will the National Living Wage do in the budget?
  6. Who went to number one in the UK Singles chart by outselling all the rest of the top 5 put together?
  7. What’s Adele’s full name?
  8. What was supposed to hit the North West of England last night?
  9. Which sportsperson won their first match the other day since winning the US Open?
  10. Which best-selling British pop star announced on instagram that they have tested positive for Covid?

Answers:

  1. A British trawler has been seized by France and another has been fined, amid an escalating row over post-Brexit fishing rights.
  2. The Lionesses. England in other words.
  3. The remaining seven countries on England’s Covid travel red list are set to be removed, the BBC understands.
  4. Manchester City. Holders Manchester City are knocked out of the Carabao Cup.
  5. The National Living Wage will rise to £9.50 from 1 April – an increase of 6.6 per cent.
  6. Adele.
  7. Adele Laurie Blue Adkins.
  8. ‘Unbelievable’ life-threatening FOOT of rain starts to swamp parts of northwest England with rivers already raging and 36 hours of torrential downpours still to come.
  9. Emma Raducanu reaches Transylvania Open quarter-finals with straight-sets win over Ana Bogdan.
  10. Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran announced on Sunday that he has tested positive for Covid-19.