I use the Snowball mic by Blue to record my podcasts. When I was researching what was popular out there among podcasters, this mic came up time and time again. While I’ve been impressed by its sound quality (it certainly beats the iPhone earbud/mic combo that I used for “The Twonky”), I had an issue with it right out of the box.
Its three settings allow one to record directly into it (cardioid), record live music (cardioid -10db), and record groups (omni-directional). The latter two settings work fine, but on the first directional setting, there was a noticeable high-pitch hum that accompanied my words.
My first attempt at a solution was to purchase an externally-powered USB hub for the mic to draw power from, but this didn’t help. So I tore it apart to check to see if any wires were in contact with one another. While I didn’t notice anything amiss, I tested out recording while I was squeezing various parts of its innards together. At one point, while my thumb was holding one of the circuit boards in place, I even picked up some AM radio signals!
I eventually gave up and re-assembled it, this time making sure that no wires were within touching distance of each other. I tried recording again, and this time the hum was very much diminished (but not entirely gone).
When mixing and editing all the sound files in Audacity, I use a couple of noise reduction passes to eliminate the remaining hum, but it’s still kind of annoying having to deal with it. When some more time passes, I may invest in the Yeti mic (also by Blue), which seems to be a more professional-quality mic.
Here’s my first attempt at a video blog. I take the listener (viewer!) on a trip behind the scenes of a NetherWords production. If you listen really carefully, you’ll hear me accidentally refer to a bluetooth keyboard as a USB keyboard. *gasp!*
For the next NetherWords saga, I’ve taken on the exciting task of recording Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars.
This story was introduced to me by my grandmother, again when I was very young. We took turns reading chapters to each other, getting a kick out of the chivalry John Carter displays, and the long-winded paragraphs of text that Burroughs seemed to be fond of writing. We would crack up at some of the more absurd moments in the story (such as when John Carter describes his first attempts at walking on the Martian surface).
But we weren’t laughing at Edgar Rice Burroughs; we were laughing next to him! I’m pretty sure he got in a good chuckle or two whilst writing these words. John Carter got his own wry sense of humor from somewhere, after all …
Henry Kuttner was an author whose work I was introduced to at a very young age. I recall that the short stories from The Best of Henry Kuttner held my attention longer than any of my toys did at the time! I felt that a selection of these stories would be perfect for the launch of NetherWords, and I will give a brief synopsis of each one here:
“The Twonky” is the first story I recorded. Like many of Kuttner’s stories, it features a perfectly domestic 1940’s-era husband and wife, Kerry and Martha Westerfield. They have just purchased a brand-new state-of-the-art console radio. Martha remarks that it practically does everything but wash the dishes. However, when it starts to light Kerry’s cigarettes, things start to get interesting.
“A Gnome There Was” is the second in my Kuttner line-up. In this adventure, Tim Crocket, the entitled California son of a successful lawyer, decided to check up on labor conditions on the so-called “lower classes” in a mine in Pennsylvania. Only when he accidentally gets trapped in an abandoned shaft does he begin to see things … even though it’s pitch-black.
Finally, “Two-Handed Engine” takes us to 22nd-century Earth. Mankind has handed over the reigns of society to the iron grip of their former machine servants, in a last-ditch effort to save humanity. But Danner doesn’t want any part of it. He misses the golden years, where pleasure was handed out for free. So much so that he’s willing to risk the one crime left on the books: murder.