Archive for November, 2009

Gear Up – Almost Time to Record

A few months back, I mentioned that I was going to try my hand at audio recording or podcasting. I’m still working on my setup – trying to get all the right tools in place. It has been an adventure because I’m going into this with zero broadcast experience. In fact – I knew almost nothing about audio when I started. But learning is fun … (insert NBC’s “the more you know” shooting star jingle here). There’s no audio in blogging. I digress.

The most common question I get is, “what or who are you going to record?” I’ve got several ideas floating around, but I may start with some one-on-one interviews with family and friends about their lives. Think something along the lines of the StoryCorps project. I like this idea for two reasons. First,  it will give me experience working with the new tools in a relaxed setting. Second, the finished product will not only tell the story of the person I’m talking with, but it might also build a picture of how these lives intersect with mine. Only time will tell. So give some serious consideration to being interviewed – we can talk about anything you want. And I should point out that not everything recorded has to go into the public domain.

Since I like writing about tech, here is the down and dirty on the setup thus far. Much of the equipment I have selected was influenced by Leo Laporte over at TWiT.TV (although I’m using newer models of several of the products he recommends).

Mackie Onyx 1220i mixer
Marantz PMD661 digital recorder
Heil Sound PR40 microphone
Heil Sound SM 2 microphone shock mount
Heil Sound PL2T microphone boom
Sony MDR-V700DJ monitor headphones
Plantronics .Audio 470 USB Headset for Skype

In my next post, I will explain more about how all this equipment works together. The last item on this list, the Plantronics headset, is for use with Skype. The quality is absolutely outstanding for IP voice applications, and you can’t beat the price – just $30 on Amazon. I use one with my CIPC soft phone all the time.  But more on Skype later.  I’ll cover that in the next post as well.

Comments (1)

Extended Warranty & Murphy

We have all been there.  You are standing at the checkout counter making a large electronics purchase and they ask, “Would you like to purchase an extended warranty?”  That’s right where I was on October 21, 2004.  I was buying a 60″ Sony rear-projection TV (model KF60WE610) that cost over $3500.  Adding a 5-year warranty was just $350 more.  So I did it.

Now jump forward to the present day.  My extended warranty ran out 14 days ago (although the company I purchased it from filed for bankruptcy in 2007).  So just two weeks post warranty, I now have two problems:  blue blob and pink fingerprint.  I didn’t make those terms up.  It seems that is the common language used by owners experiencing problems (and there are lots of people with problems).  The blue blob problem was so common that Sony offered extended warranty coverage to replace the defective part through December, 2008.  That ship has clearly sailed.

The problem is with a part called the “optical block” (part # A1606010A).  A new one costs $670, and if you want it installed by a field technician – that will cost $190 and hour.  Based on the steps I have seen online, I can count on a two hour minimum.  So we are talking about a cool $1000 to fix a 5 year old TV.  Of course I could save a little money if I wanted to tackle the install on my own.

The next logical question is how much is $1000 towards the purchase of a new TV?  I think that is worth pursuing.  Let’s establish the criteria and see what my friends on the Interwebs can recommend:

Size – 55″ to 60″
Type – LCD (although a friend says I should consider LED as well)
Res – 1080p is strongly desired
Price – Max $2500 (maybe $3000 if you have a compelling argument)

Comments (4)

Creative Commons License Creative Commons License