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The Audio Quality of GeekNights

edited April 2006 in GeekNights
Unlike previous discussions on this topic, I have a very specific question for all of you. I'm done tweaking the compressor and the levels and all that, at least until we get some new microphones or an SSR. I'm content with our analogue audio path.

My question has to do with mp3 compression.

I've been using 64kbps mono mostly, but I've encoded several recent episodes in 96kbps. Quite simply: can you hear the difference, and do you care?


  • Try telling them which episodes are 64k and which ones are 96k so they can compare.
  • I'd rather they find them on their own. If they didn't notice without me saying anything, than it really doesn't matter ;^)
  • Alternatively, just look at the bit rate on the mp3 file itself...

    I can't tell the difference, but I usually listen to it on a crowded train. Makes it a bit harder. American trains might be quiter, I guess. Ours aren't very quiet, and when I listen, there are usually some 6 hundred million people around.
  • No, our trains are loud and shitty too. Only Japan and Europe have good trains.
  • I never noticed a difference.
  • Cool. I was just generally curious. The difference is rather profound, but only at fairly high amplification. (It's a "warble" in our voices, particularly on long, steady tones).

    I wasn't able to hear it myself when I plugged in my earbuds. Just don't try to play GeekNights on a loud stereo at the beach and you'll be fine ^_^
  • The first episodes of GeekNights that I heard (Your early November 2005 ones) weren't the best in quality I believe (the sound volume varies more, but am I correct to assume to say that you just change the mic from closer farther away sometimes?). As far as any background noises though, there is an insignificant amount of that to notice it, even when the recent "Neighborhood World War I" occured.

    The later episodes improved significantly after listening to my "first episodes".

  • The difference between those early episodes and now is that I run our audio through a dynamic range compressor. To make a long explanation short, it reduces the difference between the loudest sounds and the quietest ones, evening out the average volume.

    Our only real limitations now are the mics themselves and the sound card with which we record.
  • I just ordered that same compressor. The audio quality in my podcast is always going to suck because everyone is on Skpe. But I ordered a mixer and a compressor and with any luck we'll milk the best we can out of it. The only audio issue I hear with GN is the coughing. Are you just turning away from the mic or do you have a cough button?
  • I just turn away. The season change has been bothering my lungs a bit: it'll clear up as summer comes fully in ^_~

    Skype is actually really good quality, so long as you all have decent bandwidth and everyone individually is recording with good equipment.
  • edited April 2006
    Speaking of show quality, right now I'm doing a podcast with a friend and we're using the mic on a dell jukebox mp3 player. It's not horrible, but it gets the job done.

    So if I wanted to upgrade, let's say to a real microphone, what's the range I would need pay for an adequate one? For instance, there are several ten dollar mics at my local radioshack, but most likely, they suck.
    Post edited by glimpster on
  • We bought the $20 unidirectional mics from Radio Shack ^_^ The next step up would be about $70, then a few hundred.
  • edited April 2006
    I don't have that kind've money, since I'm a poor, Jewish Kansan. However, I did acquire a $15 mic that looks shitty, but actually sounds quite good. It's much better than a mp3 player mic, and I could say it's almost as good as your sound quality. I won't say that for sure, but when I compressed it from 128 to 64 bit rate, some quality was most definitely lost.

    But Rym, I would like to ask you to rate my podcast, whenver you have time. You can either use the rss feed directly (, or you can go to to just download the mp3 file. From how you rate it, I'll decide whether or not to do it weekly or daily (monday through friday). If you get around to this, just give me a 1to 10 and what I should improve on. Right now, we have about 50 listeners, and I'm wondering if that's good for a start.
    Post edited by glimpster on
  • Good grief man, get rid of the red background on your site! Won't someone please think of the children my eyes!
  • Sorry man, I'm colorblind. If I did try to fix it, I'd probably burn the eyeballs out of your skull.

    Just kiddin' man. I'm gonna bring out the color wheel and find a new scheme. I think I need to redesign anyway. I'll proabably make it after the google site, omg, that'd be bad.
  • Dude, I'm colorblind. For most of us, that means designs like your sign are hell on the eyes, using the two bad colors in conjunction.
  • edited May 2006
    Aha, red / green colorblindness. I will definitely fix that.

    I'm thinking white, grey and blue for the next design, and I'll make a flash intro, maybe flash buttons, and I'll try to make it small in size so it can load quickly. Geocities doesn't provide the best. In fact, what is a good web hoster that doesn't screw you?
    Post edited by glimpster on
  • Teh flash! Run away!

    No offense to your planned use but keep in mind that unless you're building a site designed for product promotion and little else Flash is best when used least. Nobody (well at least not this anybody) wants to sit through a 30 second flash movie every time I navigate back to your homepage. blarg.
  • I totally understand what you're saying. I had to redesign a website one time that was almost entirely made of flash. They told me to salvage as much stuff from the flash I could, and turn it into good ol' html. That was fun, not.
  • Flash intros are arguably the worst thing you can do to your website.
  • That's very true, but there are stupid people. In fact, I remember when I used to be captain of website on my robotics team, and the main focus used to always be the intro. They (my team leaders, teachers) had this insane idea that if your intro was 3 minutes long, they'd judge your site with better marks. That was complete BS, when a site with no flash at all, won at our competition in Denver.
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