Sep 18

 

Good external microphones for the iPhone/iPad are expensive – not the kind of thing you want to buy and find out they are no good! Here’s a comparison of three external iPhone microphones: The Apogee MiC,  Fostex AR-4i and Tascam iM2.

They were all tested on my iPhone 4s by recording into the FiRE iPhone recording app at full quality. On the microphones that had a volume adjustment, I adjusted it to be at the top of the green range in FiRE, quite conservative, no chance of clipping. I had the mic placed approx 20cm in front of my guitar sound-hole at the same height in all the tests. The Tascam doesn’t give any indication of levels, the Fostex has 4 LEDs on top to show the levels and the Apogee has a single LED on the front. The single LED on the Apogee seemed to give a better indication of input level than the three LED’s on the FOSTEX because the difference in brightness was easier to discern on the Apogee LED.

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Sep 06

itunes

Importing songs into iTunes is easy – you just INSERT the CD, SELECT it in iTunes, and press the ‘Import’ button!

But… the default setting on iTunes is not the best setting to use when importing songs. It’s far better to use the ‘Apple Lossless’ setting which will keep your music at CD quality. If you must compress the music (e.g. you want to fit it on your iPod or a laptop) then use the  bitrate of 320kbps rather than the default 128kbps of iTunes.

This article describes how to import songs into iTunes with the better quality bitrate.
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Jul 05

 

Introducing LAME! 

Lame is an mp3 encoder that is open source, which means rather than being developed commercially, it was developed by unpaid programmers sharing together. It was originally not as good as the commercial mp3 encoders.  Slowly as many people worked on LAME it actually overtook the original mp3 encoder. Some people now claim it is the best mp3 encoder available. They have a pretty lame logo (see above) probably because they are unpaid programmers not graphic artists. Continue reading »

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Dec 20

VOIP  is where you make phone calls over your Internet connection. VOIP can be good as it is a lot cheaper especially for STD and International calls. The problem is it can be hard to get VOIP working properly. If you are on the phone and the person at the other end is ‘chopping’  in and out,  it may be that you or they have a bad VOIP connection.  An added problem is that with a mobile phone it drops the call if the quality gets too bad but with a VOIP connection  it tries to keep going –  so the person at the other end may be talking away, blissfully unaware that you cannot hear them.

Even though I am  fairly good with audio and computers I have gone back to having a regular phone line simply because even at best quality VOIP  calls on a broadband connection don’t match the quality of a land-line phone or even a mobile phone, at least in Australia.

If  you do have a VOIP connection, here are some tips.

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Oct 03

Nine Inch Nails – the band – have released some of their older songs in full garageband format. This includes all the individual vocal, guitar drum tracks etc. Now even if their music is not your style, it’s a great chance to have a play with some good quality recordings and have a practice at mixing them and so on.

Here’s the link – click on the garageband files.

http://www.ninremixes.com/multitracks.php

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Aug 21


In this article I talked about the best import settings for iTunes. Since then with the increase in Hard Disk space I now think it’s best to import all your songs using the apple lossless encoder. This still compresses the files by about 1/3 but there is no loss of audio quality at all. With AAC and MP3 files, not matter how high you set the quality, there is ALWAYS some loss of quality. Apple Lossless audio is exactly the same quality as what’s on your CD. Here’s how to import into iTunes using the Apple lossless encoder.
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Nov 23

For me the number one criteria for buying an iPod is audio quality. Some people will go for looks, size, or battery life, but for me it’s simply a matter of which iPod sounds the best – not just through the headphones but also into my stereo.

This article discusses the reasons for the difference in quality of the sound output of the various models of iPods and iPhones, which iPod sounds the best, and why.

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Jan 25

Here’s a pretty good way to record speech on the macintosh, and have it sound OK for listening to over the internet. Continue reading »

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