Thursday, February 18, 2016

The LPX Show podcast

After a decade writing about technology for the web and more than 15 years of working in radio, I've finally brought the two together.

The result? A new podcast featuring interviews with people doing interesting things in tech.
LPX Show

I call it LPX, because I wanted a name that's sort of related to Liliputing. But I also didn't want to limit the discussion to little computers. So it's a name, not an acronym.

So far I've produced episodes featuring:

I'm already working on the next episode and I'm having a lot of fun putting the show together, but it's also a lot of work.

Want to follow along? There are a bunch of ways to follow the LPX Show:

You can also find out more about how I make the show in my article about the gear used to produce LPX.

Creating a new website was actually kind of fun, because I got to try building something different from the tech news blog I've been running for the last 8 years. A podcast website should put the latest episodes front and center and the content shouldn't change nearly as often as on a news site.

Discovering the world of podcast hosting and distribution was a little tougher, but I eventually decided to sign up for Libsyn, which seems to be one of the biggest games in town at the moment. Soundcloud and other competitors have some attractive features, but the first time I looked at podcasting I used Odeo... the service founded by the folks who went on to create Twitter. Odeo doesn't exist anymore, and neither do the audio files I uploaded to that site (at least they're not online anymore).

So this time I've decided to go with a company that'll probably be around for a few years. Just to be on the safe side, I also registered a separate domain for my podcast RSS feed, which gives me a bit more control over the tools used to distribute the podcasts. This should make it a bit easier to switch to a different host/distributor down the road, and Libsyn lets you use a custom domain for an extra $2 per month. 

It also means I now own both and

Something that surprised me was how much work went into setting up my home studio. I haven't done a lot of home recording since we bought our house 7 years ago and it turns out that while my home office is a nice place for writing, it's not really the best environment for recording.

So I've been obsessed with getting the best mic/mixer/audio input setup I can afford. Right now I'm pretty happy with the results -- especially since discovering the world of de-noising audio plugins, which do a good job of removing the hiss and computer fan noise that my mic picks up.

Those tools also come in handy when cleaning up problem spots in the audio recordings. Most of my interviews take place over the phone or internet, which means that while I can control the sound coming from my mic, there's only so much I can do to improve the audio quality of my guests while they're speaking.

But a free trial of Izotope's RX5 helped me work some magic on a recent interview. I was put off by the $349 price tag for the full suite of software, and eventually wound up buying a cheaper alternative called Acon Digital Restoration Suite (which sells for $99) and the Waves NS1 noise suppressor ($69).

Of course, a few days later, Izotope went and introduced a cheaper option called the RX Plug-in Pack, which is a $129 package (currently on sale for $99) that features four of the best components of the RX5 suite. I haven't decided yet whether to buy it. If Izotope threw in their de-reverb tool, it'd probably be a no-brainer, but right now I already have tools that do most of the same things included in this suite.

Anyway, if you're in the market for de-noising/audio restoration software that can be used as a plugin for Pro Tools, Reaper, or other audio editing suites, I also discovered that you can almost always save a few bucks by purchasing from AudioDeluxe. I saved about $25 on my recent purchase that way. You may have to wait a few hours to get your license though, since orders are reviewed by real human beings.

Like I said, it's been a lot of work. But I'm pretty happy about the way the show has come together, and have big plans for upcoming episodes now that I'm starting to have an idea of what I'm doing.

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