Christopher Lydon BlogRadio Studio

More info the Lydon Studio designs

We launched Christopher's site the day before BloggerCon. It incorporates material from and the Lydon Blog. We added a sound montage to the home page, so Christopher starts talking as soon as the page fully loads. When you mouse around on the collage of images, the images come forward, and you hear Christopher introducing various guests. After 45 seconds, the current blog page loads automatically.

We need to make each picture a link to the interview. And we need to make the individual interviews start playing sound on load?

We learned a lot at BloggerCon. An important step is to make a single audio hyperlink that lets users choose their Media Player. Then we can open a special window that avoids the advertising and popup messages that happen when the browser plays the mp3 file by itself.

Here's a test link - Slugger O'Toole Choose a media player

We bought a new Sony MiniDisc recorder, the MZ-N10, because it advertised headphones out and line out jacks. It turns out these are two functions for the same jack! On our older MZ-R30, the headphones jack is available for post-MiniDisc monitoring (while the line out feeds the computer input). The headphones volume level does not affect the recording line output. With the MZ-N10, we can feed line out to the computer, but no monitoring of the audio!

(We bought the new MD recorder to get LP recording modes, which Chris uses a lot.)

Output level from the JK Broadcast Host was low and had serious cross-talk from our host mic in the caller line. We have fallen back to the Plantronics MX-10 for telephone interviews.

We gave up on monitoring after recording with the MobilePre. We have not yet explored other more expensive USB audio interfaces like the Tascam US-122 ($269/ordered for $200 from Sweetwater) and Sonic Devices USBPre (about $600). See the discussion with M-Audio engineers at Tech support

We succeeded in placing free VoIP Internet calls using software.

The mixer sends line level signals to the MiniDisc, which sends line level signals to the MobilePre. Headsets plug into the MiniPre for post-laptop (DAW) monitoring. The headphones jack is available on the MiniDisc for post-MiniDisc monitoring. The MiniDisc playback volume level does not affect the recording. The latest info is that a more modern laptop might not crash with the MobilePre drivers.

Design Objectives:

The Components:

Things we learned the hard way.

Problem: Multimedia headset microphones require plug-in power. Most sound cards provide it. MiniDisc recorders provide it. Mixers do not.

Solution: Andrea Technology APS-100 inline power supply (2 AA batteries).

Problem: Laptops have (monophonic) mic in only. We need stereo.

Solution: Griffin Technology iMic USB adapter provides line in and line out.

Problem: Tascam Pocketstudio 5 has one line-level and one mic-level input.

Solution: Always use a mixer and feed stereo line-level outputs to Tascam.

Problem: Mini 1/8" phone connectors are unreliable (noisy at times) for the microphones.

Solution: When we arrive at the final design, we should rewire them with XLR connectors.

Problem: Sound will not play through the laptop during recording. We want to monitor the sound post the last recording stage. Sound plays through while recording on the 2GHz desktop/tower (our PC audio/video editor).

Solution: The tower has an Osprey 200 sound card. We need a better USB audio interface, and ordered the Creative Blaster and M-Audio MobilePre units today (7/17).

Problem: Setting manual recording in MiniDisc is not easy. (Automatic gain turns up the background noise in periods of silence.)

Solution: Print out relevant steps from online Sony manuals. Add them to the case.

Problem: Settings for Plantronics are hard, and different for skyBuilders Merlin phone and the Berkman phone?

Solution: Best setting for compatibility switch is 2 for Merlin. Press down left-hand switch to record (right-hand switch stays up).

Problem: No sound going into MiniDisc from Plantronics MX10, though we hear it clearly in the headphones.

Solution: The MinDIN cable connector on MX10 was a little loose. Pushed it in hard and sound was restored.

Chris, Mary, and David Weinberger

Technology Suppliers:
Resource sites:

Bob Doyle, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief, CMS Review.

Please post criticisms, new equipment suggestions, and good resource sites to the Comments section below.
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