2014 Professional Podcast Studio

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of my podcast equipment buying guide. This guide breaks down the buying decisions for someone who wants to go from zero to podcasting superhero. Everything in this setup is pro-level and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with a better setup that wasn’t just trying to show off.

This package was put together based on what the leaders of the podcasting world use. From the mixers to the mics to the headphones, everything here has been tested and proven to be top quality.

When building a studio you can of course spend as much money as you want. I could have designed a $100,000 audio-only podcasting setup but that isn’t the point here. This is a professional setup at a price that is approachable by really anyone that is serious about podcasting. Yeah it’s a few thousand dollars but these days with Kickstarter and other crowd-funding options, getting the funds would be cake for someone with the drive. Continue reading

2014 Bare Bones Podcast Studio

Welcome to part one of my podcast equipment buying guide. This guide covers all the basics for a great sounding, low-budget podcasting setup. I’m calling it the “Bare Bones” podcasting studio but I promise it’s a solid start.

truly bare bones setup would probably just be you, your iPhone and a voice recording app, but let’s not stoop that low. No, this setup will get you going with everything you need to do a show with a guest or co-host and sound great while doing it. Continue reading

Headroom Total BitHead Review

Two months ago I purchased the Headroom Total BitHead with the intention of both enjoying the sonic benefits it would provide me and to review right here. It is a device I have been dying to play with for years. That being said, unless you found this post by Googling the gadget, chances are you have no idea what this $149 device is or does.

HeadRoom Total BitHead digital audio converter and headphone amplifier

The Headroom Total BitHead is a portable headphone amplifier and digital audio converter. It plugs into your portable music device using a headphone jack or into your computer via USB to provide you with a superior audio experience.

When plugged into a computer it uses the USB port for power, otherwise it runs on three AAA batteries. It’s important not to use rechargeable batteries or cheap batteries. That is covered in the Clipping section.

So you ask yourself, “Why would I need or want one of these?”

  • You have some fancy, high-impedance headphones that can’t quite get to the level of loudness or fullness you’d like and expect after spending hundreds.
  • Your portable music player’s audio output is weak and you want more oomph.
  • You listen to audio through your computer but hear interference from things like the hard drive or motherboard and need something to rid you of this annoyance.

This audio gadget resolves these issues. The high quality Burr-Brown digital audio converter (DAC) bypasses the noisy sound card in your computer. Onboard sound cards (like those found in cheap computers and laptops) are the most prolific offenders. Meanwhile, the (also Burr-Brown) amplifier boosts output signal; helpful for bigger headphones like my Sennheiser HD600s which simply can’t run off an iPhone with much gusto.

For those of you who want a quick answer on whether they should buy the Total BitHead. Yes, it is worth purchasing, especially if you have any of the three problems listed above. In some cases, however, it is a waste of money. To learn if it meets all its claims of magically better audio, my pet peeves on its design, when it is a waste of money and why it’s worth every penny, I suggest you keep reading. Continue reading

Jawbone JAMBOX Review

Unless you have had your head in the sand for the last five years you know the name Jawbone, the bluetooth headset with the infamous NoiseAssassin technology. The name “NoiseAssassin” takes greater importance (is even scarier) when paired with ti’s definition “[an] adaptive signal processing technology, which was originally developed for DARPA…”

Government conspiracy theories aside, the technology behind Aliph‘s headsets has been an industry leader since its inception. The JAMBOX represents a diversion for the company from headsets to speakers. And for a first effort, it isn’t so bad.

The JAMBOX is a marvel of design and sound output versus physical size. It is feature-rich and about as sexy as a tiny speaker can get. It is also too expensive for what it actually accomplishes (depending on your use case).

If you’re looking for a bedside iPhone speaker/alarm/dock system that just might fill a room with sound, charge your iPhone and not costa  bundle, check out the offerings from Altec Lansing, Logitech, Klipsch and iHome. For the full review, read on.

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