As you likely know if you’ve been keeping up at all, we’ve had some great guest interviews on both shows in recent weeks. Among the most recent, Chris Polhaus aka Hammer, Ian Freeman, JF Gariepy, James Edwards, and Simon Roche. A bit further back, Nathan Damigo, Handsome Truth, and Tim Murdoch.
After the recent live broadcast with Simon Roche on RAS05E035, I went back to meet up with him again, and we recorded for more than four hours! Simon really opened up, got passionate about the subject matter, and I am going to spend much of the day editing that video for final release.
I think the key to these hit interviews were that I had truly engaging people on, and I was sincerely interested in what they had to say. I don’t think it too immodest to acknowledge I’ve got a talent for this though. People are speak highly about my skill as an interviewer. We’ve got more guest appearances coming. This is drawing attention to the brands. This is a very good thing.
But, there have been some hiccups.
I’m going to go on at some length about this and give you some detail, but since I recognize that your time is valuable I will first cut to the chase. This is a fundraising email, aimed primarily at purchasing new equipment.
Today and tomorrow are Amazon’s “Prime Big Deal Days” and though I stress that my preference is always for supporters to send money and let me make the purchasing decisions, I am very grateful when people purchase things from my Amazon Wish List as well. I understand that giving a personalized gift has some meaning for the giver, and for an audience member to know that they purchased the equipment used in the show they are watching or listening to surely holds special meaning for some of you.
Below I’ll discuss some of the reasons I want to acquire this equipment and what it is, but nearly everything on my Amazon Wish List is geared toward the show, and I have also assigned priorities, quantity numbers(EDIT: Somebody has been “reserving” purchases on the Amazon wish list without paying for them, which as the effect of rendering the quantities listed useless. If you want to buy something from the list, just buy one and if it is duplicative I can always return it), and descriptions to each item on the list.
- You can find the list here https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/VA4Y26AP8BXC/
- My Cash App is $EdgyChris
- Bitcoin bc1qcg97hwdy8d463794wm0uq3np0px49acw6505gm
- GiveSendGo https://www.givesendgo.com/spm
- Many other options for financial support https://christophercantwell.net/donate/
- You can also volunteer time and talent if you care to help that way https://christophercantwell.net/howcanihelp/
With JF Gariepy and Ian Freeman, we conducted the video call through a free service called Jitsi Meet. It works very well, but toward the end of the call, my computer started experiencing high CPU usage. This caused jitters in the audio and the video and this not only interfered with production quality, it derailed my concentration.
I used to avoid this sort of thing by doing this show using three computers. One handled the video recording/stream, one handled the audio recording/stream, and one was my workstation for taking calls, and pulling up stories and audio clips. This was done to spread the CPU/Memory load over those machines and prevent a situation where a problem on one computer took the whole show down with it.
The problem there was that when I played clips on the show, I had no way of showing the video audience. Times being what they are, people want more video. I like to think of this as a radio show with a studio cam, but people want what they want.
A very generous listener bought me a more powerful computer, and I used revenue from the show to purchase a better video card and more RAM for that computer. Since then, we’ve been using one machine to do the whole show. For the most part, this works just fine, but we’ve had some hiccups with guests appearing remotely.
I have a way to fix this, but it’s going to cost a few bucks.
In testing, I picked up an inexpensive USB 3.0 HDMI capture device, and connected one of the computers I had previously taken out of the mix to this. In this way, I can host guests on the other computer, and bring the video feed into the streaming application through the HDMI capture device.
Unfortunately, a combination of an inadequate video card on that computer, and my low end HDMI capture device, is leaving much to be desired of the video quality. The color is off, and the video is not smooth at all. It would do in a pinch, and I’ll keep these devices as backup and/or mobile equipment, but to do this right, I should obtain better equipment.
In Person Guests
Simon Roche and Hammer both came to see me for their interviews. This is the best case scenario, generally speaking. There’s nothing like being face to face when you are talking to somebody. I should certainly hope that technology never replaces this.
I am not going to trouble you today to speak of my living conditions. If I can keep producing quality content, I’m sure those will improve soon enough. For now it may suffice to say that I am not in a position to have guests in the studio I do the shows from on a regular basis. To do these in person interviews, I have been meeting my guests at a hotel and conducting them there.
For the most part, this works out alright. I had done many shows from the road before I got arrested in 2020, and most of my equipment was still intact when I got home.
But, there have been some hiccups here too.
I’m pretty sure every show I did from the road was a solo performance, most notably. When conducting guest interviews, there is more than another mic involved. It is one thing for me to deal with the imperfections of my own setup, but it is quite another to have the guest deal with my quirks.
I’ve long had several of these desk clamp mic stands that work reasonably well, most notably. But at the hotel where I recently conducted the Hammer & Roche interviews, the table in the room did not make clamping this mic stand onto the table correctly possible. I developed something of a workaround for this in both instances, but it was distracting for me and for the guest, and resulted in trouble with the audio levels both times. I’d like to get mic stands with boom arms in both base/desk configuration and a floor/tripod configuration, as well as extensions for these.
During the Hammer interview, he had the benefit of headphones. Simon did not, and this happened for two different reasons.
To hear the output of the mixer properly in your headphones, you need an amplified headphone splitter. This is a relatively inexpensive item, a little over $25. I have one in the home studio, and when I did the Hammer that part went smoothly.
During the interviews with Simon, in one I was in a big hurry because things were happening too fast, and I neglected to take this device out of the studio. During our other round, I brought the device with me, but the cheap headphones I have in my mobile bag use a 3.5mm connector, and the headphone splitter uses the 1/4″ connector. I have adapters for this, but it turned out the adapter was broken, which happens from time to time when you’re moving equipment around like that.
And of course, every time I take apart the home studio to facilitate an off site show, reconnecting everything back here results in hiccups on the next broadcast or two from the home studio.
The best way for me to do mobile interviews is to have a completely different set of equipment, with extras to cope with failure, and things which are unique to the circumstances of the road.
The actual items on the list
Celsius Energy Drinks – I just moved these to the top when I realized they were on sale for under $15. They usually cost closer to $20. Those of you who watch the videos know I drink a few of these, so while not exactly an equipment upgrade, I’ll drink as many as you buy, and buy as many as you don’t.
Behringer Composer Pro-XL MDX2600 Compressor with De-esser – This is a “noise gate” with extra features, to help keep audio levels in check during streams/recordings. I have a different version of this in the studio, but I need one for the mobile rig.
Rolls MS111 Latching or Momentary Microphone Mute Switch – I need two of these. I have one in a pedal version under my desk at home. It is needed for muting the microphone momentarily such as one needs to cough. These were sorely missed as my session with Simon went into hour three.
- 2 x Base/Desk Mic Stand w/ Boom Arm
- 2 x Floor/Tripod Mic Stand w/ Boom Arm
- One item, but 4 pcs to the item, 5/8 inch threaded boom extenders
- One item, but 2 pcs to the item, 5/8 inch threaded gooseneck extenders
- 2 x Adjustable Mini Boom Arm
- Behringer MICROAMP HA400 Ultra-Compact 4 Channel Stereo Headphone Splitter
- OneOdio A71 Hi-Res Studio Recording Headphones – Wired Over Ear Headphones
- Pyle Live Gamer HDMI 4K Live Record and Stream – PCI-E HDMI Capture Card
There are three different GPU cards there, because they have different price points. If one is purchased, I’ll remove the other two for now. An RTX 3060 12GB, which is substantially discounted for Prime Big Deal Days is the first. I have one of these already and it does what I need it to do. If I get another one, that will suit my purposes. But there’s also an RTX 4060 ti and an RTX 4090 on the list. These have more VRAM and are much better suited to AI, which you may know, is of very significant importance to me. I definitely don’t need all three of these.
There’s plenty else on the list, much of it significantly discounted, and all of which will make a fine addition to my life and this production.
- A 5 bay hard drive enclosure with RAID capability, down to $199 from $249.
- A color laser printer down to $169 from $199
- Several Hard Drives 18TB @ $159 & 10TB @ $76
- Programmable Keyboards
- Sustain Pedal for my MIDI board
- Power adapters
- Lots and lots of cables and interconnects.
Most of the deal days stuff I’ll remove when it is full price again. I tend to update the thing pretty routinely, so feel free to check back in the future.
I’ll appreciate any support you care to send.
Thanks for reading, for listening, and for supporting the show!