Categories
Food Podcasting Podcasts

Easy Cook Bear – Episode 1

I’m proud to announce the launch of my new podcast, Easy Cook Bear.

Easy Cook Bear is a food and culture show about how we cook, connect, and create. My guests and I share stories, swap recipes, and explore the creative processes of people who make art, culture, food, music, and more.

I interview Antonius Wiriadjaja on the first episode of the show.

Antonius is an artist and educator. He cooks meals and turns them into face masks for his Instagram project @foodmasku.

Antonius was born in Jakarta, raised in Boston, and is currently based in New York City. He’s also a survivor of gun violence who blogged about his recovery.

Links to people and things referenced in the episode:

FoodMasku: https://www.instagram.com/foodmasku/

NY Times “5 Art Accounts to Follow on Instagram Now”: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/16/arts/design/instagram-art-accounts.html 

Antonius’s personal website: https://resume.antoni.us/

ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) at NYU: https://tisch.nyu.edu/itp

How I Survived a Gunshot to the Gut: https://gunsurvivor.antoni.us/

Merche Blasco: https://www.newmusicusa.org/profile/mercheblasco/

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo: https://www.gabebc.com/ 

Krewe de Fromage: https://www.instagram.com/krewedefromage/

Julie & Julia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_%26_Julia 

Baldor Food: https://www.baldorfood.com/

Seamore’s: https://www.seamores.com/

Categories
Music

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Here’s my ukulele cover version of Take Me Home, Country Road. My version is a bilingual mashup of the John Denver original and the Japanese version that appeared in the Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart.

Categories
Uncategorized

Unboxing Phaidon Books + Upcoming Author Events

Our friends at Phaidon sent me some books from their collection, and I made some unboxing videos.

I will be hosting two author events next Monday as part of the AIGA Design Conference.

An Afternoon with Todd Oldham

When: Monday November 9 | 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm PST
Where: Hosted by Phaidon & AIGA via Zoom on Day 1 of the #AIGADesignConf 

Join us for a conversation with master bookmaker and author of The Best of Nest, Todd Oldham. The Best of Nest is the first comprehensive collection of Nest, the magazine that revolutionized the way we look at interior space and decoration. The brainchild of artist and designer Joe Holtzman, Nest magazine, published from 1997 to 2004, eschewed the conventionally beautiful luxury interiors of other magazines and instead featured non-traditional, exceptional, and unusual environments. 

The program will include a live audience Q&A.

Special Offer! Event is open to purchasers of The Best of Nest. Purchase the book here—conference registrants, check your email for a secret, super-discount code!

$80 including a copy of “The Best of Nest” at a special discount of 20% off retail price ($100). Enter code AIGA20 at checkout
An Evening with Roman Mars

When: Monday November 9 | 6:30pm EST, 3:30pm PST
Where: Hosted by AIGA via Zoom on Day 1 of the #AIGADesignConf 

In The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to Hidden World of Everyday Design, host Roman Mars and coauthor Kurt Kohlstedt zoom in on the various elements that make our cities work, exploring the origins and other fascinating stories behind everything from power grids and fire escapes to drinking fountains and street signs. With deeply researched entries and beautiful line drawings throughout, The 99% Invisible City will captivate devoted fans of the show and anyone curious about design, urban environments, and the unsung marvels of the world around them. (Photo Credit: Podcast Movement)

Join Roman Mars for a live, virtual conversation with AIGA’s own Lee-Sean Huang. Purchase of $24 includes a copy of The 99% Invisible City and access to the virtual event. 
Categories
Audio Podcasting Podcasts

How To Choose The Podcast Microphone That’s Right For You

The following is another guest post from Descript, a helpful software tool that I have been using to transcribe and edit the Design Future Now podcast from AIGA. This guide was written by Chris Zaldúa and originally published on the Descript Blog.

And FWIW, if you would like my recommendation for a microphone, I use a Blue Yeti Pro for most of my audio work.


The most important step towards building a successful podcast with an engaged audience is creating interesting, compelling content. But somewhere along the way, every podcaster will come to the same inevitable realization: If I’m going to take this seriously, I need a better microphone. 

The best podcast microphone is the podcast microphone that’s right for you. For the uninitiated, differentiating one microphone apart from another is no easy task. We’re here to help, so you can get back to the important stuff: creating great content, knowing it sounds great all the while.

To choose the right microphones for podcasting, you’ll need to consider the following:

  • How you’ll connect the microphone: USB (plug ‘n play) or XLR (requires additional hardware)
  • The difference in sensitivity between condenser and dynamic microphones
  • The space you usually record in
  • The number of people you’ll usually be recording

USB (plug ‘n play) vs. XLR (additional hardware) input

There’s a lot to be said for something that just works, and that’s why USB microphones are popular. USB ports are ubiquitous, so there’s a very good chance whatever you’re using to record your podcast has a USB port built in. XLR microphones require additional hardware — an audio interface or mixer — to connect to your computer, but offer flexibility and versatility that USB mics can’t match. Audio interfaces, used widely in professional recording studios, will add additional audio routing and processing capabilities to your recording setup.

USB microphones are plug ‘n play, so all you’ll need to do to get them up and running is make sure that you’ve selected the right microphone in the “Input” panel of your podcasting software. For Alban Brooke, head of marketing at podcast host Buzzsprout, that simplicity and ease of use goes a long way. “Your time should be spent podcasting, not learning how to record, edit, or upload your podcast,” he says.

One key benefit XLR mics offer over USB mics is the lower noise floor provided by the audio interface or mixer, which essentially acts as an external sound card. “Audio interfaces are a must for good sound,” says Kate Astrakhan, an audio engineer at professional podcasting agency Podcast Network Solutions. “Get an Audio Technica ATR2100 and a Behringer interface, and for less than $200, you have something that will give you professional quality sound,” she says.

Dynamic microphones pick up less sound than condenser microphones, but that can be a good thing

As far as podcast microphones go, the choice is between dynamic microphones or condenser microphones. Each is built differently, and if you’re so inclined, you can read more about the science that separates these two kinds of mics. Practically speaking, dynamic microphones are less sensitive to sound and more physically durable than condenser microphones. 

Dynamic microphones are capable of recording at far higher volumes than condenser microphones, which is why you’ll see the Shure SM-58 on concert stages worldwide. That’s not a selling point for podcasters — unless you’re recording on stage at a concert, which actually does sound like a great idea for a podcast.

Because of their lower sensitivity, dynamic microphones roll off some higher frequencies and produce a “warmer” sound, akin to a classic “broadcast” or “radio” sound. Condenser microphones capture more nuance in vocal recordings than dynamic microphones, which can lead to a richer, more natural sound.

The increased sensitivity of condenser mics comes with a tradeoff: you run the risk of recording background noise alongside all that added nuance. “Condenser microphones pick up a lot more nuance than dynamic microphones, but for many people, that means a condenser will pick up a lot more unwanted background noise,” says Buzzsprout’s Alban Brooke.

A good way to mitigate unwanted background noise is to pay close attention to the space where you record your podcast.

Your recording space matters — even more than you might think

For quality audio, the space in which you’re recording is just as important as a good microphone. Not taking recording space into account is the most common mistake up-and-coming podcasters make, says Podcast Network Solutions’ Toby Goodman. 

“The number one thing podcasters don’t take into consideration is the room in which they’re recording,” he says. “You could buy a top-of-the-line microphone, put it in a bad room, and it would be like buying a sports car and trying to drive it off a mountain — it just doesn’t work.” His colleague Kate Astrakhan agrees. “The key to selecting a good microphone is first making sure your room is full of soft surfaces, not hard surfaces,” she says. “Then even if you buy the cheapest USB microphone available, your sound will be better than it would be otherwise.”

Soft surfaces are the key to dampening sound reflections. Buzzsprout’s Alban Brooke recommends a simple solution: “Record where there’s a lot of soft material to soak up the sound — for a lot of podcasters, this means a walk-in closet,” he says. 

Might not be glamorous, but it definitely gets the job done.

Consider how many speakers you plan to record

When it comes time to record more than one person at once, it’s helpful to understand a microphone’s polar pattern. These patterns illustrate the directions in which a microphone picks up sound: in front and from both sides, but not the back, for instance. 

Most podcasters should stick with cardioid mics, for solo speakers recording directly into a mic, and bi-directional mics, which records two speakers in front and in back. Some microphones allow you to choose from different polar patterns, so take that into consideration if you plan on recording multiple speakers with one microphone.

If you regularly record with additional speakers — if your podcast features a local co-host that records with you in person, for example — then investing in an audio interface is a must. Pick up an audio interface with 2 (or more) XLR ports and as many dynamic microphones as you need. With that setup, recording multiple people will be a breeze. 

Choose the podcast microphone that’s right for you

No microphone is a magic bullet, but this guide will help you determine which works best for your podcast. Now, go forth and record some great content!

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Uncategorized

The 99% Invisible City with Roman Mars

I had the chance to interview Roman Mars on this week’s episode of Design Future Live, the show that I host on Instagram @AIGADesign every Wednesday at 1 pm Eastern. Roman is the host and producer of the 99% Invisible Podcast and author of the book The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to Hidden World of Everyday Design. Roman will also be hosting the upcoming AIGA Design Conference, November 9-14.

In the interview, we previewed Roman’s new book, talked about nerd identity, the limits and dangers of storytelling, and more.

Order a copy of Roman’s book through AIGA to also get access to our online conversation on Monday, November 9, 6:30-7:30 pm ET.