Author Topic: Audio issues with EP231: Solitary as an Oyster  (Read 20574 times)

Swamp

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on: December 27, 2009, 03:39:09 AM
This quote came from mrund on the EP231: Candy Art thread before I created a thread for this story:

So let it be known here that I am sad because the sound quality on EP 231 is so bad that I can't understand what the excellent Alasdair is saying.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 03:42:27 AM by Swamp »

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Nobilis

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Reply #1 on: December 27, 2009, 06:32:44 AM
I have to agree.  I struggled through about half of it before giving up in deep frustration.  I simply couldn't understand enough of it to make sense of the story.

I hope that rather than missing out on what seemed to be a finely crafted story, another try can be taken at recording this one rather than leave it as-is.  I know how frustrating production on a tight schedule can be from my own podcast, and I know that one is often faced with the daunting choice between putting out a result that is less than satisfactory and missing an important deadline.

In this case, I feel that missing the deadline would have been preferable.  Yes, you would have taken some heat for not having the Christmas story up by Christmas, but it would only have affected the fraction of the people who expected to be able to download the story right away.  Anyone who came to the site afterwards would not be any wiser.

I'm sorry, Steve. I'm sorry, Alisdair. I think posting this was not the best choice.




Centesis

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Reply #2 on: December 27, 2009, 06:43:46 AM
 
  I really appreciate the extra story,you have no idea how much.But...
 
  I didn't make it 5 seconds in to the story as soon as I heard it was Alasdair Stuart I turned it off knowing it would be to painful to listen to due to the same audio issues he always has.

  In desperation having listened to all the other podcasts in my player I went back and tried to listen but it was unintelligible,full of sharp high end and tons of audio distortions.

  I really like Al's delivery,his style but I have no idea whats up with his recording set up.

  Also I completely agree with the person above me.

Mod: I should not have snipped out comments from this post, and I publically apologize to Centesis for doing so.  In defense of Al, the problems with the sound quality on this episode are above and beyond any issues Al may have had in the past, as indicated by mrund below, and I don't believe it is a recording issue in this case, but may be wrong.


  
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 02:43:33 PM by Swamp »



chornbe

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Reply #3 on: December 27, 2009, 02:31:26 PM
Unlistenable.  >:(

And that saddens me. Mur's one of my all-time faves.


I'm sorry, Steve. I'm sorry, Alisdair. I think posting this was not the best choice.


Fully agreed.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 02:33:36 PM by chornbe »

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kibitzer

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Reply #4 on: December 28, 2009, 04:33:44 AM
Sorry guys, have to agree, the sound quality is appalling. I didn't listen to more than 30 seconds which rather saddens me as I was looking forward to a Mur story.


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Reply #5 on: December 28, 2009, 07:54:47 AM
I got 11 minutes in before coming to the forum to see if it was a deliberate "special effect." Was hoping for a link to a "corrected" version. I have enjoyed everything else of Mur's I've heard (and/or read): I won't mind listening to a Mur Xmas story in January  ::)



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Reply #6 on: December 28, 2009, 08:38:09 AM
I have to agree with all the above comments.  Unfortunately it is impossible to understand the story due to bad sound quality.



MRose

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Reply #7 on: December 28, 2009, 12:40:15 PM
Just posting to agree with everyone else who has noted that the sound quality of this episode is unlistenably poor. It's unintelligible to me.

One hopes an uncompressed version of the sound file exists so that it can be reposted without re-recording.

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cdugger

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Reply #8 on: December 28, 2009, 04:32:57 PM
This is one instance where file size goals have ruined a recording.

I couldn't listen, and I had really been looking forward to another "Mur"y Christmas.

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mgraves

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Reply #9 on: December 28, 2009, 05:05:23 PM
I find it a little more listenable is converted to mono my simply eliminating one track. Hopefully there is a less compressed version of the recording somewhere so that it can be revived.



Yargling

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Reply #10 on: December 28, 2009, 08:06:33 PM
I tried listening, and the little of it I could work out from the few minutes before I gave up did sound like it could be awesome, but...well, as everyone else has said, the audio quality of either the file or the recording itself is just too poor to make it listenable.



seanpeter

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Reply #11 on: December 29, 2009, 03:58:37 AM
What's the deal with the audio??   >:(



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Reply #12 on: December 29, 2009, 05:57:51 AM
Please, please post a better recording if you can!  The distortion made it unlistenable.



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Reply #13 on: December 29, 2009, 06:52:51 AM
I'd like to read this story.  I was interested by the premise, and what I could understand of the first few minutes was intriguing, but I just could not hear a word of what was going on.  This is the first story that I actually *couldn't* listen to; relative sound quality is generally almost meaningless to me because I don't hear terribly well to begin with.  This was just unintelligible.

Any chance of a re-recording?  Or just a text version posted somewhere...



kibitzer

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Reply #14 on: December 29, 2009, 11:55:45 AM
Am I allowed to say: I'm a little disappointed there's been no EA response as yet?

(sigh)

Ah well. Ban away.


raetsel

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Reply #15 on: December 29, 2009, 12:35:24 PM
If you listen on an iPhone ( or an iPod probably ) you can improve the quality by setting the EQ to Vocal Booster or Treble Reducer depending on what works for you. That and listening though noise cancelling headphones and with a bit of concentration it is just about listenable.

Only 15 mins in so far and looking forward to the point where the sound improves. The story and reading itself are good I think it will be worth the struggle.



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Reply #16 on: December 29, 2009, 01:28:28 PM
Sounds like it was recorded by a man with a bucket over his head at the bottom of a well.  ???



Swamp

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Reply #17 on: December 29, 2009, 04:02:48 PM
Am I allowed to say: I'm a little disappointed there's been no EA response as yet?

(sigh)

Ah well. Ban away.

Sorry, no bans today.  :)

Your comment is fine.  I personally don't know what the plans are for a redo of this episode, but it may be into next week (or longer) before anything is decided or announced.  I know that Steve was sick over the holidays last week, so he is probably making up for lost time with family, etc.

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Kaa

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Reply #18 on: December 29, 2009, 05:13:00 PM
Another vote for "please re-record and re-post!" I wanted so much to hear this, too. :(

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Reply #19 on: December 29, 2009, 06:34:11 PM
I have to agree with the other posters.  I look forward to the Mur Lafferty Christmas episode almost as much as I look to Christmas, but the audio quality here was not up to EP standards.  Please consider a re-post.



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Reply #20 on: December 29, 2009, 07:18:06 PM
Kind of reminds me of RealAudio, circa 1997.



nanr42

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Reply #21 on: December 29, 2009, 08:21:55 PM
Oh, Please re-record and repost this story! I want to hear it, and it is so distorted I can only make out a word here and there.
Thanks
Nan



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Reply #22 on: December 29, 2009, 11:42:51 PM
I registered and logged in for the first time today, after listening to EscapePod since episodes in the low single digits.  I've been meaning to, but you know how things happen.

Love EscapePod.  Love it.  My life is different today because I know that there is high-quality free audio fiction available, so if the clamor for a better-quality version confuses and dismays Steve, Allistair and crew, I would have them ignore the clamor.  Really.  It pales in comparison to what you all have already and will continue to bring to the table.

That said, the audio is painful to listen to, with all the squeaks and pops.



stePH

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Reply #23 on: December 30, 2009, 04:57:31 AM
God's balls, that was some shit recording.  Horribly "flanged" is what it sounded like.  I almost gave up two minutes in, but since I'm at home and was sitting in a quiet room I stuck with it.  Glad that it cleared up around the 29-minute mark, but shitfireandsavematches it was a struggle to understand up to that point.

I liked this story quite a lot; favorite Lafferty holiday story is still "Merry Christmas from the Heartbreakers" but I didn't like "Citytalkers" at all, and had no great opinion of the "steampunk Santa" story whose title currently escapes me.

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Swamp

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Reply #24 on: December 30, 2009, 05:17:43 AM
StePH please, we all know it sounded pretty bad.  You can say that, as others have, without being quite so offensive about it.  I'm glad you stuck with it, though, and liked the story.

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Reply #25 on: December 30, 2009, 02:57:14 PM
StePH please, we all know it sounded pretty bad.  You can say that, as others have, without being quite so offensive about it.  I'm glad you stuck with it, though, and liked the story.
I thought it warranted special mention because it was, bar none, Alasdair's worst recording ever.  It made me wish for that run of bad Pseudopod intros we had a while back.

And I just remembered I forgot "Santa in My Pocket", which was #2 to "Heartbreakers" before last night; now displaced to #3.

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kibitzer

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Reply #26 on: December 30, 2009, 11:45:36 PM
Sorry, no bans today.  :)

Your comment is fine.  I personally don't know what the plans are for a redo of this episode, but it may be into next week (or longer) before anything is decided or announced.  I know that Steve was sick over the holidays last week, so he is probably making up for lost time with family, etc.

Ah well (to the no bans today comment :-).

I sympathise with sickness and I understand EA is a largely volunteer operation, so I'm not looking for anyone to blame, honest.

I will put my hand up to re-record the story, if EA would like. I would start on it straight away. (This is about offering another pair of hands, not dissing Al or anyone. Oh, and I would really like to. Heh. :-)
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 12:11:25 AM by kibitzer »



Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #27 on: December 31, 2009, 02:25:06 AM
I will put my hand up to re-record the story, if EA would like. I would start on it straight away. (This is about offering another pair of hands, not dissing Al or anyone. Oh, and I would really like to. Heh. :-)

Ditto! :D

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Reply #28 on: December 31, 2009, 03:07:57 AM
Love EscapePod.  Love it.  My life is different today because I know that there is high-quality free audio fiction available, so if the clamor for a better-quality version confuses and dismays Steve, Allistair and crew, I would have them ignore the clamor. 

If anything, that clamor is pretty high praise; everyone expects really high-quality stuff from the "crew," as it were, and the reaction to an unexpected misstep is shock and dismay (and "Please, we want to hear the story!  We trust you that it's good, but we can't hear it!") rather than "Meh, what do you expect for free?"

I don't think anyone is suggesting that terrible jobs are the norm around here, nor that this is anything but a rare confluence of problems resulting in a hard-to-understand podcast from individuals whose work is usually impeccable.



alllie

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Reply #29 on: December 31, 2009, 03:09:00 AM
I wonder if a new mic would solve the audio problem?



kibitzer

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Reply #30 on: December 31, 2009, 03:27:18 AM
If Al needs a new mic I'll happily buy him one. :-)


alllie

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Reply #31 on: December 31, 2009, 11:29:25 AM
If Al needs a new mic I'll happily buy him one. :-)

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langly

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Reply #32 on: December 31, 2009, 01:13:45 PM
Unfortunately I couldn't pay the attention required to hear the episode through but from what I could hear, I look forward to a redo please! Just for what it's worth it sounded like either a sound card setup problem or there was some noise on the original, and someone went WAY overboard with de-noise software settings. I've done it myself just to see what happens. I've heard some casts (not escape artists) that probably had some fan noise or AC in the background that could have been easily ignorable after a few minutes and the de-noiseing made it sound so unnatural the artifacts were far worse than the original background. One has to be able and willing to listen critically when it's 'done' and make changes. What I REALLY dislike is when I listen to a 'finished' piece and once or several times during it there is a retake. It shows no one listened to the complete project, just slapped it together and out it goes. Adds to the belief among professionals that podcasting is at best amateur in the worst way when it can be so much better!




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Reply #33 on: December 31, 2009, 04:45:36 PM
Unfortunately, I tried 3 times to listen to the first 2 minutes and got about 1 word in 3.

Historically, there has been a fix come up in the next few weeks, and I'm confident this will be done similarly.

I really like the Mur Christmas stories and am still looking forward to this one. :D



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Reply #34 on: January 01, 2010, 02:26:06 AM
I'd love another copy/version of this as well.

I couldnt make it out either. Alasdair is one of my favorite readers and his intros and outros are why I love Psuedopod so much... but I just couldnt do it in this one. But from time to time, his are so hard to listen to. I messed with various EQ settings on my player to no avail, just too much noise between the words. Ends up sounding like one long mumble. Which makes me feel bad for saying, cuz i LOVE Al's readings.



kibitzer

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Reply #35 on: January 01, 2010, 09:14:29 AM
If Al needs a new mic I'll happily buy him one. :-)

Blue Snowball?

That is exactly what I was thinking... and what I proposed. But I suspect Al is too English to accept a helping hand :-)


Swamp

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Reply #36 on: January 01, 2010, 04:53:03 PM
Okay, people, that's about enough of this.  Look. I appreciate all of the request for a redo because it means you care about listening to this story and the podcast.  I even appreciate offers to help out as EA is primarily run by generous volunteers.  But there will be no more personal comments regarding Al or any other staff members.  How rude!  Kibitzer, you are on notice.

The episode is barely a week old.  There's been two major holidays in the last couple weeks.  Expecting action to be taken this soon is not realistic.  Please, be patient.  I think most of you are.  We will let you know when a decision has been made.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2010, 07:11:52 PM by Swamp »

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Talia

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Reply #37 on: January 01, 2010, 05:01:14 PM
I think he was joking....

(I guess thats the peril of the Internet, you never know how you're going to come across...)



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Reply #38 on: January 01, 2010, 05:24:38 PM
The word "unlistenable" was exactly what I was thinking as I tried to muddle my way through it.  I'm not expecting an instant fix, I just wanted to pitch in.  I've been listening to this podcast less than two years, so last year's Mur story was my first, and I loved it!  I couldn't wait to hear this year's, then found that I could hear at all, so I gave up.  I've heard Alisdair introduce a bunch of pseudopods, and read a bunch all over, and I really do like his voice.  No complaints with his readings ever.  But um, yeah, if his recorder's dying, I'll totally lend him a new one for all time.



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Reply #39 on: January 01, 2010, 06:33:40 PM
There's going to be a re-recording.  Sorry for being so quiet on this issue up to now.

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Swamp

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Reply #40 on: January 01, 2010, 07:16:00 PM
I think he was joking....

(I guess thats the peril of the Internet, you never know how you're going to come across...)

I figure he was, too, but it still comes off as condesending.  I struck out the "on notice" verbage above, but I just get tired of the negativism toward individuals, even in jest.  Not the way I wanted to start the new year.

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kibitzer

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Reply #41 on: January 01, 2010, 07:32:26 PM
Sincere apologies to Al. It wasn't meant to be condescending but I can see how it comes off that way.


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Reply #42 on: January 02, 2010, 12:51:05 AM
Thank you Steve for the great news about the re-recording and reposting of Mur's story. And thanks to Al for going through all this. And thanks for putting up with all the rudeness. You're right. People need to chill, for cryn' out loud.



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Reply #43 on: January 02, 2010, 07:34:08 AM
Poor Mur, she must be wringing her hands in frustration listening to this.   

Mr Stuart has been using this $2 mic for... well since i've been listening to Escapepod and Pseudopod.  I tolerate it but it really impacts the quality of the podcasts and taints the professional ethos the site has managed to acquire.  For god sake buy him a decent mic.



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Reply #44 on: January 02, 2010, 08:38:58 AM
At first I thought this was an intentional effect to simulate the echo and autotuning of a robot talking.  :) How creative!

But with Steve's comment it seems it seems there will be a re-recording.   The other posts I've read are all guessing about reasons.  Is it a mic?  Is it encoding?  File size constraints?  There can be so many variables that listeneres are unaware of.  Sorry, I'm kind of new and unsure of how these episodes get produced.  Do you all have a studio?  Or do people do it at home and send the files?  How is it that some people come across sounding so good?

For a while I really enjoyed Pseudopod and listened just for Alistair's comments.  But for the last six months I have stopped listening to Pseudopod because of the sound quality of the recordings.  I never commented because I assumed that people were aware and it would get corrected, and didn't really want to nag if there wasn't anything constructive I could add.

If the problem is a mic, lack of preamp, etc, maybe narrators without access to equipment could find alternate ways to use high-quality equipment through sharing with other organizations or borrowing from libraries.

I used to volunteer for a nonprofit radio program for visually impaired listeners.  Some mornings I'd read parts of the newspaper around a table, other times I'd record magazines in sound booths.  Not sure if those kind of programs are widespread, but similar programs might be cool with allowing recording, knowing that escape artists is a nonprofit.

Also my university allows students to check out media material, including professional sound equipment that can record to a computer or to various formats.  I've seen this at quite a few universities.

I'd be willing to do a little digging and see if any resources were out there...

There's going to be a re-recording.  Sorry for being so quiet on this issue up to now.



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Reply #45 on: January 02, 2010, 12:43:41 PM
Poor Mur, she must be wringing her hands in frustration listening to this.   

Mr Stuart has been using this $2 mic for... well since i've been listening to Escapepod and Pseudopod.  I tolerate it but it really impacts the quality of the podcasts and taints the professional ethos the site has managed to acquire.  For god sake buy him a decent mic.

You are out of line.  Implying that Alasdair Stuart is anything but the consummate professional is not only mistaken, it's also rude, and a personal dig.  While commenting on the episode or the narrator generally is fine, calling one of our staff members unprofessional, a staff member who for years has shown themselves willing to take on an incredible amount of work for the sake of the podcasts, is not.  Cut it out.


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OsamaBinLondon

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Reply #46 on: January 02, 2010, 01:21:31 PM
Quote
You are out of line.  Implying that Alasdair Stuart is anything but the consummate professional is not only mistaken, it's also rude, and a personal dig.  While commenting on the episode or the narrator generally is fine, calling one of our staff members unprofessional, a staff member who for years has shown themselves willing to take on an incredible amount of work for the sake of the podcasts, is not.  Cut it out.

Ridiculous!  I am most definately NOT out of line.

I have implied nothing other than to state the FACT that the quality of the recordings he has submitted have been substandard.  Additionally!  My comments about professionalism relate quite specifically to the site and not him, and then to how the site is regarded by the public and subscribers. 

I have been listening to Escapepod and Psuedopod from the very begining.  Since the shaking audio quality productions of the first few dozen episodes (Escapepod), and the transition from Ben Philips and Mur Lafferty (Psuedopod) the site has acquired a standard of quality, particularly with regards to audio recording, that rivals that of podcasting outfits with sponsorship, substatial advertising and conderable finacial resources. 

Other than the 'occasional' recording submission for readings where 'I imagine' quality is outside the bounds of control for the production, the quality of Mr Stuarts recordings are of consistenly lower standard than those established by the podcast , and this has ALWAYS been the case.  Like it or not this DOES impact the overall level of quality the podcast reflects.  The site's 'professionalism', is called into question by recording quality, and in fact makes the sound appear rather more Amateurish which is something I don't believe the site is for a moment.

Finally my comments are not personal.  They deal very particularly to the quality of his recorded content and in NO WAY make any reference to his 'consumate professionalism',  his competenctence as a narrator or host, nor his character.

You 'Mr Moderator' need to get that bee out of your bonnet, read more carefully, and consider that my opinion as a listener and subscriber is not only true and factual, but shared by others who listen to these podcasts... in spite of that fact that you may not like what you read.     



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Reply #47 on: January 02, 2010, 02:02:50 PM
I appriciate the follow up in the feedback during the Flash special. I am extremly happy to know this will get a re-record. It is above and beyond of Al to be willing to not only do this extra once but TWICE. Wow! As someone who enjoyed this story I'm really looking forward to hearing it "properly".

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Reply #48 on: January 02, 2010, 02:11:11 PM
Ridiculous!  I am most definately NOT out of line.

That's not your call to make.  It's mine (and that of other moderators).  And I just made it.

If you think I don't know that you stated your position obliquely, referring to the site's professionalism instead of Al's directly so you would have this fallback position of claiming you were not acting like a jackass, then you think I'm stupider than I am.  I suspect that my calling you on it has made you angry, and that accounts for the increase in typos and the generally less coherent follow up post you've made.  It is not my intent to anger you, and I'm sorry if my confrontational nature has put you off.  I'm not a kid gloves handling moderator.  We have different styles.  Nonetheless, you did insult Al.

The logic of your argument is as follows:  The site is wonderful and professional.  Except when Al narrates.  The obvious implied therefore is Al is not professional. 

I'd have had more respect for you if you'd owned up to your disparaging remarks.   I'd still have asked you to quit it, mind you, I'd just have acknowledged your courage also.

I suppose it's possible that you have so little control over your written expression that you honestly didn't mean to impugn Al's professionalism.  If so, then you should take my noting your implication as a good chance to tender an apology to Al for an unintended insult.  Otherwise, you may wish to consider my earlier recommendation to cut it out.  This is the second time I've asked you.  I recommend you walk away from the keyboard.

Sound quality varies.  Recording equipment varies.  Some people do better than others.  This episode excepted (and this episode is being re-recorded, Steve has already said so), Al's narrations/intros/outros/etc. would not be airing if EA staff didn't think they conformed to EA standards.  Your idea of EA's standards may not be met, but your idea may not be quite so factual as you wish to assert. 

It's true.  I'm minimally tolerant of veiled insults because we lose staff and volunteers over it.  Posters freely cast aspersions, moderators allow them to do so because those aspersions are thinly veiled commentaries, but the people to whom they are directed read them and see them for what they are, and decide that this is not a fun place to work, where they put hours and hours in for little to no compensation and all they get for it, in Monty Python's words, is "a boot to the head". 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2010, 02:25:31 PM by Anarkey »

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OsamaBinLondon

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Reply #49 on: January 02, 2010, 02:34:34 PM
Not angry in the least!  In fact it was my impression that from your response I had made you angry.

But, the fact that you have decided to descend the conversation into one of name calling, posturing and type nitpicking means I have touched a raw nerve.  As for your attempts to define mY logic, my written expression... well!  Clearly I have you irked. 

As for it being your call to make; well stand on that pedastal of power if you like but I don't have time for it.  I won't even bother to read the rest of your rhetoric because you clearly have an axe to grind about being called into question, which in my opinion undermines your credability. 'Mr Moderatory' Oh how powerful you are.  My points stand and clearly from the posts here, others agree with my opinion.



Swamp

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Reply #50 on: January 02, 2010, 02:49:45 PM
It's true.  I'm minimally tolerant of veiled insults because we lose staff and volunteers over it.  Posters freely cast aspersions, moderators allow them to do so because those aspersions are thinly veiled commentaries, but the people to whom they are directed read them and see them for what they are, and decide that this is not a fun place to work, where they put hours and hours in for little to no compensation and all they get for it, in Monty Python's words, is "a boot to the head". 

I agree with everything Anarkey has said in all of her comments, especially the one quoted above.  There are people behind every facet of making these podcast, people who are either not getting paid for any of it, or are paid very little.  What is their motivation?  Mostly I'd say, love of the material.  What happens to that motivation when all they get is feedback like yours?  It eventually goes away, how soon depends on each person.  Where's your podcast?  How many hours have you spent volunteering your time only to get slammed for it?  Nobilis is the only example I know of who does, and his comments were respectful.  I'm not saying because you don't, you can't have an opinion.  But you don't have to be a jerk about it, either.

I am locking this thread for now and will eventually split it off.  There have only been only two or three comments about the actual content anyway.  Comments for the story will resume after the re-recording.  If you have a problem with that, send me a PM.

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