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CRRRaSh! 391 9th Year Anniversary Show

By Roy Mathur, on 2021-07-03, at 23:45:47--00:54:32 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Happy 9th Anniversary of CRRRaSh!

Raise a glass! On this night, at this time, 9 years ago I taped the first episode of this podcast, then known as Captain Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show, on an Apple iPhone 4S.

Glasses

The news glasses are being worn and they are fantastic. They have enabled me to see the computer screen again properly for the first time in years. Huzzah!

Alarm

I had an unexpected phone bill of c. GBP 800 run up roughly 12 hours thanks to a faulty modem in a supposedly inactive ADT alarm system. That is what put a dent in my week.

I finally sorted this out with BT and ADT, but not before the stress made me sick.

Philly D.A.

This is 2021 a BBC Storyville presentation of a documentary about activist civil rights lawyer Larry Krasner becoming the new District Attorney for the city of Philadelphia in the USA, after an unlikely victorious landslide election campaign, in the momentous wake of the BLM movement.

Tangent for listeners in England: our nearest equivalent would be one of England's non-elected CPS 12 regional Chief Crown Prosecutors, though they are in charge of much larger areas than a single city. Where I live that person is Chief Crown Prosecutor Jaswant Narwal, who is the head of the CPS for the Thames and Chiltern region.

Krasner says at the beginning what I've been saying a politician should do for a long time and that is come in with an agenda for change and not worry about the consequences to their reelection. He actually says that he is 56 and the next thing he'll be doing is sitting in a beach chair. He then goes about demolishing bail requirements for minor offences, freeing prisoners, reducing post-release supervision, dropping DA's request of the death penalty, firing a lot of the staff from the previous regime, etc.; all of which has a knock-on effect of reducing the prison population in one of the states with the most prisoners in the USA.

There are also sub-stories around the main plot about victims of crime and victims of unfair sentencing that disproportionately targets the poor and non-white. One story in particular stand outs; that an ex-offender who does everything she can to live a worthwhile life despite being branded a lifelong threat. (Don't worry, it's a happy ending).

From what I can see online, I'm not the only one who has responded favorably to this. You can see it on iPlayer now.

Shows like this are incredibly important to viewers in the UK, because our justice system is nothing to boast about either. 25% of prisoners in England and Wales are Asian, black, or other minorities, despite us only accounting for 14% of the population.

Loki

It's beautiful, fun, and Tom Hiddleston is great, but with only two episodes to go is this story going anywhere interesting? We don't want another damp squib on-the-nose ending like The Falcon and the Winter soldier.

Episode 4's Rogue One ending rip-off annoyed the hell out of me. Yes, Marvel, you're going to argue that hoovering up the zeitgeist is simply creative cultural shorthand, but I'd say it was derivative.

Back to something I like. I didn't say this in an earlier pod, but I really like the Loki theme music. It is sinister, stirring, and tick-tocking timey wimey as befits a story about dimension-jumping super criminals. It is just so different to the other Marvel music and I appreciated that.

Gear Talk

As long promised, let's talk about podcasting gear.

The thing to take away from the chat is that I'm not an audio scientist or production engineer, just a podcaster trying to sound better. Bear that in mind before buying anything based on what I say, though I have tried to give you the best advice I can.

Shure SM7B vs. Shure SM58 vs. Behringer XM8500

Over many years of podcasting, though particularly more recently, I have tested some of the most commonly gear used by podcasters and YouTubers.

The results are not what I expected.

For example, the Rode PSA 1 boom arm was better than most, but a bit clunky and insecure, and I did pinch my fingers on the bloody scissor frame.

I have also now had time to test a few mics, including the famous Shure SM7B, Shure SM58, Audio Technica AT875R, and the Behringer XM8500. Because the SM7B, XM8500, and SM58 are so similar, to help me compare I taped some quick, dirty audio with them.

Conclusions? The SM7B is great and flat, but didn't give me that much extra bang for my buck. The SM58 is well built, sensitive, and was the mic my mum liked the most. The AT875R short shotgun is okay if you have noise all around you, but has a higher noise floor. The transformerless Behringer was hotter and, while I don't think the Behringer is a better mic than the others, it seems to, perhaps unintentionally, cover over the less favourable frequencies emitted by my juicy, squelchy, clicky, lispy mouth that are further exacerbated by my untreated studio and nearby traffic.

Interestingly, I found the oft recommended CloudLifter or FetHead unnecessary, but that might be indicative of the clean and powerful preamps in my GBP 70 Yamaha MG06 mixer.

What would spare us the pain of multiple online orders and returns---I hope are listening music equipment retailers---is a section of your shop where customers can test a variety of most commonly used mics. I know there are difficulties with hygiene, especially during Covid, but what about cheap disposable foam windscreens and an alcohol spray? You have guitars, basses, and amps set up to try, so why not mics?

During my research, I came across this interesting project by Mike Rea to mod an XM8500 into a broadcast format microphone using an off-the-shelf mic shell kit. You can read about that here.

Recommendations for Podcasters

Use your phone, your gaming headset, or your laptop's built-in mic until you decide podcasting is for you.

When you decide to upgrade, but still can't afford the SM7B, get the GBP 15 Behringer XM8500, a mic stand, and any old USB audio interface. Then learn to use Audacity, or Reaper, and download The Levelator 2. These apps will probably be all you need if you are a podcaster. As for headphones, to this day I still use GBP 10 JVC HA-S160 Flats.

You don't have to spend the earth and sound treatment of your recording environment is probably more important than gear.

Record at a decent resolution; I record at 96000Hz 32-bit float. Clipped distorted audio is useless, so don't exceed about -12dB to -6dB. And finally, always always keep the raw audio of your recording!

RIP John McAfee

The crazy, but charismatic programmer and entrepreneur, with possibly one of the most annoying antiviral apps ever, killed himself recently.

RIP you undeniably interesting and strange man.

Mauritian Food

I'm always trying to dig up influences that make up the piratety multicultural island that is Mauritius. Rare words from Portuguese, Dutch, and various continental African languages, the old exported folklore of India, France, etc.

Earlier today, when chomping on Mum's home cooking---one of the few advantages of being forced together during the pandemic (don't get me started)---it occurred to me that peanut and coconut chutney are not particularly Indian or African, so where did they come from?

I might be completely wrong, but aren't they indicative of the Far East; places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand? According to the lit, Malay and Indonesian pirates did stop by Mauritius, but that was long before colonisation of any kind, so how did they influence the palate?

I'm Still Saying My Name Wrong

According to my mother, I'm still somehow saying my name wrong.

We'll see if I do it right tonight. I'm sure she'll tell me.