Feb 20, 2007 at 9:14 pm #1221955
Benjamin SmithBPL Member
@bugbombLocale: South Texas
Companion forum thread to:Feb 21, 2007 at 8:42 am #1379453
Dr. J et al,
I'm a composer, electronic musician, and do some audio engineering, so perhaps I'm just too picky. But the 64kbps bitrate of the podcasts drives me nuts! I know it saves you all bandwidth and saves those of us who don't have broadband a lot of time; however, making a 192kbps (or even 128 or 160kbps with a high variable bit rate quality, if you'd like to save some space while still keeping the quality high) version available in addition to the current 64kbps version would make me really happy. Perhaps you could make those files "members only" in order to save bandwidth charges?
In any case, I think the reduction of digital noise, better representation of the speakers' voices, and enhanced ambient sound would make the podcasts a more professional, intimate, and enjoyable experience.Feb 21, 2007 at 9:11 am #1379460
John S.BPL Member
Slim WhitmanFeb 21, 2007 at 9:31 am #1379472
"so perhaps I'm just too picky"
Yep….I agree as well….you definately do come across as a little too picky. :-)
I download them through I-Tunes and listen to them on my Ipod while I'm on the treadmill or walking the dog. Drives me crazy to sit in front of the computer and listen to podcasts. I try to do that and then surf the net at the same time and then I miss something.
SteveFeb 21, 2007 at 10:14 am #1379481
Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
I'd just like to "second" this opinion to make it known that this is a big issue for me. The joy of listening to an interview is very, very lost for me when I can hear the limitations of mp3 audio. Record these at a high-quality bitrate (320kbps plus) for archival purposes and downsample them to a minimum resolution of 128kbps for download.Feb 21, 2007 at 10:43 am #1379488
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
I'll just weigh in w/the opp. pt. of view.
They sound fine to me. It's NOT like its Von Karajan conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker in an evening of Beethovan's Symphonies. It's speaking voice; it's NOT Lucia Popp performing the Queen of the Night Aria from Mozart's Magic Flute Opera.
Anyways, you can discount my opinion as i'm old and [tone] deaf (and sing like a male version of Florence Foster Jenkins! – in other words, "Who is strangling that cat?"!!!).
That said, stay the way it is, or improve the quality, either way, makes no diff. to me.
Just wanted BPL to know that there is a least one satisfied customer.Feb 21, 2007 at 11:50 am #1379496
I was waiting on a 40 page comparison on the reduction of digital noise, better representation of the speakers' voices, and enhanced ambient sound between 64kbps bitrate to 92kbps with a high variable bit rate qualities.
Where are you when we need you?
My attempt at humor (at your expense) A feeble one at that.
I did enjoy reading your comparisons and look for more in the future. (no…. really)
JBFeb 21, 2007 at 12:25 pm #1379502
Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I've not been involved in the podcast effort, but want everybody to know your input is much appreciated and will be taken into consideration.
From my research, affordable digital field recorders tend not to have super high bitrates, so that's perhaps one limitation in our chain. My suspicion, having worked in radio and television aeons ago, is that the microphone remains the most important link and we may need to investigate upgrading there.
Finally, there's the size of the download, which needs to be manageable for our dialup members. It might be that someday we can have low and high-bandwidth versions available.
Blazing new paths here, so keep the comments coming!Feb 21, 2007 at 1:28 pm #1379516
Glad someone called me out on being too picky! :)
I'm not sure that this falls into the "affordable" category, but the Roland R-09 will record up to 24-bit/48kHz WAV and 320kbps MP3 files and costs around $400. I have one, and it actually records quite nicely just on it's own, especially with it's built-in low cut filter on.
If a microphone was needed, the Electrovoice RE-50 is an old standby for a good, omnidirectional, dynamic microphone. It's $150 on Amazon, a good price for that mic.
I understand the position that BPL is in–starting a new feature, working out equipment issues while keeping money in mind, paying for additional bandwidth–as well as those who don't find the audio quality to be a problem. The quality has certainly been good enough to understand what's being said, and if that's the only objective, then everything's just fine. However, it would seem clear that hearing what's said really isn't the only objective; a transcript of an interview would do that just as well. No, it's not a Morton Feldman string quintet, a La Monte Young drone piece, or a Wagnerian opera, but it is human voices and their surroundings, which have just as much sonic depth in their own right.
I look forward to seeing BPL offer more options to suit varying tastes, love the podcasts (espcially this one!), and very much appreciate the fact that my opinions are heard and considered.
Thanks!Feb 21, 2007 at 2:06 pm #1379524
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Ah, John… very funny indeed. i'm crackin' up as i type this. IMO, there's no problem with humor at my expense – i too enjoy a good laugh.
I haven't done much with audio in 25yrs or so, so i'd hesitate to attempt any type of comparison, though i have (had???) a pretty good understanding of what used to be called ADPCM (now usually just PCM) encoding and some aspects of human speech and hearing having done some very early VR (voice recognition) research and development in 1980 and a few yrs afterwards – even a bit ahead of the boy genius Kurzweil at the time, – probably b/c we started b/f he did though!! But, he soon passed us due to no comittment fr/management on funding – turned out to be a mistake.
Anyways, thanks for the good laugh.Feb 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm #1379529
David NeumannBPL Member
@idahomtmanLocale: Northern Idaho
Maybe I'm out of it, but I think the quality is fine. The content is of more concern to me and I really enjoyed this interview. Watched the trailer also and look forward to buying the DVD. Very inspirational. Thank you.Feb 21, 2007 at 3:47 pm #1379538
@ryanLocale: Rocky Mountains
Neither the equipment, nor the recording quality, is the limitation at this time. Carol and I both have R-09's, we record at 24bit/48kHz WAV, and we even have pro gear at HQ.
The limitation is bandwidth charges. I wanted to get a feel for how popular these were going to be if syndicated thru iTunes, and there is a good news/bad news story here.
Good news is that they are incredibly popular. We've been in the Top 25 for Sports & Rec > Outdoors since we launched, which is awesome, considering that most of the others are surf-ski-bike-skate.
Bad news is that the bandwidth costs money, so hang tight with us as this program evolves and we figure out how to make it sustainable at the traffic levels we are getting.Feb 21, 2007 at 3:54 pm #1379540
Matthew L.BPL Member
@gungadinLocale: Pittsburgh, PA
Ryan, I think they sound fine. I would rather you all use BPL's money on more reports and trips to describe to the readers. That is why I subscribe and have been thoroughly pleased. Don't sweat it.Feb 21, 2007 at 4:23 pm #1379549
Bandwidth is always a major issue with online multimedia, so I understand where you're coming from. I also completely agree that the content and scope of BPL's articles and podcasts is much more important to me than having higher sound quality, and would never want quality of content to be sacrificed for quality of sound.
I've really enjoyed these podcasts, and I'm glad to know that many people, BPL subscribers and otherwise, have, too. Keep up the great and interesting work!
On another, much more important note…
Nine total thrus? TWO PCT Yo-Yos? And one in 191 days, WITH a terrible toe infection? Absolutely astonishing. Scott was really inspriational for me, as I've recently wholeheartedly committed myself to saving up money and planning for a PCT thru in 2008.
I'm also thrilled about "Tell It On the Mountain". In addition to all the obvious reasons why its a great idea, it'll be a great way to show my friends and family what I'm trying to do and perhaps help them understand why.
Thanks for this wonderful interview.Feb 21, 2007 at 5:15 pm #1379553
George MatthewsBPL Member
Interesting Trail magic miracle (toe)
Really good shoe info
and my old ears had no problem with the audioFeb 21, 2007 at 5:43 pm #1379559
Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Not that this is news, but Scott also did a Podcast for the now defunct Trailcast.org series (a top-notch set of thru-hiking and gear afficiando interviews). I believe they are all still available for download, but if not, let me know and I'll help you out with copies of all of them.Feb 21, 2007 at 5:46 pm #1379562
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Looking forward to listening to it at work tomorrow, on my IPod. I met Scott on the PCT this past summer, near Snoqualmie Pass. At the time I hadn't a clue who he was-until one of my friends caught up and told me. What was my impression? A happy man on the trail, very tall, very, very, very skinny and very nice. And did I mention skinny? I had a fleeting image of a very toned gazelle loping down the trail….unlike me, who felt like a lumbering bear ;-)Feb 21, 2007 at 7:45 pm #1379578
I enjoyed the heck out of this podcast. A few years ago I read an article in backpacker mag. on Scott's first PCT YO-YO. It was that article that got me interested in UL. What he has accomplished is really amazing. I'm looking forward to the DVD releaseFeb 22, 2007 at 3:20 am #1379604
Einstein XBPL Member
@einsteinxLocale: The Netherlands
Well Scot definately is a hardcore thru hiker. i do wonder whether it is wise to continue hiking with such an injury. Isn't this a way of your body telling you it's time to stop?
What are the risks you expose your body to on these long mileage days? I'd like to do a 7000 km thru hike once, I would also like to finish in good health.
EinsFeb 22, 2007 at 6:54 pm #1379723
Glad about that…. I'm new here and should probably shut up until I have something worthy to contribute.
jbFeb 23, 2007 at 9:59 am #1379787
I need to apologize to Miles. I gave him a little friendly grief about being picky about the sound quality of this podcast.
I actually got around to listening to it on my Ipod Shuffle while I was working out this morning before work and there is a lot of background noise from the show that does make it a little difficult to listen to while you're trying to multi-task.
It was a great podcast by the way.
I'm a little envious of folks that can take that much time away from the rest of the world and do something like that.
SteveFeb 26, 2007 at 7:37 pm #1380191
@dmccoyLocale: Spokane Wa
I had the honor of meeting Scott this summer on my South bound section hike of the PCT. Section J (Stevens to Snoquamie Wa) and what tipped me off was that I I.D.'ed his pack at a distance and when he got up to me (I was heading S he was heading N) I said quimsikly "hey nice pack" And that instantly started our conversation. We talked about a half an hour and I was able to give him a trail report of what was ahead. I was totally blown away by him, and what he was trying to accomplish. I never got around to asking what he did for a living but what ever it is It must be nice to have the money and time to take off and do the PCT 9 times…But that is a side issue. Scott was a very down to earth and pleasent man to talk with, and he made me/everyone feel a part of his journey just be talking with you.
oh and the pod casts SOUND FINE…I would rather spend good money on a tarp or what ever and drop my pack a few more ounces than worry about the quality of a podcast…Keep up the good work BPL and don't those who would rather listen to electronics instead of nature bug you :-)Feb 27, 2007 at 8:11 am #1380241
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
[Dale cups his hands at his mouth and shouts] GEAR LIST PLEASE! I'm really interested in his clothing/layering scheme.
I downloaded the MP3 and it accomplishes the task for me. It is a voice interview, not a musical performance. I've heard a lot worse! The speakers on my laptop aren't going to reflect much difference.
Scott must be one tough cookie. 1000 miles with a toe infection! I too wonder how to pull these trips off financially. One of those "if I won the lottery" wishes for me to is to be able to do unfrettered travel.Feb 27, 2007 at 4:12 pm #1380309
First off, congrats to Scott Williamson and interviewer Ryan Jordan for a great listen.
He is a magician on the trail.
Listening to this brings an enormous number of questions to mind especially to this novice light backpacker.
Is this more of a survival hike, and athletic accomplishment as opposed to what the rest of us do on the week end.
No stove. Ie. No hot coffee, no hot breakfast, no hot dinner. What did Scott eat? 6 months of energy bars?
500 miles to the life of a trail shoe which means 9 pair to this Yo Yo hike?
Only a home made quilt for the most part (Scott bought a low degree bag just in case?)
A 9 lb pack and 7.5 if you don’t count the video equipment. Can I assume this is dry weight before food and some water?
So… who knows about this stuff? Not that I’ll ever come close to doing any of this, but my vicarious life will go on with some answers.Feb 28, 2007 at 8:53 pm #1380510
@rcohlersLocale: Eastern PA
For those interested, motivated by Scott's story of his nasty infection, I created a thread under the title of "Fighting Infection in the Field" under the General Lightweight forum.
It's good knowledge to have, even if you never need it on the trail. Go to:
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