The Pilgrims Pod Radio Hour

This radio variety show, hosted by Will Mackerras, is performed live with guest actors and musicians in front of a real live audience in London’s bustling Fitzrovia.   The show is also streamed live online via Mixlr, and recorded for edited podcasts.

So, if you want to go to live recording at its London home, then please do head over to The Pilgrims Pod Radio Hour website for more details as we get them.

Why am I plugging it here?

I’m involved with the show, primarily as broadcast technician.  This means I mix the show both for the live and online audience, while also recording the show in a way that enables us to produce a more polished product for podcast and possible future re-broadcast.

Here on my blog, you’ll see me post copies of the podcast mixes, with some of my notes on what I’ve learned during that show.  As the show develops its own path, I’m usually trying new things to make the technology work better, with less overall effort than the last show we tried.

Pilgrim’s Pod Radio Hour – Episode 3

UPDATE (26/2/2014):

This is the edited version, to keep the show length under an hour, and to tidy up some slower-moving passages.

ORIGINAL POST:

Another episode was recorded on Friday 7th February.  A slightly different feel to this one – with more spoken content. Featuring Liz Jadav and Phil Gallagher.

Technical notes

This time, the live-stream was sourced from the software mix that created this edited recording.  I’ve fixed a mistake where I ran out of hands to sort the live-stream mix during the intro, and we re-recorded a song with Paul after he’d choked on some water just before his song!  Aside from those issues, the stream levels were much more easily managed this way, and mixing the recording live with the usual processing in-place also made this edit much quicker to produce!

Also new to us was a Superlux S502 ORTF mic (select “English” from the top-right of the linked page), used for room ambience and audience.  Compared with the AKG 451’s we were using, rigging was much simpler, and the resulting sound was slightly more consistent.  I’m really pleased with this mic in this and some other applications; subject for another post I’m sure!

Pilgrim’s Pod Radio Hour, Episode 2 – Christmas Special featuring @miriamjones

Well, here’s the second episode of the Pilgrim’s Pod Radio Hour, with our host Will Mackerras, Paul Enns leading the band, and our special guest Miriam Jones!

I’ll possibly expand on this later, but we had a lot of fun making the show, so I hope you enjoy listening to it!

“Podcast mix” – The Pilgrim’s Pod Radio Hour – Pilot Episode!

Last Friday, a few of us gathered in in London’s Fitzrovia suburb to put on the first Pilgrim’s Pod Radio Hour – a pilot of a show that we hope to continue on a monthly basis.  As their technician, I can say I had an absolute blast making this all work for them.  The idea was that we’d have a live audience in the room, we’d stream it live online, and then release a podcast recording.  The latter is still in progress, but I have permission to release a copy of it here as a showcase, and as an additional plug for the show! 🙂

More details about the show itself are available at its blog:  The Pilgrim’s Pod Radio Hour

Given the technology used, and the fact that this was a first-time run for both the technology and the format of the show, I’m really pleased with how it came out – hence the post here!

A rough tech-spec can be summarised as follows:

  • Rode Procaster microphones for Will and Sarah (@Sarahlynne42)
  • Shure SM58 for Paul Enns vocal
  • Baggs Venue Active pre-amp/DI for Paul Enns acoustic guitar (Paul and I have worked together for a couple of years, and we both love this on his various guitars!)
  • Shure SM57 for snare drum
  • EMO E520 passive DI’s for keys
  • DI-out from amplifier for acoustic bass guitar
  • AKG C451’s for ambience, acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin
  • Pre-show music playback from Asus netbook, plugged directly in to sound desk stereo input strip, running Multiplay for Windows
  • Mixed on Soundcraft Spirit 8 32-channel (analogue) console – not keen on the pre-amps, and headroom leaves something to be desired, but it’s more than workable!
  • 8 groups (Will, Sarah, Ambience L/R, Paul vox, Paul Guitar, Band L/R) used for:
    • Live room mix (via matrices for FOH and simple foldback, each derived from mixer sub-groups)
    • Live streaming mix (via Main L/R, derived from groups)
    • Group outputs captured for multitrack recording
  • 2007 MacBook Pro 15″ computer for live streaming and recording
  • Presonus Firestudio Project firewire audio interface used to capture the 8 mix groups.
  • Mixlr.com app used for live streaming to http://mixlr.com/pilgrimspod

The “podcast mix” heard here was recorded from the groups, and some  limited editing and processing was carried out in Reaper using its built-in plugins.  The only real “cheat” was the free flux ST-Tool, used to expand the stereo image apparent on the ambience mics; necessary because I wasn’t able to use my preferred spaced-pair ORTF mic setup due to the layout logistics of the venue.  Maybe next time I’ll work out a way to fly a pair on sky-hooks, or something…

As for the show itself – we’re taking a break through the Autumn to gather our thoughts and take our pre-planned holidays.  We’ll be back in December with a new episode – the actual date and time will be announced later.