NMC048 Audio Issues Atlantis to Palm Cay

Daphine Mbithuka

Episode #48: Audio Issues Atlantis to Palm Cay

Recorded: February 6, 2017

Location: Leaving Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas & heading to Palm Cay Marina.

Subject: Trying to fix audio issues to bring you our authentic adventures!

From the creaking of the floorboards, to the lapping of the waves against the hull, to the roaring of the engines, the natural sounds around us are a big part of the liveaboard experience. One of Rosa Linda Román’s goals is to let you, the listener, share in her family’s adventures by capturing the sounds around her while recording this podcast. But, like everything on a boat, the journey of podcasting on-the-go has been fraught with many (sometimes painful to the ears!) challenges.

In this week’s episode of New Mexi-Castaways, Rosa Linda shares her quest for quality audio recordings while living on the water. From recording with iPhone earbuds and Bose wireless headsets to investing in Rode professional microphones she shares the inside scoop on what it takes to make this podcast each week. In addition to mic-talk, Rosa Linda reveals some of her creative hacks — like strapping her microphone onto her belt for hands-free recording, when a wireless mic wasn’t available — all in an effort to invite you in to the experience. Enjoy!

P.S. If you liked this episode check out these other recent episodes:

NMC045 Launching to Bahamas

NMC047 Abacos to Eleuthera

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Episode Transcript:

Rosa Linda Román (00:29): Hello, and welcome to New Mexi-Castaways. I'm Rosa Linda Román, and I am recording this as we are leaving Atlantis in Nassau, or Paradise Island Bahamas, and heading to Palm Cay Marina. I'm recording this on the H4-N handy recorder with the RODE lavalier mic. I just got the MiCon-5 adapter to allow me to actually use it as an XLR input instead of like a normal mic or headphone type of jack which never stayed very snug in the recorder, and so I wasn't really able to use it very effectively. So, my husband, Nathan, he heads to the states for work sometimes. He actually just went to back for a trip for, like, he went to Philadelphia, and Ohio, and all these other places, and he rendezvoused with our former nanny or met up with her. I should say that otherwise might not sound right. Rosa Linda Román (01:45): He met up with Miss Allie, who we miss very much, and I had a bunch of stuff sent to her house to some of the supplies that we needed or wanted got here at our house. So, I had some of my new audio equipment sent to her. Now, the kit is not complete. I'm in my room by the way, so you can hear the engines, I'm going to be working here. If you're new to my show and you have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm Rosa Linda Román and I live on 45 foot sailing catamaran, a Lagoon 450, and I live on that boat with my family, three kids, one dog, German shepherd, and my husband. Anyway, so when Nathan went back to the states he brought back, he picked up a bundle of stuff that we ordered. Among the things, my toys that I got, which I'm so excited about are, I mean, the my MiCon-5 adapter for my Rode lavalier mic, which I have not used very much because I never could get it to stay on the H4N recorder. Rosa Linda Román (02:56): I did not have an adapter for my phone and I found myself always recording my podcasts using my phones, and also, not sound like I've been trying to document a little bit of what this living on the boat life is by using my phones’… what do you call it? The voice recorder function and using my headphones, which are wireless headphones, which I really love for running and listening to music, but they're LG HD headphones. I don't know what the name or brand other than that is, but I really, really liked them thinking that I might be able to use it to record these podcasts, but the reality is the audio is just not up to par and it's just not fair to you, the listener. So if you have gotten to this point in my New Mexi-Castaways podcast, I mean, assuming you've listened to past episodes, you've probably suffered through some very awful audio because all of the things I've been recording along the way were recorded on my iPhone with my… what do you call it? Rosa Linda Román (04:13): This wireless headset or the iPhone headphones that came with my iPhone 7, or sometimes I did record a few of them with my RODE lavalier mic, but again, the connection to the Zoom H4N recorder was not snug, so it would always slip out in the middle of a recording or it was just loose enough to make it so that there was popping or bad static. So, I am optimistic that right now you are hearing audio that sounds decent other than the hum of the engines and the creaking of the ocean, and all of the normal sounds around me. In theory, you should be able to hear this and my voice much more clearly and smoothly than ever before. So, I am going to pause this recording and go back and listen, because I don't have headphones into monitor, which is a big no-no, but I don't like to listen to my own voice. So, I'm going to go back and monitor it real quickly, and then, I will be back to continue this if the audio sounds good. I have my fingers crossed. Rosa Linda Román (05:35): All right, that's recording and it sounds pretty good. I actually am monitoring with headphones for a change, which I don't usually do because I hate wearing headphones. And I don't like the feeling of hearing myself talking, but I realized from the previous two recordings that I still have audio issues even though I have a brand new microphone. No, well the microphone's not brand new, but the adapter and, yeah, the XLR cable adapter the MiCon adapter should have made it perfect, right? But it didn't because it didn't fit snugly in the H4N recorder, which was basically the problem I was having with the other ones. So, it makes the other one being the small, I don't even know the size, but the small each, I mean, small microphone adapter. So now, by the way, I'm in... we made it to Palm Cay Marina and I am home alone. Rosa Linda Román (06:48): It is amazing. The kids all went to gymnastics with Nathan and there was major chaos meltdown to get them there. We were trying to make those brownies that you heard me recording for Ziva's birthday. Her birthday was on Friday and we skipped gymnastics because we were at Atlantis since we've come to the island, and I'll tell you more about how this all works. I think I mentioned the gymnastics thing as far as how we're making it work but basically we have a cab driver that takes us Monday through Thursday over to the location that they train. They do gymnastics at Nassaunastics. Anyway, today we were supposed to bring… we were going to bring brownies to all the gymnasts just to celebrate Ziva's birthday. Rosa Linda Román (07:50): Well, we only had one box of brownies. I don't know how, because we actually bought... when were at the store here we bought the mix to make cake, a birthday cake for her, and nobody knows where it went. Nobody knows what happened to that cake mix or the frosting. So, we'll probably find it in some hold where I hid it so that she couldn't find it. I'll find it like months from now, and there'll be rotten and covered with maggots probably, but hopefully not. Maybe we just left the bag in the car or at the store. Anyway, so we were making these brownies on the way from the Atlantis Marina back to Palm Cay Marina and I was already feeling queasy. And generally, when we have a passage and we're on the water heading somewhere, it's usually a wonderful time for me to get some things done because everyone else stays up top and out of my way. And so, I use the time to work in the house. Rosa Linda Román (08:51): Well, lately I've been feeling just queasy. I don't know if seasick is the right term. I definitely did get really seasick when we were crossing from Eleuthera to the Exumas. I was like bent over the bow throwing up. But the seas were much rougher then and it just was one of those weird days. But yeah, so today I was kind of feeling queasy, but I had already decided I was so excited to get these new toys, the, MiCon-5 adapter, the XLR adapter for my RODE lavelier mic. And also, I got a new microphone that I was going to start using with my phone and that is a RODE... let me see, a RODE video micro. Well, it turns out the video micro doesn't have a mount to mount onto the phone. That was the RODE Mic Me, or something like that, which came out for the iPhone, except it doesn't fit the iPhone 7, which is the phone that I have. So you could see, there's like trying to figure it out. And I did all of this ordering over, you know, I was trying to get everything ordered before Nathan was going to be meeting up with Allie. I needed it to be delivered to Allie before they were having they were going out to dinner and meeting before he headed to the airport. So, I was scrambling to order these audio components and I was very excited to get them and try them out. Rosa Linda Román (10:42): Well, I haven't had a minute since then. Nathan came back on, let's see, February 1st, after being gone for about a week, maybe more. And he came back and immediately, literally, that same day, like we didn't even have him here a day. We had him here for like an hour, and then, we moved the boat from Palm Cay Marina to the Atlantis Marina because his business partner was flying in and they were going to be having meetings. And so, he needed to move the boat to this other marina in Nassau so that they could have these meetings with bankers and whatnot. And he could have just left the boat here, but the idea was we were going to have a good adventure as a family while he also had meetings and it did turn out really well, except he did feel quite torn because we were having a great time in Atlantis, which is for those of you that don't know, it's a water park, hotel with a water park in Nassau, and a lot of the cruise ships go to it. Rosa Linda Román (11:53): And it's like kind of the big place to go in this area for like family entertainment. They have these massive aquariums and it's quite a spectacle to be honest. And the marina itself was like, it was overwhelming because it was like all these mega, mega, mega yachts, like mega yachts. I can't even describe them to you. They were so big. They were like mansions floating on the water complete with, you know, 12 crew members, or you can say servants, right? 12 people working on the boat to make sure it was beautiful and perfect for when the owner decided to actually use it for one or two days a year that they actually did that. Rosa Linda Román (12:43): So, you can hear I'm working while we talk, because now that we got back here to Palm Cay and you can hear that's the problem with this audio set up. What am I going to do about that? Every time I touch the bottom of this XLR adapter, it makes that horrible scraping popping noise. And the whole point of this setup is so that I can work around the house while I record and talk. So, I know it's not the ideal, like audio podcast. Now I'm outside. You can hear how loud it is, but I'm trying, that was the wind, so I'm trying to do things and talk to you, step back into the wind for a second. I'm hanging up wet bathing suits on the line that we keep in the like kind of over the back area. Rosa Linda Román (13:44): I don't even know the stern part of the boat. There's like a little sitting area and we have clothing lines back there. So anyway, so what was I saying? I'm just all over the place. So, I was very excited to get my audio, all this stuff that I purchased. I was very excited to finally get it and not finally, I ordered it and it arrived and then to test it out, so I was looking forward to trying it out. And then, we were underway and I was feeling kind of queasy and Ziva needed to get her brownies made. And I was pretty sure that we did not have enough to satisfy… to have enough brownies for the whole team, but she had her heart set on bringing something and I didn't have cake mix and I didn't have, you know, anything else that I could do to improvise. So, I was like frustrated because I was trying to troubleshoot the audio and at the same time trying to help Ziva. Now I hear a really bad scratching, but I don't know if that's just the headphones or if it's the actual microphone. Yeah. I think there’s maybe a loose cable. Rosa Linda Román (14:58): I know you guys must hear that cause I hear it. See, and this is what I want to talk about, audio problems, because I got these microphones so that I could work around the house and share the natural sound of this experience with everybody and kind of document the process because I know personally, I like to listen to podcasts. And so, I thought that would be a fun way to share a little bit of our adventure. But if the audio is terrible and you know, you can't even bear to listen to it, then why even bother recording, right? So, that's the situation. I tested it out. And when I listened back to it at the beginning of this episode it sounded very poppy and scratchy, but then, listening to it with different headphones made me think it was at least usable, maybe not perfect, and definitely had some moments where it was just unbearably either loud or scratchy, or there'd be like a horrible sudden unexpected pop in the audio. Rosa Linda Román (16:06): But for the most part, it sounded pretty good. And that's using the headphones I've got on right now, which are my husband's Packers headphones that he had a Hanukkah gift. So, I'm hopeful that this setup once I get… so let me back up, so one of the things that I got that I've been wanting to figure out is I wanted to figure out how to mount the H4-N recorder. And I looked at all these different mounting but there are none that are obviously intended for… like I haven't found any mounts for the H4-N recorder, which I don't understand that. I think if you leave it like sitting somewhere then it has the potential to get bumped. But if it's, I don’t know, it's tough because if it's on a person, like on my body, then I have the potential to bump into something and you know, affect the audio that way as well. Rosa Linda Román (17:06): I know mostly it's for like audio engineers or people that are recording sound on a movie set or something like that as a separate audio component, but I'm trying to figure out how to use it so I can record this podcast and still live this life that would be the subject matter that people might be interested in. So, I had it in my mind that I would, basically, hit mount the H4-N recorder and, you know, find a mount to put it like on my hip, and then, use my RODE lavalier mic, which is what I have on now, and get the, what do you call it? The XLR, the MiCon-5 XLR adapter. So, instead of using, let's see the RODE MiCon-2, which didn't sit snugly in the recorder, I thought, let me get this XLR adapter because that's going to make it sound a lot better, so I got that. Oh, look at this. It came with some kind of adapter. I just looked at the MiCon-5 package and I didn't notice there's a little blue ring that shows some way, I don't know where to put it though. Rosa Linda Román (18:41): Oh, you put it inside the microphone. So I don't think that's for this. I'll have to look, I think that's for a regular like handheld microphone for this MiCon adapter. Anyway, I digress. So, hip mount, right? That's what the goal was, was to find a good hip mount for this lavalier mic. Maybe I need to replace the cables, maybe that's part of the problem. But I couldn't find a hip mount for it. So, I searched all around and I ended up buying something that clearly wasn't intended for this, but it's Fugoo, F-U-G-O-O and it's this like teal and black mounting plate. It looks like the top part has like a tripod mount. And then, it's got a pretty hefty clip and it turns, so it could potentially be used with a carabineer or you could actually put it through a belt loop. Rosa Linda Román (19:38): And so, I bought that and I have, you know, the H4-N recorder has a tripod mount little, what do you call it? A tripod mount. So, I was like, okay, that's going to be the solution. Well, the problem with this is both of them have male or I guess female receiver like tripod mount is the female to… No, it's male to male, right? Now, I need a male to male adapter. So, I have to order that is what I'm saying. And I'm hoping once I order the adapter and that comes in, which my husband has another trip at the end of this week, which means I need to order it ASAP to be delivered to him in Alamogordo, New Mexico, where he's doing his clinicals, then maybe when I get that mount, this will not be moving so much and I won't maybe bump it as much and maybe I will have uninterrupted smooth sound. So, I'm once again going to take another break. I hope you guys don't find this episode so annoying that you can't listen to this podcast ever again, because I obviously am struggling with my audio issues and I am trying very hard to make it work so that in the long run I can really start sharing this adventure and the natural sound of this adventure in a much more fun way. But for now I'm going to take a break and just listen to it and see what this whole thing sounds. Rosa Linda Román (21:09): All right, I put it in that little blue ring adapter. It's just like a rubber seal, kind of like an O-ring, but jagged and blue. And maybe that will help the sound. I have been listening back to all the sections of this episode as I go and it's right now I do not have headphones on. But I did go back and put headphones on and listen to what it all sounded like. And it actually sounded okay. There were some moments where I hit the mic and it got really, really painfully loud. But maybe if I get in the habit of kind of pausing when that happens, I do need to obviously monitor the audio if I'm going to do this as a professional, instead of just for fun and saying, oh, I'm just going to do Rosa Linda’s ramblings. The fact is I want this to be a legitimate podcast or why bother, right? Rosa Linda Román (22:14): I might as well just record the audio for myself. And it's like, what's that? Not guys and dolls, a chorus line, you know, dancing for my own enjoyment that I Nick kid, whatever I can't sing, so don't even expect it. Now that's bubble wrap puffing listing from some of the things that came in from Miss Allie and Nathan. So, the bottom line is I think this is a workable solution for now. Right now the way I have this rig is I have the RODE lavalier mic connected to the RODE MiCon cable connected to the MiCon-5 adapter. And then, I have that all connected to the H4-N recorder. And I have that strapped to my waist with a belt, like normal belt that I wear to hold my pants up. And the way I did that is I just looped it around twice. Rosa Linda Román (23:22): So, you'll probably hear rubbing and whatever sounds. Now, once I get that Fugoo, F-U-G-O-O, yeah, once I get the male to male adapter, which I'll order tonight, so that it'll be there before Nathan leaves, Alamogordo, I'll get that male to male adapter, and then I should be able to just take the H4-N recorder and clip it on my belt, and then, leave it alone. Is that my dog barking or someone else's dog. So, nice, so there's another boat with, uh, with two dogs across the way from us. When we were here at Palm Cay Marina last time I was totally stressed cause our dog would bark whenever someone came by the boat and I felt like we were bad boat neighbors, but I do want her to alert me. Rosa Linda Román (24:16): Well now my dog, like she would bark it. You know, if anyone came down the channel, if anyone walked in the general vicinity, if our neighbors stepped outside of his front door, but I think this last time around at the Atlantis resort, which, again was a mega, like mega yacht haven. I mean, I'm talking crazy big boats. Anyway, I think she learned like when it was scary and when we wanted her to bark and when we didn't, so right now the boat across the way their dogs were barking, because there was someone near their boat, but our dog didn't make a peep, because there's no one near our boat. And that's what I want. I want her just to let me know when there is an apparent threat near my boat, not barking every minute of every day like some dogs do. So yeah, anyway, back to the audio thing I would love to hear now that you're actually still here listening to this part of the recording. Rosa Linda Román (25:19): Well, actually, maybe I shouldn't even ask for feedback yet. I will not ask for feedback until I get my actual clip and I might even order another one of these cables just to be safe, because I've had this RODE lavalier mic for years and years. I don't even know how many years, but for quite a while. And because of that it very likely has a kink in it somewhere that's making it less than perfect audio wise. So yeah, in a few weeks when I have an episode that's… Once I have my total audio rig down I'll post a picture of what it looks like so you all can see how I'm recording these things on the go. And then, I would love to get some feedback and see what you guys think. Rosa Linda Román (26:12): If you think it sounds a lot better, if it sounds the same as my former recordings, my previous recordings from my headsets and my iPhone, or if you really think it made a big improvement? You can comment now if you'd like, but I can't promise there won't be pops and audio issues in this episode because it's still a work in progress. But I'd like to eventually stop worrying about the audio issues and start really enjoying sharing some of these adventures with you guys. I mean, we've done some really interesting things. We went to several Bahamian islands and learned a lot and have a lot more to learn. Lots of questions about what we're going to do next, because Nathan now has been going back and forth for work, right? He made that first trip and that was a big step in, I think, the right direction, because then it moves him closer to really trying to figure out how to make it work for real not just… Rosa Linda Román (27:30): Because, basically boss is unaware that he is not just living on a boat in Florida, but he doesn't really know that we are doing like we're, you know, in The Bahamas and we're away from the office full-time now. Everything he does is pretty much remote anyway, so it doesn't really matter where he is except that it does matter because you know it affects how he can move about and what he needs to do in order to stay current and to make sure that he's able to do his work. So because of that there's still a lot that has to be worked out and it'll be nice once we start to kind of figure out how to make that all work, and where we're going to go next, just to try to find a balance. But for now it was a good test to have Nathan go to, you know, he took this trip, and he went to the states. Rosa Linda Román (28:40): Hang on a second, that was just lines creaking. I thought someone was here. So, you know, I'd like to share some of the adventures with you guys about kind of how we've been making things work and you know, what the plan plans are, but we're still figuring it out. Going to Nassau, it was fun because it gave us a chance to kind of live in the lap of luxury. It cost us a lot to be at that marina. But, you know, it's inspiring to be around people who have like unlimited funds and to just kind of see how the other half lives, because let me tell you they were not wanting for anything. Although, maybe they were wanting for kindness, because some of them never even smiled back when the kids waved to them. But for us, you know, it was fun to see what could be. I don't really want a boat like that any time soon. Nathan and I, we don't aspire to like bigger, bigger, but maybe some of the bells and whistles that they had on their boat would be really fun. Rosa Linda Román (29:50): So, we're thinking about that, we were thinking about, I've got a lot of new thoughts, but let me end this with just saying I'm working right now to shore up this audio set up so I can share more of the process and more of this conversation with you along the way, not just from me, but also from the kids because, they have a lot to say, and I want you guys to hear it from them, not just from me, because I certainly have one perspective, but I'd like to start doing more family interviews and sharing some of their thoughts and really letting them write their own pieces to share. So, I'm going to leave it there and just tell you, I appreciate you. I really appreciate you. If you were listening still to this New Mexi-Castaways podcasts, tit means that you are a patient person and you are not a judgemental person, that you allow me to share my process with you and really explore what it's going to take to turn this into what I envision, which is not the world domination, by the way. Rosa Linda Román (31:02): I had that realization recently that it doesn't have to be like this big, amazing, crazy thing that I used to envision, you know, when you're young and picturing what you're going to do with your career, you're going to be, you know, the number one anchor on NBC or whatever. I actually never aspired to that, but you know what I mean? Like you have these big thoughts, and then, as time goes on more and more, I start to realize that's really not what I aspire to anymore. I want to be able to go on this journey and share these moments with the kids, and with my husband, and share some of that with you guys, and people that support us. Rosa Linda Román (31:55): Because it's a cool adventure and we're learning a lot as we go. I would say the number one thing we're learning it has to do with interpersonal relationships. You know, I mentioned in earlier in this episode and part of the rambling part that there was a meltdown heading to gymnastics. Well, my daughter is, she turned 10 on Friday and her hair wasn't right, and it was like the end of the world. And it was very stressful to maintain my sanity. I knew I needed them out the door cause I needed to get work done here at home. And it was one of the few opportunities before my husband leaves again on his next trip for me to actually claim the time to do so. But you know, when somebody is having a hair melt down, you have to tread very lightly. Rosa Linda Román (32:57): So, those kinds of things, like the experience of sharing a tight space with people and trying to, you know, move forward in a way that supports everybody, and not just your big dreams, or not just my daughter's gymnastics dreams, or not just my husband's work ambitions, but to somehow find a way to balance all of that. That's what I'd like to share more and more with you guys, because that's really what it's been about for me and for the kids. And you know, as we get to see new places and explore new things. So, as time goes on I will share more of that with you assuming that I get the audio figured out. So, I will share that with you. Hopefully, next time you hear me I will have a much better audio set up, and then, I will ask for feedback. But for now, I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did enjoy this episode, please consider telling a friend. You can leave a review for me on iTunes and yeah, spread the word. I'd love to hear from you. And I hope you have a fabulous week. Bye.

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