Buckley vs Some Woman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on September 2, 2013 by adoseofbuckley

 

Sometimes I take time out of my busy schedule of fighting with trolls on my videos to fight with people in other places. Apparently I might be a little confrontational. So, this happened this weekend…

The story so far:

A local radio station, on their Facebook page, posted a picture from Billy Madison. The caption discussed how Siskel and Ebert gave the movie a very poor review. The point of course was that the movie is very well liked and went on to make Adam Sandler a major star after his run on SNL. A woman then commented on the photo, calling Siskel and Ebert (or maybe just Ebert? Siskel was always pretty skinny, especially now… too soon?) “Overweight faggots”. I responded, sarcastically praising her for speaking up for the cultured and intelligent cinema fans, and said that I hope she teaches her baby (her profile picture included her with a baby) the proper use of the word “faggot” and that maybe it’ll be the child’s first word and that she’d be so proud. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a screen grab of this before the radio station deleted the comment. However, the woman then sent me a private message. This is the ensuing battle of wits. I’ll let you score the bout.

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Lost Script: 2011 Norway Attacks

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2013 by adoseofbuckley

It’s the 2nd anniversary of the attacks in Norway where nearly 80 people were killed by one man (Anders Behring Breivik). It’s also almost the 2nd anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s death.

What follows is a script I partially wrote in 2011 (the ending is missing, and keep in mind it’s a bit shorter than my current work because I only usually did 3-4 minute videos back then). The story goes that I had got home from an evening out, was like “ah shit, I need to make a video for this week”, so slightly inebriated I hit up CNN.com for something to talk about. I wrote this script, then woke up the next morning, re-read it, and decided I needed a new script (Which ended up being “A Dose of Buckley – Music vs The Internet“, one of my most popular videos to date) because it was too dark/angry and didn’t really include any jokes (which doesn’t stop me as much these days, but at that point I wanted things to at least be dark and humorous, not just dark). Any incorrect information is due to the facts being wrong at the time. In the confusion, the death toll was incorrect in both locations until they were able to sort everything out.

Originally Written July 24th, 2011.

So I’m checking out CNN.com because I’m really lazy and couldn’t think of anything to talk about this week, figured something there might inspire me… and I don’t know if you’re a fan of news, but a couple things happened last week, one of them major and one no one should give a shit about… and oddly enough, the one I thought no one should give a shit about? That’s the one being promoted as the important one! So… in Norway, some madman, ONE man apparently, killed 7 people with a bomb outside a government building, using that as a distraction and a reason to claim he needed to do a security check at a political youth camp later that same day, and shot nearly 90 kids. ALMOST 100 people died that day, some of them before their 16th birthdays, by the hands of one fucked up man. The next day? Some celebrity died. And you know what’s getting more press coverage on CNN.com? The piece of shit Celebrity! Amy Winehouse, 27, found dead in her apartment, early reports say she ODed and if it turns out that’s the case, no one will be surprised… and there were 5 or 6 god damn stories on Sunday still about her, FIVE OR SIX stories! Even my Facebook friends, I had two of them post vague “can’t believe what happened in Norway” type statuses, and then the next day 20 of these people posting in detail about Amy Winehouse, sharing tributes to her and saying how great she was, while others argue about whether or not it’s tragic. Well let me settle that argument right now… WHO CARES?! She’s just one human being, and possibly not a very smart one at that, there’s a chance she swallowed too many pills or didn’t know when to stop pushing down on the plunger, she’s not 80 kids tricked into absorbing a fuckload of bullets from a submachine gun by a guy dressed as a cop! The story from Norway? Sure it’s the headline on CNN, but if you go to the “World News” section, there’s only 3 stories about it, and look what else is in “World News”… Amy fucking Winehouse! It’s unbelievable how completely fucked up the mental state of the world is, that we care more about the death of one person just because they’re famous, but the deaths of nearly 100? Ah, whatever, none of those kids wrote a song about their addictions that later on got remixed by Jay-Z so who gives a shit right? An island full of Scandinavian kids becoming target practice doesn’t sell papers and drive traffic to websites quite like some one-hit wonder who couldn’t sing worth a shit in the first place and wouldn’t have made the headlines for another 40 years if she didn’t accidentally off herself.

RADIO HYPOCRISY

Posted in Supplements with tags , , , , , , , on June 20, 2013 by adoseofbuckley

This industry frustrates me so much. I want to see it flourish, I want to hear great material being produced by quality radio hosts, but instead it’s amateur hour all throughout the country as the corporations slash budgets and hire people fresh out of school (or who never even went to school) who aren’t ready to be in front of the mic in markets that should only be hiring seasoned veterans… and I think that’s why the incident I’m about to discuss happened the way it happened.

Recently I was once again exposed to the hypocrisy of certain radio hosts, though not first hand this time (it’s nice to watch one from the bleachers sometimes). You may or may not recall that I once wrote an open letter to a local radio host, which included a scathing review of their work. I took a lot of heat for that, but everything in that letter was the truth, and unfortunately a bunch of people blinded by friendship and loyalty felt they needed to defend what was, at best, first year college-grade work being aired in a medium market on a commercial radio station. This announcer hasn’t gotten any better by the way, they referred to Pat Burns as “alive and well” while he was suffering from cancer… he died about 2 weeks later (yes, very “well” indeed), and within the last couple months badly segued into a contest after discussing a kid who was shot (classy), but see, I’m not allowed to say that, because the radio industry believes they’re immune, that they’re above jokes and criticism, and that we’re all supposed to support each other no matter what, all a bunch of nonsense. So it came as NO surprise to me that my good friends at [Name Withheld because they’ll cry if I put it] were all upset because of the antics of one “Drunk Jock”.

Drunk Jock is the alias of someone apparently working in the business here in Canada, who tweets jokes about the industry and about other radio announcers. Some of his tweets that are deemed less harmful include: “The music director just came in late and now is going for lunch. Makes total sense why he makes more than me!”, way to stick it to middle management… “Jonathan (not) Quick (enough). #blackhawks”, which has nothing to do with radio but seems fitting since it’s the type of not-at-all-funny hockey humour that so many radio hosts probably did after the Kings lost to the Blackhawks, and “Every radio station in the world: Blah Blah Blah something about Friday!”, which, that one actually is mildly humorous because of how often radio announcers talk about the weekend. “Weekend’s comin’ up everyone! Just in case you didn’t know that there are 7 days in a week, 2 of those are classified as the weekend, and that this is a never-ending cyclical process, just thought I’d remind you that we’re approaching the weekend, unless it IS the weekend, in which case, yay! It’s the weekend! Not for me though! I’m in a studio working the easiest job on the planet, feel sorry for me!”… fuck me… But recently, he had made a series of “inappropriate tweets” to a local radio announcer who will remain nameless. “Hey [blank] wanna bone?”, that was posted on June 4th. Then, on June 16th… “Am I watching the #MMVAs? Did [Blank] suck so many dicks that she had to get an operation to handle 10 dicks at once? No. Answer is No”, which resulted in a bit of an exchange that also included one of her co-workers joining in, then Drunk Jock tweeted the next day that he’d “totally let [blank] girly cum all over my shit!”, and wondered why this announcer was so upset considering he was actually paying her a compliment in his own way… and then followed it up with what is apparently his trademark, drawing a penis on their social networking picture. Apparently someone at [place that can’t be named even though they already hate me anyway] actually accused ME of this, which, by the way, thanks, but fuck off. This isn’t my style AT ALL. This guy’s not funny, but that’s probably why he works in radio. This is juvenile playground humour that’s not even close to what I do. And although I don’t defend this behavior, I DO defend his right to do it.

Any radio host offended by all of this is a major hypocrite, unless they’ve absolutely NEVER made a joke, ANY joke, about a celebrity, sports star, politician, or other public figure in their careers. As a radio host, you’re a public figure. You’ve signed up for all the perks and all the pitfalls, you don’t get to pick and choose. During my exchange with the person I wrote the open letter to, they claimed they shouldn’t be criticized, because they aren’t a public figure. Yes you are! You’re on the god damn radio! Strangers can press a button in their car and hear your voice. You may only be a local celebrity, but you ARE a public figure, subject to the same criticism and scrutiny that ALL public figures are. Do you know how long Howard Stern would have lasted if he got all upset the first time someone made fun of him, the first time someone told him he sucked or criticized his work? Not very long. He’d be nobody. That’s a person who can handle the pressures of being a public figure, and I don’t think that’s something that can be taught. You’re not taught in school how to be a star, how to handle everything that goes along with that. You’re only taught how to dish it out. You can learn how to craft a bit, how to write a joke with a beginning, middle and punchline, but how do you train someone to take criticism? I don’t think you can. They have to have a specific attitude, they have to be a little bit arrogant, they have to believe that they’re good at what they do and they can’t let the criticism get to them. Once again, during my exchange with the person who I wrote the open letter to, they confessed to me that they were afraid for the next few weeks to even turn the mic on. Every time they had to press that button they felt a little bit of anxiety. They had no confidence in themselves. That was not my goal, but that just proves that they’re not a person who can be a star. Do you know how much shit I take from people who view my YouTube channel? I get a lot of positive feedback, way more than the negative, but I get A LOT of negative feedback. Because of the nature of my work (as well as the nature of the Internet where you can hide behind an alias), I get called every name you can think of. I get people telling me they want to kill me, people saying they’d punch me in the face if they ever met me, people questioning my sexual orientation and telling me to suck their dicks… hell sometimes I get people who LIKE my work telling me that if I were gay they’d let me fuck them. Then I get the “haters” who just tell me that I’m “annoying”, that they don’t like the sound of my voice, and that my opinions are shitty because they don’t match their opinions. I take all that abuse and I do it for free, just because I like entertaining people with my brand of angry humour, I’m not even getting paid (although if you ask a lot of radio hosts they’ll tell you they feel like they’re not getting paid either). And if I hadn’t been able to handle it, I would never have seen my channel grow to 260,000+ subscribers, over a quarter-million people waiting every week to hear my opinions about whatever the hell I feel like talking about that week. I don’t get upset about it, I’d be a complete hypocrite if I did since most of my material is about being critical of celebrities and social behavior. And that’s what is happening here.

I’m sure someone will say “Umm, I never made a joke on air about some girl sucking a bunch of dicks and asking to fuck her”, and I’m sure you haven’t or you wouldn’t have a job, but have you ever made a joke about Taylor Swift being boy-crazy, or the loose… umm… morals (yeah, lets go with “morals”, that’s radio friendly) of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, the Teen Mom with the sex tape, even Pam Anderson back in the day? Have you been talking shit about Rob Ford despite the fact that the alleged “crack smoking” video has yet to be made public? Have you ever made a joke about a celebrity at all? If not, I commend you. Your shows are probably really boring, but I commend you for being the king or queen of morality that we should all look up to and try to be like, and I hope your Christian Radio station gets that 50 watt upgrade approved by the CRTC soon. But that’s what I hear on commercial radio in this city and every city I’ve ever visited: Jokes about celebrities and public figures. Many announcers have entire segments devoted to it, I forget which station was doing a segment in the mornings called “Celebrity Sleaze”, an afternoon drive host had a segment called the “Daily Need to Know” which was usually celebrity jokes. Then you’ve got local politicians getting as close to slandered as you can without a lawsuit. Our mayor at the time, her husband was arrested for drinking and driving and local radio went to fucking town on that guy well before he was convicted… of course, he WAS guilty, but he wasn’t proven guilty when the jokes were being made about him being a drunk. Our current mayor is accused of stealing money from the city, guess who’s taking a verbal shit-kicking now? OH, but you can’t talk shit about a radio announcer, it’s only a one way street right? Yes, you can, and no, it’s not. You’re a public figure, you should expect it. Time to grow up. You’re getting upset about someone making some crude sexual jokes about you on Twitter? You can’t handle it if someone is critical of your work, whether that person happens to be in the industry or is just someone who listens to the radio? If so, you’re not fit for the business of being a celebrity. Pack it in. The colleges are spitting out hundreds of grads a year to fight over a handful of jobs, I’m sure any one of them would be happy to have yours.

– Buckley

Epilogue: “Drunk Jock” deleted his Facebook and Twitter, I assume because of the backlash regarding this incident. Guess he wasn’t fit to be a celebrity either. And again, whoever accused me of being him… A) grow a pair and don’t talk behind my back (there are so many ways you can contact me, and half a dozen people in that building who know me personally if for some reason you can’t figure out how Google works) and B) know that I will ALWAYS put my name on everything I have to say. I won’t hide behind an alias. I don’t need to.

The Ten Worst Songs of 2012: What NOT to Expect

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 15, 2012 by adoseofbuckley

So, you’ve watched “The Ten Worst Songs of 2012” and you took it far too seriously, and now you want to know why certain songs aren’t on the list. That’s why you’re here right? Well then, hopefully the answer you’re looking for is here.

 

Psy – Gangnam Style

To be honest, I don’t know if the lyrics to “Gangnam Style” are stupid, because I don’t understand Korean. If you look at the Korean to English translations, they seem a little odd, but literal translations from most languages to other languages don’t make any sense. I can only imagine what a song like “Black & Yellow” translates to in Korean, and how little sense it makes to Koreans (not that it makes a ton of sense here either). Including foreign songs just leaves me open to three things:

  1. Being called a racist (though I’m used to it, because people are morons and don’t know what that word means)

  2. Being told I don’t understand what the fuck I’m talking about (and in this case, they’d potentially be right, my knowledge of Koreans is that they’re crazy about Starcraft and films about brutal revenge, that’s pretty much it)

  3. Being criticized for not talking about other foreign songs (and rightfully so, the second I include one K-Pop song, I guess I need to review them all, as well as J-Pop songs, songs from Europe, Africa, South America, Latin America… and I have no intentions of doing that)

Gangnam Style isn’t hated because of any of the lyrics (because no one knows what he’s saying) or the music (it’s pretty standard pop/dance stuff), it’s hated because it was a viral video that became very overplayed everywhere. If you had to hear the same Mozart song 6 times a day, 7 days a week, for 3 months, you’d be pretty fucking sick of it too. Actual Koreans and people that are into K-Pop tell me that the song is making fun of “swag” and people pretending to act rich, ripping on people that think they’re better than others when they are clearly fakes. Seems like a pretty good message to me.

 

Double Take – Hot Problems, Nicole Westbrook – It’s Thanksgiving, or any other “viral” sensation.

The full title of my video should really be “The Ten Worst Songs of 2012 That Were Made by Professional Recording Artists and That Charted on Billboard”, but that’s too long, and should be implied anyway. I mentioned in last year’s “what not to expect” post, when I omitted Rebecca Black’s “Friday” that I won’t ever include viral videos made by some nobody that became famous. If I included even one of these songs, that means my list really should be just me cutting up a bunch of amateurs on YouTube… wannabe rappers, emo garage bands, girls who can’t sing covering pop artists… and I’d look like a bully, and the list wouldn’t be entertaining at all because no one would know who any of these people are. I also believe that no matter what, bad songs that have charted are automatically worse than anything else, because far more people are exposed to them and their shitty messages. Some kid horribly singing about Thanksgiving will never be worse than a song that gets airplay on MTV, radio stations across the country, in malls, at sporting events, and everywhere else, advocating whoring it up, drug use, and being an irresponsible piece of shit. YOLO though, right?

 

Any song I’ve already done a “Musical Autopsy” for

Last year this was a rule. This year, I broke the rule. Here’s the problem… in 2011, I did 4 musical autopsies, and one was of a song from 2010 that I had already included on that year’s list, so I only had to worry about 3 songs. Because the feature became so popular, I did more in 2012… 6 artists and I believe 7 qualifying songs were “autopsied”. So… there’s a little overlap (I won’t say which one(s) if you haven’t seen the video yet). Regardless, if it was in a Musical Autopsy, and it didn’t make the list, consider it a runner up.

 

Any song by Blood on the Dance Floor

Who the fuck are these guys? I get so many requests to talk about BOTDF, but here’s the problem: I have more subscribers than their official YouTube channel, and many of my videos have more views than a lot of their videos. Go ahead, see for yourself, their user name is “officialbotdf”. Is your local radio station (commercial radio, not college/campus radio) actually playing these guys? If so, their music director is an idiot. Not because they’re awful (I have no idea what they sound like, I’ve honestly never heard a song by them, and I never will unless it happens organically, if they actually have a hit), but because they are nobody. Radio survives by playing hits, by pandering to the masses. If a music director put them in rotation, they’re basically saying “change the channel”. The idea behind every element on the radio, every song, every time the DJ comes on air, is to try and get you to KEEP listening to drag you through spot sets (commercials). If the DJ says “coming up after the break, we’ve got Blood on the Dance Floor”, you’re going to say “who? I’m not listening through 3 minutes of commercials for that!” and you’re going to change the channel. SO… if I put them on my list, first of all I went out of my way to listen to them (breaking another rule of my own about the list, I only include songs I heard organically, either through work, while at the gym, on the radio, or though other “offline” means), and second, I’m now bullying some nobody.

 

Any song by Lady Gaga

People love to hate Lady Gaga, and maybe this would have been her year to appear on the list… if she actually put out a song. Lady Gaga did not put out a song in 2012. Not one. Her most recent single was “Marry the Night”, released in November of 2011, which really didn’t do anything on the charts in 2012, so she doesn’t have a single song that qualifies. Sorry Gaga haters, you’ll have to wait until next year to see if she puts out a song stupid enough to crack the bottom 10.

 

Any song by Pitbull

I’ve seen a number of comments about how awful Pitbull is and how he should be on the list… First, Pitbull had 3 songs in 2012, so anyone that says “Pitbull should be the entire top 10!” is an idiot, so would 1 of his songs be on the list 4 times and 2 of them be on 3 times, or how would that work? Second, I just find him too generic to get worked up over. None of his songs in 2012 cracked the top 10, only two made the top 40, and only 1 of them was certified in the US (“Back in Time” went 3x platinum, most likely because of the tie-in with Men In Black III). If you don’t like Pitbull, that’s fine, like what you want to like, hate what you want to hate, but in my opinion there were 10 songs put out this year that were worse than the three Pitbull put out.

 

Any song that I can’t find anything funny to say about

Again, keep in mind this is all for the sake of comedy, and there’s a reason why I’m now known as the guy who does this… search “Worst Songs of 2011” on YouTube. My video has nearly 3 million views, everyone else ranges from 300 views to 40,000 views. Not to sound arrogant, but you’re not listening to this and sharing it with people because of the songs themselves, it’s what I say about them. If the list was me saying “#10 – [Insert song here] This song sucks because it’s repetitive and boring and it’s stupid… #9 – [Insert song here] I hate this song, it sucks and is annoying… #8 – [Insert song here] I didn’t like this song, it was stupid”… I’d have no fan base. You want to be entertained, and that’s not entertaining. Don’t take this list super serious, don’t say things like “Oh, this should be #4, not #6” or “why isn’t [insert your least favourite song] on the list instead of [insert some song you didn’t think was all that bad]”, just enjoy the comedy. Or don’t. Whatever.

Setting Up Your Own Recording Station At Home

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2012 by adoseofbuckley

I think younger broadcasters starting out in the industry get the impression that it’s expensive and difficult to record broadcast-quality vocals at home. It’s not exactly pocket change, and it’s not as simple as plugging a USB or little headset mic in to use Skype (well, it can be but it’s not the best solution), but people I’ve talked to over the last year or so who are getting started in the business seem to feel that it’s not at all within their reach. Well… it is, if you can scrape together $300 or so. This article will outline a few ways you can get started, along with some technical information and some issues I’ve run into that might act as helpful lessons while you’re attempting to set things up.

WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THIS?!:

I don’t know… you’re the one that clicked to read this. Think of it as an investment though. Say you’re in the radio biz right now, and you get canned tomorrow, but you need to update your demo to find a new job (or you’d like to create a custom demo for a potential new employer). Where do you plan on recording that? Chances are your old boss isn’t going to let you come in and play in the production studio. I’m going to warn you in advance though, if you’re hoping this will guide you towards picking up enough equipment to start your own voice over business… it might get you started, but you’re probably going to need to spend a lot more. This is great though for higher quality podcasting, doing some home musical recording, or maybe even making smarmy YouTube videos (*cough*), but it’s missing the processing and some other high end equipment that your competition would already have.

WARNINGS:

I have a background working with computers (my first job was working as a repair tech, I still provide help desk services for my current employer from time to time, and I have a diploma in Computer Programming, even though I couldn’t create a “Hello World” program in C++ to save my life anymore), so things that were headaches for me may end up as migraines for you. I also don’t practically have time to troubleshoot issues for everyone, and I’m also not an expert on this. If you have a question, please feel free to comment/send me an e-mail (dose@adam-buckley.com) but I may or may not be able to respond to each one (others may be able to though).

Also, most of the prices I quote are from the PA Shop, a place I’ve dealt with very reliably from my first mic and firewire pre-amp to all my latest components. This is not a commercial for them, I don’t care where you buy your stuff from, but I’ll say I’ve never had any problems with them, so I have no problem recommending them.

THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE BEFOREHAND:

Recording Software

Some pre-amps and mixers come with something, but some people I know like Audacity [http://audacity.sourceforge.net/] because it’s free and has a lot of functionality of more expensive recording and editing software. I personally use an old copy of Cool Edit Pro, because of how similar it is to Adobe, and how easily it detects a device that it can record from. I don’t know a lot about Audacity, only that a lot of people seem to make it work for themselves, so if you’re having trouble with that, I’m sure there are a number of tutorials written by the Audacity community that can help you.

A Quiet Area

I don’t know a thing about sound proofing, you might be able to find other articles written on that, but I will say it’s expensive. We’re just talking about something to get you up and running, if you want to start your own voice-over/narration business, the information here probably isn’t quite going to get you where you need to be for that. However, don’t be angry when you decide to use this as a guide to purchasing some items, then get mad when all your recordings have your neighbour’s music or screaming kids in it.

A Somewhat Decent Computer

You WILL have problems if you’re just going to try this with a $250 Netbook or low end laptop. You’ve been warned. Same goes for if you try to hook it up to your 5 year old PC. Also, is your computer’s fan really loud? If so, your mic is going to pick that up. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link, always keep that in mind.

Patience

Depending on your level of computer knowledge and technical abilities, this could be a bit of a chore. You might get frustrated half way through and just take it all back. Be patient, but if you think your problems are going to be too much to overcome, or this whole project is over your head, make sure you save your receipts.

 

#1 – THE SUPER EASY, CHEAPEST SOLUTION:

A USB Microphone (All in: Roughly $150 plus tax)

Things you’ll need:

A USB Microphone. Such as: Audio Technica AT2020USB (Price at PA Shop, $149.99)

http://www.pashop.com/site/php/products/productPage.php?name=AT2020USB

Well, it doesn’t get any easier or cheaper than this. It’s an entry level broadcast mic plugged into USB. You could buy a cheaper one if you want (See: the “Blue” series which you can pick up for around $100) or even a more expensive one (See: The Rode Podcaster, about $250 but my experience with it’s big brother, the Rode Procaster, was not a good one, so I could not recommend that without actually laying hands on one and I’m not about to spend $250 to find out), it’s not going to beat the sound you’ll get out of the other solutions I’ll discuss here, in fact it defeats the whole purpose of me even writing this (other than to tell you that you can record vocals in your house for $150), you could have typed “USB Microphone” into Google and you didn’t even need my help, but… here we are.

POTENTIAL ISSUES:

Control:

I have no idea what the driver of this is like, maybe it has some decent level controls… but if it doesn’t, you’re pretty well stuck at the mercy of whatever it gives you. There’s no controls on the mic itself, and the little research I’ve done doesn’t mention it coming with any such software.

Compatibility:

This mic may physically last for a while, but if the company doesn’t update drivers for it when a new Operating System comes out, you’re SOL. Also, no clue if it works on Macs (I actually have no clue if any of these solutions work on Macs by the way, I’ve been using PCs for 20 years and don’t have any interest in switching now, and I’m not going to buy hardware that’s upwards of 3 times the cost of the PC equivalent just because it’s shiny and well marketed).

Scalability:

It’s just a mic. I guess you could technically buy as many of them as you have USB ports, but there are no other inputs for an instrument or anything like that. Still, if all you want to do is record your voice with as few problems as possible, and you don’t think you’re tech savvy enough to attempt the more difficult solutions, this is probably the way to go.

 

#2 – THE EASY SOLUTION:

A Microphone & USB or Firewire Interface (All in: Roughly $285 plus tax to start)

Things you’ll need:

A Microphone. Recommended: Audio Technica AT2020 (Price at PA Shop, $107.23)
http://www.pashop.com/site/php/products/productPage.php?name=AT2020

A USB or Firewire Interface, Such As: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Portable USB Recording Interface (Price at PA Shop, $149.99)

http://www.pashop.com/site/php/products/productPage.php?name=Scarlett%202i2

An XLR cable (length will vary depending on your needs, Price At PA Shop, anywhere from $10 – $50, link below is a 6 foot cable for just under $10)
http://www.pashop.com/site/php/products/productPage.php?name=HXX-6

A Mic Stand. A simple desk stand will do for what you’re doing (Price at PA Shop, $16.49)
http://www.pashop.com/site/php/products/productPage.php?name=MS-105

I’m not officially recommending the Focusrite USB interface as I’ve never used it, but on paper it has what you need: A pre-amp with phantom power that plugs directly into USB, and some software to record into. I can however recommend the AT2020 as a great starter mic. It’s the same mic my college radio station used, it sounds well above what you might expect for under $110 (seriously, $110 for a broadcast-quality condenser mic… it’s fantastic). You could skimp a little more and pick up one of the Behringer C-series mics for $60 or $70 but I’m not about to recommend them.

This couldn’t get any easier. Install and connect the USB or Firewire Interface of your choosing, connect the microphone via XLR cable, set up your favourite software to record, and play with the knobs (or on some USB/Firewire Interfaces, the software settings) until you get something you’re happy with.

POTENTIAL ISSUES:

Latency

Latency is, essentially, when the computer can’t keep up with the input it’s getting (“lag” for you FPS gamers). Strange things can happen to your audio with this, the most common thing I’ve run into is that it “drags” words, distorting it by recording it even just a fraction longer than it was spoken. The driver software may allow you to correct this in the settings, by increasing the latency (so if you’re computer is having trouble keeping up, bump up the latency a few milliseconds and it should solve the problem, it did with my first interface plugged into a somewhat dying laptop). Ensure your drivers are all up to date as well, and that the product is actually compatible with your operating system.

Line Noise/Mic Noise

The pre-amps on a lot of these USB or Firewire Interfaces aren’t the most quiet thing in the world… you’re paying for the convenience of not needing certain items (like a decent sound card, or expertise with more complex equipment). Couple that with a cheaper mic, and no matter how quiet your room or computer is, you’re going to have a noticable “hum” in your recording if you gain it too high, but if you gain it too low your voice will need to be amplified via software, which is going to amplify the hum anyway. This is fine if you’re just doing this as a hobby, and may not even be all that noticeable to most people, but for professional work it’s not going to quite cut it. Studio hardware like Processors, Limiters and Gates can help with this, but now you’re getting into the real money… something like that, you’re not plugging into a USB interface, if you have that kind of money you’re using a mixer. Which brings us to…

 

#3 – THE MORE DIFFICULT (but still obtainable on a budget) SOLUTION:

A Microphone, Mixer, and Sound Card (possibly optional) (All In, Roughly $280 to start, much more expensive if you want it to be).

Things you’ll need:

A Microphone. Recommended: Audio Technica AT2020 (Price at PA Shop, $107.23)
http://www.pashop.com/site/php/products/productPage.php?name=AT2020

A Mixer. Recommended: Mackie 402-VLZ3 (Price at Long & McQuade, $99.00)

http://www.long-mcquade.com/products/6679/Pro_Audio_Recording/Mixers/Mackie/402-VLZ3_-_4_Channel_Compact_Mixer.htm

MAYBE OPTIONAL: A Sound Card (I’ll explain why this MAY be optional). Soundblaster Audigy SE (Price at TigerDirect.ca, $34.99)
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4459743&Sku=C44-3400

An XLR cable (length will vary depending on your needs, Price At PA Shop, anywhere from $10 – $50, link below is a 6 foot cable for just under $10)
http://www.pashop.com/site/php/products/productPage.php?name=HXX-6

A Dual 1/4” to single 1/8” cable (length will vary depending on your needs, Price at PA Shop for a 15 foot cable, $14.00)

A Mic Stand. A simple desk stand will do for what you’re doing (Price at PA Shop, $16.49)
http://www.pashop.com/site/php/products/productPage.php?name=MS-105

That’s right… a Mackie Mixer for $99 (one of, if not the best brand of mixer, and not because of hype or advertising, they’re built to last and sound great). It’s only 4 channels, but we only need 1 anyway (this is a little more scalable if you want to add a 2nd mic, maybe add an instrument, etc). This is my current setup.

Plug the Mic into the XLR, Plug your 1/4” cables into the Main Outs, plug the other end of that cable into your line in/mic in port on your sound card or motherboard (SEE POTENTIAL ISSUES BELOW), and now you’re starting to put something pretty professional sounding together… here’s a sample of me speaking into a Rode NT1-A (retails around $260 for the mic, but it comes with a shock mount and pop filter so that’s handy).

Voice Test

That’s quality at an affordable price 🙂

So, you’re probably asking yourself “why wouldn’t I just do this, it’s almost the same price as the simpler way, I’m not really saving any money, and if I don’t need a sound card it’s actually cheaper, AND it sounds better than using that other junk!”

Here’s why:

POTENTIAL ISSUES:

Noisy Line In Port On Main Board:

Your motherboard might not have this problem… mine did. No matter what you plugged into it, it would record/output a high pitched whine. I don’t care how good you think you are as a producer, you’re not getting that out without severely ruining your recording. Easiest way to test to see if you have this problem is… plug anything into that port. Could be an MP3 player (using a 1/8” male to 1/8” male cable, plug one end into the MP3 player’s headphone jack, the other end into the mic port on your computer). Turn the MP3 player on, and record into your favourite software, making sure your levels are ok. Now, pause the music… does it still appear to be recording (your levels will still be hovering, and probably inconsistent)? If so, stop the recording and listen back to it, carefully. Notice that whiny humming? That’s interference because a) motherboard makers are cheap and don’t work too hard on that, they’re not meant for high quality audio recordings, and b) the motherboard also has so many other things it’s doing, it’s a wonder that noise isn’t worse. A dedicated sound card will get rid of that, however…

Sound Card Driver Issues:

What a nightmare it was installing my Soundblaster card. After installing it using the drivers that came with it, I was having what I believed to be the same latency issues as I’d had a few years back with my original starter setup (words being dragged and just weird sounds overall every 20-30 seconds, but this makes no sense considering I’m using a PC I custom built a year ago with some excellent specs, and had no problems with my Firewire interface). So, I updated the drivers, which eliminated that issue, but now everything sounded overly compressed, despite the settings claiming I was recording at a decent quality (16bit, 48000 Hz). Of course, when I installed the updated drivers, it also installed a boatload of other Creative Labs software. So, I uninstalled everything, reinstalled just the most up to date driver this time, and it was all good. Problem was, this took at least an hour and a half of my day to get sorted out. Oh, also you need to know how to physically install parts in your computer. If you don’t know how to do that, and your on-board mic port sounds like garbage, you’re pretty well screwed for this option.

Requires A Little More Knowledge Overall:

The first setup listed in this article is literally just plugging one cable in and then talking into a mic. The second setup is pretty easy too; there’s a couple knobs on the USB/Firewire Interface that are fairly self explanatory (“gain” means “louder” essentially, though don’t ever say this to my college Production teacher, he will cause you great pain). The Mackie mixer really isn’t that complex, in fact this model is about as easy as mixers get… but there’s a few more dials and knobs you need to be aware of. You’ve got your channel’s gain, you’ve got your channel’s level control, as well as some control over the high and low ends (some basic EQ/processing which can bring out your voice nicely), and then the Main Mix control. However, you don’t need to be that intimidated… just set everything to Unity (“12 O’Clock” most of the time, or so the line is pointing at the “U”) and then figure out levels from there.

If none of that deters you, and you’re willing to really give it a shot… I really recommend doing it this way. For less than $300, you’ve got something that’s going to last you years (Mackie mixers are notoriously durable, and if you take good care of your mic it’ll last as long as you need it to, I just recently sold my first AT2020, had it for over 3 years and there were no issues with it at all, I bet it’ll last another 7 easily), and could help you out with your career down the road, or make you a few bucks on the side (maybe you know a local group that could use your talents for a modest fee, or if you have a quiet enough room this may suffice for getting you started in the VO biz, or doing voice tracking for stations if you have some connections).

 

POSSIBLE FAQs

Q: I’ve got everything plugged into my mic port, all my levels look good and I’m seeing levels through the board, but nothing’s recording. What’s wrong with my equipment?!

A: Check to make sure your mic port is a) set to be the default recording device, and b) the “volume” (what a terrible word to use for a mic port) is up. This is generally done in the “Sounds” area of Control Panel in Windows.

Q: I see some mic cables are more expensive than others for the same length. Does it really matter if I buy a more expensive one?

A: To quote Reverend Lovejoy, “Short Answer ‘Yes’ with an ‘If’, long answer ‘No’… with a ‘but’”. Depends on what you’re going to be doing with them. The cables will degrade quicker than the rest of your stuff… are you planning on moving it around a lot? Unplugging it and plugging it back in? If No, the cheaper cables should do just fine. If you’re planning on using this as part of a PA system or for doing live remotes, you might want to consider the more expensive cables (Solution #3 will work for that, plug the main outs from the Mackie into a venue’s sound system instead of a computer, use the line-ins for a computer or something that plays music, and you’ve got a little mobile PA setup that could be used for sporting events, small event DJing, etc).

Q: I’m popping letters like P’s and T’s like crazy, is there anything I can do about this?

A: Sometimes mic technique is just not going to help (especially with a cheaper microphone where your recording is too low if you’re too far away from it). Consider getting a pop filter… I however do NOT recommend the RODE Pop Shield. It’s like $60 – $80, and though theoretically it should do a fantastic job (it’s big and metal and looks bad ass), it doesn’t. I felt like I was better off not having anything on the mic, since it also kind of blocks your vision (making script reading more difficult when the mic is on the same desk as your monitors). Just get one of the round fabric ones, like this: http://www.pashop.com/site/php/products/productPage.php?name=MWS-56DLX. Always remember to try and keep your face about 4 to 6 inches from the mic and just a touch off-axis (not speaking directly into the middle of it) and that should help too. And of course, you can always edit them out (but that’s another tutorial for another day).

The Ten Worst Songs of 2011

Posted in A Dose of Buckley with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2011 by adoseofbuckley

My annual list of the Ten Worst Songs of 2011 is up. Nothing more needs to be said… just watch.

The Ten Worst Songs of 2011: What NOT to Expect

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 5, 2011 by adoseofbuckley

Alright, so my Ten Worst Songs of 2011 video will be posted probably within the next 14 days. And once it’s up, I expect to hear a lot of “Why isn’t ____________ on it!?”. Well, I can’t please everyone, but keep in mind why I feel my opinion on this subject matters: I work with music every day. I’m not someone who THINKS they’re an expert when it comes to mainstream music… I AM an expert when it comes to mainstream music. It’s my full time job. The songs I’ve put on the list are songs I’ve heard dozens, well over a hundred times, it’s not just some song I heard and said “that’s annoying, it’s going on the list”. That said, sorry if your least favourite song doesn’t make the video, but I think you’ll be happy with the end result. In the meantime, here’s a preview of what NOT to expect:

REBECCA BLACK:

I’ve already stated this once in video form, and countless times in comments… I do not recognize Rebecca Black as a legitimate artist. She is an internet sensation, and to add her opens the floodgates. The Ten Worst Songs of every year moving forward would just be a bunch of shitty viral videos… some little girl with rich parents who paid to make a shitty video, some guy who can’t rap but thinks he can, a dipshit screamo band, etc… that’s useless, there’s nothing funny or enjoyable about that video. My video should be titled “The Ten Worst Songs of 2011 Performed by Artists Who Actually Have Charted On Billboard And Have Record Contracts” but that title is too long. So, no viral Internet sensations will make the list.

 

LMFAO:

In a “Musical Autopsy” video I made about LMFAO, I said that LMFAO can’t be held to the same standards as other artists, because they’re not meant to be heard on the radio, they’re not top 40 artists, they’re club artists. If I include LMFAO, I should include every other club artist, which means that “We No Speak Americano” song by Yolanda Be Cool should make a list, because it’s pretty dumb, “Barbra Streisand” by Duck Sauce should make the list… and again, the list just becomes a list of stupid club songs. If you want to hear me make fun of LMFAO, go watch that video linked above, but they won’t make the list.

 

ANY SONG I ALREADY DID A MUSICAL AUTOPSY OF:

I’ve been pretty careful not to show my hand this year. Though I did Musical Autopsies this year of Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” and Bruno Mars’ “Grenade“, and I do consider them to be awful songs, they didn’t make the Ten Worst of the Year. Consider them somewhere in the top 20.

LADY GAGA:

Lady Gaga is too generic for me to add to these lists (which sounds funny because she’s fucking weird and not really generic at all in terms of her personality or style). Maybe eventually she’ll make a list, she’s got the potential when she breaks out nonsense lyrics like she did in “Just Dance” (which probably WOULD have made a list of mine had I done one in 2008) or the start of “Bad Romance”, but to be honest, she doesn’t spark any real emotion in me either way, positive or negative.

ROCK:

The “your a raciss!” crowd complained that last year’s list was all rap (it wasn’t) and all black artists (it wasn’t). This year’s list gets a little more diverse actually, and includes a “rock” song (more of a pop rock song but it’s a band that plays actual instruments, in fact two “bands” appear on the list this year). It also includes country, pop, and yes… hip hop and rap. That’s what’s popular these days. If rock music was more popular, there would be a much better chance of more rock appearing on these lists, but it’s not. I think Coldplay sucks… that make you happy? And if I put a Nickelback song on the list, I’d just get accused of being lazy since it’s just too hip to hate Nickelback (and they’re another band who really just sparks no emotion in me either way, which is actually the worst thing you can do as an artist… you want people to love you or hate you. If people are just apathetic towards you, that’s the worst).

I think it’s safe to assume the video will be up no later than the 19th. In the meantime, go back and watch last year’s video again, or enjoy the last two years of my material at my YouTube Channel and my Website (the latter includes a lot more of my early work, and mp3s you can download so you can take my voice with you on road trips, bus rides, or to the gym… might be weird to work out to me ranting but who knows, it might be motivating?).