Wednesday, 24 February 2010

One Man & His NEW Mic

Greetings once again Retro Chums!

Now that Armalyte is almost ready to be released for the PC I've been spending time working on some extra bonus goodies that will be included on the Armalyte CD-ROM. As I will soon be doing a second series of One Man & His Mic retro music podcasts I decided to make a special show devoted to Psytronik Software that will be included on the CD-ROM.

It has been over a year since I last did a podcast so my first job was to set up all my recording gear once again. One of the reasons that I haven't actually done a podcast in a while is because my old mic broke! This gave me the chance to try out my shiny new gold Behringer mic that I received as a Chrimbo prezzie (thanks Nan!) After a bit of crawling around under my desk to plug in various leads I was ready to rock and roll. But straight away a strange problem reared its head. I couldn't record any sounds internally on my PC! For some reason any internal recordings were really, REALLY faint and for a while I couldn't figure out why. But then I found the problem. My new mic is actually a USB device and when it's plugged in it takes over ALL the recording settings on my PC. Not really a problem - I only actually need the Mic when I'm recording my talky bits for the show so I unplugged it and I could then record stuff internally. Sorted!

Here's where the magic happens - in the recently re-painted Psytronik HQ!

My next task was decide what tracks to feature in the show. As the show is going to be about the history of Psytronik software I arranged the Psytronik releases chronologically and then chose two tracks from each game - one for the main track and one to use as a sound bed behind my talky bits. Once I had selected the tracks for the show I then recorded any of the tunes that I hadn't already recorded previously. I then dropped the tracks onto the multi-track editor in Cool Edit leaving a 30 second gap between each one for my talky bits. Each One Man & His Mic show is 1 hour long and luckily enough the tracks I had chosen from all the Psytronik games perfectly fitted into 1 hour! Here's the tracklist for the show:-

One Man & His Mic - Psytronik Software Special!

01. Sceptre of Baghdad Intro (DJ Skitz)
02. The Sceptre of Nu Baghdad (Kate Z).
03. Archetype - FZ vs JMJ Remix (FeekZoid).
04. Nukenin & The Ronin Title (TMR) [C64].
05. PsykoZone Intro (FeekZoid) [C64].
06. Sub Hunter Title (Maniacs of Noise) [C64]
07. Escape from Arth Title (FeekZoid) [C64].
08. Mayhem in Monsterland Title (Tonka) [PC]
09. Creatures Remix (Infamous)
10. Creatures 2 Redux (Infamous)
11. Joe Gunn in-game (Laxity) [C64]
12. Armalyte Loader (Martin Walker) [C64]
13. The Path Of Destiny - Knight 'n' Grail Subtune #2 (Project N.A.)
14. Knight 'n' Grail - Good Ending Orchestral Arrangement (Hans Axelsson)
15. The Last Amazon Title Tune (Richard Bayliss) [C64]
16. The Wild Bunch (Jon Wells) [C64]
17. Star Sabre in-game tune (Targhan) [Amstrad CPC]
18. Armalyte Title Tune (Infamous) [PC]

The next step was to jot down any notes and bits of trivia that I want to mention about each game and then record my links. I plugged in my new Mic and set to work waffling about each Psytronik game in turn. The sound quality of the mic was excellent - much better than my old mic - nice one Behringer! I always try to keep my talky-bits to around 30 seconds so you never have to wait for too long for the next tune to play when you listen to the show. I also try to record each link in one pass to give the show a kind of "live" feel - although some links took a few attempts when my tongue got tied in knots or when I remembered something else I wanted to mention. The links are then normalized and hard-limited to make them nice and clear and are then dropped into the editor between each main track. The soundbeds are then tweaked and arranged in the editor to play behind my talky-bits at a low volume.

My shiny new mic with the OMAHM show on the screen in the background.

Now the show is really taking shape! DJ Skitz delivered a very cool Sceptre of Baghdad intro jingle (complete with a loud mother-hubbard of a breakbeat) which I slotted into place at the start of the show. When I'm using the multi-track editor I can usually edit a complete One Man & His Mic episode using just four separate tracks. One for the main tracks, one for the sound beds, one for my talky bits and a spare track for any twiddly stuff or crossfades. The picture below shows how the edited show looks in Cool Edit.

With everything in place I then created a mixdown of the show which I test out in my mp3 player while I'm travelling to work. While I'm listening to the show I make mental notes of any sound levels I need to change or if I have any ideas for gags or extra audio snippets I can sneak into each show. The show is then finished off with me adding or changing any bits that I thought about when I tested the show. A final mixdown is then created along with a high-quality mp3 which will be included on the Armalyte CD-ROM.

I'm really pleased with how this show has turned out. It's nice and varied as it contains some cool remixes of music from Psytronik games (there's some real treats on there for Knight 'n' Grail fans!), a nice selection of Commodore 64 tunes (recorded from a REAL Commodore 64 of course) and I'm also happy that there's an Amstrad CPC tune included in the show which adds to the variety. As well as being included on the Armalyte CD-ROM the show will also be released online later this year as part of series 2 of One Man & His Mic - so keep an eye on for details about series 2!

And that's it for now. Thanks for reading and I'll see you ... IN THE FUTURE

Kenz /