Sounds like the CBC

I was lucky enough to be interviewed last week for Spark, the CBC radio show and podcast on technology. That was a fine experience for me and I’d like to share the experience with you for various reasons.

The language barrier
The topic of the interview was the difference between francophones and anglophones in the use of the internet in Canada. Great subject, as I know a lot of people using the internet in both languages all over North America. And as a podcaster doing a show in French, I know the differences in that “market” between “the two solitudes”.

To be interviewed in my second language over the phone is still a challenge. I’m pretty fluent in English and I can handle pretty much any conversation face to face. But without the body language of my interlocutor, it can be difficult sometimes when I’m on the phone and when the sound is not good. Fortunately, Nora Young is a great communicator and I had the studio sound running through the phone so it went perfectly.

Sounding like a pro
Dan Misener also asked me to record my part of the conversation to achieve the best sound quality and to sound like we were in the same studio. Double-end recording we call it. So as usual, I plugged my trusty Electro-Voice RE27 into the mixer for preamplification, ran the signal through a compression unit to maximize it and recorded the end result with the ZOOM H4. Very good sound quality. I posted a picture of my setup on Flickr (it’s the one that you see up there) and the CBC folks told me it was great, maybe even better than theirs (except that I don’t have an acoustically isolated studio).

Does it sound like Nora and I were talking face-to-face? Not really. Although we both have very professional-grade setups, our audio chains are very different. All my equipment (microphone, mixer, compressor) is meant to sound more like FM radio and is maximized for MP3 compression as opposed to CBC’s setup that sounds more open and transparent. We can say that my voice sounds more “colored”.

Planting a seed
I wasn’t interviewed by these people by accident. I have organized and participated in podcasting events and podcaster meetups (there is a PodMtl this month) since mid 2006 where I also do some conferencing. And I talk to various people. I like to talk with the widest range of people because it makes you see a great range of points of view. And you share knowledge with those people, and have a lot of fun. The great thing is that, when you do it generously with no purpose, no after-thought, you’re always surprised by what it can bring you. Was I aware that I could be eventually interviewed for the CBC the times I talked to Nora and Dan at Podcasters Across Borders? Of course not. I just thought they were great people with experience to share about traditional radio. And they were. But by chance, they recently had to cover a topic that we discussed at Podcasters Across Borders.

Sometimes you plant seeds whithout knowing it and it’s fascinating to see what can grow from that.

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