Episode 61: If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere!

Episode 61 – January 30, 2011

We open up the show with some email feedback about recent topics. We discuss what we saw at the NYC IMS and field a question from voice mail about the show, then wrap up with some news and information. Oh, and my computer lost power early in the recording session. A brief public service tech note: when the power cord comes out and your battery is 6 years old, you’ll lose power pretty quickly.

Frankie boy sang about it. Its skyline is magnificent. Millions of people live, work and flock there all the year through. It’s New York, my friends. And we were there again this year to immerse ourselves in the motorcycle awesomeness that is the International Motorcycle Show.

We saw lots of interesting accessories and gear choices, including new additions to the textile riding suit market, a cool Schuberth comms system, and the newer models of helmets. Oh and polishing compounds. Lots and lots of polishing compounds. Everyone wants to be shiny, right?

Kawasaki seems to really have a hit on their hands with the Ninja 1000. People seem to love the bike, and also seem to like its versatility. Time will tell, but so far it’s gaining attention.

Triumph has hit it so far out of the park with the Tiger 800 family, that even the view from high above The Big Apple isn’t enough to see it.  Their Sprint GT seems to be a great freshening of a beloved sport-tourer. The Tiger’s torque curve is nothing short of amazing!

BMW’s R1000 is STILL drawing dense crowds and lots of attention. They really seem to have gotten it right.

When talking about the Yamaha Super Tenere we looked at, we also discuss an email from Ryan with his impressions of the bike as seen at another show. I also give my impressions of the FZ8, completely from an aesthetic point of view. James won this round. I fully agree; the looks are… interesting.

The Shoei Qwest seems to be a great entry in the street helmet market and we look forward to hearing more about it. Anyone have on yet?

James buys some gear and gives us his impression of the CBR250R, and ROK Straps helps us get into the show.

After the IMS discussion, we talk about a news item or two, including the fact that electric motorcycle manufacturer, Zero Motors, is building a new assembly plant.

Scott Bolton takes us out with a preview of the upcoming MotoGP racing season. Thanks, Scott!

Opening music, No Way by Kunk.

Episode 60: That groundhog better not F with me this year!

We’re planning our trip to the New York International Motorcycle Show! We talk about tiny little bikes and a great big bike. Harley starts “building” bikes in India. BMW is ready to take your money for a new K1600 and the S1000RR beats out the GS for the best selling BMW title. The Mission-R gets naked, Maximum Bob does the Electric Boogaloo and Can-Am gets all hybridy. We also respond to some more feedback from you guys.


Episode 59 – Does Jar Jar ride a Honda?

Episode 59 – Does Jar Jar ride a Honda?
Jan 16, 2011
This week James and I discuss what we did on Christmas vacation, our websites, and James’ warm hands with his new deer carcasses. We also talk about how Chevy is designing cars like sport bikes, and just how wrong I am about the aesthetics of Ducatis.

While we’re at it, we discuss all sorts of interesting things about roadway designs. Are left turns going to be made illegal? Does Jersey have the right idea? Are circles your friends?

We answer couple of email and phoned-in questions, and we help promote NewEnough’s name change to MotorcycleGear.com. We both agree that the new name is a good move, if a little bland and generic. Good luck and congrats on the new name, guys!

And now… Links!

Episode 58: It’s funny because it didn’t happen to me

Jeff and Todd return to tell us about their 4 week tour of these United States. We talk about broken bits, wild life encounters, tips on reliving your self in inappropriate places and so much more. Pour yourself a tall one, lean back and get ready for another epic episode of The Pace.

You can find our first conversation with the guys here.

That's Todd on the BMW and Jeff on the VFR

*Technical Note: I reduced the bit rate on this episode pretty dramatically to reduce the file size. Please let us know if the difference in quality is objectionable.

The right kind of noises

Thursday night James and I and our two guests recorded a show at my house. The rig we used consisted of my Macbook for recording, my Blue Yeti for ambient sound, two Shure Sm58 and two Radio Shack dynamic mics, Yamaha mixer and XLR connections for all mics. With the understanding that there’s a bit of a noise floor from the USB mic that in comparison to the regular levels was very low, I’m very pleased with the sound.

Any real “noise” in the recording you’ll hear are just the sounds of four people having pizza and beer and sitting around a table together talking about bikes. Sometimes Todd’s or Jeff’s mic was a little hot while they really got in there to make a point, but I tried to keep on the levels and keep everything leveled.

I’m happy with it, and of course the content was a lot of fun, visiting with the guys was great and hey… we got to sit around BSing all evening about riding.

So what could be bad about that?

After the miles

Jeff Gilbert and Todd Lampone from The Moto Tour 2010 join us this week to reflect on their trip across the USA. Send any questions or comments regarding their trip, long distance touring in general, or the bikes in use to feedback@thepacepodcast.com and we’ll be sure to get them into the discussion. Also, voice mails (484-748-0042) or audio recordings of your questions sent to feedback are very welcome, too!

Cause & effect, Affect & fix

I noticed over the last year that no matter what mic I was using I was getting an increasing amount of noise in my side of the show’s recordings. Some times it’s less noticeable in terms of relative noise levels and volumes, but there was a constant hiss. The commonality was using the USB interface on my Macbook. That was the common part whether I was using my pro-level M-Audio audio interface, a direct USB mic or a gaming headset. The noise was there and at times, very distracting (at least to me in post production editing).

My Logitech headset is pretty cheap and low-end, so I expected it to by noisy and sloppy. My microphones, however, are both decent quality units – a Samson C01-U and a Blue Yeti. Part of the problem is that using good quality condenser microphones is a sure way to highlight and exacerbate any noise floors you have. Over the past few shows I was recording in a newly-emptied bedroom and between the condenser mic’s ability to pick up room noise, echo and the omnipresent noise on the interface, I nearly trashed the whole recording for a couple of shows and went without.

Ultimately, I didn’t and was happy that we got the shows out, but even a guest spot that James and I did on the Rant-Fu podcast made me sound like a rank amateur with the crappy sound quality. This was all doubly frustrating as I’m not a newcomer to audio engineering; back in high school I spent some time working at a recording studio, and I was involved in the A/V at school and with the bands for which I was playing. I generally know my way around equipment. But hey… “it’s just a hobby podcast, so who cares, right?”

Uh… no. That mindset only carries you so far, especially since, for me, this isn’t just a hobby podcast. This is something about which I’m pretty passionate and I truly love doing. So… it’s time to step up my audio quality.

First things first, I unpacked my used Shure SM58 dynamic mic, I found a used but good Yamaha 10-channel mixer on eBay (as well as a used and dirt-cheap Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer that’s still in the shipping box) and I wired it up. I tinkered around with the settings and figured out how to set up the mixer for one and several mics and other line-level inputs. I got it all wired up so I can do Skype mix-minus recordings on the computer or, eventually, perhaps to some external digital recorder.

Once I figured out that the mixer I have will do what I need, I sold my M-Audio pro interface. It’s entirely overkill for our needs and for 1/5th the price of the M-Audio, the Yamaha mixer is perfect for my needs. I have several other dynamic mics for when I host guests here at the house, and frankly doing multiple mics on the M-Audio was never just as simple as it could (should?) have been. The Yamaha is much simpler and more intuitive. Plus, the extra money is nice.

Now, for most of the shows, even the mixer is overkill. Most of the time, all that’s necessary is the mic, the computer and me, as James and I record the shows over Skype from our respective homes. With that in mind, I also found an ART tube mic pre-amp on Amazon for crazy cheap. This will allow me an even simpler interface – nearly as simple as using the USB mics – for most of the shows, but without the increased noise of the condenser mics and USB interface. Win.

And yes, Mr. Ravenscraft, I *do* record into a computer. I don’t have a spare $200-$400 laying around for the Edirol. Yet! 😉

So, this is a long-winded way of saying I’m sorry about the recent crappy sound quality and starting with our first show of 2011, my end of the recordings should sound much, much better in terms of noise and general sound quality. I can’t do anything about my crappy voice, other than suggest you buy ear plugs. 🙂

Happy New Year everyone, and we look forward to more great shows and community interaction in the Near Year.