Friday, May 4, 2012

Thanks, Zoom!

Hi!  I'm Jake!

I have a bad memory.  I am constantly writing new material for my stand-up comedy act, but I have a hard time remembering half the things I've written.  So, whenever I do a gig, I usually revert to the tried and true material that I've been doing for forever.  My writing is way more prolific than my act would lead you to believe because my crappy memory bottlenecks my process!  I can't give you new material if I can't remember it!

So, a few months ago, I began a change:  I now record every single set on my Zoom H1.  Then, I endeavor to listen to each set within a week of recording it. This is crucial!  Listening to my sets while reading the material I wrote for those sets helps me remember the material.

Moreover, I ad-lib constantly. Even though most of my material comes from sitting down, shuffling through my notes, & cranking out jokes & stories, I have an improv background- so, a decent percentage of my best punchlines were originally ad-libs.  I tend to say things more naturally on stage than I do on paper.

The problem is my brain doesn't always remember my ad-libs.  However, my Zoom H1 records everything. Here are 3 Things I Am Thankful For because I have a Zoom H1:

1. The audio is crystal clear.
The microphones on the Zoom H1 sound amazing.  My previous voice recorder, some Olympus piece of dung cost $85, which is about $10 less than the Zoom H1. The Olympus recorder's microphones sounded horrible, tinny. Every time I tried listening to a performance, I had to play back each line about 10 times just to see if I could figure out what I said.  With the H1, I can recognize every word instantly.  Unless I am mumbling, or my face is buried in a pillow, I can hear & understand every word, every punchline, every ad-lib.

In fact, the audio is so good I often use my ad-libs on my podcast, The Battery Podcast.  If I'm interacting with an audience member, you can distinctly hear both of us. That Olympus piece of crap barely picked me up, let alone some loudmouth idiot from the 10th row! So, you can hear the same idiot I heard! I'm thankful for that.

2. The H1 is out of the way. I'm out of the way too.
In the past, to get a decent recording of my set, I'd have to get some line-cook slash sound guy from the comedy club to give me permission to connect my device to his soundboard.  "I promise: I'll re-connect all the cables I pulled.  I know.  I know.  The last guy that promised you that didn't take care of that. Then, because you do a soundcheck, you didn't have audio until a half-hour into the show.  I swear.  I won't leave you hanging."

I've had that conversation a million times.  Because I worked two weeks after an irresponsible, big-headed douche who screwed up the club's audio, I didn't get to record.  Or, I did get to record, but I had a long tenuous conversation before they'd let me do anything.

With the H1, I don't have to do that anymore. I also don't have to wear a lavalier mic.  I'm not a news reporter.  I don't need a lav.

I also don't have to worry about the door guy slash sound guy accidentally turning my device off or pressing a button so I don't get any recording.

I have crystal clear audio in my pocket.  If for any reason it is screwed up, it's because I forgot to put in new batteries. That's it.  I'm the only one who's accountable.  I am extremely thankful for that.

3. The H1 can record a variety of file formats.
This part isn't glamorous.  This is nerd talk.  My H1 can record broadcast quality WAV (96 kHz, 48 kHz, 44.1 kHZ, at 16-bit or 24-bit). It can also record mp3 from 48 mbps to 320 mbps. Source:

The point is, I can record over 2 hours' worth of high quality audio, or over 20 hours' worth of still pretty amazing audio!  Considering I'm the kind of guy who occasionally forgets to empty my memory card before my next recording, this is huge!

As long as I put in fresh batteries, I always have a recording.  Reliability is crucial when recording.  The H1 is more reliable than I am!  I'm thankful for that.

Well, I've been switching up the topics a little bit, lately. The thing is I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have an amazing loving fiancee.  I have a wonderful family, wonderful friends. I have the tools I need to do my work.  I have breath, life, legs with which to walk.  I have an imperfect mind that is seeking to be more.  So, you're going to get a lot of random topics in this blog.  They do all fit together, though: these are all pieces of me that I am glad to have in my life. I'm thankful.

As always, I'm thankful you read my blog, too.

Bye!  I'm Jake!

P.S. Check out The Battery Podcast here: . Or, if you'd like to listen to it on your smartphone, you can also listen to it on Stitcher:

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