Sometimes I think that the Podfeet Podcasts are just an elaborate ruse to allow me to try out new gadgets and software. It is most evident in how I can’t seem to stop refining how I produce both the recorded and the live show. If you’ve never taken a look at the live show diagram, it’s worth a peek to see the madness. It needs to be updated a bit as a few things have changed, but the fundamental structure of it is still the same.
What never changes though is my desire to swap out one tool for another. In fact, that’s why it’s out of date!
Usually I’m trying to solve a problem, but sometimes I experiment with a tool just to learn about it to find out if it solves any problems. In the last couple of weeks I’ve started playing around with a tool called Discord. Discord is a free, dedicated app for the Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android, as well as a web-app from discordapp.com. If my early testing is right, it could replace a lot of apps for me, reduce the complexity, and make it easier to connect with people for Chit Chat, all while actually giving you an enhanced experience during the live show.
This piece started out as a simple review of one piece of software, but as I began writing, I realised it’s one of those times where a bit of storytelling is in order.
Some listeners will know that I once had a podcast of my own. Technically, I still do, but it’s a pretty rare release these days. I started right around the same time Allison did but instead of tech, my podcast was about music.
Listener Jill sent in a great dumb question this week, and Allison decided that I was more qualified to answer. Here’s Jill’s question:
What is a “receiver”?
The reason for my question is, Apple told us at WWDC that the 4th gen Apple TV could be used as a destination for Airplay 2 (multi-room audio). But the 4th gen Apple TV has no audio out, so how can that work? I don’t want my TV screen lighting up every time I want to play a podcast! Well, I asked around, and I got told “You need a receiver that offers HDMI connections”. Hence my question. So … what is a “receiver”? Also, supplementary question – why is it called a “receiver”? I have a good old fashioned amp, because I’m nearly as old as you are. I get amps: sound sources go in; you choose one, adjust the volume, job done. You can’t buy them any more – just these receiver things, and since I never got on that train, I haven’t a clue where to start asking about them.
Good question, Jill. You actually pose a couple questions. The first is “What is a receiver and why is it called a receiver?” and the second (implied) question is “How do you play audio from a gen 4 Apple TV?”
Let’s start with what is a receiver and why is it called a receiver. There are several types of receivers but the relevant ones for this discussion are an audio receiver and an A/V (audio/video) receiver.
Lately I’ve run into a slew of tech problems, finding bugs in just about everything, hardware and software. This has given me the “opportunity” to compare reactions of companies when I tell them about the problems. I would normally write a huge diatribe about those that didn’t meet my expectations, but instead I’m going to tell you about the gold standard in support. That company is Rogue Amoeba, the makers of Audio Hijack.
I’ve talked about Audio Hijack quite a bit on the show, but to bring everyone up to speed, it’s the absolute center point to how I create the podcast. Audio Hijack, as the name implies, hijacks the audio on your Mac, allowing you to route it in interesting ways.
I create the podcast recordings completely without a complicated hardware mixer. With Audio Hijack I can capture the audio of a Skype call and my voice on two separate tracks, add effects like an equalizer and a compressor. I can route the audio back to my headphones so I can monitor my own voice for any problems along with that of my partner on the show. I can also send the audio to a recorder to capture an uncompressed audio file. Audio Hijack is essential for the creation of the Podfeet Podcasts.
Allister here standing in for Allison this week. I have a miniature review of using the Apple Watch Series 2 for swim workouts, I’ll quickly review 26 Mac Apps you didn’t know you already had, Allison will pop by with two more videos from the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, I’ll make some recommendations for podcasts you might want to listen to that aren’t about technology, Terry delivers on his callout from Allison with a review of GhostReader text to speech software, and I’ll finish up with a review of the BeatsX Bluetooth earbuds with Apple W1 chip.