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I recently picked up a Tascam DR-70D as part of a solution for lightweight session recording for For Folk’s Sake.

I can drag my full audio setup around with the help of a rolling Peli case but it’s not much fun. Partly it’s transporting the interface, but on top of that the laptop, with a power adapter and a safety extension lead. So I decided to try using a field recorder instead.

I’ve been using a pair of Panasonic GX8s, primarily for session videos, for a few months. I’ve written about the GX8 before, but now I’ve now added a GX80 I thought I do a quick comparison of the two, as well as sharing some initial thoughts.

Because a man can never have too many hobbies, a few months ago I look on the role of live reviews editor for For Folk’s Sake. As part of this I had the idea of starting up a series of live sessions.

I’ve added a Panasonic GX8 to my camera bag. Firstly, this is to supplement for gig photography, replacing the E-M5 with my current X100S + 2 x MFT arrangement and ultimately allowing a 3 x MFT bag when lenses allow. Secondly, I’ve been working on a video related project that I’ll describe another time.

So much of a user’s experience of a camera is driven by the firmware that runs it. For a while Fujifilm were doing a good job of frequently releasing firmware updates for their X-series cameras, even for some models that were discontinued. This process even had a name “Kaizen”, and was somewhat promoted as a key philosophy of the brand. Unfortunately, this didn’t apply to the X100S which I own.

Just over a year ago I started generating this blog not with Wordpress but with a Perl script. The first version, DmBlog was a dirty hack but proved the point. I then expanded this script into DmSite which was capable of building my whole site.

DmSite worked, just about, but was pretty creaky and in no way could be used by anyone else. I decided it was worth a bit of a refactor to tidy it up and the resulting project is Parakeet.

Another new lens. How did I get here?

When I bought into the Fujifilm X series with the X-E2 and XF56/1.2, the intention was to replace my E-M5 and Olympus 45/1.8 combination for gig photography. This didn’t work out as the Fujifilm combination completely failed to autofocus. I was going to stick with it as a manual focus setup, but over Christmas the X-E2 also struggled to focus with the 18-55 zoom in borderline indoor light and I just lost patience with it and sent the lot to eBay.

My previous post discussed modifying formats and metadata of music files to improve compatibility with Sonos music streamers. This post focuses on podcasts. I liked the idea of having podcasts automatically downloaded and made available for the Sonos, as it feeds into the idea of being a highly-available source of audio.

Several years ago I had a Squeezebox music streamer. I liked it, but gave it up as it was a pain to keep running due to the requirements and foibles of the server software. After that I just used a generic media streamer for living room music playback, but the interface is awful as you have to slowly scroll through directories with the remote.

I knew Sonos existed, but wasn’t really tempted until I saw someone else’s setup with a Connect Amp (streamer and integrated amp) with Play 1 and Play 5 speakers. The Connect Amp sounded pretty good with bookshelf speakers and the Play speakers were as good as you could expect for the size. Two things I particularly liked were how easy it was to start playing music, a touch on the iPad interface and music comes out, and the multiroom effect. Having the music coming out of all speakers mentally frees you to move around the house without losing the thread, even if it means shifting to a smaller playback device.

Back in 1995, when CDs were still relevant, a company called Pacific Microsonics introduced a new CD encoding method called HDCD that claimed to store 20 bits of audio data on the 16 bit format, whilst still maintaining compatibility with CD players.

At some broadly similar time, I had support for HDCD I was using an the first Musical Fidelity X-DAC. For the curiosity value I deliberately hunted out CDs that had it such as Green Day’s Nimrod, Joni Mitchell’s Hits and, erm... the Independence Day soundtrack. It was slim pickings if I’m honest.

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