Jimmy Crack Audio, And I Do Care

Snap Crackle Pop

Cool audio waves

"Cool audio waves" by qubodup is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

 

How a Space Shuttle got sick

Minivan

^ The above is a picture of me the day I surrendered my masculinity and bought a minivan. ^

 

I love my van.  I do not pretend to be a masculine, burly, Ford F150-loving He-Man, although I have to admit that having the power of Greyskull at my command does sound rather enticing.

No.  For me, I own a minivan because I have two small children who are small.  Though my children are small, what they require to take them anywhere is NOT small, and requires a caravan of tractor trailers and flatbed trucks in order to ensure that wherever we go, they will have their needs met.  I have considered selling them.  The children, not the trucks.

My van, however, I will most assuredly NOT sell.  It is a souped-up, low-riding, 2020 Honda Odyssey pimp-mobile.  By souped-up I mean I mounted an aftermarket cellphone dash holder onto it, and by low-riding I mean it does that because I am heavy and I am in it, and by pimp-mobile I mean not.  By 2020 Honda Odyssey I mean 2020 Honda Odyssey.

I have said before – in a previous blog that revolutionized blogging everywhere – that I am a soccer mom.  I love my little space shuttle.  It is white, it is long, it carries things, and it goes from zero to sixty in three days, so please just look out.  It actually looks so much like a space shuttle that we are going to attempt a launch soon, and see how high we can get it.  That will be me you see on the news, and, soon after, the obits.

I assure you I am going somewhere with all of this. I truly did need to write a blog about what I am about to reveal to you, because otherwise my blog readers would eat me.  Or die.  Or die from eating me.  I am not sure which.

Alas, nothing claimed as perfect is actually perfect, no matter what the infomercials say.  And as functional and beautiful as my van might be, it caught a virus.  A nasty virus that made crackling sounds from underneath my dash that sounded so loud, I was convinced that gremlins were roasting smores in there.  So I did the sensible thing that any man would do when there is a problem, which is to ignore it until it piles up and I can no longer find the Apple TV remote, at which point it then becomes an Actual Tangible Problem that affects my recreation.  At that point, Further Action must be taken.

By Further Action I mean spraying Windex on it.  This, however, did not do anything except to anger the dashboard gremlins because I had doused their campfire and ruined their smores.  I now saw no other option.

It was time to take it in to THE SHOP.

 

THE SHOP

Auto shop

"Auto shop" by LuisJouJR is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

 

THE SHOP is a place where many cars and space shuttles go to die, so I was naturally reticent.  In THE SHOP, large multi-thousand-dollar invoices are generated for Highly Complicated Things such as filling wiper fluid and testing blinkers.  I believe that THE SHOP has a negative reputation on Yelp, but then again, many places do, because, well, it is Yelp.  In THE SHOP, my van would be heavily dismantled while greasy technicians leave their destructive oils all over it in places I will never see, but will know, uncomfortably, are there.

But I digress.  The audio was crackling and needed to be uncrackled, which is now a word.  The gremlins also needed to be removed because I did not ask for them to be in there, and so I made sure to take it to a Honda dealership that specializes in both grimy fingerprints and gremlin removal.  You see, the technicians there are trained professionals.  They know what they are doing and it is their job to ensure that your vehicle is returned to you…

…in exactly the same condition it was before.

By “exactly the same condition it was before”, I mean the following.  When they called me a few days later to inform me that it was ready for pickup, I rushed down there with my son Brennan, whom I did not sell, and we were excited to see Barbara again.  Oh, Barbara is what I named my Space Shuttle.  Barbara looked nice, she smelled nice, and she glistened.  I gave her a small peck and we were on our way.  I turned up the music and enjoyed the soothing sounds of 100.7 The Wolf, accompanied by a delightful crackling noise that I was fairly certain I still did not want to be in there.  In fact, something in my recent memory suggested to me that the very place I was driving away from was supposed to fix that.  However, “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker was blaring loudly, and I figured the problem would likely resolve, because problems getting resolved is usually what happens when you play Wagon Wheel.

Here is where I insert a sigh, and hopefully you will too.  In less than ten miles down the road after leaving the, ahem, “experts”, my beautiful Barbara continued to crackle, and it was as if the gremlins were determined to make up for lost time - because I believe it sounded something like a mixture of planetoid explosions and a death metal concert.  I was confused, because apparently I do not know the right English phrase for “Can you please get rid of this crackling?”  I decided to pick up an English-to-Honda translation guide on my way home from THE SHOP.

At any rate, there I was a few days later, returning my beloved Barbara back to THE SHOP with my son (who apparently enjoys ill-fated Honda trips), and once again receiving the trusty stock blue loaner van that they assured me was “good enough” because it was the same model as my space shuttle.  You know you are using a rental and visiting technicians far too often when the loaner van instantly recognizes your iPhone via Bluetooth.  I am fairly certain I heard the Bluetooth speaker say, “Welcome back, Mr. Alexander.”

Now, I am not a vengeful person.  However I made sure to have Brennan spill Happy Meal ketchup deep in the recesses of the seat on our way home.

No one messes with my Barbara.

 

STOP NOT CARING

Jamie Pawlus' 'Care, Don't Care'

"Jamie Pawlus' 'Care, Don't Care'" by Shawn Hoke is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

In time, my beloved van was eventually fixed.  All it took was two trips down to the local Honda dealership, two trips home, a few Happy Meals, and a willingness to be separated from CarPlay, which is a wonderful bit of technology that will someday inevitably make me crash into other vehicles.  I believe Honda installed this to ensure my return trip to THE SHOP.

But it got me thinking - and here is where the rubber meets the road (see what I did there?) - how many of us are willing to tolerate a little audio crackle?  We are voiceover artists.  We cannot afford to slough it off, wave a dismissive hand and say, “Pfffft.  Not a big deal." That is what novice voice talent do.  Pops and clicks won't cut the mustard with professional producers.  This is what separates the men from the boys.

You might try some Windex on it.  But if you are truly experiencing audio issues, please do not take your voiceover studio to Honda.  Trust someone like:

GET IT FIXED BY REAL PROFESSIONALS.  Do not settle for loaner quality, or being out of commission.  Do not settle for good enough.

I could have just accepted my van's audio as "just the way it is."  I did not have to take it back into the shop.  But I paid for good audio.  I paid for good equipment.  I deserved good audio.  I was not going to settle.

In a sea of voice talent who do produce good audio, who are setting the pace, who will distinguish themselves, how will you stand out from the herd...and get heard?

How will you stay out of THE SHOP?

Now if you will excuse me, I must go get ready for the launch countdown.  It is T-minus-10 and the gremlins are rearin' to go.  Hey, Mama, rock me...

 

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Like this blog?  My children are counting on you to put bread on our table through the purchase of one of my books.  By the way, low-guilt-trip sales pushes are my specialty.

 

NOTE: This blog is purely for commentary / educational / entertainment purposes.  I make no money from these blogs; though I do not refuse large cash gifts if it means I can pretend I'm a church.

 

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Joshua Alexander
Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Artist for hire
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15 thoughts on “Jimmy Crack Audio, And I Do Care”

  1. Editing and creating a stellar final product is one of the first of many skills one should learn. Yes, to err is human; something might get missed, but it should be as nearly perfect as humanistically possible. One caveat* one does need to create a mental set point upon which enough is enough; there is a point that editing becomes too much.

  2. I remember once renting a vehicle that I had rented before and my bluetooth was remembered so I knew it was actually the same car. Which was so weird to me. And I learned a good lesson, DELETE BLUETOOTH MEMORY FROM VEHICLE WHEN FINISHED! LOL!

    I couldn’t agree more with you that we are professionals and must go that extra distance to make sure that we don’t become too complacent with our work and just dump it out there. In order to “separate ourselves as men from the boys” it’s something that all business owners need to keep in mind. You work so hard to GET the client, you might as well continue that hard work to KEEP the client, cause it’s definitely more difficult to get another NEW one than to keep the one you already have. Good lessons here! 🙂

  3. Totally agree! I’m always looking to improve my audio! For example, my “default” EQ I created never stays the default for long, lol. I also check the result on multiple output devices to make sure it sounds good and I listen to it a few times too. Hassle? Definitely! Worth it? You know it! Cannot settle!

      1. I know right?! And it sometimes happens from left or right or right to left, just depends on how you stand and whether the compass is upside down or not! lol

  4. My baby plays a guitar, I pick a banjo now….

    Oh, sorry what? Did you say some other stuff? I can’t hear you over the Darius in my head.

  5. You know, when you look at that pimp-mobile from just the right angle, it doesn’t quite look like a van! I’ve always wondered if modern, computerized vehicles can get viruses, though. Feels like it’s only a matter of time before some ransomware gets its little tendrils into the software and wreaks havoc. In the spirit of getting through all of that, great post as always and I hope you have a *FZZZZTTGGRZZZZZTTTT* day!!

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