Category Archives: Tech Talk

Spiking the mic

I am spiking my microphones in the hopes that it will deter people from “cupping” the mics. Cupping the mic causes feedback, makes you sound horrible and look like an amateur. I’m not sure it is gong to work, but I figure it is worth a try.

image

My first thought was a little more extreme…
spikesfull

Finding Songs Using Pandora

I often choose my radio station based on what I want to sing in the hopes of finding new gems. That is great when driving around, but when you are at your computer why not just enter one of your favorite singing songs into Pandora and create a channel based on it!

My new favorite song to sing is Wasted Time by the Eagles and here is what Pandora came up with:

  1. Bob Seger :: Against the Wind — Sang it!
  2. John Lennon :: Imagine — Added to my list!
  3. Counting Crows :: A Long December — Added!
  4. The Eagles :: The Last Resort — One of my staples.
  5. Styx :: The Best Of Times — GREAT IDEA!
  6. Jackson Brown :: The Pretender — Hmmm, will give it a shot.
  7. The Beatles :: The Long and Winding Road (Naked version) — Will give the Paul McCartney version a shot.
  8. The Eagles :: Hotel California (Hell Freezes Over version) — tough one, but love it. Wish I had that version!
  9. Journey :: When You Love a Woman — Whoa! Got to try it (-1:)
  10. Bob Seger :: We’ve Got Tonight — Sang it.

Wow, ten great songs in a row. Stop it already! I now have this weeks worth of materials to sing.

Once you have your list you can check my karaoke book to make sure I have it. If I don’t you can check if it is available on either TriceraSoft or Karaoke-Version. Let me know if you find any songs I don’t have that are available and I will gladly buy the song so you can sing it at my show. Your suggestions really help me build my book, so don’t be shy about asking.

I’ve opened up the comments for a few weeks, so click on the title of to go to the post and let me know what you find.

KJPaul Recordings getting better and better!

I am starting to get the recording thing down and the quality of the recordings have been improving quite a bit over time. For example, check out the recordings for Sunday nights karaoke at Dalva or Monday at the Lookout. There is a lot of timing and juggling of priorities involved and there are a lot of subtleties. Here are some of them:

  • how much reverb to add
  • keeping the volumes from creeping into the clipping zone
  • vocal levels vs music levels for each singer/mic
  • mute/unmute unused mics to minimize/add noise
  • how much compression to add to each mic in use to either
    • fill out the voice
    • or compliment the singers dynamic range
  • add or reduce the singers mid-range
  • keep the volumes in the room as well as for the singers in check
  • separate EQ-ing and levels for the recordings vs the room
  • label each recording for the website
  • mark which recordings go on the site and which don’t
  • keep track of who is waiting and who has left for the night
  • MC the event
  • Keep the crowd going, dance and have fun
  • figure out who is next based on
    • how long have they waited
    • have they had a chance to sing yet
    • is their group happy with how often they have been called
    • how many people are in the queue and will everyone even get to sing
    • personalities
    • special needs like is it their birthday, need to catch BART etc.
    • have they sung in a group sing

I could go on…there is a lot to keep track of… and then to do all that while people are talking to me, I am drinking booze, and then there is the most important part of my job
flirting with the girls!
🙂

I will be adding the ability to log into kjpaul.com so you can manage which songs are available and in what order they play etc.. You will be able to rate songs and although you won’t be able to see how a song is rated, it will effect which songs make it to the best of pages etc. that I will be adding… It will be a couple of months…so be patient. Even more big improvements are coming!

Recordings syncing once again

Some of you noticed that the recordings from the past few weeks were not matching up with the songs listed. The issue started when I had to restore my laptop from my backups. It turned out that I lost about 500 records, so there are a couple of weeks worth of songs missing. I still have those recordings, but they are currently stored as orphaned files on my server. I may or may not try to restore the links to those files. If there is a particular one you want restored I may be able to restore it for you. You can find them at: kjpaul.com/songs/2011/orphans/

UPDATE: I moved the files into their individual nights, so now they are in the flow by date, but they are named “Orphan”. If I actually find the missing records I will add the names and titles etc. In the mean while, it is pretty easy to scan through the nights if you want to grab your songs…just hit “Play All” and click the >> until you hear the song you are looking for.

The orphaned files start at http://kjpaul.com/11/09/21/ and go though http://kjpaul.com/11/10/03/. As always you can see the list of all the nights at: http://kjpaul.com/karaoke/recordings/

New Books + Recording pages miss-match

I recently had to restore my karaoke laptop from backup and in the process an error occurred in the file numbering, so some of the recordings are out of sync with the song pages. So, when you play a karaoke recording it may not be what it says it is. I am aware of this and will fix it soon.

The good news is that I fixed a lot of the file names so the naming of the songs will be better and I created new song books. You can see the books online now at KJPaul.com/files/books/.

I will be printing new books soon. I will print By Artist books and By Song book. I will add the “Potential Duets” pages to the front of the “By Artist” books and the Spanish pages to the back of the by Artist books.

20,000 new KJPaul.com pages

The individual song, singer, artist, song title and individual night pages are now live on KJPaul.com. You can now search for a singer, a night or a song title or an “in the style of” artist and get back all the karaoke recordings that match your search. There are even Wikipedia and YouTube links to the artist or song title when viewing either an artist or title selection.

You can also view individual song pages so you and link to individual song on Facebook and there is even a short URL so you can twitter your recordings if you so desire. To get to the individual “[S]ong pages” click on the [S] on the for right of each row! If the row is yellow the recording is linked and you can play it. If it is white, the recording either does not exist or it is not link so you can’t play it.

Here are a few examples:

Agent J singing Wild is the Wind in the style of David Bowie:
Full: kjpaul.com/11/09/25/agent-j/david-bowie/wild-is-the-wind/25964 Short: kjpaul.com/25964

All the songs where the artist name contains “Bruce””
Full: kjpaul.com/artist/bruce Shrot: kjpaul.com/r/bruce

All the songs with “Love” in the title:
Full: kjpaul.com/title/love Short: kjpaul.com/t/love

All the songs sung by “David P”:
Full: kjpaul.com/singer/david+p Short: kjpaul.com/s/david+p

All the songs sung on Thursday, September 29th:
kjpaul.com/11/09/29/

Compression and Leveling?

One of the technical issues with recording karaoke is that everyone sings different and the levels need to be adjusted for every song/singer. Karaoke singers also tend to push the dynamic range of the recording so compression is often key to reducing potential clipping which results in distortion. Compression rounds off the clipping while also reducing the dynamic range to within the limits of the recording and adding some warmth to the lower end.

I also assume that many of you are listening to the recordings on your laptops, so I further boost the lower volumes a bit using leveling.

The combination of compression and leveling makes the overall volume of the track considerably louder, while reducing the peak volumes, so the tracks sound noticeably louder, but the quality differences are more subtle. Both processes reduce the actual quality of the sound a bit, but add to it as well. The trick is to add just enough to make it sound feel better without noticeably distorting it.

Here are 3 versions of the same recording where I added first compression and then leveling. This recording did not have a lot of clipping to start so it can be listened to with or without the effects. The question is what sounds better? Try opening all 3 in separate browser tabs and pausing them at the same spot in the recordings and comparing them. Let me know what you think of the differances on my Facebook fan page.

You Don’t Bring Flowers by Lambchop and Dwayne:
Raw recording
With Compression
With Leveling and Compression

Which version do you like better? Please tell me on my KJPaul Facebook Fan Page.

Hear more recordings at http://kjpaul.com/songs/ and http://kjpaul.com/songs/new/

Recordings temporary location

I am currently putting all the new recordings is a directory called:
http://kjpaul.com/songs/new/201009 (…/new/{yearmonth})

I am now trying to put the singer name and song title in the file name so people can identify them. Let me know if I put the wrong name of on the files.

Here is the back story:

The day I was leaving for Burning Man I got an urgent call from Scott, my sub, because he was having software issues. He was not able to pull up songs and there was a crowd waiting to sing! I could not help him over the phone so I rushed down to Deco.

It turned out that Just Karaoke failed in a major way. I could not fix the issue, so I had to download a new version of the software and reinstall it while everyone was waiting! In the heat of the moment I wound up corrupting the local backup of the database so I installed Just Karaoke fresh, without its history or any of my custom edits!

F#$%! All the data that was suppose to be there for the search functionality on kjpaul.com was now gone and I have to retrieve it from my backup hard drive! To make matters worse, Scott needed to use the software in the mean while and I have to merge the two if I want to keep the old history!

That really puts a monkey wrench in my plans to create the search feature for my site, so for the time being your will need to retrieve your songs from the temporary directory structure:
http://kjpaul.com/songs/new/{yearmonth}

I will leave the songs I upload so people can link to them.

This also means that I can’t post any playlists until this is fixed.