(Modulate This) Microphones Online Streaming Reviews

In Use – The RØDE PodMic and PSA1 Professional Studio Boom Arm for Online Meetings, Podcasts, Online Streaming Concerts, & Voiceovers

In this post I’ll offer some info on my journey to finding a good, budget-friendly, broadcast-style mic and boom solution to up my game for online meetings, online streaming concerts, podcast interviews, and voiceovers.

Note: I’m not an affiliate. Just passing on a solution that works well for me 😀

My Use Cases

I needed a broadcast-style mic and boom solution to satisfy the use cases below.

1 – Zoom and Online Meetings

Of course, we’ve all been on a zillion zoom meetings by now, and I wasn’t really happy with using what I had on-hand (more on this below).

In particular, I’ve been hosting a lot of meetings for the Rocky Mountain Synth Meet and coming up this week, I’m a guest presenter on anther online event – Subs Up & BAUG present: Using the Launchpad Pro MK3 w/ Ableton Live and Hardware on Monday the 18th.

2 – Talkback mic for Online Streaming Concerts

I’ve started to get booked for online streaming multimedia concerts such as Boulder Experiments in Art & Technology meetup – Creative technology Performances and Demos meetup on Friday the 22nd.

I have my sit / stand IKEA desk on the right and my live streaming Elektron rig with Resolume on the left, so that with a boom I can use one mic for multiple applications.

BTW – here is a 3 minute teaser of my online multimedia set, which continues to evolve.

3 – Podcast Interviews

I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed for podcasts such as Darwin Grosse’s Art + Music + Technology Podcast #23 and #139, and Brian Funk’s Music Production Podcast #99. I have a few pending invites, so I thought I’d up my game.

4 – Voiceovers

It’s been a number of years since I’ve done video tutorials and I’ve been thinking about doing them again from time-to-time. For this use case I wanted to have some sort of standing boom, broadcast-style mic setup that wouldn’t pick up much room noise.

On a related note – here is a classic from 10 years back that is still relevant today.

My Recent Journey on Zoom Meetings for the Rocky Mountain Synth Meet

Prior to the pandemic, I was already working on plans to take the Rocky Mountain Synth Meet online. Since March 12th, I’ve hosted 9 online events. My first step was to use what I hand on hand.

Sure SM-58

In the first few weeks of being constantly online, I started with a Sure SM-57 with a foam windscreen on a mic stand that has a boom arm. The natural thing to do is have the mic pointing up at you so as to not block the screen.

This didn’t work because, of course, that then makes it hard to see what you are doing on your computer keyboard. I tried putting this set up off to the side to speak across the mic but it just didn’t sound great due to the mic’s pickup pattern.


Next, I tried using a RØDE NT1-A on a mic stand with a boom in a spider shock mount with a foam windscreen (I don’t like having the big pop filter for the meeting use case.) The spider mount allowed me to have the mic hanging from above, out of the way, and it sounded great.

Two problems arose for me at this point. First, the mic pickup pattern is broad so it was picking up sounds like my heater coming on. Also, at this point I was really over the mic stand with the boom option because I kept bumping into it or stepping on the legs which send a loud “bang” noise through the meetings.

RØDE PodMic and PSA1 Professional Studio Boom Arm FTW!

I started down the path of sifting through piles of reviews, YouTube videos, product pages, and specs of mics and boom stands. Talk about overwhelming 😯.

At some point, I said to hell with it and decided to take a chance on RØDE since I was already a fan of the NT1-A and they had a fairly affordable pairing of mic and boom arm.

I went with the RØDE PodMic and PSA1 Professional Studio Boom Arm.

RØDE PodMic – $99

I love this mic! It has a built-in pop-filter, and the mic pattern works well when you talk across the mic, yet it doesn’t pick up all sorts of background noise. If you get up on the mic you get a proximity effect giving you a nice broadcaster’s tone. Coming in at 2lbs, it’s beefy.

Here are some specs:

  • Broadcast-quality dynamic capsule
  • Optimized for speech applications
  • Internal pop filter to minimize plosives
  • Robust, all metal construction
  • Designed for use with RØDECaster™ Pro Podcast Production

On a related note, now that I have this mic, I noticed it’s the same mic that Nick Batt uses for the Sonic Talk Podcast 😀.

PSA1 Professional Studio Boom Arm – $99

I assume this stand is designed for use with this mic as the balance is perfect, even though the PodMic is beefy.

Here are some specs:

  • An ideal studio boom arm for radio, broadcast, and home use
  • Supports most broadcast-style microphones weighing between 1.5 lbs. and 2.4 lbs. such as the RODE Procaster or Podcaster
  • Full 360-degree rotation makes positioning your microphone easy
  • Maximum horizontal reach of up to 32″ and maximum vertical reach of up to 33″ provide ample desk coverage
  • Supplied hook-and-loop wraps keep your mic cables tucked neatly out of the way
  • Desk clamp attachment provides mounting to desks as thick as 2.16″
  • Insert attachment provided for use with standard desk inserts up to 2.75″ thick


Attaching the mount to the desk is just a few turns of the clamp screw. Then, you just pop the boom into the desk mount and mount the mic. Installing the boom and mic took all of 5 minutes.

So far, I’ve tested this setup in online meetings and for test streams with talkback mic. These use cases are similar enough to the others I mentioned that I feel confident this solution is going to work really well for all my use cases.

Transitioning from other use cases to the Talkback mic for Online Streaming Concerts use case is great. As I mentioned, my studio is setup so that my sit / stand IKEA desk is on the right, and my live streaming synth rig with Resolume is on the left. If I swing the boom to the left, I have a talk-back mic for live performance. If I swing it to the right, I use it for online meetings, video tutorials, and podcast interviews. When not in use, I move the boom and mic up and over the monitor and it sits out of the way.

For $200 bucks it ticks all the boxes for what I was looking for. From my perspective, the solution offers great quality and value for the money.


(Modulate This) Launchkey

I Mind Mapped My Fav Top Features of the Launchkey Mini MK3

I recently picked up a Launchkey Mini MK3. Wow – what an improvement over past generations.

The short of it is: the keys are super playable with a light synth touch, the pads feel like smaller versions of the Launchpad Pro MK3 and Launchpad X, and the knobs are small but probably the best feeling pots on a mini controller I’ve experienced.

Currently, I’m using it to as a keyboard controller for my trusty Elektron Analog Four via hardware MIDI and to simultaneously use a custom pad mode to control Resolume via USB MIDI.

There is a lot of other useful features which I documented in this interactive Mind Map.

View large interactive version of mind map here


(Modulate This) Elektron Music Industry

Rolling Stone Reports “Sales of Instruments and Music Gear Are Soaring. Will Quarantine Spark a Renaissance? “

Passing along this interesting article from Rolling Stone.

Sales of Instruments and Music Gear Are Soaring. Will Quarantine Spark a Renaissance?

I’m an Elektron fan so nice to see them get a mention in Rolling Stone.

As creative consumers continue to stay home, they’re investing in gear for their home-rigs and studios — mics, speakers, audio interfaces, music-making software, and more. Searches for audio interfaces are up 303% year-over-year.”…

Complexity, dear Watson

Purchases of expensive, multi-faceted gear may suggest a rise in the complexity of music that people are creating nowadays.

“Drum machines and sequencers are greatly outselling live percussion instruments, which isn’t what we typically see,” says Tuerk. “In particular, we saw a significant increase in Elektron orders — specifically the Digitone polyphonic digital synthesizer and the Digitakt digital drum computer & sampler — compared to the month prior and this time last year. Elektron synthesizers and drum machines are typically used to make serious electronic music. They’re intricate pieces of gear and require more time to master, so the increase in Elektron orders leads me to believe that people are making more complex music at home.”

— Jim Tuerk, Reverb’s business development director

Sweetwater and other retailers are seeing a big uptick in sales as well.

Music retailer Sweetwater has also seen a significant uptick in content and product sales from its website. Sweetwater CEO Chuck Surack tells Rolling Stone that the previous seven days were bigger than the week they had after Thanksgiving last year. Sweetwater is getting 500,000 visitors a day — around double what they’d normally see — and they’re shipping about 15-20,000 orders every day, he says.

(Modulate This) Lighting Live Performance Online Streaming

Inexpensive Rechargeable Lighting Recommendation for Online Meetings and Dark Performance and Studio Environments

In this post I wanted to share a recommendation on an inexpensive rechargeable light I’ve been using. I’m NOT an Amazon affiliate or anything like that. Just wanted to offer a tip :^)

First up let me explain my use cases, then I’ll offer the recommendation.

Use Cases

Use Case 1 – Playing in Dark Environments

Back in January I played a set on all Elektron gear in a near dark environment for the Zodiak Free Arts Lab West concert series in Lafayette Colorado. This event was presented by @tiertwolive.

The lighting in the space was super cool with shimmering blue lights painting the walls. It kind of looked like you were in the bottom of a swimming pool at night. On top of all that, one of the other artists Redwing Blackbird brought lasers and a smoke machine! Here are a few picks of the venue, Victoria Lundy, Me, and Redwing Blackbird performing in the space.

So while I was performing I was almost completely blinded – haha. Check out this short video clip from the set and you’ll see what I mean.

Video courtesy of Michant Metrique. “Gonna Rise Up” is a song from the album Fear Cannot Save Us and is also on the Live at Mountain Skies album.

Rewind to sound check. I realized while being immersed in smoke, lasers, and dark blue light I could in fact make out the buttons and controls on the Digitone and Octatrack MKII thanks to their backlit buttons – yay!. Not so much with my trusty Analog Four MKI which has LED dots with screen painted labels – boo! The show producer was kind enough to point a blue light on my gear which helped as did playing the muscle memory I acquired by playing Analog Four MKI for a number of years.

I had a goose neck LED but I forgot to bring it. It only had one intensity so I think the light would have ruined the aesthetic.

Use Case 2 – Front Lighting for Zoom Meetings

I had already started to make plans to take the Rocky Mountain Synth Meet online in February as I was having some problems finding rooms. Of course all that work helped us when we HAD to transition to online.

I found myself as all of us in a whole lot of Zoom meetings from a location in my house where the lighting isn’t great. Therefore, Use Case 2 was to see if I could find a light that would do double-duty for front lighting for online meetings.

The Hunt for a Cheap Rechargeable LED Light

After some research and trial and error buying some lights on Amazon I found one I really like.

The BIGLIGHT Book Reading Light which costs all of $12.99.

3 LIGHTING MODES — With the touch switch on the book light head, you can switch for 3 lighting modes at 3000K(Warm White), 4300K(Warm White + Cool White), 8000K(Cool White).

STURDY & SECURE PADDED CLIP — With strong & robust rubber padded clamp, you can clip the reading light on almost anything like music stand, piano, orchestra pit, book, desk,bed headboard, etc.

SUPER BRIGHT & DIMMABLE — Each music stand light has 8pcs longlasting LEDs, 100 lumens, very bright. And the brightness can be dimmed from 100% to 5%, no flicker, no shadow, no dizzy light, good for eye protection.

RECHARGEABLE — The built-in rechargeable polymer lithium battery is 1500mA. Fully charged can use for as long as 12 hours.

EXTENDABLE LIGHTING HEAD — The piano light’s head can be folded or extended 180 degree, which can provide a wider lighting area.

In Use for Performing and Online Meetings

Some things that make this light a winner for me are:

  1. The clamp can opened quite wide so you can not only use this on a music stand but clamp to a desk or mic stand
  2. I haven’t done a timed test, but the battery life is great
  3. The warm light mode means you don’t have to use a gel (like with some other low cost solutions) to use it as a meeting front lite for Zoom meetings and such
  4. It’s bright enough that if you want to splash it off a wall for more diffused lite it works pretty well
  5. Being able to dim this down means you could use it for gigging without competing too much with the stage lighting vibe. Also you being able to adjust the intensity for an online meeting is essential.

It’s the Little Things

I’ve been gigging for many, many years now and it’s always the little things that can screw up your live set. Not being able to see is one of them. Throw this handy light in your gig bag and you’ll have one less thing to worry about. Plus you’ll look less ghostly on online meetings – bam!

(Modulate This) Elektron Elektron Analog Four Improvisation resolume Sonic Encounters Soundscapes Podcast Sound Design

New Sonic Encounters Soundscape “Replicant’s Dream” + Video of Improv Session w/ Analog Four and Interactive Visuals w/ Resolume

I just released a Bandcamp subscriber preview of a new soundscape called “Replican’ts Dream” obviously inspired by Bladerunner. Music and visuals improvised and recorded in one real-time pass. Music is performed on Elektron Analog Four MKI using 4 tracks with no sequencing. Visual synthesis in Resolume Arena.

Video of Live Recording Sessions

Here is a video of the recording session.

Teaser for New Live Visuals

This video will also give you a sense of new visuals I’m working on for my live set for online streaming (and eventually for in-person performances). I make use of visual synthesis on various sources including live camera input and control the set in real-time with a LaunchPad PRO MK3 custom mode.

Audio Version of Song

A high-rez audio version of this soundscape is also now available to my bandcamp subscribes as part of the preview of the forthcoming album Sonic Encounters Volume 03 Learn more about my subscription here

(Modulate This) Modular Modular Synthesis Modular Synthesizers New Releases

New Colorado Modular Synth Society Compilation Album + Listening Party

Spreading the word. The Colorado Modular Synth Society has released a compilation album from some of their members over on Bandcamp.

Colorado Modular Synth Society Compilation Vol. 1

The Colorado Modular Synth Society’s mission is to connect people with information, inspiration, and a community of peers fascinated with Modular Synthesizers.

This compilation is the first snapshot of a growing scene of Colorado artists using Modular Synthesizers to compose and perform their music.

It is a showcase of the variety of timbres, textures, and sounds that are generated with Modular Synthesizers and the different styles that artists create using them.

Now let the control voltage take you on a musical journey.

Links to artists’ social media and websites are available on the individual track pages. Check them out and support the artists.

All proceeds from compilation album sales will directly go towards activities of the Colorado Modular Synth Society. Come join us!


released May 1, 2020

Produced by David Soto & Christoph Scholtes
Mastering by Nathan Kampf, except Track 5 mastering by Rafael Anton Irisarri (Black Knoll Studio)
Artwork by Matthew Hanson-Weller (Primordia Print and Picture, @primordia_p_and_p)

A huge thank you to Nathan Kampf and Matthew Hanson-Weller for volunteering their time and skills to support this release.

Listening Party

They are having a listening party tonight.

We are so excited about our release but also excited to be a part of a vibrate modular synth community worldwide! With Bandcamp waiving their fees today, we decided to throw a listening party for a bunch of fellow modular synth artists that have music on Bandcamp. 

Tonight we are live streaming on YouTube and Twitch. We are joined by Johno from Dotwave Podcast and Modular on the Spot. We will play clips of various artists all evening including artists recommended by DivKid and other big names in the modular scene!

Mystery Circles is giving away some merch too!

We will be starting at 9 PM MDT.

Head over to the CMSS Youtube and CMSS Twitch to subscribe and set reminders!

(Modulate This) Theremin

Today’s Google Doodle Celebrates Clara Rockmore with an Interactive Theremin Lesson and Playable Theremin

Heads up. Today’s Google Doodle Celebrates Clara Rockmore with an Interactive Theremin Lesson and Playable Theremin.

First up, here is the fun animated google doodle. Bonus points for the cat.

Click the doodle leads you here.

Then it’s time for your first lesson.

Once you learn the basics, you are taken to an Art Deco theater where you can perform the instrument interactively using the screen on your mobile device, or if you are on a Microsoft Surface you can use your finger or your Microsoft Pen.

If you hit the gear bottom left you can even set some parameters such as Easy Mode (turns off pitch quantization), Key, Scale, Octave and Waveform.

Super fun and potential fully useful if you want to lightweight Theremin app in your rig.

I’ll leave you with this inspiring Clara Rockmore performance of “The Swan”.

(Modulate This) Ableton Ableton Live ableton live 10 Ableton Loop Conference

The first challenge of Loop’s Music-Making Weekend: Build your own Gizmophone #LoopAtHome

The first challenge of Loop’s Music-Making Weekend: Build your own Gizmophone. Get the details at the link below.

(Modulate This) Ableton Live ableton live 10 Ableton Loop Conference

Loop Music-Making Weekend is Live: Full Program Daily Schedule #LoopAtHome

The virtual version of the Ableton Loop Music Conference has begun.

Here is the welcome video.

Here is the latest info

Here is a link to the full program daily schedule. I annotated the image to selfishly show in Mountain Daylight Time 😉.

(Modulate This) Live Performance Music Video Performance Videos

Brighten Your Tuesday with Some Classic Yellow Magic Orchestra Live Concert Videos

My friend and mastering engineer Steve Turnidge just posted this on his FB page. It’s a video of the “Yellow Magic Orchestra – TECHNOPOLIS [Live] (Jun. 2, 1980) HD”. This is so great on so many levels with a super tight full band performance with some fun vocoding, an old-school modular, and the classic “unlit cig while playing on TV” punk move.

I think I listened to this like 5 times before moving on to a video of “TONG POO – YMO 1979 LIVE at THE GREEK THEATRE” which is the encore from this show!

Well there goes your morning just watching all the “Up Next” videos. You are welcome.

More Links

(Modulate This) Ableton Ableton Live ableton live 10 Synth: Zebra 2.x

Spending More Time on My Music Laptop & Dusting Off Some Original Presets for Synths like U-HE Zebra 2

I find I’ve been spending more time making music and sound with my laptop while in isolation than with hardware. Of course I’m still making music and sound with my Elektron boxes, but I’m just noticing the laptop is getting more use in my day-to-day.

Perhaps it’s because I can just take it anywhere in the house and wherever I end up sitting becomes my creative space. While in the past I might have used my iPad for this sort of thing, I find I’m on my iPad more for reading books, blogs, news and connecting with people so the laptop seems like a break. Topsy-turvy times for sure but a good reminder of the the amazing sonic arsenal of tools that sits within most of our laptops.

As you’ve probably seen in recent posts I’ve been spending a lot of time with Ableton Live and Push 2 along with all of Live’s devices and instruments. Over the years though, I’ve created 100s of presets for some amazing virtual instruments.

So I’ve started a new project to dust off some original presets for Live and other commercial synths and get all the sounds out of the archives and back in play on my laptop.

I just restored my collection of original Zebra presets. Here is a short video from my Instagram of a sound that is quite Krell-like. I’m just holding a single key 😀.

(Modulate This) Improvisation Sonic Encounters Soundscapes Podcast Sound Design Sound Packs

New Sonic Encounters Soundscape “Ghosts of Time and Space” Featuring Samples from Empty Vessel’s Ghosts Audio Edition + Video of Improv Session


Here is the video from a session where I improvised a new soundscape called “. This was improvised on Ableton Live 10 with Push 2.

Sources Samples

While I mostly do my own sound design I’ve been enjoying using libraries from others to introduce pleasant surprises (“chance operations”) into some of my improvisational pieces. All the source samples for this song are from the Ghosts sound pack which I bought from my friend and independent New Zealand based sound designer Greg Cole (aka Empty Vessel ).

This was originally released as a samples and presets for the TAL sampler, but I brought these into Ableton (notes on this below).

Greg takes such great care in producing and mastering his source samples I’m happy to report he also just provided these samples as a stand-alone WAV edition here

Audio Version of Song


The song is available on Soundcloud here


A high-rez audio version of this soundscape is also now available to my bandcamp subscribes as part of the preview of the forthcoming album Sonic Encounters Volume 03 Learn more about my subscription here

Producer’s Notes:

Track 1 – Drum rack filled with almost 64 samples + Echo
Track 2 – The sample “Piano String 2” loaded into Audio Damage Quanta granular synth + Echo
Track 3 – The sample “Sinister Piano Strike EB3” loaded into Ableton Wavetable which analyzes it and converts into a wavetable + Echo
Track 4 – The sample “Wonky Movement C2” loaded into a Simpler + Echo + Reverb
Track 5 – The sample “Sandmand D4” loaded into Simpler + Echo

(Modulate This) Eurorack Modular Modular Synthesis Modular Synthesizers Sound Design

Southern California Synth Society Summit Streaming April 18-19 on YouTube + Shout-Out to Colorado Modular Synth Society Sessions

Passing along some news I received from my friends over at the Colorado Modular Synth Society.

The Southern California Synth Society Summit will be streaming on April 18-19 on their YouTube channel.


Shout-Out to The Colorado Participants

(Modulate This) Ableton Live ableton live 10 Ableton Loop Conference Online Streaming Events

Details of Online Version of @Ableton Loop Summit for Music Makers Announced

Ableton just posted details of Online Version of Loop Summit for Music Makers on the Ableton Loop Facebook Group

We couldn’t hold our Loop Summit for Music Makers in person this April, so we’ve decided to bring a little of the Loop spirit to you, wherever you are.

On every day of the weekend, from April 24–26 the Loop website ( will transform into a hub for music-making challenges, creative inspirations, and a few live-streams from some of our favorite artists.

Every morning at 11am CEST/5am EDT the Loop Team will share a dose of inspiration and a music-making challenge for the day, along with any instructions and materials you’ll need to take part.

Then, at 7pm CEST/1pm EDT we’ll broadcast live from an artist at home, for some insight into their creative worlds and technical setups:

Friday, April 24: Sebastian Mullaert
Saturday, April 25: Rachel K Collier
Sunday, April 26: Andrew Huang

If you miss any of the live broadcasts, they’ll remain available to view throughout the weekend on the Loop website.

Each day ends at 9pm CEST/ 3pm EDT with an invitation to join us on the digital dancefloor for a home-brewed club night with United We Stream, in support of some of our favorite Berlin club institutions.

We’ll be hosting a discussion throughout the weekend to share your process and swap results with fellow music-makers.

Use the hashtag #LoopAtHome and join us on the Loop website from 11am CEST on April 24 for a welcome from the Loop Team, and to start making some music together.

Facebook event is here:

(Modulate This) Ableton Live ableton live 10 Ableton Live Packs Live Streaming Concerts Sound Design Synth: OSCiLLOT

Pink Floyd is Streaming Full Length Concerts as Part of the @YouTube Film Festival + Making “On The Run” with @MaxForCats OSCiLLOT Modular

Some weekend listening and patching ideas for for you. Pink Floyd is streaming full length concerts as part of the @YouTube Film Festival. Plus down below find a link to how to make “On The Run” with OSCiLLOT by Max for Cats.

Head over to the Pink Floyd channel on YouTube now for PULSE which is the first full performance available as part of the four week @YouTube Film Festival. Next Friday, at 5pm, Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii will be added to the Festival’s offerings. #StayHome

Here is the first video “Pink Floyd – PULSE (Restored & Re-Edited 90 Minute Version)“.

Filmed live on 20 October 1994 at Earls Court, London, UK. Restored & re-edited in 2019 from the original tape masters.

  1. 0:00 Speak To Me
  2. 1:17 Breathe (In The Air)
  3. 4:00 On The Run

In a related note… Watch This Cool Tutorial on How to Make Pink Floyd “On The Run” with M4L OSCiLOTT Modular

  1. 7:43 Time
  2. 14:23 The Great Gig In The Sky
  3. 19:34 Money
  4. 28:30 Us And Them
  5. 35:31 Any Colour You Like
  6. 38:48 Brain Damage
  7. 42:34 Eclipse
  8. 44:27 Sorrow
  9. 55:37 Keep Talking
  10. 1:03:13 High Hopes
  11. 1:11:20 Wish You Were Here
  12. 1:17:30 Comfortably Numb

More Links

(Modulate This) Howard Jones Live Performance Sound Design

Video: Howard Jones Transform Tour Live at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall

Some uplifting synth songs for your Thursday.

Howard Jones has posted live footage from his Transform Tour at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall. The band features Howard Jones, Robbie Bronnimann, Dan Burton and Robin Boult Recorded and mixed by Stephen W Tayler.

Here is Part 1.

The First three songs from Howard Jones’s critically acclaimed Transform Tour. Recorded at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall May 29th 2019.

Songs Performed :

– Hide and Seek
– Transform
– Take Us Higher

Here is Part 2 which was posted today.

The second part of a concert recorded Live at Leicester De Montfort Hall on the 29th May 2019.

Part 2 features :

– Equality
– Pearl In The Shell