Here are a couple of relevant snippets from a LifeHacker interview with Ira Glass, most notably his use of Ableton Live to sequence sound bytes during speeches and presentations. “Wonky” as he refers to it. He also Podcasts and uses ProTools, and of course “The Cloud” which is working its way into the recording engineering and music composition field slowly but steadily through such things as Gobbler (really Avid? Gobbler?) DropBox, Kompoz, SongSilo, OhmStudio and many more. He also gives a nod to his Genelec 8020B studio monitors and Dorrough 12-AES digital audio meters. Hey this guy is getting cooler by the sentence isn’t he?
Ira Glass is a writer, producer, storyteller, performer, and a familiar voice. His show This American Life has set the contemporary standard of nonfiction radio shows, and has influenced and inspired countless others to grab a mic and give podcasting a try.
Okay warning: this is going to get a little wonky. I give a lot of speeches, easily one every two weeks, and in those speeches, I like to recreate the sound of our radio show. I narrate live, and roll in quotes and mix music, all live. For years, I needed a mixing console and CD players to do this. But now I can do it with an iPad mini. The tech isn’t complicated. I run Ableton Live software on my MacBook Air. The Air plugs into the house sound system out of the regular headphone jack. (You need to go through a direct box to push the sound up to proper levels for a professional P.A. system but direct boxes are cheap.)
Then on the iPad mini I use software called Touch-Able that controls the Ableton Live software that’s on my Mac. It gives me all my quotes and music and a full mixer, right on the iPad. So I can hit music and ride levels up and down, all live. I travel with a wireless router, a robust one, to create the wifi network that lets the iPad mini talk to the MacBook Air.
What’s your workspace setup like?
I have a computer with nice Genelec 8020B speakers and Dorrough 12-AES digital audio meters, which is what we all have at the radio show. I’m not fussy about where I work. In fact, kind of the opposite. I can write anywhere. Desk, diner, airplane. If anything, I write better on planes and away from the office because I’m not interrupted by anyone.
Ira offers much more in this lengthy interview covering workflow, editing, pre-edting, organization, methodology, and even some philosophy. Click here to read the original in its entirety.