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Using Rode SmartLav+ microphones with the Zoom H6 audio recorder

It’s been a while between posting… lots going on. I’ll fill you in soon eventually. I promise.

Until then I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast! As I say, more about the topic to come—however for now, I’ve solved a problem, and the solution deserves to be published on the internet.

(When I was searching the interwebs for advice, none of the sites, forums, blogs, etc had useful advice. Very frustrating…)

SmartLav+ plus Zoom H6


If you happen to have or use Rode SmartLav+ lavalier microphones, you’ll know they’re intended to be connected to your smart phone for recording directly.

If you happen to have a Zoom H6 (or other audio recorder) and you’d really like to use your SmartLav’s to record to it, then you have a problem.

These devices don’t connect together easily. And once you have them connected, getting the right power level to them is a pain.


SmartLav+ connected to Zoom H6

Take your…

  1. Rode SmartLav+, connect it to…
  2. A Rode SC1 (or equivalent) for extension, connect it to…
  3. A Rode SC3 (or equivalent) to convert from TRRS to TRS, connect it to…
  4. A Rode VXLR+ to convert from TRS to XLR and convert down from 12V to 3V (thanks Paul Emile Graff for the tip) connect it to…
  5. The XLR inputs on the Zoom H6
  6. Set Zoom to +12V Phantom power (plugin power off)

This works! (thank goodness).

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On productivity and focus

Focus your energy on what's important to you. Image from 'Essentialism' by Greg McKeown

I read an interesting article today on motivation and how to get more done using Temptation Bundling.

The basic premise is…

doing what you want and what you should be doing together, but only together

I usually try not to be the contrary one, however I believe this line of thinking can be truly detrimental to people’s health (mental and physical).

I love Todoist, and I love trying to improve my productivity. But I also love life!

I aim to be efficient and productive precisely so I have more (dedicated) time for the things I enjoy—i.e. the ‘temptations’.

I’m sure watching TV while on a treadmill actually works quite well, but I suspect it may be the exception to the rule. The current trend towards busyness, multi-tasking—including this teaspoon-of-sugar approach to getting things done—and generally just trying to fit more in I see as a false-economy.

Not only does it reduce the enjoyment of the things you want to do, but it negatively impacts the quality of the work you’re trying to do simultaneously. Oh yeah, and it can damage your brain!

So, what can you do if you’re struggling for motivation? Well, motivation is complex, there are many variables and no silver bullet. But when I struggle, I try to remember to ask myself why I’m struggling? And go from there. Consider:

  • Is this actually important?
  • Is this actually the best use of my time?
  • Am I avoiding something I don’t feel I have the information, skills or resources to do well?
  • Can I automate, delegate or outsource this?
  • Do I have the energy and focus to do this now? What can I do to get the energy and focus?

Once you think you know why, a solution may be obvious. If not, you could try ‘tricking’ yourself with bribes and rewards. It may even work. I find the tricks only work once or twice before the same lack of willpower that allowed me to procrastinate in the first place will allow me access to the reward without completing the task!—Its amazing what you can justify to yourself if you try hard enough 🙂

In summary, for your own personal satisfaction and enjoyment I recommend:

  1. Do your work, be focussed, be efficient, be productive.
  2. If you’re struggling with motivation, ask yourself why? And go from there.
  3. Then relax, enjoy, be mindful and present in the moment.

Get the most out of your life by focusing on what’s important to you and then doing justice to each activity. One at a time.

Recommended reading:

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Akebono Diddle

Akebono Diddle, roughly scribbled score

In between bouts of jet-lag-induced lethargy, I’ve been playing with a new toy.

It’s really a lot of fun. The pitch-set (G, C, D, Eb, G, Ab, C, D, Eb) has some nice tight intervals allowing a little crunch for good effect, but generally it’s foolproof—it doesn’t really matter what you hit, it sounds great. Which makes playing ludic and relaxing.

While messing around, I find myself coming up with riff-based diddies, then—assuming I’ll soon forget—recording them onto the nearest capable device (usually an iPhone) and/or scribbling them down.

Here’s the result of one such diddie/scribble.

Which (performed and recorded hastily) sounds a little like…

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European photography

I was lucky enough to spend some time on holiday in Europe recently. It was a whirlwind trip, stopping in each city for only a few days at a time. I saw a lot, learned a lot, and met some amazing people. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to make such a trip. The technology and opportunities we now have available to us make this so easy, we’re rapidly becoming part of a truly global society.

Ok, enough philosophising, why the post? I’ve never really been a photographer, but I’ve had some exposure (see what I did there?), it runs in the family. I’ve always liked the idea of giving it a go, one day. This trip was the perfect excuse opportunity to get a camera and try to work out how to use it.

Turns out I really enjoy taking photos. I find going for a walk to find interesting things to photograph calming, it pulls me into a different head-space. More focused, and present. You actively see the world around you—and the possibilities, what could be—as opposed to just floating around in it, reacting.

I’ve included some of my favourites here, I hope you enjoy them.

More photos from the trip are on Flickr.

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C.I.A. Security Briefing

In information security terms, C.I.A. is an initialism for Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability. To protect the security of information, threats to the three aspects are analysed, risks assessed and security controls implemented to mitigate them.

This piece is the soundtrack for a humourous, yet educational video I created as a scene-setting and warmup activity before workshopping the topic of information security and cyber threats (in a non-commercial setting).

I would love to be able link you to a copy of the video, but it contains excerpts of copyrighted material from movies and news broadcasts. I’m pretty confident it would qualify under US Fair Use and Australian Fair Dealing legislation—e.g. it was created for non-profit educational purposes, is a parody and uses only small excerpts in a ‘transformative’ way (it juxtaposed fact and fiction to transform the meaning of both)—but I really would rather not take the risk, especially since Australian Fair Dealing law seems less supportive of this type of use than US Fair Use law.

Suffice to say, the video was largely tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top and needed some typically crass Action Music!! to tie it together. Luckily, being cheesy action music it all came together quite quickly over the weekend—good thing too, the workshop is on Tuesday.

This is my first attempt to write music to underscore video, well, recently. I did arrange and record music to sit under a Bond film excerpt once for high school music class. The technology has come a long way since then! I had fun passing versions of the music into video editing software and versions of the video back into Ableton Live to ensure the music fit the video and vice versa—and learned a lot in the process. I suspect most film composers don’t have the luxury of being able to iteratively edit music and video to fit nicely together.

It features tragically trite action music tropes, so enjoy a listen and a laugh…

This piece is distributed under the Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution Share Alike licence.

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