Windscreens, Post-Its and DAWs: more tech tool recommendations from our readers

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As part of our special coverage of technology in public media, we asked Current readers to share their favorite apps, devices and other tech tools. Here’s a second batch of endorsements for staying organized, collaborating with co-workers and making your audio projects sound top-notch. And leave your favorite tech tool in the comments!

(Photo: comzeal/iStock)

My office is in our basement directly below my toddler’s playroom. I can’t avoid hearing the crashing of blocks or the shrieks of an afternoon meltdown, but I can keep those sounds from interrupting my virtual meetings with Krisp, a noise-cancelling app. Since installing Krisp earlier this year, I haven’t had a single colleague say that they can hear background noise, and it has alleviated much of my anxiety about the unavoidable sounds that occur when your home is your workplace. — Katie Briggs, Senior Product Designer, NPR

The Rycote Classic-Softie for my shotgun mic, and the smaller but similar Zoom Universal windscreen I use for the Zoom iq7 I run into my iPhone. Both super-soft and fuzzy windscreens are essential for gathering clean ambi outdoors, plus they’re so cute and can help to disarm subjects when I pretend they’re fuzzy little creatures. — Zak Rosen, director of podcasts and host of The Best Advice Show, Graham Media

For an audio interface, I’ve settled on a Presonus Quantum 2. The mic preamps are amazing, and the sound quality of recording and playback are a huge improvement over the old Digi 003. While the unit is quite compact, it provides a lot of flexibility and functions and has an intuitive interface. It records pristine 24-bit audio up to 192 kHz. The front panel provides a headphone jack and LED meters for each channel. There are so many nice little touches, such as ADAT ports, which I have connected to a Focusrite Octopre mic preamp, which gives me the capability to record on 12 separate channels. It’s amazing the sound quality that $600 will get you these days, something you would have needed to shell out thousands of dollars for 15 years ago. — Barbara Bernstein, self-employed audio artist

Microsoft OneDrive has been a game-changer. We might have been a little late to the game. OneDrive was an option for staff pre-pandemic, but it wasn’t fully adopted until the coronavirus forced us to work from home in late March. We go through multiple rounds of approvals, and it makes things a lot more efficient and eliminates the need for multiple versions of files. Also, you can access your files from any device or location. I don’t know how we lived without it. — Lynanne Feilen, Communications Manager, Nine PBS

(Photo: Marat Musabirov/iStock)

I use a two-pronged approach to stay organized. To track the “master list” of all my projects, deadlines and statuses, I use Monday.com — an online to-do list and project management tool with built in collaboration and notification features. Especially in 2020, when so many things were on hold and pivoting to new projects was a constant, Monday helped ensure that nothing fell through the cracks. And for my daily to-do list, I rely on the good old-fashioned Post-It note, using the theory that its small size it forces you to decide what’s essential to do today. (In other words, if it can’t all fit on a Post-It, you can’t reasonably expect to get it all done.) It’s a system that works for me! — Dabney Gough, Director of Marketing & Communications, Hawai‘i Public Radio

I think Reaper is incredibly underrated. It makes sense — it’s a pretty austere-looking DAW. But my experience with Reaper over the last decade has been very different than my experience with other software. Generally speaking, I learn to tolerate software, making peace with its quirks, using it despite its shortcomings. But with Reaper, once I got past the austerity, I realized that its sole purpose is to adapt to how I wanted to work with it. There just aren’t a lot of hard limitations. Every behavior, every menu, every button in the program can be changed or removed. There’s an active community of scripters who extend the functionality as a favor to other users. The devs quickly add features that are requested in the forums. And the license is both affordable and perpetual. Even now, many years in, I’m still learning new things about Reaper, still tweaking it to make it better. This flexibility is what I value most, allowing me to make work that would be time-prohibitive (or just impossible) in other software. I’m worried I’m just another fanatic writing love letters to an inanimate entity, but in my defense — well, I guess I did. — Jeff Emtman, host/producer, Here Be Monsters podcast

My Agilent N9340B spectrum analyzer and my Audiovox portable HD radio receiver. The spectrum analyzer reveals everything to do with the frequencies I maintain, and the portable radio allows me to check and monitor my transmitters across the state as I fly inter-island. — Don Mussell, consulting engineer and “transmitter wrangler,” Hawai‘i Public Radio and other stations

One thought on “Windscreens, Post-Its and DAWs: more tech tool recommendations from our readers

  1. Mike,
    I’m with you on the PostIts! While looking forward to the iMac M1 refresh, I hope they don’t do away with the “chin” below the screen, because that’s where I put all my To Do PostIts!

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