future of entertainment

What Is the Future of Entertainment?

Technology is moving faster than the world knows how to use it. 

Moore’s law (for the techies) basically said that computers will get faster and cheaper, but who could have ever predicted that meant dancing in front of your mirror was as enjoyable as a well written scene from Dumb and Dumber? 

In a data driven world, which most big tech companies pride themselves on being, how do metrics and money mix together with what consumers want and need? 

How will the attention economy determine the real value of any creative? Are a million views all created equal? 

The Old Way Of Entertainment

Schools used to teach and Hollywood used to entertain.  

There were of course a few areas of overlap like Bill Nye the Science Guy or Mr. Rogers, but the lines were more or less drawn with roles defined.  The average person spent a few hours each year with Tom Cruise, Mariah Carey or The Rock and as a result grew to love and respect them.

We admired celebrities not because they’re so amazing…but because the affinity we gain from watching them sing, dance or overcome obstacles brings emotion out of us.  When Tom Cruise kills a bad guy we hated for the last hour, we want to be his buddy and would love to shake his hand. 

All of this was usually easy to measure.  

Box office collections for movies, album sales for singers…whoever made the most money usually equated to being the best.  And since people like us do things like us, that was all the social proof most of us needed on our weekends.  If I didn’t watch the new Star Wars movie, I was out of the conversation. 

While this system still exists in some ways, those of us who are old enough to remember pogs and young enough to still be tech savvy know that today, we rarely think about our favorite athletes and idols from growing up.  However top of mind is new and interesting faces we discover scrolling daily. 

Doctors on Tik Tok and Dentists on YouTube

These days the news is made on social media and simply reported on the news.

Publishers hate Zucks because they feel he diluted journalism, but data driven companies gain their data from users.  

If users are spending their time reading articles about the 10 signs you know your cat likes you as opposed to the science of the Corona virus…then is it the algorithm’s job to feed you your vegetables and share what’s good for you?  

Did we ever tell ABC to pause it’s steamy dramas and educate the viewers on global warming? 

Oddly enough on the internet…the tide turns both ways.  We see entertainment masquerading as knowledge (Hello Buzzfeed) but we also see knowledge masquerading as entertainment. 

If you’ve been following Tik Tok or Instagram you’ve probably seens thousands of real estate agents, doctors, lawyers, dentists and more giving bite size videos about anything related to their niche.  These videos are very addicting but also very valuable.  (Flipped again, they’re also many shady, get-rich quick snake-oil salesmen on social media also.)

Ethics aside…how do you measure the value of any of this?  

You could open up a Tik Tok account tomorrow, parody a song…and get 1M views dancing with your grandpa.  

  • Is this valuable? 
  • Is there a sales funnel here?  
  • Or is it all just for fun? 

And if it is just for fun without any valuable end-goal…then what’s the point? 

Here me and Kamra on Audible.

Is a movie star who makes $1 million dollars a movie worth more today than a YouTube motivational speaker who gets 50 million views a month, with more screen time direct to camera than an actor would?  Does a 10 minute, tear-jerking vlog about a transformational weight loss journey or bullying in school have the same effect that an act three climax of a movie would? 

Monetarily…does the vlog creator get more ROI for a $20 production than a $20 million dollar movie? 

Or is there some entertainment bubble that’s bound to burst since the internet has pretty much made the supply of content unlimited? 

Currency In The Attention Economy

Joe Rogan recently sold his podcast to Spotify for over 100 million dollars. 

Shaquille O’Neal invested in groups of teenagers who play video games…because somebody way smarter that any of us told him…in simple terms…this is the future.  

“Listen Shaq…these kids spend way more hours watching other kids play games, blowing stuff up and using sniper rifles…than their parents did watching you dunk on people.  Just look at an Instagram video’s views of the top highlights from Sportscenter and compare that to Call Of Duty highlights.”

Will Smith is investing heavily in doing Tik Tok videos and engaging strongly on social media because…well, again….it’s where the people are.

Hollywood used to be the Wall St. of entertainment…but in a connected world where anybody can entertain from their phone…won’t the distance between Main St. and Wall St. get smaller and smaller?

Yes, I know…Hollywood has the best writers, we’re talking about long-form content and storytelling, etc.. 

Because what is quality? 

Even YouTube moved from prioritizing views to watch time.  

As far as they’re concerned…a video that you can stick your toddler in front of for 2 hours made in someone’s garage is way more valuable than 4 minutes of rap stars popping bottles in Malibu. Even if that video cost $500,000 to make.

If a 25 year old fitness trainer spends 10 hours a month listening to the Rogan podcast, and 2 hours a year watching the latest Marvel movie….which content is more valuable to advertiser?  

Who will the 25 year old like more?

Will he be more likely to buy tickets to see Rogan, or more to the Disney universe? 

If a beauty blogger on YouTube makes $100,000 a month on affiliate products and earnings from tutorials…does he/she really care to go act in a soap-opera on daytime television that is watched by a 50+ crowd on TV? (anybody remember that?) 

The definition of entertainment is changing, along with the definition of a celebrity.  As families congregate around their individual screen in their hand than the one hanging in the living room….so will our relationship to it. 

Predictions for the Future

Social Media algorithms are insanely powerful because they know you better than you know yourself.   

Our attention spans are low, and our focus is going to be harder and harder to reign in.  It used to be 5 movies that got 10 hours of focus from the average American.  Today maybe it’s 1 movie that we can all agree we’ve seen as a collective.  

Tomorrow…who knows? A few predictions about the future of entertainment as it relates to technology and social media:

  • Celebrities with specialized knowledge, like real-estate, law, medicine will be the rockstars of the future.  
  • Feature films may be a lot more niche…so instead of trying to get 10% of Americans to watch your movie…you try to get 100% of Sci Fi or Marketing geeks to watch your movie.
  • Creatives and possibly even content that is geared towards the viewer.  The movie you watch might have different product placements, stars or even an ending than the one I watch. 
  • Marketing of entertainment assets on more personalized digital mediums (e.g. If you enjoyed this podcast on Economics…check out the new Wall St. Thriller from Aaron Sorkan)
  • Digital celebrities will overtake mainstream celebrities  in earnings.  Why would I hire an unknown model from Wilhemina (or wherever) to hold a beer and smile, when I could hire someone with 500,000 Instagram followers and have my agency point to the campaign’s success? 

Everybody Has Their Own Personal Network

YouTube has 80% of views coming not from what someone searches for, but what they offer you on your home screen or suggested videos. 

In fact, most of your YouTube home screen isn’t channels you subscribed to…but channels YouTube thinks you’ll enjoy a lot more.  A lesson I also learned the hard way as my YouTube channel crossed 100K subs and pretty much froze after that. 

Netflix has its own algorithms that see when you stopped watching something, who was on screen, which actors generate more engagement and a bunch of other data points that traditional Hollywood let agents and executives decide. 

Just like your newsfeed morphs into an echo chamber of people like you who will give you a positive experience, your home screens on these apps will do the same thing.  

Digital marketing has lookalike audiences, in which advertisers can ask a database “Hey, give me the 100,000 people who watched this movie up until 95%” and likely go out and find similar viewers right away. I’d much rather show my movie trailer to people who are like those 95% rather than 90 year old women in Arkansas. (and if they watch Marvel movies…hey, the computer found that out for us). 

There is so much technology, science, psychology and more that is affecting our patterns of consumption.   And it’s only going to get bigger, faster and more accurate.  

You might find the world on your screen is exactly as you want it to be…but sadly, so will everyone else.   

If all of us have a highly customized TV channel or textbook or newspaper that we read…the lines between content, consumer and creator will be the secret sauce in the new attention economy. 

One thing however is that…in the future, the reality of it all will definitely be virtual. 

Your Strategy Is An Excuse to Avoid Work

It’s never been a more exciting time to do work…yet nobody seems to want to do it. 

Online courses can give you five years of on the job skills for the price of an appetizer. 

Data driven companies and tools like Facebook Ads, Ad Words, HotJar, Instagram and a million more let you A/B test your logo, your designs, your jokes, your images, your content and of course…your product. 

Yet so many people have: 

  • business ideas that never get off the ground, 
  • podcasts they never make, 
  • books they never write.
  • apps they never launch,
  • and a million more examples I’d love to hear from you in the comments. 

So Why Exactly Is That?  

In an era when you have sample code for everything, WordPress plugins galore, templates for any creative and tools and sample code and Google to answer whatever you want…why are we still so…unproductive? 

Well, for lack of a better explanation…I think many of us in the middle-class are so comfortable with our paychecks and fear of failure…that we’re unsure of what will happen if we actually succeed.  

It’s easier to critique and contemplate than make mistakes.  But real people know mistakes were meant to be made.  

In fact that’s the entire point. 

Software has bugs, films have editing, books have rewrites, FMCG companies have focus groups…even relationships have hardships that make them amazing.  

Just Do It

Nike may have trademarked (or copyrighted?) the slogan, but I’m pretty sure Phil Knight selling shoes out of his car had more to do with the slogan than an athlete getting up and going to the gym.   

If a Stanford graduate recognizes that you need to roll up your sleeves to try and push a commodity (shoes)…well, you get the idea. He actually got on his knees and laced his shoes on people outside of high schools…and you can’t be bothered to ask a friend to like your Facebook page or install your app?!?

The principles are the same, but we live in a time when the Internet and social media gives a voice to sadly those who may not use one properly.

I forget who said this, but… I recently read that “In the future…intelligence is going to be knowing what to ignore, not just what to listen to.” 

I have so many friends who love to sit at bars, talking about films that never get made, products that should, shortcomings of Uber and Swiggy and what else…yet never seem to want to pick up the phone and make things happen. 

  • “Yeah we could make that app..but what if Amazon just adds it as a feature?”
  • “Yeah you could try that movie, but I read on Twitter nobody likes that genre as much.  Or so-and-so did something similar so everyone will think we’re copying them.”  

But that is all fine.  

You could spend years trying to perfect your first novel, or you could spend two years getting the junk out, learning the publishing game, testing out your tone and voice via blogs (and instant feedback).  

Those who try the former get heart broken when after years of cafe trips, writing in Bali and inspiration seeking they realize their first attempt was just as bad and the game has changed.  Those who try the latter realize having an ego is just bad economics.

Attention spans are dwindling, and trying to get a 300 page book read today versus in 2010 are much different beasts.  

You could spend years theorizing about the perfect app, fleshing out every requirement and getting opinions from 100 people. 

Or you could JUST MAKE ONE for a few thousand dollars, drink at home for a few months…and use your first 50 users as a way better barometer of success than any focus group ever could.  Yes the requirements weren’t perfect and your developer may want to eat your head…but again…”done is better than perfect right?” (Sheryl Sandberg)

But Isn’t Failing to Plan…Planning to Fail?

Maybe 20 years ago, when a logo cost $10,000 and was actually paid attention to. But you can redesign a logo or register a new domain for again…the cost of a drink. 

Some of the best startups and tech founders talk about pivoting, about being the first movers, and about the importance of marketing and sales.  

Artists think they don’t need social media or digital marketing, because (I also used to agree) that the art should speak for itself. 

But in an increasingly crowded world, when billion dollar movies have billion dollar marketing budgets…and even Will Smith thinks he needs a social media strategy to get you to pay attention…who are you kidding bro? 

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover…but go ahead and test a bunch of covers until you find one that sells.  You’re not “selling out” if you try to find a cover that sells…you’re letting your hard earned art reach the masses so you can then get more feedback, more experience, more data…to ultimately make a better book the next time around.

What’s Wrong With That?


The internet and technology has made billion dollar companies off of a few people’s laptops.  Look at WhatsApp…17 billion dollars…less than 100 employees.

If it’s never been cheaper to succeed….it’s also never been cheaper to fail.  

I’m all for planning, having a strategy, getting the best equipment and doing your grunt work to understand an industry, technology, or idea…but you can easily make tomorrow’s winners with yesterday’s tech. 

Your logo might be amazing after 19 design sessions…but if nobody gets to see your homepage because they scroll right passed it…well…you get the idea.

Podcast Guide for the Zoom H4N Pro | Settings and How To Use

As a stand-up comedian, I find it silly how so many people over-analyze their podcast. 

Just like a YouTuber that knows about light and shadow can use an iPhone to make a killer video, I don’t get why we need to go into crazy fancy studios to record a podcast that at first will be heard by 4 people

For solo podcasts, all you need is a tiny tripod or stack of books and the zoom to tilt up towards your face. 1L bottle is shown for scale, windscreen helps make the sound a little more studio-like. Tripod is Manfrotto but you can use any tabletop tripod for like $25. See YouTube link below using this setup.

When you get to 1,000 downloads, by all means, you can up your game but most people put so many hurdles in front of them instead of just talking about interesting stuff and getting comfortable on the mic.

People who start podcasting will first do unnecessary things like:

  • setting a meeting time with their co-host,
  • booking a studio,
  • buying what Joe Rogan uses,
  • stressing on technicals,
  • spending months chasing down one guest
  • hiring an editor when they are one tutorial away from doing it themselves,
  • and not realizing that before all of that they need to know that content is king, distribution is queen and she wears the pants.

I had about 250,000 listens on my first Soundcloud podcast (now acquired by Audible), done in my living room and dining table and I probably got 4 messages in TOTAL over 7 years about echo or background noise. 

However…since most people will ignore what I just said and think that gear is everything, the good news is that you can STILL record your podcast near radio or studio-quality audio at home.  Often times in a room that isn’t even soundproof, assuming you know what you’re doing. 

And if you know what you’re doing, you’ll likely come across the Zoom H4N.  

You’ll get 90% of studio-quality sound for $200 as opposed to $20,000 and nobody on YouTube or iTunes would really know the difference. 

Note: I’m using the original H4N in this post which is pretty much the same as the H4N Pro, so this tutorial should work fine. If you find a difference comment it below but the menu items and form factor are pretty much identical.

What is the Zoom H4N PRO?

What is the Zoom H4N? The Zoom H4N is one of the best 4 track audio recorders on the market but also one of the ugliest and most confusing, non-stylish digital recording products out there.  

Everything it offers has a purpose, but it’s definitely not plug and play and has zero design appeal when first looking at it.

You need the manual and THEN some to really understand how to use the thing, even in a simple configuration.  

But once you figure it out, boy is it extreme bang for your buck. 

It’s one of the industry-standard sound recorders, used for: 

  • indie film production, 
  • live recordings, 
  • VLogs
  • music recordings and of course…
  • podcasting.  

In fact, I think it’s amazing for podcasting BUT I had no clue how to use it properly my first two years.

And Zoom doesn’t really hand old you through it because, for whatever reason, they want to keep it difficult and think a beginning YouTuber or podcaster is going to know or care about: 

  • low cuts, 
  • frequencies 
  • Audio capture directions
  • Multi-channel inputs or 4 channel recording (which is awesome once you crack it). 

Just like your DSLR or iPhone has 99 features you may not use outside of games and making videos/phone calls, the Zoom can do a ton of which you won’t really need at first. 

And just like how many of us first got a DSLR and were like “Why are all the pictures blurry” when we didn’t realize how the technology worked…the Zoom recorder has its own nuances.  

But for podcasting specifically, I’ll explain how you can use it here.   

If you want me to cover something else, like how to edit your files, master your audio, sync your tracks from the Zoom, talk about the 4-channel mode or whatever the best settings are for other configurations..let me know! 

Why You Need the Zoom H4N over the Blue Yeti or Other Plug Into Your Laptop Mics

The zoom records onto an SD card and it can run on batteries OR plugged in power. You can’t lug the Blue Yeti AND A LAPTOP to every podcast setup, and the Zoom is also used on top of your camera, at live events to take audio from the DJ’s console and much more.

It’s like a mini recording studio which is why most people prefer it OVER other devices than require separate storage or computers to be compatible with. I also hated it too and told my best buddy to buy the Yeti instead which is great if it only ever sits at your desk (like people who do YouTube tutorials only).

At my dining table, using the H4N built-in microphone which I think sounds great. And my H4N is about 5 years old. Tripod and foam cover are the ones in the image above. Notice how my voice changes as I tilt my head back away from the mic. This is also my living room in my apartment so no noise proofing is done. This is the Solo podcast setup.

How to Use the Zoom H4N for a Solo Podcast

If you’re a Bill Burr or Chris D’elia type who needs to simply podcast or talk to your audience/listeners at your dining table or bedroom (no bathrooms please), OR are recording a VLOG type podcast and need better audio, the Zoom is amazing.  

Ditto for those folks who want to discuss the news, talk about food, motivation, fitness, business, politics or whatever. 

To use the H4N for a solo recording, all you have to do is:

  1. Turn it on. 
  2. Set the Input mode to Mic by pressing the button that says mic.  It should actually default to this so you probably don’t even need to press this.
  3. This captures your voice from the two tiny silver/black mics on top of the device so make sure the entire device is pointed up towards your face.
  4. Press record ONCE and start testing the meters by talking (those moving bars that appear as you talk). Yes you’ll have to turn the device back around to see the display meters, then turn it back so the mics face you.  (see images/recordings in this post).    
  5. Move the rec level buttons (on the right) of the device as you’re talking until the meters go to about 60% of the way up.  I’ve also recorded up until 75 just fine assuming nobody is going to shout. Once you feel you’re good (or just keep it at 55-60 rec level if it’s just an intimate conversation between you and the listeners).  
  6. Hit the record button again (you’ll see the counter/timer display starting to move) to start recording. 
  7. Don’t touch the device at all until you’re done recording. (you’ll get weird sounds). 
  8. Press stop when you’re done recording.
  9. Press play to hear your file back from the device’s tiny speaker, plug in headphones OR just take out the SD card and play it from your laptop.

In the YouTube clip above I was recording at about level 50-60 and then just used the podcast filter on Adobe Premiere to boost the audio.


  • Small tripod (I’m using the Manfrotto linked at the end of this post)
  • H4N on top of it, positioned between 6 to 12 inches from your face. 
  • Guy or gal talking in front. 
  • That’s really it.  Can run on battery or use the adapter and plug it in.


  • Small Tripod or Stack of Books.
  • Zoom H4N
  • A foam cover/hiss cover to avoid lip-smacking sounds and harsh S type sounds when you say words like sophisticated. 


  • Quiet house (although you can fix minor noises like an air conditioner or fan simply in Adobe Audition, Premiere or Audacity it is better to have it quiet.)
  • Don’t tap the table or keep elbows on it (the one your recorder is on). 
  • Don’t keep glasses of water on the table, your guests will make noise and the vibrations will get picked up by the recorder. 
  • Don’t touch the device or move it until you’re done recording, otherwise, you’ll have to edit out unwanted sounds. 
Using the H4N (not pictured, but near our feet). Notice at 0:29 before he says “SO” how the mic rattle sounds appear.  That’s the main reason you want to keep your mic on a stand as a lot of guests will get excited and keep moving, and that sound is super annoying to someone listening at the gym with headphones. But if we used the dining table behind us (same one in the images and clips above) and just kept the mic on two $10 stands, we’ be fine, as long as guests don’t tap the table or put coffee cups or water bottles on it.

How to Use the Zoom H4N for an Interview Podcast

A lot of people who are new to podcasting will end up having guests and running an interview show in whichever niche they belong to.  

So if you’re in the wedding or meditation niche, you’d like interview wedding planners, photographers, yoga teachers, life coaches, etc… If you’re a new stand up comedian you’ll probably try to interview more successful comedians. 

The goal with podcasting is to aim up, so for example if you have 5,000 Instagram fans you want someone who has 10,000, etc… And the easiest way to do that is to get guests who love talking about themselves.  And since they’re talking, you’ll need to get some decent non-echo-ish audio. 

The most famous podcast currently I assume is the Joe Rogan podcast and you don’t need that quality to interview the top Facebook Ads expert in your city or the leading app developer in your town. 

For Joe’s guests and his audience, yes..you will need shock-absorbing boom microphone stands and the SM7B microphone…but again…if you’ve never podcasted before or are less than two years in you’re just wasting your money. 

To use the Zoom H4N to interview a guest, you can use the built-in microphone (less optimal) or two Shure SM 58 microphones plugged into the H4N (my favorite for which I record my podcast on).  

My wife and I sitting at the corner of a dining table. If you and your guest are using the built-in microphone (I put a foam cover on top, but it’s not required), ideally sit close to each other like this so both of you sound decent. Sound sample from exactly this picture below.
The audio file we recorded from the image above! Notice how each of our voices tilt towards one side (you can fix that easily in your podcast editing software like Adobe Premiere or Adobe Audition). Yes, I know Premiere is for video but I just edit my podcasts there also.

How to Record a Podcast Interview with the H4N with the built-in mic

To use the H4N for an interview recording with the built-in mic, all you have to do is the same steps for a solo podcast as above, but with one major seating arrangement:

  1. Turn it on. 
  2. Set the Input to Mic but pressing the button that says mic. 
  3. Press record ONCE and start testing the meters (those moving bars that appear as you talk).    
  4. Move the rec level buttons (on the right) of the device as you’re talking until the meters go to about 60% of the way up.  I’ve also recorded up until 75 just fine assuming nobody is going to shout. Once you feel you’re good (or just keep it at 55-60 if it’s just an intimate conversation between you and the listeners).  
  5. Sit with your guests at the corner of a table or next to each other where you can both be close to the microphone.  (see image above)
  6. Hit the record button again (you’ll see the counter starting to move) to start recording. 
  7. Don’t touch the device at all until you’re done recording. (you’ll get weird sounds). 
  8. Optional: Adjust the mics on top by twisting either of them to set the audio field to 120 although it won’t make too much of a difference. (e.g. if there were 3 of you trying to all talk into it).


  • Small tripod (I’m using the Manfrotto linked at the end of this post)
  • H4N on top of it, positioned between 6 to 12 inches from your face. 
  • Both of you in between the mic. 
  • That’s really it. 


  • Small Tripod or Stack of Books.
  • Zoom H4N
  • A foam cover/hiss cover to avoid lip smacking sounds and harsh S type sounds when you say words like sophisticated. 


  • Don’t MOVE THE MIC to make it easier for either of you! Nail this first! You will be tempted to continuously move the device when either of you talk about DON’T!
  • Quiet house (although you can fix minor noises like A/C simply in Adobe Audition, Premiere or Audacity)
  • Don’t tap the table or keep elbows on it (the one your recorder is on). 
  • Don’t keep glasses of water on the table. 

How to Record a Podcast Interview with two external SM58 Microphones 

This is my favorite setup and the one I’m using in the video with the bald dude above (India’s best Psychiatrist) as well as currently for all my podcasts, including this one with Alicia below.

I’m going to cover this one backward, showing you the gear we use first and then explain the setup. You can use literally any mic you want as long as it has XLR or quarter-inch support to plug into the ports below the device but I advise you to get the SM58 (I’m using two that are literally 10 years old here).

Same setup as the one with the bald dude, but we went with $10 stands as opposed to holding the mic. Notice when it starts how the H4N has the two mic’s cables plugged in at the bottom.

The SM 58 is the industry workhorse microphone that Grammy winners STILL use.  You can google for plenty of comparisons but at $99 it’s all you need to sound like a pro, or you can even use a cheaper Chinese one with the exact same specs.  Any concert, any bar, any comedy show, any jazz club people will most likely be using SM 58s. It’s literally everywhere. Singers and comedians and everyone uses it.


  • H4N plugged into a power source using the included adapter
  • Comfortable table, sofa or studio where both of you can chat and talk facing each other or side by side. 
  • Decent distance from walls so your wires can reach an AC outlet and also your mic cables have room to extend. 


  • Zoom H4N
  • Two Shure SM 58 Microphones or Chinese Equivalents (around $99 or the Behringer is literally the same thing for $20). 
  • A foam cover/hiss cover to avoid lip smacking sounds and harsh S type sounds when you say words like sophisticated.  I’m using a blue one above and Alicia is using the foam cover from all the other images in thi post.
  • Two XLR cables, either XLR to XLR or XLR to Quarter Inch. 
  • Two foam covers for the top of your mic’s. (We forgot to use them above in the meditation video). 
  • Advised ($15 table top mic stands which helps as guests tend to move microphones a lot). 
  • Advised: Headphones to monitor the voices at least in the beginning.  


  • Don’t MOVE THE MIC to make it easier for either of you! Nail this first!
  • Quiet house (although you can fix minor noises like A/C simply in Adobe Audition, Premiere or Audacity)
  • Don’t tap the table or keep elbows on it (the one your recorder is on). 
  • Don’t keep glasses of water on the table. 

To use the Zoom H4N to record a podcast interview with two external microphones:

  1. Plug the H4N into the wall adapter and wall outlet (or use batteries but you’ll drain them fast). 
  2. Plus the TWO XLR cables into the the two microphones.  Plug the other end into the two bottom ports at the bottom of the Zoom H4n device. (it doesn’t matter which one goes where). 
  3. Turn the microphones on (a common issue is one person didn’t turn their mic on and the whole recording is wasted). 
  4. Tap 1 or 2 button (doesn’t matter, you’re just telling the device to use either of those as the microphone source, not the built in mic at the top of the device which you used in solo mode). 
  5. Tap 1. 
  6. Tap the record button to turn on the mic. 
  7. Whoever is holding the microphone that is plugged into port 1, start talking and adjust the rec level (side device) until it goes to about 45-50 percent. 
  8. Repeat steps 5 to 7 but this time Tap 2. 
  9. Once your happy with your levels, hit record again to start recording. 

If you’re not seeing one bar go up but rather two, OR you want both bars to go up when either of you talk…read on. 

Mono Mix, ½ Link and Settings

When two people talk into two microphones, most audio recorders will give you one file, with two tracks (a left channel and a right channel).  Using any simple software like Audacity or Adobe Audition or Premiere you can easily split those up.  

If you don’t know what I’m talking about or don’t care about editing much, you should use Mono Mix to put everything in one audio file.  I used this a lot because I don’t interrupt my guests too much and there isn’t a need to isolate the audio of his/her mic from mine. But oftentimes you might if you have too many guests and a lot of chatter (or you can hear a dog barking in the back of your mic while your guest is talking into a mic that isn’t grabbing the dog sound). 

Don’t worry, Mono Mix doesn’t mean you have a lower level recording, it just means the device blends both your mic’s together so you don’t have to. 

To Turn On Mono Mix:

  1. Press the Menu button on the side of the device.
  2. Then use the jog wheel on the right side of the device to scroll down to Input. 
  3. Press the jog wheel on Input. 
  4. Scroll down to ½ Link and press the jog wheel on ½ Link.  
  5. Scroll down to On and press the jog wheel on it. 
  6. Scroll down to mono mix (you know how to use the jog wheel now right?) and turn it on. 

Now repeat the above steps on how to use the H4N with two microphones and when you get to steps 5 to 7 you should see both meters moving.  

In case you don’t see these buttons or options try turning off stamina mode behind your battery panel.  Often times phantom power or plug-in power are also causing some issues. 

Or just comment below and I’ll help you out!

Still using my 2011 Zoom H4N (that is beaten up in 2020) and the built-in Adobe Premiere H4N preset to quickly master the audio.

Common Mistakes: 

  1. Your headphones are plugged into the external mic port (the one labeled EXT mic on the back of the device, at the top) instead of the headphone jack which is on the left of the device which says line/headphone icon. 
  2. Stamina mode being on or off his hiding certain features you can’t get to (like changing to MP3 from WAV recording formats). 
  3. Phantom Power or Plug-In Power is not on or off which is not letting your lapel or lavalier mic work. 
  4. Your lapel or lavalier mic has only 2 black stripes on it as opposed to 3 which might affect if it’s compatible with your device as explained here. 

Amazon Links to Products I’d recommend:

Zoom H4N (Duh)

Foam Cover and Windscreen

Shure SM58 (Buy one first and make sure you like the setup)

The Shure SM7B Professional Podcast Mic (you don’t need it but if you got the cash it’s a beast)

Manfrotto Pixi (Don’t buy the Newer more expensive Evo, it’s got some bad reviews but this one is a star) and can even handle a heavy DSLR.

XLR Cables (one for each mic)


So are you an H4N expert now?

Trust me, it’s one of those devices that is super complicated initially but after 1-2 days, it will save you a lifetime of hassle.

Think of all the time and money you’ll save on driving to a studio, waiting for an editor and paying for those services when instead you could do the number thing podcasting is all about…creating!

Tell me your Zoom H4N pain points below!

Read Next: For our India readers, check out the Best Indian Podcasts also on this site.

Alicia Souza Podcast

Alicia Souza on Instagram, Her Husband George, Books and More!

You may not know Alicia Souza directly, but you’ve definitely seen her work across the country whether you realize it or not.

One of the first employees at Chumbak, and now an independent artist with her own online store, she is quite a force to be reckoned with.

She’s a full-time illustrator in India, and what that really means is she:

  • draws,
  • she sells,
  • she takes up design work,
  • she speaks,
  • she works from home,
  • she sends invoices
  • she deals with client briefs
  • she travels the world with Adobe and other brands
  • she social media influences
  • she leverages the power of Instagram for growing her business and
  • she pretty much lives the entrepreneurial ethos we’ve all grown accustomed to.

I just love it.

I started following Alicia years ago on her ever-popular Instagram, but of course, although we more or less “knew” of each other, we never met.

We both took similar projects, similar talks and hung out with similar people, but just never really crossed paths.

Luckily for you and me, Alicia is quirky and funny as her work would have you believe and stopped by my studio *cough* living room *cough* to talk about her journey and share the wisdom I think would benefit a ton of you.

I recently got her on my podcast, the Birdy Num Num podcast (iTunes/Spotify) to talk about design, creativity, illustration, art, comedy, her marriage, her background and more.

The major takeaways from our one hour chat are:

  • You have to initially take whatever you can get. Logos, restaurant menus, ad work, whatever.
  • Eventually, after doing that for a while, you’ll have to figure out what you want to be known for. It will be painful.
  • It takes time to find your voice. Alicia keeps her style the way it is because it’s true to what she wants to do, but she opens up that she didn’t really have a style.
  • Work just kind of got her there, and then she stuck with it. I love this kind of anti motivational nugget honesty. Real-life is just like that, sometimes things just happen.
  • In art, just like we’re seeing with film production…higher production values or crazier photoshop tricks doesn’t mean better. I struggled with this personally for years.
  • You need to learn your fundamentals and then play around and experiment. But if you don’t have that strong foundation, well…you’ll be broke and you’ll also have no creative output that fulfills you personally.
  • A graphic designer or illustrator does not draw all day. In fact, just like a film producer goes for meetings and budget and market research and probably is on set for a fraction of that, well, the graphic design industry feels similar. (and comedy, ditto).

How To Grow in Illustration and Graphic Design in India

The entire podcast is an hour, so if you just want to jam in the car or at the gym those audio links are above. But I wanted to also split out some of my favorite moments in which Alicia talks about something I hear daily.

“Sir, Madam, I don’t want to do engineering. I want to draw. I want to act. I want to make movies.”

“Ok have you tried to draw or act or tell someone what you like to do, or even take an online course for the price of a beer?”



Alicia on Work and Life Balance

I remember taking a few weeks playing WhatsApp ping pong to finalize a day for us to shoot. And in that time I noted the timings she’d be responding to me, so I asked:

Sanjay: So you work from home, that’s nice. What’s the average day of an artist?

Alicia: I get up at 5AM, walk my dog, get started on my…

Sanjay: Wait huh?

Hustling as an artist is no joke bruv.

No wonder the Alicia Souza planner is what it is.

People like to think that “doing what you love” and “quitting engineering” are some simple, easy thing that takes guts and once you do it, everything falls into place.

*evil laugh*

I just did a talk today at Mt. Carmel for that Under 25 summit thing and in fact, I realized a lot of kids thing that.

In fact, most of us do engineering or medicine because that’s simply a blueprint instructional manual to the middle class.

But the grind of a creative entrepreneur is anything but glamorous.

Alicia Souza Husband
Courtesy AliciaSouza.com

It’s rooted in discipline and time management that only the most seasoned managers would ever understand.

In fact, as someone who left engineering for stand up comedy, I can tell you I’ve never worked harder in my life.

How did you Find Your Style?

I have no clue about art, so thankfully Alicia gave a quick primer.

Sanjay: What’s the difference between Illustrator and Graphic Designer?

Alicia: I mean there’s a lot, but a fun definition for our purposes is that illustration is drawing, and graphic design is solving a design problem.

If you follow Alicia on Instagram and Social media, you might have realized that one of the beautiful things about these mediums is you can see the progression of a person’s work.

Experiment with
different styles and you’ll be able to get so many more jobs.

Since she primarily uses it to showcase her art which also know includes peeks into her life, you get to go along for the ride and relate it to your own life.

You feel like you know her before you know her.

You see yourself in the work, you laugh at the jokes, and the wonderful illustrations of her husband and her I think can all give us all some #senti #coupleGoals.

Sanjay: How can someone find their style?

Alicia: You have to sometimes move backward. You can work for an agency and do hoardings and billboards and then use social media to create your own field on Instagram or stick figures like XKCD. It’s such an exciting time!

Alicia: Most people don’t have their style. In fact it takes time to find a style, and even longer to stick to that style. And then it evolved since then.

Birdy Num Num Podcast

Finding your style, just like finding your voice, or your passion is something you still can’t use google maps for.

Alicia Souza in 2020 | Dearest George

What’s next for Alicia?

Alicia Souza’s latest book about her husband George is set to release in January 2020, about well…life, love and the fun quirky parts about relationships!

Look for it from Penguin India.


It’s never been more of an exciting time to be an artist in the world. Social media hasn’t changed us many people say, but it’s exposed us.

And while that has it’s ups and downs, I’m glad to see that there is something as positive what you see with a simple scroll through Alicia’s feed.

She’s disciplined, she’s funny about her trials and tribulations and beyond everything else, she’s channeling all life throws at her into a blender and ending up with some lovely creative output.

Thanks for the chat dude!

And to the rest of you, please do follow Alicia and let me know if any of this was helpful. Would mean a lot.

Sanjay Manaktala is the host of the Birdy Num Num podcast, you’re guide to creativity from an Engineers blueprint.