Lisgar tournament audio wrap-up

An experiment in recording

Lisgar’s annual Reach-style tournament was held two weeks ago. First of all, my results table is found here. More significantly to me, it was the trial run of recording audio of games.

Recording and production was, thankfully, pretty straightforward. I used a recording app on my iPad and placed it in front of me. In an effort to muffle/anonymize the players, I put a folder between the iPad and the players to dampen their voices. It turned out that players could be understood most of the time, but I don’t think they could be individually identified unless you actually knew the person. What I should have done was find a way to put the iPad between myself and the question papers; I was slightly muffled, and the page turning was the clearest sound in the recordings. The buzzer sound was not overpowering, but I placed a sweater over the speaker to make it quieter. Production was done in Audacity; I didn’t need to edit out identifying names, so I just normalized the audio and faded in and out. In the future, I may add more recording time before and after the reading so that there is more room to fade. Finally, I made the mp3s and uploaded to a free host.

I was satisfied with how these first recordings came out. I had done similar work back in 2005/06 for a VETO tournament, but this was taken a little more seriously. To respect the fact that most players are minors, I guaranteed anonymity, no video or images, and no monetization of the recordings. Most students in the Ottawa school board signed a year-long media waiver to allow things like appearing on the news if a camera crew comes by, but I thought it best not to take any chances with privacy issues. In terms of audio quality, it is okay for a free effort. I am reluctant to invest money for better sound at this stage, lest I end up in a tailspin where I need to start finding ways to get money to sustain the project.

Anyway, here’s what you came for – all 10 rounds of the tournament I recorded:

  1. Kennebecasis Valley vs Lisgar “B” (post) (audio)
  2. Glebe vs Lisgar “A” (post) (audio)
  3. Almonte vs UTS (post) (audio)
  4. Colonel By vs Merivale (post) (audio)
  5. UTS vs Merivale (post) (audio)
  6. Lisgar “B” vs Glebe (post) (audio)
  7. Almonte vs Glebe (post) (audio)
  8. UTS vs Glebe (post) (audio)
  9. Merivale vs Colonel By (post) (audio)
  10. Almonte vs Merivale (post) (audio)

My next effort will be Ottawa’s regional tournament. I’m not sure what will happen after that. If you have audio of games (and permission from associated parties to air it), I’d be glad to either link to it or run it on Reach Scores Audio.

If you have any questions or comments related to these Reach Scores efforts, feel free to contact me at (remove the number). Enjoy!

Reach Scores Audio #10

2017 Lisgar tournament, Almonte vs Merivale

The last round of the day! From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 10 match has Almonte DHS against Merivale HS. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.


  • Since audio does a poor job of portraying what happened with the Titanic/Avatar answer: An Almonte player buzzed in, then two players on the team gave answers. “Avatar” was said by the buzzing player and “Titanic” was said by the other teammate. I was hemming and hawing not about what I’m supposed to do, but whether I should apply rules strictly in the context of the importance of the game (lower bracket playoffs). I decided to follow rules and deem that the “Titanic” answer was consultation after the buzzer.
  • A wrap-up post with links to all games and some overall recording notes will be written in the near future – probably the weekend.

Thanks for listening!

Reach Scores Audio #7

2017 Lisgar tournament, Almonte vs Glebe

Fun with foreign phrases! From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 7 match has Almonte DHS against Glebe CI. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.


  • Foreign words/names/phrases come up in questions; that’s normal. It’s okay if a reader struggles through it if it is part of the context of a larger question where the players can figure out roughly what was said. Translating foreign phrases is tricky, though. Many foreign languages have critical pronunciation differences that aren’t necessarily obvious to an English speaker. When a question simply asks for a translation of a foreign word, an actual speaker of said language (ie: someone who should be very knowledgeable) can be confused when a reader mispronounces. This is why direct foreign translation questions should be frowned upon.
  • My clarification of consulting during questions is correct. SchoolReach and Reach for the Top allow consulting at any point in the question except when your team’s buzzer is lit (you are also, perhaps foolishly, permitted to consult while the opponent’s buzzer is lit). Any talking during a team’s lit buzzer – except for the correct answer from the buzzing player – is ruled incorrect (including fixing a mistake partway through delivery of an answer). Quizbowl forbids consulting during tossups, but most quizbowl rules allow some fixing of your answer before you have completed saying it.
  • A Glebe player left mid-game. Interestingly, they came from behind and took the lead after that…

Thanks for listening!

Reach Scores Audio #3

2017 Lisgar tournament, Almonte vs UTS

Now with extra page-turning noises! From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 3 match has Almonte DHS against UTS. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.


  • Once again, I don’t think anything was left unresolved after the game. Makes the write-up easier.
  • In this round, I started noticing that the reset button on my buzzer system was causing trouble. At this point, I still had the box resting on a sweater (to muffle the speaker), so I assumed the fabric was absorbing the force of the button press. Not the case – it will get worse as the day goes on.

Thanks for listening!