Overcast 2.5: A Great Update, but I Miss Concourse

Today, Marco Arment pushed a major [point?] update to Overcast, featuring a new Dark Theme, file uploads, and better iPhone speaker volume (among other things).

Dark Theme

The Dark Theme is my favorite addition to version 2.5:

I think I hate Apple's San Francisco typeface
I think I hate Apple's San Francisco typeface

My only problem with Overcast’s new Dark Theme is the removal of Concourse, the tightly-tracked sans-serif Marco used in Overcast since it’s launch.[1]

Goodbye, Concourse

It’s not that I dislike Apple’s San Francisco—I just appreciate well-chosen `craft` typefaces more than stock ones.[2]

According to a tweet, Marco removed Concourse because he thought it didn’t look as good with the Dark Theme:

Fair enough. It’s his app! He can do what he wants.

Still, I’m with this guy:

Uploads

Overcast 2.5 also features Uploads.

I was excited to try this.

You see, ever since Overcast launched, I’ve been spoiled. I find it hard to listen to podcasts (or audiobooks) at 1x—it’s just too slow for me now.

I’ve had this audiobook version of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, narrated by Bryan Cranston.

What a perfect way to try out Overcast 2.5’s uploads, right?

First, I located the file:

Thanks, right-click menu
Thanks, right-click menu

Then, I navigated to https://overcast.fm/upload:

So close.

After that, I should have been ready to go.

Except this is what I saw when I tried to play the file:

Sigh.
Sigh.

What was the problem?

Digital Rights Management (DRM), that’s what.

Figures.
Figures.

I should have read Marco’s post more carefully:

The new Uploads feature lets patrons upload DRM-free [emphasis mine] audio files

So, it seems that because audiobooks aren’t a part of iTunes Match, they’re still DRM’d.

It was worth a try!

Better iPhone Speaker Playback

I’ve developed a separate Voice Boost profile for the iPhone speaker, which boosts volume even further than before while dramatically reducing real-world distortion and harshness, especially with the phone on a flat surface.

It’ll never sound like a great full-size speaker — you can’t beat physics — but it’s significantly improved for podcast listening.

I’ve been wanting this for a while. I frequently drive around with my iPhone in the cupholder. I point the speaker toward the bottom of the cupholder, which tends to amplify the sound from the phone.[3]

I tested this for about five minutes today, windows rolled-down, and while the difference isn’t night and day, it’s certainly a noticeable improvement.


All in all, Overcast 2.5 is a solid update. I just hope Marco adds an option to use Concourse for the new Dark Theme—San Francisco is way too unopinionated for such an opinionated app.


  1. Concourse’s creator is none other than Matthew Butterick, a guy whose extensive work with typography caught my attention a few months ago.

  2. This is the reason why in my layouts, Avenir is always the fallback typeface for sans-serif situations. It’s a lot like Helvetica or San Francisco, but it’s different-enough that I don’t get sick of it after a few seconds.

  3. This tends to work better than placing the iPhone with the speaker facing me. Doing so usually results in a muddled sound, especially when the window’s open.