Podcast editing — the basics
Make sure your episode sounds good by getting the basics right
A while back, someone asked me about my podcast audio editing process, so here’s a summary of my approach. I often get comments about how good the podcast sounds, so hopefully this is helpful!
I use Zencastr to record — this gives me separated tracks in high quality mp3 (wav would be better, maybe I’ll upgrade one day). I use Audacity to edit. There have been concerns about T&C on newer Audacity editions — I’m still on 2.4.2 — it works fine.
I take my separated tracks and load them into Audacity. The first job is to remove background noise, apply compression (make the loud bits & quiet bits closer in volume) and then normalise the loudness to make sure the whole volume is the same “perceived loudness” — so let’s go ahead and do that.
Removing background noise
To remove background noise, find a bit where the person isn’t talking, select it & go to Effect>Noise Reduction and click “Get Noise Profile”. Then select the entire track, go to Effect>Noise Profile again & OK it — it’ll process the whole track and remove background hiss etc.
Compression & Normalisation
Next up, compression. Select the whole track and go to Effect>Compressor. This is a bit of an art but my settings are below. If there is a lot of difference between loud and quiet you may consider lowering the threshold. Once applied the waveform will be kind of big looking.
Now you want to normalise the track so the perceived volume is the right level — traditionally for spoken word you’re aiming for about -16dB — so select the track, go to Effect>Loudness Normalisation and go for it.