Who says podcast listeners like to hear mistakes?

Click to enlarge view of audio in Sony SpectraLayers


The goal of a post-production podcast engineer is to make a podcast sound the very best it can. It’s a time-consuming job, often taking days. Some podcasters try to justify leaving noise and verbal flubs in a podcast by saying it makes it sound more authentic. Frankly, that’s an excuse for being lazy and not caring about your listener to give them your very best. Would you like watching a movie if the director decided to leave in mistakes? I doubt it. Podcast listeners want quality audio, too. But how do you achieve that?

You don’t need super powers to eliminate or reduce noise in recordings. You just need to listen carefully to everything that moves across the imaginary playhead and then know what tools to use to eliminate or reduce problems.

I listen and look for audio problems in every recording we preduce at Audiobag. I do the same for recordings sent to us by podcasters who’ve purchased our editing and enhancing senvies . I trust my ears first. I listen for distortion, pops, crackles, hum, buzz, and the odd dog barking … just to name a few. When I hear something suspicious, I open the spectral analysis display in Adobe Audition and zoom in on the noise. If I can’t correct it in Audition, I open up iZotope RX4 or Sony SpectraLayers — both great audio editing and enhancing software programs.

Adobe Audition is my go-to software for short noises like pops, thumps, clicks, and crackle. If the recording has hiss, I eliminate it or reduce it in RX4. If there’s hum, I switch between RX4 and SpectraLayers. If there’s a siren, I always go to SpectraLayers. No software does a better job.

When it comes to repairing elongated words like you often hear in Skype recordings, I chop ’em down to size in Audition. If there’s volume dropout in a word (where part of the word is missing), I find the word somewhere else in the recording, copy it, and paste it over the damaged word (if possible). Sometimes I use the pitch bend effect to make the inflection sound right.

Speaking of speech, I’m a big believer in taking out most of  the “uhs” and “ums” in a recording. They’re useless and you don’t need to waste your listeners’ time with them. I edit out other verbal flubs, too. After all, if the speaker has to correct himself, he didn’t mean for the flub to be in the recording in the first place.

I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, but not every audio problem can be solved in post-production. If you have a recording you made outdoors and want to remove the wind noise in post-production, you’re going to be disappointed. Wind may be the most difficult noise to remove. In fact, it can’t even be reduced much. The only answer to your problem is to record over again — preferably inside away from the wind. Or, if you must be outside, use a foam or “fake fur” windshield (like you see on movie sets) on your microphone.

I could go on and on about giving your listener the very best audio you can, but then I’d need to start editing the words in this post. So here are a few final thoughts that will help you make a better recording. Before recording your podcast, turn off noise makers like air conditioners, fans, and refrigerators. Put up blankets around you to cut down on the hollow sound of your voice reverberating on nearby walls. And, when you make a verbal mistake or end up getting unwanted noise in your recording, edit it out before publishing it for the world to hear. When you give your listeners a quality podcast, they’ll come back for more.

If you’d like to learn more about our audio editing and enhancing services, visit us at http://audiobag.com/audioediting.html.


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