How can I clean up podcast audio?

editing

PODCAST Editing

The process of cleaning up your podcast audio

Anyone can record a podcast, but audio editing sets the amateurs apart from the pros. “Cleaning up podcast audio” is a podcasters way of talking about improving the sound from the original recording. Reducing background noise and leveling out sound are the common practices podcast editors refer to when talking about cleaning up audio for a podcast. 

Tools for Editing Podcast Audio

Good news! While there are several costs of starting a podcast, your audio editing software doesn’t need to be one of them. Audacity and GarageBand offer podcasters free audio editing tools that don’t require a degree in audio engineering to figure out.

Audacity vs. Garageband

Comparing Audacity and GarageBand is tough. It’s hard to complain about free software, and both offer new and experienced podcasters and incredible suite of audio editing capabilities.

Audacity

Compatibility: Windows and OS X Operating Systems  

Cost: Free! 

Pros and Cons: Audacity is a start-to-finish podcast creation tool. You can record and edit audio in Audacity. You can’t record MIDI on Audacity, but you can import and edit MIDI files on Audacity. Music creators can build songs on the platform, but there aren’t any pre-recorded loops to ease the process for new musicians. Some users complain that Audacity is less stable than GarageBand, but for non-Mac users it’s far and away the best free audio editing tool. Plus, Audacity is an open-source software, so developers can access the code make continuous improvements to improve user experience.

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GarageBand

Compatibility: Macs only 

Cost: Free with some purchase options for additional instruments. 

Pros and Cons: Perhaps unsurprisingly, GarageBand is ideal for music creation. There are royalty-free loops that make creating a theme song for your podcast easy-breezy even without music making experience. Additionally, GarageBand is extremely stable and rarely crashes. It’s easier to learn, but does have fewer advanced audio editing features.

 

If you open up Audacity and GarageBand and get intimidated, don’t worry. We can help walk you through the software through podcast coaching or even taking editing off your hands with our editing services. Whatever you do – don’t stop creating your podcast.

PODCAST EdiTing

What’s background noise, and how do I find it?

Background noise can be anything from a dog barking outside to the sound of your upstairs apartment neighbor traipsing around their kitchen. Even a fan or thermostat contributing sound to your audio recording can be background noise. 

Background noise is a natural occurrence in the recording process, but leaving it in the final product can distract your listeners from your show. 

Reducing Background Noise During Recording 

Even though background noise can be reduced through editing, there are steps you can take to reduce the background noise altogether. First, choose your recording times and location wisely. If you’re recording at home, try to plan recording times when others in the house are out or unhurried (i.e. don’t record your podcast while someone’s cooking dinner). Next, consider buying or building your own acoustic panels to control the sound in your studio. Finally, outfit your studio with solid podcast equipment. Choosing the right mic (we suggest dynamic mics) can make a big difference in how much cleaning up you’ll have to do during the edit. 

 

If you’ve done some of that, you’ll probably still need to dampen some background noise during the editing stage. That’s ok. Both Audacity and GarageBand can help you cut back the background noise in your audio. 

Reducing Background Noise During Recording 

Even though background noise can be reduced through editing, there are steps you can take to reduce the background noise altogether. First, choose your recording times and location wisely. If you’re recording at home, try to plan recording times when others in the house are out or unhurried (i.e. don’t record your podcast while someone’s cooking dinner). Next, consider buying or building your own acoustic panels to control the sound in your studio. Finally, outfit your studio with solid podcast equipment. Choosing the right mic (we suggest dynamic mics) can make a big difference in how much cleaning up you’ll have to do during the edit. 

 

If you’ve done some of that, you’ll probably still need to dampen some background noise during the editing stage. That’s ok. Both Audacity and GarageBand can help you cut back the background noise in your audio. 

PODCAST Editing

Reducing Background Noise in Audacity and GarageBand

Dampening the background noise in your podcast is simple in both tools.

Audacity

Finding the background noise in Audacity is easy, just hit the “silent” section of your audio. Then, to reduce background noise, follow these steps.

Removing a Single instance of background noise like a dog bark:

  1. Select a piece of audio with problematic background noise 
  2. Go to the menu and click “effect” 
  3. Select “noise reduction” 
  4. Use the slider by “noise reduction db” to lower the volume level of the selected noise. If you put the number down to 0 or any number below 5, you run the risk of reducing the vocals as well. Cutting the sound back to 6 or 7 is a good place to start.  
  5. Click “get noise profile” to make the change.

Removing continuous background noise like a fan:

  1. Follow all the steps above. 
  2. Then, select the entire audio file with COMMAND A. 
  3. Go back up to “effect” 
  4. This time, click “repeat noise reduction”

You’ve now reduced the background noise across the whole audio file! 

Note: Remember Audacity is a destructive audio editing tool — which means changes to the audio are permanent once saved and your original file cannot be recovered. Make sure you’re happy with the audio quality before you save the file!

GarageBand

To take care of your background noise in GarageBand, you’ll need to find the noise gate feature. The noise gate can dampen sound below a designated volume across your entire track. 

Once you set up your noise gate, any sound below the noise gate threshold will get reduced. The range goes from -100db to 0 db. Setting the gate at -100db is like not having a gate at all. Setting it at 0db will eliminate all the sound on your audio file. You’ll have to play around with your audio to see what balance works for your show.

What other tasks are there in Podcast editing/mixing?

Leveling out sound and reducing background noise are small, important parts of the podcast editing process. Stitching, mixing, and mastering your podcast can seem daunting, but thanks to many youtube tutorials and podcasting production companies, there’s no reason why you can’t create a professional sounding podcast.

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Podcast Editing How can I clean up podcast audio?