When it comes to editing your podcast, choosing which software to use can be a daunting task, especially if you have little experience and knowledge in this area. Well, there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s all down to what works for you. Let’s start simple, let’s say you haven’t got a clue about editing and don’t know where to start.
The easiest answer is Audacity. Audacity is a great and popular free option for when you’re just starting a podcast and want to be able to make basic edits. There are not many tutorials online for Audacity which can make it harder to master initially. However, the good news is that it is cross-platform compatible and works on Mac, PC and even Linux. Audacity does everything you would need to create a podcast, including having compression presets and basic noise reduction. There is also a basic layout on the screen where you can “multitrack”, which means mixing two different tracks of audio together. A downside to Audacity is that it may take longer to do certain processes that you can automate in other software.
If you are using a Mac already and don’t want to spend any more money on software, then the choice is already made for you, Garageband. It even comes with templates designed for podcasters by Apple. If anyone knows how a podcast should sound and the required workflow and track layout it certainly should be Apple. The sound effects and musical loops included can be used in a podcast free of charge and without copyright worries. You should be careful though, as your podcast won’t sound unique – many of the loops will sound familiar and be heard on other podcasts! GarageBand falls over a little on the granular detail, editing, and processes such as noise reduction.
If you are looking to spend some money on software, there are many more possibilities. One of the more popular choices is Adobe Audition. You can pay monthly for a single app subscription or pay for the full Creative Cloud package. This will give you access to other fantastic software such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Premiere Pro to name a few. Adobe Audition has world class noise reduction features. As podcasters, we sometimes get noise in the mix that can easily be fixed in Audition. It’s easy to edit in tiny detail and the multitrack is extremely user friendly when you want to mix multiple files and reduce the volume of, for example, a music bed. Adobe Audition may seem overwhelming at first but, as podcasters, we really use only a few features and it also has an excellent MP3 encoder! Yes, the quality at which you save your MP3 file is important.
Another popular platform is Logic. While many editors choose to use it, most have a love/hate relationship with it. I personally started with Garageband then purchased Logic X which had been radically changed in layout to look and function much like Garageband, so it was a smooth transition for me. However, I found that most users of previous Logic programs, most notably Logic 9, were less than impressed with the change. If you are coming in fresh, Logic X is good choice. Even without spending extra on plug ins, you can get some great usage out of it and make a professional sounding podcast. It can be hard to learn at first, but as you use it more it will become much easier. The compressors, EQs and limiters make a huge different to your raw audio. We’ll look a little closer at plug ins in a future blog.
An audio version of Toby’s blog on cutting tips can be found here.
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