Software for recording and editing your podcasts
How you decide to edit your podcast will contribute to your show’s personality. There is a lot of editing software out there, but we’ve chosen to focus on a few of the most popular programs, which all happen to be free.
Many members of the podcasting community use Audacity, and while some consider it a stepping stone toward other software it actually has a lot going for it.
- Download it: audacity.com
- Available for:Microsoft Windows; Mac OS & Linux
First and foremost, Audacity is one of several programs that offers full functionality for free. When it comes to “basic” editing (trimming, joining, making transitions), Audacity gets the job done. Its selection, cut, and zoom tools are well designed and easily accessible from the small shortcut bar right above your track.
Plus, its “fade in” and “fade out” features work wonders to make smooth transitions between clips.
Audacity’s main features
Unlike Auphonic, an online service, the production process is not automatic with Audacity. However, even complete beginners can navigate the program’s features fairly easily.
The “noise removal” feature creates a noise profile (on a part of your track when you’re not speaking) and uses it to reduce background sounds from the rest of the episode.Attention tout de même à ne pas trop en abuser au risque de se retrouver avec un son un peu métallique.Just be careful not to overdo it, or you might end up with a metallic or “tinny” sound.
The equalization tool (or EQ) makes your voice sound clearer. It takes some time to master all of these settings, but the program comes with several presets that might give you the results you are looking for (give them a try).
Compression & normalization
Audacity also features a compression tool and a normalization tool, which you can use to adjust your track’s amplification and amplitude, respectively.
Working with multiple Tracks
You can work with multiple tracks in Audacity, if you are creating a round-table podcast, or want to insert beds, credits, and sound bites during the post-production phase. There are a few drawbacks to the program when it comes to multitrack editing, though.
For example, it would be nice to be able to group together certain tracks.
Audacity supports the most common audio formats (including .wav and .mp3), but if you want to export your podcast as an MP3 file you’ll need to go through one extra step . (download the LAME MP3 encoder here).
Since Audacity is free, you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. It might seem a little intimidating at first, but if you focus on its basic editing features you’ll soon realize that it is quite a practical program. Audacity isn’t the best program for multitrack editing, but if your project only has two or three tracks it works just fine. Of course, sound production is an art, so you’ll need to be patient and follow a few tutorials if you want to master it.
Like any other software program, Reaper takes some getting used to. But once you get the hang of it you can really customize it to suit your needs.
- Price: Free 60-day-trial, $60 license for personal use
- Download it: www.reaper.fm
- Available: Microsoft Windows; Mac OS & Linux
It’s an excellent program for recording and editing music, but don’t underestimate what it can bring to the table for podcasters. Master Yoda would probably say something along the lines of, “Provide to the tool you must, and for you the tool will provide.” Translation: if you want to get the most out of Reaper, you’ll first need to set up the interface so that it matches what you’ll be using it for.
Once you’ve gotten past the initial setup stage you’ll be able to enjoy everything the program has to offer.
One of the best things about Reaper is its ability to manage multiple tracks, which it does using subtracks, or “parent/child” folders. For example, maybe you want to mute all of the voices in several tracks at the same time (something you’ll do quite often when editing multitrack recordings), or all of your beds and credits—Reaper can do that.
To move, fade, or trim more than one track at a time without running the risk of your sound getting out of sync, Reaper lets you group tracks together.
When you join two clips in a track, Reaper automatically inserts a crossfade, a feature that is greatly appreciated since it takes one or more extra steps to do this in other programs.
One of Audacity’s big drawbacks is the fact that you have to install an encoder if you want to export to MP3. One of Reaper’s big drawbacks (for some people) is that you’ll have to install a special pack if you want to use the interface in a language other than English. Luckily, it’s not hard to do: just download it here, drag it from your Windows Explorer or your Finder (Mac) into Reaper, and restart the program.
Reaper offers a very professional-looking DAW (digital audio workstation), without all the added weight. But some beginner producers might be turned off by the sheer number of processing options it offers, and you’ll need to spend some quality time with the system if you want to master it. Its multitrack capabilities (using subtracks and grouped tracks) deserve a special shout out for how much they simplify the editing process.
Unlike Audacity, Reaper isn’t truly free and opensource, but the free version offers all of the features you might need to work on your podcast.
Mac users might be more interested in GarageBand since it comes already installed on iOS. Although it was developed for music production (that is, of course, how it got its name!), you can also use it to edit podcasts.
- Price: Free
- Download it: itunes.apple.com/fr/app/garageband
- Available for: Mac OS
When you start a new project in GarageBand, make sure to choose “Podcast” mode.
As we already mentioned, GarageBand was designed with musicians in mind. To get to an interface that is better for podcast editing, here’s what to do: File / New / Create an Empty Project
On the next screen, under “Choose a track type,” select the microphone icon. Once your project is open, you can turn off the metronome and the count in feature (in purple at the top of the screen) and change the display from “Beats and Project” to “Time” below the title of the project.
Podcasts are usually made up of different episodes. Some of the same things recur in each episode, like the credits, beds (including background music and sound effects) and intro and outro. GarageBand lets you build templates so that these things are inserted automatically every time you start editing or recording a new episode.
Use the little buttons on each track to control the sound: mute it, click the solo button (headphones) to listen only to the selected track, and turn the pan knob left or right to balance the stereo. Simple, but it works!
While Reaper crossfades tracks (fades one out as the next fades in), GarageBand only cuts into the track where you add the new sound. For the record, it doesn’t completely delete that part of the track; you can always get it back by moving the junction pointer between the clips. This feature is very useful if you are editing together a lot of different audio files.
One of the great things about this program is that it helps you learn the software as you go. Mouse over each button for a brief explanation of what it does. GarageBand’s quick help makes getting started a lot less scary and is super practical for learning about new features.
Editing and playing your podcast in GarageBand is easy with these keyboard shortcuts: support.apple.com/garageband
Another really nice thing about GarageBand is that you can control the compressor, EQ, and reverb all in one place (from a handy control panel). Test different levels and use the “Compare” button to listen to how your changes affect the sound.
One small drawback of this software is that it doesn’t automatically give you the option to input metadata about the file when you export it, so this is something you’ll have to do separately.
GarageBand can be a good software choice for editing and recording your podcast, but you need to be sure to switch over to “podcast mode” to do so. It’s especially useful for podcasters who work with a large number of audio clips. If you are someone who wants to get your hands dirty during the editing process, but don’t want to take on anything too complex, you’ll appreciate GarageBand’s easy-to-use controls.
Now that you’ve come up with a great concept for your podcast, have all the right equipment, and have chosen your editing software, you’re ready to take on the honorable and ambitious task of editing your episode. If you’re ready to move on to this step but need a few tips on how to edit your podcast, go on ahead to the next lesson.