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Over Editing Your Podcast

I had a few people mention that my show has been sounding different and wanted to know what I had done to my sound (they didn't like the direction I was going).

I have been using Adobe Audition and have been running my fules through their noise reduction, then I would compress the vocal track and add some EQ to add clarity. Then I would compress all of the tracks when I mix the file down to the mp3.

Today's show has no compression. You are hearing me go straight from the microphone to the recording (except for when noted).

You will hear me record a file.

When I remove the noise it doesn't sound that different. Then I compress the vocal and add some EQ to brighten up the sound. That sounds different. I then take the file thats been “noise reduced” and “compressed and EQ'd” and run it through a multi band compressor. This makes it sound big and very broadcast-like. However, my listeners are saying its too much tweaking.

Going forward I will remove a few of these steps. Just because you can do all these fun things to your audio, does not mean you should.

What do you think of the final output?

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About the Author
Owner of the School of Podcasting. Also produces the "Ask the Podcast Coach." He is also the author of the book "More Podcast Money" and is a regular speaker at podcasting and media conventions.
5 comments on “Over-Editing Your Sound
  1. Gene Murray says:

    I like your new “old” sound! As good as National Public Radio. Less is more.

  2. Dave Jackson says:

    You are not alone in this train of thought. I’ve got voicemail saying the same thing.

  3. Will King says:

    I want to add a contrarian viewpoint — keep overediting your sound.

    I listen to podcasts often in noisy environments (shower, while freeway driving, while walking along noisy streets). Podcasts that allow a great deal of dynamic range are often unlistenable in such situations. People naturally speak in low tones when being interviewed, and those comments are often inaudible in such situations. I understand that some people listen in setups where they can appreciate the dynamic range, but I prefer audio that keeps the audio loud for all vocal situations because of the environments in which I listen. For my two cents, it’s not too much tweaking.

  4. Ross says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks enjoying your website and some great information. Love your ‘King is content, Queen is production’

    As a sound engineer I thought I’d leave some food for thought, I agree your examples are over processed IMO. I would still use noise reduction but you only really need to reduce the noise floor enough so that it is undetectable to the human ear. If it’s too extreme then you risk introducing artifacts from the noise reduction algorithm which is kind of the opposite of what you are try to achieve 🙂 I sound like you have set the threshold too high so it’s trying to reduce the sound of your voice.

    Most problems can be EQ’d out first. standard pratice for vocals is cutting about -3dB from around 200-250Hz to reduce boxyness. I’d go easy on compression like 4:1 ratio with auto attack and realease for spoken word.

    I don’t know why you’d need Multi band compression for spoken word? It seems overcomplicated.

    Then whack a ‘brickwall’ limiter on at the end of the processing chain so that you can bring your master fader up so that your ‘mastered’ recording doesn’t go over -0.1dB

    I noticed you mentioned recording and your levels being to high. In the days of analogue tape this was a good thing to have hot levels. Unfortunately in the digital domain recording ‘hot’ means higher chance of clipping. So I would advise recording so your peaks are hitting -20dB to allow for headroom.

    Sorry to lecture on but…help a brother out…;)


  5. Thanks Ross. Always good to get a trained ear into the mix

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