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How to make your podcasts sound better with GarageBand

How to make your podcasts sound better with GarageBand


A great article from a chap called Jason Snell who’s a well known person in the world of podcasting, not only hosting but producing an immense amount of shows… using garageband. When you produce on average 5.5 podcasts a week you learn how to streamline things and Jason has put up an excellent post about this.

For every podcast I edit, I apply a basic set of plug-ins to make them sound better. Let me show you how to apply my settings within GarageBand and save them as a pre-set so you can apply them quickly without spending time in the ugliness of the Smart Controls pane.

Use plug-ins in GarageBand to improve podcast sound By Jason Snell

I might give this a go on the next episode of my podcast, The Rampant Mumblings but Im sure going to miss the truncate silence feature I use with Audacity.

A Very Basic Dummies Guide On Using Audacity For Podcasts

For those that might use audacity here's some tips that might help.

When recording and you aren't sure what to say, don't worry about leaving a long pause before speaking again.  It might sound odd but there's a cool feature called truncate silence that will help with that.

Audacity Truncate Silence

As it sounds truncate silence will trim down silence in the same way as Logic Strip silence feature.

The hardest part is working out the silence level. Here at -40db anything below that is considered to be silence and gets truncated.  It also has to be over .5 seconds long.

The rest you can see is simple. I compress to 50% of the original sound so it doesn't completely  wipe out any noise which can sound odd and break up the flow of the recording.  Experiment to your own tastes.

Compressing the audio

Audacity Dynamic Range Compressor

When recording it's not the easiest of the easiest of things to keep the same distance from the microphone or if you have 2 recordings, jingles, stingers theres a chance these will be at different volumes. That's where the compressor comes in. Compressing levels things out, boots things up (I did say this was a basic guide) so you have as equal a waveform as possible. I tend to do this after the trim silence.

The settings above were supplied by the Mac&Forth show host Karl Madden (thanks)

Amplify the audio

Audacity AmplificationFinally as everything has been compressed to an equal level it's time to make things hearable again.  It's a simple case of amplifying things.  Again here's the settings I use.

In audacity, depending on your setup noise starts at 0db (silence) to 1db or -1db for the loudest setting.  If you were to amplify all the way you'll get a wall of distortion so aim for about -0.6 or -0

Exporting / Bouncing Audio

Finally give things a listen back to make sure it sounds ok and theres no clipping. When it comes time to export

Audacity MP3 ExportThese are my settings but again fiddle and tinker to get the right balance between compression / file size / audio quality.

If you've tried this guide or you use Garageband for podcasting I'd love to hear your comments below.



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