Today, podcasts still play a critical role in our life for some reasons. There are currently 40+ million episodes posted in Apple Podcasts covering business, art, sports, music, and every field. And over half of Americans listen to podcasts while they are driving to work, cleaning houses, or studying.
Therefore, many talents are trying to run podcasts to share their thoughts and promote brands. But it is impossible to hit everything out of the park when you are recording your podcast.
And the meaning of podcast editing is to make up for minor oral mistakes, boost the audio quality, limit your podcast episode to a reasonable length, and so forth, thus makes it more listenable and help you gain more subscribers.
The entire workflow of podcast post-production consists of:
- Editing: to rearrange audio clips by cutting, trimming, adding background music & effects
- Mixing: to manipulate multiple audio layers into one harmoniously, including compression and equalization.
- Mastering: to compress, limit, and adjust loudness settings of the final audio file.
Strictly speaking, podcast editing merely refers to crafting the story and getting rid of audible distractions. But since mixing and final mastering can be done with the same podcast editing software in some cases, they'll be talked about as well in the following tutorials of how to edit a podcast.
How to Edit a Podcast in Audacity
Audacity is a piece of free and reliable audio editing software with editing, remixing, optimizing, and compressing features. Since podcast editing shares many similarities with audio editing, Audacity, the audio editor, is taken as a good option for many amateurs regardless of editing skills.
Step 1. Open Audacity and import your podcast recording to it.
Open this software and go to "File" > "Import" > "Audio" > select a file from your computer to load your recording to Audacity. Then import your intro, outro, and background music that go along with all your episodes in the same steps. And they will be placed in different tracks.
Step 2. Rearrange your audio file.
Grab "Time Shit Tool" in the upper toolbar, and now you can move each clip, for example, place the outro to the end and the sponsored ad to the middle of your podcast recording.
Now you have multiple tracks. Note that, if you delete unneeded segments like awkward stops and umms and ahs in the main recording, you'll cut all tracks simultaneously. So go to "Tracks" and untick the option of "Sync-Lock Tracks". Next, click and drag the cursor to select a certain part, and press Backspace to cut it.
Step 3. Add fade in/out effect.
Adding fade in and out effects would make your recording sound more natural when inserting the background music, or saying hi and bye to your audience. Press and drag the cursor to select a certain part of your recording, and open the Effect option, and apply "Fade In" or "Fade Out" to the selected part.
Step 4. Adjust the volume of the podcast recording and clear up the noise.
Slide and turn the Gain down/up on the left side of each track to adjust the volume of the speaking sound or background music. If you want to highlight or reduce a certain part volume, select it out and go to "Effect" > "Amplify" and set the amount you want to turn it up or down.
Then find the noise reduction in Effect, and now you can choose how much noise you want to filter out and click "OK" to apply this effect.
Step 5. Normalize, compress, and equalize.
Normalizing the audio is not a must in every podcast editing practice. Your podcast should be normalized for getting the maximum volume or matching volume of different audio segments. In terms of different purposes, you can select "Peak Normalization" in the "Effect" panel, and set the peak amplitude between -3dB to -6dB. Or, select "Normalize" and set the value between -16 and -20 LUFS (Loudness Units relative to Full Scale).
While compression is essential for making a professional podcast. It is to make louder and quieter parts sound close throughout the recording. You can find this option in "Effect" > "Compressor" and adjust values of the threshold, ratio, etc. in the options panel accordingly.
Another secrete to perfect your podcast sound is to manipulate sounds by frequency, which is called equalization. Click "Effect" > "Graphic EQ" > "Manage", and select a preset to cut/boost bass and treble. Of course, you can drag sliders to customize EQ settings for specific voices of singing, speaking, or instrument sounds.
Step 6. Save and export.
Click "File" > "Export", and select an audio format for your podcast. MP3 is the most recommended and widely supported format by far. You can save your podcast audio file as an MP3 file with standard quality 170 – 210 kbps.
How to Edit a Podcast in GarageBand
GarageBand, one of the best podcast recording software for macOS, is also designed with a professional audio editing workstation. It helps users sort tracks better with varied track types – software instrument, audio, and drummer. Compared to Audacity, editing on GarageBand is much easier. You can just drag and click to add, replace, and organize tracks freely without selecting or locking others
Step 1. If you want to split and cut unwanted segments, grab the playhead and choose "Split at playhead" and now you can delete this part or move it to somewhere else on the track.
Step 2. After organizing the recording clips, you can drag the music file to the timeline and adjust the volume at the right side of the music track.
Step 3. Go to "Mix" and select "Show Automation", and this will add fade in and out effects to your track.
Step 4. Finally, save it to your Mac or you can directly post it on your iTunes by the "Share with iTunes" button.
How to Edit a Podcast in Audition
Audition is a member of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite and costs $20.99D/month. This paid software gives you more control over the podcast recording files and is extremely popular among professional podcasters.
Step 1. Import the files from your computer to Audition and create a project.
Step 2. Click the razor blade icon above the track to cut a single clip. Then select the move tool to move clips along the track.
Step 3. Move the cursor to the position to which you plan to add the fade in or out effect, and click the small box on the top corner and drag it to just linear value.
Step 4. Double click on a track and open the waveform editor. Go to "Effects" where you can remove noise, add filter and EQ.
Step 5. Navigate to "File" > "Export" to mix multitasks down to a single one, and save it as a WAV file. It is a lossless format meanwhile space-consuming, so it is better to compress the audio to a smaller size afterward.
Podcast Editing Tips
1. Listen to your raw recordings before editing and make a punch list. So you can get a rough idea of your podcast content structure and decide which segments to keep or remove. And it would improve editing efficiency to a large extent.
2. Make sure your podcast audio sound clean and crisp. The sound quality really matters in a podcast, which would make an amateur podcast sound like a professional one. I know it depends on the recording devices, but you can enhance the audio quality in the post editing by removing the noise and optimizing the volume at a consistent level throughout the podcast.
3. Use music from free music sites instead of copyrighted ones. It is illegal to use copyrighted music on your podcast without buying it from the right owners, and it might make your podcast taken down. Free music sites include public domain music, royalty-free music, and audio released under the creative commons, which are all free to use for the public.
4. Get familiar with your podcast editing tool which could be a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) or audio editing software. The former one is for multi-track non-destructive editing, like Apple GarageBand, while the other is for editing a single file in destructively, like Audacity.
5. Don't overdo it with too many techniques and sound effects. Edit for the content first especially when you are running an interview or educational podcast.
6. Keep natural short pauses and some catchphrases. It would help you maintain the personalities of your guests or co-hosts and the authenticity of your podcast.
7. Listen back to your edited podcast as a subscriber. When you finish editing the podcast, take a short break, and then go back to listen to it from a new perspective. If it's okay, then export the file and distribute it online.
1. Can you use Pinnacle 23 to edit a podcast?
Yes. Pinnacle Studio 23 is able to edit audio by itself as well as audio separated from a video. Its audio editing features include audio ducking, channel mixing, corrections, effects, transitions, and time remapping. And it exports the audio file in MP3 or WMV, both good formats for the podcast audio.
2. How to edit podcast info on iTunes?
Podcast information on iTunes includes titles, descriptions, covers, tags, etc. To edit your podcast info that is approved, you can re-upload (not re-submit) it and the modified info will be updated in around 2 days. Also, you can use FeedBurner or PowerPress to change the info of your podcast on iTunes.