Oh snap, it’s my time to shine. I’ve spent more time editing podcasts than I care to think about…
DAW For any post audio or podcast work I’ve always used Adobe Audition. (Music stuff is all done in Reaper.) If you have the Creative Suite, you have Audition, and its workflow has worked really well for me over the years. This built-in izotope fix-it / cleanup tools are great, but I also use izotope RX.
Any good DAW will work great, though.
Microphones anything besides a headset mic is usually fine. More important is microphone technique and having a pop filter. A pop filter is mandatory, a shock mount is nice. Most of the people I’ve used with use a Blue Yeti since it means they won’t need a preamp or interface. That works well. The Snowball is not as good. An RE20 is really, really, good but more money than even most “professional” podcasters are willing to spend. SM58’s always surprise me with how good they sound.
Plugins I’ve built up a channel strip of plugins that goes on each panelist’s channel, including an EQ (high pass), noise gate, de-esser, the shaping EQ, and then the compressor. Always high pass to get rid of desk thumps, keyboard rumble, and general low frequency nonsense that you don’t need. I usually have a cutoff at 40 Hz. All them are saved in templates.
Some of my most-used plugins for podcasts are:
- Toneboosters Evoke (great channel stripe with built-in high pass, noise gate, and de-esser. I don’t use the compressor though.)
- Klanghelm DC83 compressor
- Fabfilter Pro-Q.
- All of the izotope RX plugins, they are black magic that have more than paid for themselves over the years.
- Toneboosters Barricade on the master bus.
@gregg is correct about loudness metering, that’s pretty crucial. I use tonebooster’s loudness plugin and monitor everything against R128, shooting for -17. The goal of loudness monitoring (and level management in spoken word) is that the listener should never, ever have to reach for the volume control on their end.
Editing When editing out “uhms”, “ahs”, and pauses, get friendly with your DAW’s “ripple delete” command, which deletes the selection and shuffles everything else forward by that amount.
Oh yeah, templates are key. They save a lot of set up time and keep things consistent.
Most shows I’ve worked on are multiple panelists at different locations, so we always have a Skype reference track. The host will record the Skype call while everyone does local recordings. Then I get sent all the files and use the Skype call to time align. Because the files are so long, they will get “out of synce” periodically, so I have to split them and line them up again.
This is a personal preference, but I never, ever pan panelists left or right, I keep them centered. Music tracks are kept in stereo and not sent through the “vocal bus”.
The biggest challenge I usually have is in the mundane stuff. The shows that are challenging are those where there are guests every week, so every week you have a new challenge in terms of:
- I wasn’t using headphones I was listening through speakers, is that a problem lol (yes)
- I was recording near an airport / hospital / helicopter launchpad, is that a problem
- There were guys cutting down a tree in my front yard but I didn’t close my window, is that okay
- I’m eating throughout the whole show, you can take that out, right?
Easy mode is when you have the same two hosts and they know what they’re doing. Plop the files in the templates, go through the show and edit as needed, done.
I’ve edited close to a thousand podcast episodes over the last 10 years, most of them over on the Idle Thumbs network. I’ve scaled way back because of freetime constraints and my day job increasing in responsibilities. I have plenty of thoughts on this, but those are some initial thoughts.