How to build a profitable podcast.
It can be overwhelming when you first start your podcast. Technical aspect such as recording and editing audio can be particularly intimidating if you aren't familiar with the process.
One of the best ways to lower your stress levels is by identifying what audio equipment is best for you. Some of the most important decisions you will make at the start of your journey will be deciding what mics, interfaces, preamps, and digital audio workstations to purchase.
However, it is not all about spending large sums of money when establishing your podcast. The audio editing software you chose is as crucial a piece of equipment as the previously mentioned items, if not more so. If you know your requirements early on you could get the right software without spending a dime. One of the best examples of this is the open-source, cross-platform program Audacity.
This audio editing software has been lauded for:
The unbelievable news is that it is entirely free on both Apple OS and Windows operating systems.
Suppose you are about to begin your journey in podcasting and you are confused about what software to use, or you need to keep the cost of setup low. In that case, Audacity is a great choice option. It delivers excellent quality in terms of recording, editing, and ease of use. As many podcasters have found out, it might suit your long term needs as well.
If you have decided to use Audacity, we have put together this step-by-step guide to help you hit the ground running.
The first step is installing Audacity by following the steps in the images below.
The next feature you will see is the Audacity Device Toolbar, which is a place to make routing selections from the dropdown menus. Arranged from left to right are the audio host, the recording device, the recording channels, and the playback device.
If you are running Audacity on a macOS, you can only use Core Audio for Audio Host. On Windows, there are several options but the default MME works well on all audio devices.
Under the Recording Device menu, click on the connected audio interface to choose which one you want. In cases where your mic or interface is not available among the dropdown options, you can troubleshoot by checking that your interface/mic is plugged in and switched on.
Then check your system preference to verify that you have connected and selected your mic/interface. In other cases, you can restart Audacity to help set things right, a simple reset fixes up to 90% of problems.
If you are recording with one mic, choose one recording channel from the recording channels options. If it is two persons, choose stereo recording channels.
Finally, select the Playback Device. This informs Audacity on where it will play the audio from your session. The selection varies with whether you are recording or editing. During recording, use headphones to monitor to avoid feedback. During editing, you might want to use monitors to listen.
This is the last step before you begin to record, and it involves testing your mic. After selecting Recording Device, reference microphone meter, and select the "Click to start monitoring" button if necessary.
After the meter is engaged, begin to speak at the level you are most comfortable at. Then increase and decrease the mic volume slider to register peaks at around -12dB.
This allows adequate headroom to help you avoid clipping the input signal. Once your input level is set, you can begin recording.
Audacity automatically creates tracks for each of the selected Recording Channels once you start recording. This is not common among other DAWs or audio editors. To begin recording, click on the red record button in the transport toolbar, or you can press R on your keyboard as a shortcut.
To stop recording, press the spacebar.
If you record two mics at once, you will select stereo from the recording toolbar.
This way you are recording both channels in a single stereo file. Input 1 will be on the left channel, and input 2 will be on the right channel.
When you are done with recording, you have to split the stereo file into two mono files to edit and mix it.
You can also leave both channels as a stereo file through the editing and only split when you are done editing.
If you are using a mixer/interface with more than two inputs you have to change your recording device and recording channel selections. Audacity will automatically assign a stereo mix from the mic to channels 1/2. You will have to add additional channels for each mic.
After finishing the recording, the next step is to edit your podcast. Audacity allows you to add extra audio files into your workspace to add to the recording. You can use these audio files in editing for things like sound effects or intro/outro music. Each one will get assigned to a track automatically.
Audacity is not a DAW and it doesn't allow for non-destructive editing like DAWs do. This means that the changes you make to your audio will overwrite the original file once you save it. You must remember this as you edit.
The Toolbar Icons used for editing include:
This tool functions the same way the cursor functions in a word processor. It can set a playback start point or select audio segments for processing/editing.
Alternatively, you can use the Split Cut/Delete functions. It is technically not a function of the Selection tool, but one vital tool is the Split command. To create two different clips, set the playback start point using the Selection tool and separate them using Split. You can also select a part of your audio and use Split to splice your selection from the content before and after.
This tool is used to move the audio clip forward and backwards in time. To change an audio clip's position in time, use the Time Shift tool to drag forward or back between the tracks. However, Audacity will not allow you to overlap two clips on one track.
This tool allows you to fade in and fade out the music tracks and make mini-adjustments to your audio files. After selecting the tool, there will be grey bars above and below the clip, with purple lines at the borders. Click and drag down or up to adjust the whole clip's gain.
One-click on the Envelope Tool on an audio clip creates a control point. To remove the control point, click and drag off the audio clip.
If you use multiple control points, you can generally gain changes across the clip, ranging from the simple fades to complex rises and dips.
After editing your recorded content to your satisfaction, the next step is to arrange and mix the audio tracks to get a cohesive episode. There is no one way to do this, but you should avoid different audio types on one track. Each voice, sound effect, music should have its own track.
One option is to chronologically arrange your tracks, starting from the top. The other option is using one track for each audio source. This will help to minimize your number of required tracks and save space vertically in your workspace. For this setup, the interview and intro clip will be on the same track as they come from the same source. If intro and outro narration comes from the same recording, they will be on one track. Intro and outro music can be on one track if you do not use different processing.
If you are satisfied with your edit, the final step is exporting your work as a single file to upload on your podcast host to distribute. We recommend that you export in a WAV format so a high-quality level will be maintained throughout the process, leaving your podcast host to mix down to MP3.
The simple steps to export as a WAV file in Audacity are File – Export as WAV. After this, you will see a box that allows you to name your file, save it in your preferred destination, and choose the saving format. Finally, click SAVE.
After this, you will get an Audacity alert that your tracks will be mixed and exported to two stereo channels or a mono channel depending on how you recorded.
The dialogue that follows will allow you to embed metadata into the file if you want. In cases where your podcast host handles metadata, it is not necessary.
And that is how to use Audacity for podcasting!
Audacity is an excellent open-source audio editing tool that has been widely used by podcasters and other digital creators for years.
This guide will help you get started with Audacity, and, hopefully, you will become a pro in no time.