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audacity

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My audacity workflowWith the new version of Audacity out I thought it would be a good time to cover what is  new in the new version 2.1. and refresh how I use Audacity.

Many of the improvements are you can now preview plugin settings for your audio on the fly. Now this isn’t all plugins but the Linux Audio Developer’s Simple Plugin API (LADSPA), Virtual Studio Technology (VST) and then for Mac user there is also Audio Unit but for the Windows units the first two work and it works great.

You will now no longer have Noise Removal which was a bit deceiving and improved its functions under the new name of Noise Reduction

Cross fading works a lot better now. Instead of way to many steps to get a good cross fad. You now select the two tracks at the point you want the cross fade to happen and choose Cross Fade. No longer do you choose the Cross fade out and the Cross Fade in.

You can Chain different Effects together.

There is an improvement to the Recording Meter bars. along with new spectral adjusting or editing.

You can now Truncate Detected Silence or Compress Excess Silence. Truncate Detected silence  will remove sound down to 0.5 seconds while the compress will shrink silence that is crosses a specific threshold and shrink it be a certain percent.

You can read all of the release notes on the Audacity Wiki

In my research I found out Audacity has been around for 15 years!

Learning That Audacity is 15 years old with @circlecast http://bit.ly/1CqDlfE Click To Tweet

So with the new improvements how does one use this audacity for their podcast?

For many people podcasting is done as inexpensively as they can and often the phrase you get what you pay for is also applied. Yet when it comes to Audacity it does still apply but more in the expense of time than quality. yet when it comes to the learning curve of Audacity it is step but not very high. So, you may spend a day learning the basics and then the extras are easy to figure out.

What is my Audacity workflow?

I have used Audacity two different ways Live to Drive in other words I have used my computer as the recording device, and recorded straight to Audacity and I have, and still do, import my wav files for editing and post production. For the Work flow I am going to cover what happens after the recording has stopped, and the editing is beginning.

Import extra audio and arrange

I bring in my intro outro and any other audio that I am going to use in that episode. I then name the Show tracks “Summary” and “Body” My intro track is Intro and outro is the same Each track will have  a descriptive name so I can easily find it when I need to select it for editing.

I then arrange each track it the order it will appear so the Summary track is at the top and the Hayrolling trailer is at the bottom. This is to make it as easy to align each track with the next with out having to jump to the top then to the bottom and back and forth and start getting confused.

Reduce noise

First effect I like to run is the Reduce Noise. It was Noise removal till this new update. To do this, when I am recording I give at least 20 seconds to record silence so I have any background and line hum showing up in the recording. In the Audacity editor select the the “silence” and open the Effects select Noise Reduction. In the window that opens up click the “Get Noise Profile” button at the top.  Then close the Noise Reduction window select the track in this example case it would be the Body track, by double clicking.  I would then reopen the Noise Reduction window and chose OK and the noise is then removed.

If the sound is not cleared to your likings then you can adjust your settings to your satisfaction. Most people are pretty satisfied by the default settings or adjusting the attack setting.

Truncate Silence

After silencing all of the noise in the background you will have lots of background space. Often times there maybe too much silence. There are two different ways you can take up that extra dead air by going to each spot and removing a portion of the silence, or you can use truncate silence.

Now silence is natural. There are normal starts and stops to your speech pattern and when removing all of the silence from your audio the sound hits a kind of Uncanny valley and become very unnatural. There for you want silence and even the pregnant pause is good from time to time. Dead air will get people attention. but if you …

Have way…

Too much dead…

Air then you might want to remove some of that with Truncate silence. Now most of the time the default settings are fine for removing just enough silence, but with the new two types of settings the Compress Excessive silence would be the better choice. that way the silence is still in a natural rhythm but not too excessive. The duration is the threshold that any silence that is detected, and then it is compressed by however much percent is set. SO if there is Duration of silence that is 4 seconds long then it will be compressed to 20 seconds long.  That way everything still has a natural rhythm and you don’t sound like a robot.

Run compressor

Now I use Chris’ Dynamic Compressor. This is when I use this effect after I have removed all background noise and taken out all excess silence. The reason is because at the end of the compression there are times I would get a strange amplification of sound and I was able to prevent that after removing all noise and taken care of the silence.

Change tracks from Stereo to Mono

Export to wav file.

 


News

If you want to keep your SEO ranking you might want to become mobile friendly. Google is changing their algorithm to place mobile friendly pages higher up on  the ranking. With podcasting being a mobile medium, your site should be mobile too. Whether that is a responsive design or a mobile friendly

iTunes changes their specs AGAIN.

This is almost becoming a habit. the iTunes album art for podcasts has been changed to the max size of 3000 x 3000 pixels. The minimum is still 1400×1400 So you don’t have to change your artwork just yet but if you are tapped by iTunes to be featured then they are going to want a 3000×3000 image. So at least start working on getting it updated.

relatedLillian Yang over at Brand Bear the Cover Art Specialist would like to help you with your cover art.

Podcasters tool

A problem podcaster have is with their podcast feed being valid. You can use something like feedvalidator.org but it is a bit out of date and give a few false errors. A good alternative for Podcasters is Podbase it Checks to see if there is an RSS feed and how fast it responds to a request. Checks to see if it is a valid XML file and if it is an actual RSS XML file. It also checks your Sharing and SEO for the feed. Ten it also checks the enclosure tags to see if they are iTunes compliant. If there are any problems like the size being too big . Great service to put in your tool box.

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Editing the audio

You have the first show wrapped. It is time to run that podcast through your audio editing software. In this case we are going to use audacity. mainly it is free and also it is because it is the podcast editing software I know.

Set up Audacity

Download Audacity and install the program. Just choose the default location when installing if there are any personal choices you make they may, but not likely, change the lay out to your version of Audacity.

Download and install Chris Dynamic compressor. you can download it from The Audacity to Podcast and follow the directions on this page.

The Location of audio editing software Audacity.

after installing go to the top of the screen and choose Edit -> Preferences

There are a few places in the preferences you want to make sure you have set

Quality
Tracks

What is sample rate and why do I need to set it to 44.1KHz?

The Sample rate is often looked at as the Frame Rate in videos. The higher the sample rate the smother and better the

Create a project file

The Project file is a file that has all the “Normal” Intro’s outro’s and sound effects already added to Audcity so when you open it up you will be able to save some time with hunting these files down and loading them into Audacity.  Just import your show’s episodic information. Do some processing of your audio and export it. So what is the my work flow?

 

Podcast Dojo’s workflow

First line up the tracks where you want them to be.

  • I will first line the bumper
  • Then Line up the Intro song to at the very end of the Bumper.
  • Position the closer so that it starts about two minutes before the end of the show.
  • Add the Hayrolling Podcast Network closer.

Run noise remover

Run Chris dynamic compressor with the settings of

  • Compress Ration of 0.85
  • Compression hardness 0.5
  • Floor -32.0
  • Noise Gate fall off 2.0
  • Max amplitude 0.95

Zoom out and see if there are any large noticeable areas of dead space or no sound. This is places that are larger than your typical pregnant pause. If there are a lot of spaces in the recording I will use truncate silence

I then Normalize reduce the tracks to mono listen through everything once to make sure things are flowing good at the opening and the closing. I then export in to a 16-bit wav file.

What do you call your file?

Good naming convention to use is initials for your show then episode so Podcast Dojo file for this episode is PDJ009.wav dont put a space or any symbols other than the underscore or hyphen. This can cause an assortment of problems with downloads and rss streams.

Open iTunes

Now if you haven’t  used iTunes to convert a podcast before there are a few small changes you want to do before you convert you wav file.

Go to the Preferences and under the General Tab you will see the Import CD section click the button for “Import settings”

iTunes settings to convert wav to quality mp3's

I then open iTunes drag and drop the show into the playlist and right click and choose convert to MP3

Edit preferences and choose For Import using: MP3 Encoder

Setting Choose Custom from the drop down.

This will bring up “stereo bit rate” Choose 128 kbps
Make sure the Veriable Bit Rate (VBR) is unchecked
Sample Rate is 44,100 kHz
Channels: Mono
Close those windows and you are set

Drag and drop the Wav file to a play list you have created. right click on the file in the Playlist and choose convert to MP3. with in a few short moments yor file will be converted and ready to be uploaded.

The you need to edit your ID3 tag with a program like Mp3Tag for windows or ID3 Editor for Mac fill out the

Upload the file to your media server and then when finished enter the url into your Podcast Episode box  click verify and you are able to publick or set the schedule for the episode to air and you are set.

That is as long as you have done your show notes.

Tip of the week

If your file size is too big check to make sure you are not encoding in stereo if you are you can cut your file size in half

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