With 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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.