I have sometimes run across people who want to know exactly what it is I do for a living, but they don’t know the kind of questions to ask. This is understandable; audio production is a very difficult field to get into, and every audio engineer works differently. What I’m going to do here is try to explain my workflow as best I can in a way that everyone, especially potential clients, can understand. Since most of what I do is podcast editing, that’s what I’ll be focusing on today.
For my work, I use a 15″ 2017 MacBook Pro. While I realize this brand of laptop has proven controversial, I’ve found Macs to be reliable and long-lasting. Software-wise, I use Adobe Audition CC and Logic Pro X. I’ll talk more about those in the next section.
Audition is where the bulk of my clean-up work happens. Here, I can apply noise reduction filters, certain types of compressors, and EQ curves. Noise reduction filters are used to get rid of unwanted sounds, like humming fans. Compressors squish down the audio and reduce its dynamic range (how loud or soft something is) while limiters stop the compressed signal from going past a specified decibel level. These help me keep dynamic range of the show consistent.
Sometimes, I use a deverb plug-in. De-verbs, as the name implies, remove reverb tails from a given signal. In podcasts, I run this filter if the recording was made in a room with little to no acoustic treatment, so there’s sound bouncing off walls and the ceiling.
For EQ, I like to use SoundToys’ Sie-Q, and specifically the Thickener pre-set, to add a little extra boost to the low end of the signal. If a recording is tinny, I remove most of the high and mid frequencies to mitigate that.
This phase of the process is the most time-consuming. I import the edited file from Audition and into here, then listen to the podcast in its entirety, searching for any flubbed lines, voiced pauses (um, ah), or long silences, and removing them using small crossfades. This takes a lot of time. One misunderstanding people have is that they seem to think the amount of time it takes to edit a show is the same as the length of the show itself. If I have an hour long show for example, they think it will take me an hour to edit it. In truth, it takes at least five times that, but the results are well worth it.