You recorded your podcast! What’s next? Then comes the equally crucial step of editing.
In this new article for future podcasters, we discuss the issue of audio editing software with advice and our opinions as podcasters, of course!
This is #2 in a series of articles dedicated to how to start your podcast adventure. To learn more, read let’s talk #1 hardware, #3 file format, and #4 communication.
There is a plethora of software available to edit podcasts. Editing a podcast or any audio file means cutting, organizing, and working on your recordings until you get to the result you aim for - and that your audience will like. Some of these programs are paid, such as Cubase or Adobe Audition, and others are free, such as Audacity or Garageband (included on iOs). Another option is the Reaper software which is paid... and free since the license is not mandatory to use the software (60$).
Choose first according to your means, then according to your knowledge, and finally according to your hardware. Let's start with a piece of universal advice: if you are a beginner, do take the time to learn! It is not a waste of time, and even, it is far from it. Learning as you go would be a continuous waste of time, compared to an intensive course to mastering the tool you choose.
Among independent podcasters, you can find three main trends: Audacity, Reaper, and GarageBand for iOs users. The best tool is the one you know best and feels comfortable working with. So, even if our preference goes to Reaper (you'll see why later in this article), feel free to try Audacity or GarageBand and make your own opinion!
Audacity is very simple to use, light, and easy to download. These are probably the reasons that make it the first audio editing software used by a vast majority of podcasters. Its interface is not the prettiest, but the buttons and options are simple: record, play, cut, amplify... everything is done quite naturally and very quickly.
On the other hand, although this software is very practical and efficient, its possibilities are rather limited. Its ergonomics are not very modern and the management of sound effects does not allow you to modify their settings if you have made a mistake: once applied, your track is altered for good. For example: did you cut too much audio? You will have to cancel your actions until you come back to the “delete your clip” action - and apply again all the effects or settings that you used in between.
If you have not yet grown accustomed to Audacity and you are a complete beginner, we advise you to use it for quick edits or simple retouching and to go directly to the next paragraph.
Reaper (like Cubase, Garageband, or Adobe Audition) is what we call a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), a software dedicated and optimized for sound processing. Its interface is not as easy to learn as Audacity's, because there are more options, and you might get lost at first. Nevertheless, with a few tutorials and a little of your time, you will soon manage to tame this beast and produce podcast episodes with much more flexibility and especially way quicker than by using Audacity.
The big plus of Reaper and other DAWs in comparison with Audacity lies with the management of effects and tracks. If you apply effects to your recordings, you can change them at any time. Even better, if you have several tracks (several sound files) that require the same treatment, you can group them to apply your settings on the group rather than on each track. For example, apply a "background noise reducer" to the group that contains all the vocal tracks recorded under the same conditions, and voilà! A considerable saving of time, using software that won’t exhaust your computer.
We are talking mainly about Reaper because it is less expensive and more accessible than the other DAWs we suggested to you. The other 3 options; being Cubase, GarageBand, and Adobe Audition; have similar options and functions, in different or more advanced configurations.
Of course, if you have access to Garageband or want to purchase Adobe Audition, Cubase, or another DAW, we also recommend them. The interface you will have to use will be the main difference between all these programs. The effects management and, overall, their controls will be pretty much the same as what you can find on Reaper.
For your editing, and despite more complicated interfaces, we advise you to learn using a DAW like Reaper rather than a basic software like Audacity. This doesn't mean that the latter is worthless, but if you have to learn how to use software, you might as well go for the one that will save you more time at the end of the day. A time that you will devote to a lot of other things, such as sound effects and improvement of your productions, communication around your podcast, writing, uploading ... The life of a podcaster is fast-paced!
Any other questions? We have a full team of volunteers ready to answer any of your burning interrogations. Our Discord server is also open - don’t be afraid of the French there, they’re nice and speak English too! Lastly, we also have a variety of other articles for you to browse. Cheers!
- Download Audacity: https://www.audacityteam.org/download/
- Download Reaper: https://www.reaper.fm/download.php
- Download "lame_enc.dll", essential for Audacity and Reaper to be able to export your episodes in standard .mp3 format (do I have to export in mp3? Yes, read this to understand why):
- Our tutorial to get the basics with Audacity (in French): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vk7KEHLtfI
- Our tutorial to get the basics with Reaper (in French): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzVDwzA_1_8
- Some tips to improve your sound easily with Reaper (in French):