You Ask, I Answer: Leveling Software for Podcasting?

Mitch asks, “What’s the best leveling software for podcasting? What are the recommended techniques and settings?”

Way back in the day, everyone and their cousin used something called the Levelator. That has since been discontinued; in its place, I use the desktop edition of Auphonic, the multitrack edition. Watch the video for details and a walkthrough.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

in today’s episode, Mitch asks, What’s the best leveling software for podcast? And what are the recommended techniques and settings? So leveling? For those who aren’t familiar is the process of taking an audio file and making the volume consistent.

When you’re doing a podcast when you’re doing any kind of video, or audio, you want the experience to be evenly normalized so that it’s not loud in some parts and quiet in other parts.

you’ve likely had this experience if you’ve watched regular television, where you’re watching a show and then suddenly a commercial comes on.

It gets way louder like whoa, that’s that was a little intense.

Leveling fixes that leveling.

Also, depending on on how you use the software can help make audio easier to hear, particularly for things like noisy environments like a commute, a gym, etc.

Not much of a problem.

home because people can just turn the volume.

But if you’re trying to listen and deal with background noise of any kind, leveling helps fix that.

Way back in the day, in the early days of podcasting, this was a great piece of software from the conversations that were called the level later.

That has since been discontinued.

It’s been discontinued for a couple years.

So the question a lot of folks have is, what’s the replacement? The software that I use is one called off phonic.

Now there’s a bunch of different versions of this all phonic you can find over at all phonic calm.

And they they have two different versions.

They have their their web service version, and then they have desktop applications.

I am a big fan of desktop applications, because software is a service, you know, upload to the web and do stuff like that is fine for some applications.

It’s not my favorite.

I would rather have a piece of software that runs on my desk that I can use.

So how does this thing work? I use the most Track addition, there’s two desktop additions, there’s a single file addition.

And then there’s a multitrack multitrack, obviously by its name requires you to have at least two audio files that you want to level, both independently and together, merge them together into one.

If you do any kind of recording where you are recording two different tracks, for example, using software like audio hijack audio hijack is a fantastic piece of software that allows you to record one microphone and then and then like your your Skype or zoom or Google Hangout session, record the second one that gives you two different audio files that you then have to merge together.

If you only record a single audio file, a you’re playing with fire, and B, you’d want the single track desktop edition.

So let’s look at how this works.

When you first jump into all phonic you get this environment here now, caveat, if you do only record one off audio file at a time but you want the flexibility of someday maybe needing to be able to merge two together, I would use the multitrack edition.

And what I do in those cases is when I have a single file, I simply make a copy of it.

And I have two files that work perfectly with the the multitrack edition.

Generally speaking, when it comes to this sort of thing, let’s go ahead and do this.

Let’s do this call it you ask an answer.

And you get a chance to choose what algorithms you want.

You want the adaptive leveler to make sure it’s turned on.

You want cross gating, and you want the volume three is set to minus 16 l u Fs.

There’s a whole bunch of interesting audio theory but for the moment, that’s generally the best setting.

When it comes to each of the individual tracks, just make sure that adapter noise gate and high pass filter on noise and hum reduction is auto foreground is auto and the same is true for the second track.

Then you have your own Track named whatever you want.

Now again, if you want to get super technical, you can go into the preferences that specify all these different types of algorithm changes.

Do you want it to be a WAV file? Do you want to be an mp3? Most people, most of the time, probably want a WAV file as the initial export when you’re taking like an interview that you’ve recorded, because in a lot of cases, you’re going to take that file and do something with it, you’re going to add music to it and things like that.

The same for sample rates and bit depths and stuff.

Chances are, you’re going to want to leave that as is you can change the directory.

One thing that’s nice about what all phonic does is if you have intro and outro audio, you can automatically so it to the output file.

I personally don’t do that I use an editor or Adobe Audition to do that because I would prefer to be able to manipulate it as needed.

But if you wanted to put that into your workflow, give a consistent intro and outro that you always Use a never changes.

This would be the way to do that.

So let’s go ahead and go ahead and process these files.

What it’s going to do is again, take those two files in this case, because they’re identical, you’ll just get the same thing out.

It’s going to merge them together.

Do all of the leveling the noise reduction, the sweetening of the audio to make it sound great.

One catch, do not use this on music at all, every will, the level later had the same warnings it will sound like somebody sneezing into a tin can or something like that it just does not come out sounding good.

And you can see here it’s starting to spit out the master track and the each track individually leveled.

Now let’s look at what this has done.

And this is the original file you can see here there are spots in this audio file which are really, you know, quiet spots that are that are particularly loud.

Let’s go ahead and now open up the level file.

And you can see it’s a lot.

It’s a much better looking file.

Let’s go back to this original one here.

See how it’s not quite as rich or leveled and there’s some value in consistencies.

In the revised version, things look a lot better, things look a lot cleaner, it’s ready to go.

So to recap, make sure that you’ve got the correct addition for the way that you work.

You do the workflow again, I like multitrack.

I don’t mind a little workaround if you’ve only got one audio file but having that flexibility for recording from multiple pieces of software is is very helpful helpful.

Minus 16 l u Fs is the setting you want adapt a level and cross gates.

And then make sure that you’re the form background stuff and the noise and hum reduction or auto.

You can do ducking you can specify which track should sound more prominent.

I personally think that For what I’m using this for is in podcasting, you don’t need those things.

Having again having the option to have it is terrific because you want that level of flexibility they are working on a version didn’t beta right now that is capable of dealing with music and fixing music to so if you’re a musician, you’ll want to keep your eye on that.

Because that could be very interesting and very exciting for target loudness.

Unless you’re doing something other than podcast, I was sick the minus 16 l u Fs, even if you’re going to use that audio with video so I will edit for example the audio from my speaking videos and use the exact same setting it sounds fine.

It’s what people are used to hearing when it comes to podcasts.

If you have follow up questions about the software, feel free to leave them in the comments box below.

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