Six episodes into the All Things Interesting Podcast and I realize one thing. There are still sound issues, and I haven’t figured out how to completely work around them. It should go without saying that audio is one of if not the most important aspect of a podcast. In the opinions of many, a shows success can depend on if the audio is clear or an inaudible mess. Which brings me to my point. This is a shout out to all the audio engineers out there.
Now I covered the topic briefly in A Retrospective: Part 2, but feel it’ needs its own post. As much as the show is a continuous work in progress, I am thankful to have people around me supporting in a variety of ways. One of these individuals is Nick Voorhees, the found of the freelance branding platform, Melody Nest. An audio engineer by trade, Nick has been instrumental in the post production of my last few episodes. Being relatively new to the ins and outs of audio, I came to learn quickly that there is a whole lot more to the quality of your audio than just post processing.
As a quick case study, we were discussing my most recent episode with Jay Solomon and Nick pointed out a few segments of audio that were difficult to correct. Examples of these include background noise such as wrappers, people talking, lawnmowers, and even more subtle sounds such as knocking on a desk or moving the microphone. Despite being minor sources of sound, they pose a major problem for sound quality when it comes to listening.
Case in point, the first step to achieving the best quality is to make sure your environment is soundproof as possible. Not everyone has access to a studio, but there are ways to set yourself up for success. Some simple ways to do so include finding a quiet workspace, using a microphone arm and foam cover, and limiting feedback. Once you know that your environmental noise is limited as much as possible, it’s onto post processing.
Contrary to popular belief, post processing isn’t just editing. It is comprised of editing, mixing and mastering. Each focusing on organizing, balancing, and leveling, respectively. I won’t go into much detail here but will point to towards Buzzsprout’s article on the topic. Although post processing isn’t a magic bullet, the work that audio engineers do makes it seem like it is.
Let me preface this by saying that unless you are using top of the line equipment in a near perfect environment, there will be residual noise issues. This is where audio tools such as Audacity, Reaper, or Ableton come in; Or in my case, a sound expert such as Nick. From my own experience, audio engineering can be an incredibly arduous task. Between editing, mixing, mastering, and even audio repair; The process can take hours to complete. That’s not to say that you should go out and find yourself an audio engineer immediately. For those who are heavily invested in the content, I think it’s important to find someone who is heavily invested in the audio as well.
The message here is for there to be a greater appreciation for the work that audio engineers do. Whether it be editing podcasts, films, shows, or music. The work they do allows the quality of content to shine through and provides the best listening experience possible. After all, no one would watch their favorite TV show, or listen to their favorite music if it sounded like a potato. In a way, its why people invest so much money into high quality headphones and amps. To hear something the way it’s meant to be heard. If you can afford it, consider investing in one as they will always put their all into it. So next time you are working with an audio engineer on a project, take a second to recognize the great work they do.