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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Podcasting 101

IDEA Lab Workshops

Audio Editing

The IDEA Lab recommends the following software for audio editing:

  • GarageBand (free for Mac/iOS)
  • Audacity (free download on Windows/PC and Mac/iOS)
  • Adobe Audition (free from UIUC WebStore for anyone with a NetID login)

Each of these programs have differentiations, but many of the strategies and tools are the same. Some important functions to know include: 

  • Noise Reduction: Audio editing apps often have a background noise reduction feature that can cut out an ambient noise that snuck into the recording. 
  • Amplifying/Normalizing: If your sound is too quiet, you will want to adjust the gain on your microphone. If you have finished your recording and this is still a problem, amplify your sound to compensate.
  • Cropping/Trimming: When listening through the recording, be mindful of things like "um" and other filler words. You can cut these out! In an interview podcast, this function can be used to get rid of small talk or moments when the conversation got off topic. You can also use this tool to create a new clip of cropped audio. This is useful when creating advertisement using only a part of your audio or when you have recorded a piece of audio you would like to reuse (i.e. Intro, Outro, Midroll).
  • Importing: Certain elements of your podcast are repeatable; the Intro, Midroll, and Outro can all be recorded just once if you like. Using the same recordings and music for these can create continuity between your episodes and cut down on the time it takes to edit. These would then become audio files that you would import. Foley work or sound effects are another thing you may want to import to spruce up your recording (freesound.org is a great resource for this).
  • Exporting: Saving your project within the software (usually as a .aup3, .sesx, or "GarageBand Project") can be an important function if you need to set aside your edits and come back to them, but at the end of the editing process, you will need to export the audio file as a .wav or .mp4 so that it can be uploaded to your distribution platform!

Common Audio Issues

  • Distortion/clipping occurs when an audio signal is too loud. The quick fix for this is to catch it as soon as possible and turn your gain down! Remember, you never want to be in the red.
  • An echo or delay can be created from multiple USB mics in the same room. Never record with more than one mic going in the same room at once. 
  • A room echo can become and issue, and of course, so can background noise. Techniques for handling this can be found on the Recording page of this guide, but conducting a Noise Reduction when editing can also help.
  • Connection drops are another common issue. Before you record, be sure you have good internet connection, especially if you are recording on an internet-born program like Zoom.
  • Finally, be sure to record on a program that fits you. If you are struggling to get good quality recordings from the software you are using, reach out to us at idealab@library.illinois.edu for help!

Helpful Resources

We also recommend checking out the Trinity University Library Guide for podcasting and audio editing!