Editing

Tools

Here's a list of free and reasonably-priced options for editing your audio.

  • Adobe Audition is great. It's main drawback is Adobe's rental-only pricing model ($20/month), which kinda stinks unless you need Adobe CC anyway. (macOS/Win)

  • Hindenburg Journalist is unique, in that it's an audio editor designed especially for spoken-word productions. (macOS/Win)

  • Reaper is an inexpensive and well-liked (by Reaper users) choice. The discounted license is only $60, but you can “try” it for free as long as you like. (macOS/Win)

  • Presonus Studio One is wonderful and not known about by enough podcasters. There's a free Studio One Prime edition available. (macOS/Win)

What about Audacity?

Because it’s free, Audacity is popular “starter” editor. But as an old-style destructive audio editor, it’s a poor choice.

  • It teaches poor habits that users will have to overcome when the time comes to learn a “real” editor, and makes that transition more difficult.

  • “Destructive” means that the source files are written over with every save, which means that data loss is a much more common occurance with Audacity than it is with modern audio editors. This can be mitigated by saving early and often.

  • Since source media is being thrown away with every edit, undoing or adjusting edits (other than the most recent one) is nearly impossible.

If you use Audacity, it's best to a modern, non-destructive editor as quickly as is practical.

iOS

Linux

Editing styles

Different content requires different editing styles.

School of thought #1: “Live to tape”

Avoid editing completely when possible. Provides a “you are there” experience, with all of the good and bad that entails.

School of thought #2: Balanced approach

Edit out excess verbal tics and hiccups, stuttering, and pauses. The goal is for the result to sound natural, without anything that would distract.

If you have guests, they will likely appreciate the effort made toward making them sound as smart and capable as they are.

Time requirement: ~2 minutes for every minute of recorded source.

School of thought #3: NPR quality

Edit with a bias for perfection, even if it involves making edits that savvier listeners might pick up.

Time requirement: 3+ minutes for every minute of recorded source.

Tips & Tricks

The easiest editing is editing you don't have to do. Make an effort to avoid “um”s, “ah”s and “like”s — a.k.a. “fluency killers” — while recording. They are credibility killers.

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