In today’s session I want to briefly talk about the best software for editing, mixing, and processing your podcast vocals, and what I suggest you spend your money on to get the most bang for your buck!
Podcast Audio Quality
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an audiophile when it comes to vocal recording. I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to processing spoken vocals. I have no idea why, but all of my life I’ve paid close attention to the sound of vocals in voice over recordings, and radio.
As a result I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this element of podcasting, and radio production.
If you’ve been listening to podcasts a long time then you know that one facet of podcasting that separates the pros from the novices is the standard of vocal processing – the quality, level, and clarity, of the vocal recording.
After about a decade into podcasting – and decades into radio – it’s still a fact that many publishers are producing mediocre quality vocal recordings even though one’s quality of sound has a massive impact on the perceived quality, and authority, of the content itself. And, of course, no one wants to listen to horrible sounding audio.
Today, I want to cover just a small portion of the topic of audio processing.
Best Audio Editing, and Effects Processing Software for Podcasting with Windows PCs
When you’re getting started in podcasting one of the greatest areas of confusion, and overwhelm, relates to recording, and editing, software.
So, let me clear up that confusion for you right now by telling you exactly what software you should use, and why…
The first thing you need to know is that in some cases a Digital Audio Workstation, or software DAW (meant for mixing multiple tracks played by various instruments together into a single song), is far more than is needed for podcasting.
However, if you’re using Windows and you’re going to be recording guests via Skype, or another Voice Over IP solution, then you should consider paying monthly for Adobe Audition, or purchasing CS6 if it is still available.
Adobe Audition Is Still the Best For Processing Effects, and Mixing Podcasts on Windows
Adobe Audition is a DAW that will allow you to mix your vocal track, and your guests vocal track together after processing the vocals using various plugins that I cover in precise detail in the How To Start A Podcast Course (available at How To Start A Podcast .ORG)
Audition will let you apply the vocal processing plugins, and then mix the tracks together.
Something else Audition will allow you to do is to apply a noise reduction filter to the Skype call. (If you’re following my podcasting course then you will rarely have to do that.)
Audition has the best built-in vocal processing plugins. However, while you don’t have to buy additional processing plugins, you do have to pay at least $20/month to use the software, (I’m not a big fan of that) or pay for a boxed version of CS6 – which will set you back around 300.00.
What About Audacity?
Some will ask, “Why not use Audacity?”
While Audacity is free it is harder to use, requires more time to edit, will almost surely deteriorate your audio quality, and lacks stability. I don’t use, it and I don’t suggest anyone use it.
Now having suggested that Windows users make use of Audition I have to say that if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing you’ll be wasting your money. Even if you have a lot of time on your hands, the probability of you figuring out how to produce a high-quality sounding set of vocal processing effects is unlikely. So, again, I would strongly suggest downloading my course and discovering exactly what settings you need to produce a perfect sounding podcast. Audition is difficult even for some mixing professionals, not to mention podcasters.
Trust me, though, I’ve spent 10 years testing software for podcasting. On windows your best bet is Adobe Audition, along with my course.
One more suggestion for windows users: only apply effects, and mix in Audition. Do not record in Audition.
VoiceMeeter is the Best for Recording Podcasts on Windows PCs
Record using a software called “VoiceMeeter,” or “VoiceMeeter Banana.”
VoiceMeeter is a free piece of software that allows you to simultaneously record multiple sources of audio (from your mic, a Skype call, music played through a computer program, etc.) into multiple separate tracks – while also feeding multiple audio sources to your guest on Skype, or to a live streaming platform like Mixlr, or Google Hangouts, etc.
VoiceMeeter is a fantastic piece of software, but difficult to figure out. If you are familiar with using virtual audio devices on windows then it shouldn’t be to hard. However, even if you do have some background you will likely want to download my course for a detailed walk through the program.
VoiceMeeter is a true mixing board on your computer and makes recording interviews with multiple guests much easier than other hardware solutions that cost a lot more money.
You don’t need to do any vocal processing in VoiceMeeter (although you can do a little bit), and I suggest doing all of your vocal processing in Audition on windows, because (again) the vocal processing plugins included are much better. And, again, you will open all of your separate tracks recorded with VoiceMeeter in Audition and mix them together after applying your effects.
This is the absolute best solution for windows – trust me.
Audition isn’t free, but it’s worth it at 300.00. And VoiceMeeter is totally free.
If you don’t want to spend 300.00 on Audition then you’re just going to have to live with mediocre audio. Especially if you’re using the wrong kind of mic, and other hardware.
Vocal Processing Effects Plugins I Suggest if You’re not using Audition.
Now, if you already have another DAW I’m going to suggest some plugins that I use myself. They will make your vocals sound fantastic if used correctly (again, see my course for details). Technically, you can use these plugins with Audition, but why spend 300.00 on Audition, and then 300.00 on additional plugins when Audition already comes with fantastic plugins that will give you a great sound if you know how to use them? I wouldn’t purchase these plugins unless you already have a DAW and the plugins aren’t creating the sound you need.
- iZotope Nectar 2 plugin package
- Fab Filter Saturn
- Optional mCompressor (free version), or Compassion Compressor, or another quality compressor. (Again, this additional compression is optional, but I use it.)
- Limited Z limiter
- An optional quality visual gate plugin like Fab Filter G. (Again, this is optional as Nectar 2 already contains a gate, but I use multiple gates with a special trick that allows me to avoid many of the issues that people encounter when using a gate.)
Again, these plugins will be almost useless to you if you don’t know how to set them up properly. Downloading my course will save you countless hours trying to figure out the complex settings for these plugins. Instead, I show you exactly what settings to use so that you can set up a fantastic effects stack within minutes!
The Best Audio Editing, and Effects Processing Software for Podcasting on a Mac
If you’re podcasting on a mac you have the best options available to you.
The best Audio Recording Software on Mac is Audio Highjack
I suggest using Audio Highjack for recording. Much like VoiceMeeter, but easier to use, Audio Highjack will allow you to record multiple audio sources to completely separate files. It’s not free, but it’s one of the best solutions for podcasting. And I cover it in detail in my How To Start A Podcast course.
After recording your sources I highly suggest processing the tracks, and mixing them together into one file using Twisted Wave.
The Best Audio Editing, and Audio Processing Software for Podcasting on a Mac is TwistedWave
TwistedWave is a voiceover program used by professional voice over artists. It’s the fastest, easiest, and most stable vocal processing, and editing software in the world. This can’t be overstated. It really is the best. And they don’t pay me to say that. And it only costs about 80.00!
This is the program is used to process, and mix, the podcast you’re listening to right now.
TwistedWave is not a DAW. It’s made for voiceover, and podcasting, not for mixing music.
In fact, it doesn’t have true mixing capability. Instead, you simply add channels to a file and copy your recorded tracks into those additional channels when you’re done applying effects to them. Then, mix it down by converting it to stereo. If you’re familiar with mixing you know that’s not a typical way to do it, but it works perfect, and it’s insanely fast compared to using Audition, or any other DAW.
Nothing compares to TwistedWave. Period.
And, again, my course covers TwistedWave step-by-step.
The Best Vocal Processing Effects to use with Twisted Wave
Twisted wave doesn’t come with built-in effects, but since you’ve only spent 80.00 on the application you have money left over to buy iZotope Nectar 2.
If you’re serious about phenomenal sounding vocals then purchase twisted wave, iZotope Nectar 2, and my course so that you know exactly how to set it up. You’ll be so glad you did. In addition to iZotope Nectar 2 I use the following plugins in my effects stack every day:
- MaxxBass (Adds wonderful bass without increase in gain)
- OneKnob Phatter (Makes the vocal sound thicker without adding gain)
- Fab Filter Saturn (Perhaps the best vocal saturation effect)
- Compassion Compressor
- mCompressor (Optional)
- Limited-Z (Optional Limiter)
- Fab Filter Pro-L (Limiter)
- Apple’s DynamicProcessor Effect as a gate. (As a little trick, I use this twice.)
Again, I’ve used a lot of software over the years, and (TRUST ME) this is currently the best set up to use for so many reasons! My preferred solution is to record on a Mac using Audio Highjack, and edit using TwistedWave. It takes me minutes to finish my podcasts this way. It’s so fast, effortless, and great sounding!
As someone who is prone to analysis paralysis, where one wastes countless days, weeks, or months, trying to find the best solution, I can assure you that if you follow my suggestions, and use my course you will have the best podcasting blueprint within hours! So, I suggest you don’t waste your own time, and learn from my analysis.