Nowadays, it’s hard to find a person who’s never heard of the word “podcast.” The podcasting industry has skyrocketed in the last several years, especially during the pandemic when, quite frankly, there wasn’t very much else to do. Podcasting has become an indirect marketing tool most companies now use to promote their business or products.
But, when you hear most of those shows, what is the first thing you notice? Bad sound quality.
Some people think the production quality is irrelevant as long as the content is good. And it’s true the content needs to be engaging, and the show has to be fun or educational, but all of that is for nothing if the listener either can’t understand you because the sound quality is so poor or if the sound quality doesn’t compare with that of similar shows.
I am an audio engineer by both background and training. I have been producing and editing podcasts specifically for over four years now. In that time, I have edited over three thousand podcast episodes. So I can say from first-hand experience why quality, professional audio editing is a critical part of the kind of podcast you need to grow your brand and get your message out. And that’s true whether the editor in question is me or not—you need to hire somebody. Let me explain.
Podcasts come and go, but the ones that stick around long-term, that keep being published on a regular basis for years, are the ones that have quality sound.
Why is that? Well, because the podcasters have a good listener base inspiring them to continue. It’s hard to keep going if it feels like nobody’s listening. And, given time, people do start listening—I’ve witnessed shows with 20 monthly listeners becoming shows with 50-80 thousand monthly listeners in less than a year. A lot of that is through word-of-mouth, people sharing links, and individuals engaging in the content online. But do you think most people will share a podcast that’s unpleasant to listen to? Quite simply, poor sound quality…sounds bad.
I’m proud to say all of my clients who follow my advice on purchasing audio equipment and who implement my podcast recording tips are still out there and their podcasts are thriving.
Eric and the team at KazSource were among my earliest clients, but we’ve really connected, and they share my enthusiasm for audio quality. After three years as an independent contractor, I formally joined their team. So anyone who hires KazSource’s podcast production services will get me, too. Exciting!
You might be thinking, OK, so good audio editing is important, but why can’t I save some money and learn to do it myself? It can’t be that hard, can it?
Well, of course, you can learn, if that’s what you want to do, but audio editing isn’t something you can just quickly pick up on the side. There is a lot that goes into it. Start with the fact that, on average, edited episodes are 15% shorter than raw episodes. Yes, that’s how many “ums” and other filler words, mistakes, annoying heavy breaths, and long awkward pauses I take out in each episode.
In addition to removing a long list of extraneous noises, such as clicks and pops and thumps (all of which the human ear tends to automatically filter out when you’re in the moment, but they show up loud and clear in recordings), there’s also a whole long list of other changes that are part of the editing process. These include:
- Leveling (ensuring no drastic dynamics throughout the track)
- EQ (lifting and damping some frequencies to sound more natural and present)
- Compression (further reducing dynamics)
- Sculpting (adding fullness to the voice)
- Removing harsh sibilants
- Loudness control (mastering the track at –16dbfs with a peak at –1db according to the standards)
- Importing interview tracks, intro/outro music, intro/outro files, ads, and SFX into the editing software and mixing it
- Adding various plugins and tweaking settings
- Finally, mastering the file and exporting it as an mp3 deliverable
It takes me anywhere from six to eight hours to enhance and edit a one-hour episode. I can only imagine how much time it would take for a non-professional to attempt the same quality editing and enhancement. And that’s not to mention the equipment (professional headphones or active monitors, computer, professional editing software, professional audio repair and enhancement software, and various mastering plug-ins) that a professional already has but you probably don’t, yet. It all costs money to acquire, and it all takes time to learn and master.
To conclude—can you skip audio editing if your content is good enough? Not if you expect anyone to enjoy listening to your content, you can’t. Can you just do the audio editing yourself? Not unless you want to put in the time and effort to become a professional audio engineer yourself, no.
We go through all of these processes to make you and your guest sound good. And it’s not just the sound itself. Some people are nervous when being interviewed (I know I’m one of them) and they use excessive filler words—that make their nervousness show. I can edit your recording and make you sound like you are a panel speaker at TEDTalk. Here’s a video to showcase what we do: Podcast Production Service Sample
Your role is to get good at podcasting so you can support and grow your brand and get your message out there — including that of your guests. Instead of trying to do everything else yourself, hire a professional podcast editing team and acquire the quality you and your podcast deserve.
KazCM is here to help with your professional podcast editing and production. Let’s talk.