Podcast Basics

Welcome to the final entry in our podcasting basics series of posts. In the previous tutorial, you learned how to record a high quality sounding podcast. In this series finale, I’ll show you how to put all of the pieces together to finalize your podcast masterpiece.

View other posts in this series

Syncing

Once you have obtained all of the necessary files outlined in part IV, you’ll need to import then into your editing application, and align the claps in order to sync the files together. This allows you to create one seamless podcast that sounds like it was recorded together in the same location.

As I’ve stated in previous sections, I use Logic Pro X for editing and mixing. Importing the files that I obtain from the other podcast participants is as simple as dragging and dropping to the Logic timeline. From there, I find the waveform that corresponds with the claps for each recording, and line them up so that they all match. You’ll want to have the master clap—the person who actually claps—positioned a few milliseconds before the other claps in the timeline to make up for latency.

https://vine.co/v/O2DHpEU6Zjb

Syncing the waveforms from the clap

It’s generally a good idea to listen to the beginning, middle, and end of the episode to make sure than everything stays in sync and that participants aren’t talking out of turn. From there, it’s just a matter of performing necessary edits and adding effects that you wish to apply.

Cutting and editing

As mentioned in the previous tutorial, I use Logic Pro X’s scratchpad feature while the recording is going on to notate things I may want to review later. After the recording is completed, and syncing is finished, I can use the notated times to go back and perform an edits and cuts that I feel will result in a better sounding podcast. This method can vary depending on the software you use, but I find that Logic Pro X makes it fairly easy.

Logic Let's Talk iOS

My typical Logic setup

By using a simple ⌘+T command, I can make a cut right where the playhead rests. I can then drag the recordings in whatever direction I need to make the edits. Editing is something that comes to you with lot s of practice, and it’s really beyond the scope of this tutorial. Just know that it will take time to become skilled at cutting and editing, and a lot may depend on the application you choose to use.

Effects

I don’t add a lot of effects to my podcasts, but I do use a simple GarageBand-based effect called Male Narrator Noisy. This effect cuts down on the amount of noise that comes through, uses a high pass filter, and speech enhancement. It’s a good all-in-one effect for improving the sound of each participant’s recording. If you’re a GarageBand user, this effect is built in, but if you’re a Logic Pro X user, you’ll have to use the Download Additional Content option in the menu bar and install the GarageBand legacy effects.

Male Narrator Noisy

A basic effect from GarageBand

Of course, there are certainly more advanced plugins that you will want to use as your podcast matures. You should always look to ways that you can improve your production’s sound as time goes on.

Bouncing

Once you are satisfied with all of your cuts, edits, and effects, it’s time to export or bounce the Logic Pro X project into a single audio file. Simply use ⌘+A to select all files on the timeline, and then use ⌘+B to open the Bounce menu.

Bounce Podcast

Bouncing the podcast to a WAV file

It’s best to bounce your project using high quality audio. For that reason, I generally bounce my projects using the PCM → .AIFF or .WAV format. Bouncing will take a while, depending on how long your podcast is. If it’s more than an hour in length, expect the bounce to take at least 5 minutes.

The Levelator

Once you’ve bounced your project and the resulting audio file is sitting on your desktop, you can play it and marvel at your almost-finished product. Next, it’s time to send your file through The Levelator to give it that crisp-sounding final polish.

The Levelator

You can drag and drop files on The Levelator interface

Simply right click on the exported audio file and select Open With → Levelator.app. Once you do, Levelator should automatically begin processing your audio file. After Levelator finishes processing your file, it’ll save the finished copy in the same location as the original file with a “.output” suffix at the end of the file name.

Final cleanup, tagging, export

I use Rogue Amoeba’s Fission to perform my final edits, manage metadata tags, and for exporting the final file for uploading to the podcast service that we use. You don’t necessarily need Fission, but I find that it fits my workflow particularly well, because it does all of these mundane tasks in an efficient way.

I right click on the output file saved by The Levelator, select Open With → Fission, and then add any tags that I wish to add like Artist, Year, Comments, Album Art, etc. You can use iTunes to do the same thing, but I find Fission to be a lot less cumbersome.

Fission Tags

Fission is the last stop a podcast makes on my workflow before uploading

Next, I use ⌘+E to Export an MP3 file of the final product. I use Custom quality with 96 kbps bit rate, mono, and a 44.1 kHz sample rate. Again, your needs may differ slightly in this regard, I’m just sharing the settings that we use here at iDownloadBlog.

Exported Episode Podcast

The final MP3 file

Once I’ve double-checked all of my export settings, I click the Export button, give the file a name, which usually looks something like this: Lets_Talk_Jailbreak_-_91_-The-jailbreak-tweak-hotline.mp3 and I click Save to save the file to my desktop. Congratulations, your podcast is now ready to upload to the podcast service of your choice.

Distribution

We’ve covered all of the major bases involved with creating a podcast from beginning to end. Now it’s time to distribute your podcast to the masses. There are, as you might imagine, many ways to go about doing this. The most obvious answer is iTunes, and it’s actually fairly simple to get your podcast placed on the iTunes directory. You must, however, go about formatting the RSS feed for your podcast properly so that iTunes can recognize it. While it is technically possible to manage this yourself, it’s a much better idea to use a third-party service like LibSyn, Blubrry, or SoundCloud to do this.

LibSyn

Libsyn is a good way to manage all of your shows

We use LibSyn at iDB, which starts as low as $5/month, and we’ve had a pretty good experience with them. Each service has its own prices, features and idiosyncrasies, but the basics are pretty much the same. You create a show, add a new episode for each podcast episode your produce, fill in necessary metadata, and upload the file associated with each respective episode. Once you submit the episode, everything is handled automatically, with the podcast appearing on iTunes shortly there after.

Once you’ve signed up to a service, you’ll be given a feed URL to use with iTunes and any other podcast directory that you wish to use. When you’re ready to take this step, you can use this link to submit your feed URL to iTunes for publishing on the iTunes podcast directory.

Conclusion

And that concludes our podcast basics tutorial. You should now have a firm grasp of what it takes to produce a good-sounding podcast, and distribute it to the masses. Of course, following through with all of the steps involved is a lot easier said than done. I find that the key is to be relentless, do not give up, and always look to improve your sound in some minute way every episode. If you keep doing that on a week-in and week-out basis, people will begin to notice eventually, and soon you’ll have an iTunes podcast page full of reviews from people that love your show.

Let's Talk iOS Reviews

We’d like to thank our listeners for reviewing Let’s Talk iOS on iTunes

Please sound off in the comments section down below if this tutorial was able to assist you at all. Also be sure to leave a comment if you have any techniques or suggestions that you’d like to share with the rest of the readers.

View other posts in this series

Subscribe to our podcasts

  • Waiting 4 Wrath

    This has been a great series – having just started out show I need all the help I can get 😉

    Levelator has been fantastic. I use Adobe CC Audition for the rest (student licensing makes it a pretty easy choice) but I’ll look into Fission, I already use Audio Hijack 3 to capture clips (how great is version 3 btw!).

    Only think I would mention is that Libsyn can be pretty expensive when you want its full suite of statistics etc. I switched over to PodBean (intro price 3/month, I pay 8$/month for all the advanced features) and haven’t looked back. The player is significantly better and the UI isn’t from the early 90’s, which helps.

    Thanks again guys!

  • Some great information on editing here. I’m adding this article to Pocket!