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Podcast Basics

This is a brief tutorial on creating an intro to a podcast using Audacity.

Podcast Basics Part 4: Effects

There are a number of effects in Audacity that allow me to enhance or control my audio tracks. Since all of the clips I'm using give me permission to make any changes I want, I can get very ambitious if I want to add echo or reverb. However, I'm going to keep my project simple and use a couple of basic effects.

Amplify

To lower the overall volume of my hiking sounds, I am going to use the amplify effect. This effect allows for level adjustment across a selected portion of a track. I'm going to lower the entire duration of the hiking clip, so I will double-click the track to select the entire thing and then select the Amplify tool and set it to -10, which is a pretty significant drop.

Fade In/Out

I will also want to fade the hiking sounds in and out so that it doesn't sound super abrupt when the sound transitions in and out. The fade in and fade out effects will help me do this.

The hiking sounds

For the fade in, I will select just the first bit of the track and then apply the effect. If I were to select the whole track, it would slowly fade in throughout the duration of the track rather than just at the beginning.

Similarly, I will select just the last bit of the track to fade it out. I will want to do this after I have deleted the last bit so that it ends when I want it to. If I set the fade out and then delete the end, I will end up deleting the fade out. For my podcast, I want the hiking sounds to end when I begin talking about the interview that is happening in 'the studio' so that I can bring the listener back to a quiet studio space where we will hear from the interviewee.

Compressor

There are a couple of tools that are useful to clean up any audio recording. For speaking parts, the compressor effect is particularly useful because it will reduces the dynamic range of the selected section. Simplified, this means the lows be closer to the highs.

Cleaning up my speaking part

I will use the compressor to help clear up my speaking part so that sections where I speak more softly are closer in level to the sections where I speak more loudly. With the hiking sound in the background, this helps a lot to make my narration more understandable.