Saturday, February 16, 2013

Post-processing a podcast: volume leveling

Have you ever listened to an audio program or recorded musical piece where one segment is so low in volume that you have to crank up the volume yourself and then, the next thing you know, the following segment is so loud that you have to turn the volume back down only keep going back and forth or else suffer it through? Well, I have; and recently this had become annoying as some podcasts that I listen to have disparate microphone pickups at recording.  Most hosts are not pro sound engineers and can be forgiven for that, but the issue still remained. So I set myself to solve the problem, at least for myself, and came up with this solution.

What I do is run the audio  through a digital compressor before syncing. In my case I use the one included in the Magix Audio Cleaning Lab, of which I have talked of some times before. Most of the time the results are just what I was looking (or listening) for. When it doesn't, and it usually means that I turned the ratio knob too far to the right.

With the batch processing feature it only takes me some extra minutes, but it is pain free and now I can listen without the risk of having my ears blown off by a sudden yelp of exaltation from the host.

This program can be tried for free, but there are surely other good alternatives out there.

Oh, there's a good article on wikipedia too about compression:

Update 10/12/15

With the rise of smartphones and the podcast clients it is now more difficult for listeners, or at least for me, to pull the leveling in such a straightforward fashion. As you can tell, the proposed solution depended on having iTunes on a PC and an iPod to sync to. I believe that for the majority now, this is no longer the case. Podcast client programmers have not wised up to volume leveling, but maybe sometime in the future? On the other side of the equation, since the original posting, and surely not thanks to it, I have seen (heard) podcasters take this area more in consideration. First it was the elimination of ambient noise and better recording equipment, now, more closer to us, volume leveling.  if you're a podcaster the tools are within your reach to make your show better for your listeners.


Post a Comment