Okay, so I recorded this episode driving in my pickup truck on the way to Denver.
And the issue I’m going to cover was so much on my mind, I decided it was worth recording with substandard audio… on the go… which is kind of ironic considering what I'm going to talk about.
GOOD QUALITY AUDIO!
In this episode I cover why audio levels are SO important, how you can fix them easily (or for free) and what's going to happen to your podcast if you don't.
Main Points : Turn Away Listeners
[1:18] The story behind this episode has to do with “Masters of Scale”
[3:22] NEVER miss leveling and compression. Here’s why
[5:29] A very simple way to deal with this issue
[9:00] The slow road to the bottom happens just like this
[9:55] People are starting to make choices based on audio quality levels
Featured On This Episode
The story goes like this…
When I drive places, especially somewhere that's going to be just me in the vehicle driving alone for a number of hours, I binge listen to podcasts.
I download lots of stuff. And I listen one after another after another to both increase my learning also just to pass the time.
Well, in one of my recent trips to Denver, the very first podcast I listened to was one of my favorite shows. It's called Masters of Scale, hosted by the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman.
It’s a truly great show.
The production value on this show is what is amazing. They do all kinds of sound effects and different voices and interview clips mixed in with narration. It's just a really great show, you should listen to it.
But that day - the one where I was driving in my pickup - I was listening to episode number 10 of season number two. And something happened that brought this issue to my attention - again.
Because YOU are a person who's podcasting and a person who wants your podcast to serve your audience well - so you HAVE GOT to be aware of this issue.
Audio quality - in particular, audio levels.
The reason I became aware of the issue this time is because of the way that the people behind Masters of Scale do their podcast.
- Narration - which is usually Reid Hoffman himself, trying to tell a particular story.
- His narration is integrated with clips from interviews he’s done with the people involved.
- The MOS team mixes that in with sound effects, music, and all kinds of really cool stuff.
Because all of that is done, it's absolutely vital that one step in the audio post production process is never, ever missed - leveling and compression.
And on this particular episode, apparently it was missed.
Your podcast listeners care about this stuff - for this reason
I can tell you why I was able to notice this so easily on this episode.
Remember WHERE I was when I was trying to listen? I was driving in my pickup truck.
I was driving along, I had in earbuds, and Reid’s voice sounds great. The level is pretty normal.
But the first time that an interview portion comes on, it's a much lower volume level. So much so, it was hard for me to even hear it - especially since there was a little bit of road noise.
Loudness levels are incredibly important because you never know where your listener is going to be when they are listening to your episode.
They could be just like me - driving.
They could be on the treadmill.
And if they can’t HEAR what is being said on your podcast - in ALL the segments and audio elements you include - you are doing your podcast listeners a disservice.
You’re wasting their time.
And they are only going to tolerate that for so long.
You can easily fix audio level problems for your podcast listeners
I’m going to take just a moment on this episode to highlight a very simple way you can deal with this issue.
On previous episodes you’ve heard me mention an online tool call Auphonic. It has a FREE version you can use - I believe it's free up to two hours worth of audio processing per month.
Using Auphonic, you can set things like leveling and loudness levels so that your final product is entirely balanced.
You will have NO problems like I ran into on Reid’s podcast.
It doesn't take a lot of expertise. It just takes an ability to how to tick a few boxes and hit “process.”
But you can also address leveling issues in your DAW (digital audio workstation) software.
Audacity - Adobe Audition - Pro Tools - Hindenburg - all of them have a way to address audio level issues and compression issues.
All it would take for you to find out is a quick YouTube search for your particular software with the words “leveling” or “loudness level” or something like that. I guarantee that you will find a handful of helpful tutorials about how to do those things right there in your audio editing software.
Your podcast listeners will run away if you fail to get this right
I can't tell you ENOUGH how vital this issue is.
If you just slap together some audio and export it from your editing software and throw it onto your media host, you are going to experience a declining number of subscribers to your podcast over time, because the worse your audio is, the less professional and impressive your show is.
And no matter how great your content is, people are going to begin to unsubscribe from your show because the place where they listen most - perhaps it's in their car, perhaps it's on the treadmill - they can't even hear your content.
Do you get that?
Why would they stay subscribed to a show that they can't even HEAR?
Bad audio levels are something that's inexcusable in the day and age in which we live, where technology is so available and there are even free versions of the tools that we need to take care of these problems
It's becoming increasingly more important because as more and more podcast show up on the scenes, people are going to start making choices about what they have the time to listen to.
And if your audio levels are funky, you're making it very easy for them to say, “Nope, not this one. It's not worth my time because it's not done very professionally.”
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