So you’ve just kickstarted your podcasting journey and have a couple of audio clips readily available. The excitement kicks in, and you immediately hit the play button only to be let down a few seconds later. “Why do I sound horrible?” Well, there’s a good chance you’re not using any audio plugins for your recordings.
As a podcaster, the quality of your podcasting can make all the difference between gaining followers or losing them altogether. This is where audio plugins come into play. Sound engineers use them to fine-tune their recordings and add depth to missing layers. When paired with the right equipment, audio plugins can transform your podcast quality in ways you’ve never expected.
Let’s dive down and discuss the audio plugins you need to incorporate into your podcast right here, right now!
1. Noise suppression plugins
Background noise can come from a variety of sources, such as air conditioning, traffic, electronic devices, or even the ambient sound in a room. These noises can be distracting to listeners and diminish the overall quality of your podcast. To address this problem, it helps to use a noise suppression plugin to cancel out background noise and maintain consistent sound quality.
Noise suppression plugins work by analyzing the audio signal and identifying the unwanted noise, which they then reduce or eliminate, leaving the primary audio content clear and more enjoyable.
When podcasters speak, their voices should be the primary focus. With noise suppression plugins, you can improve intelligibility by making spoken words more prominent and reducing or removing competing sounds.
2. Limiter plugins
If there’s one thing that podcast listeners hate, it’s definitely sudden spikes in volume. Luckily, limiter plugins exist to prevent your audio recordings from peaking above a certain level. Limiters help maintain audio levels by setting a specific threshold beyond which audio signals cannot go.
When the audio surpasses this threshold, the limiter automatically reduces the volume to prevent clipping or distortion. This ensures that the audio remains within a consistent and comfortable volume range for listeners, enhancing the listening experience.
The next time you notice a loud spike in volume levels on one of your recordings, consider downloading a limiter plugin. You’ll be surprised at how cleaner and consistent your podcasts will be.
3. Stereo imaging plugins
If you aim to provide a more immersive listening experience, adding stereo imaging plugins will give a big boost to your podcast’s quality. Traditional podcast recordings are typically in mono sound, meaning that audio comes through a single channel only. Stereo imaging plugins enable the spatial separation of audio elements, resulting in a wider soundstage.
This spatial dimension can be used creatively to place voices, sound effects, or music in distinct locations, making the podcast sound more engaging and dynamic. It adds depth to the audio, making the listener feel more present in the content.
Moreover, stereo imaging plugins can be used to emphasize and differentiate between multiple speakers or interviewees in a podcast. This can be particularly useful in interviews or panel discussions, helping listeners easily distinguish who is speaking and making the conversation more coherent and enjoyable.
4. De-esser plugins
Excessive sibilance can be distracting for listeners, particularly when using headphones. Sibilance refers to the hissing or rushing sound produced by certain speech sounds, particularly the “s” and “sh” sounds.
In the context of audio production and recording, sibilance can affect sound quality because it creates harsh tones at high frequencies. Enter de-esser plugins. These plugins work by identifying sibilant frequencies, setting a threshold to activate processing, and applying gain reduction to specifically target and reduce sibilance.
This functionality helps audio professionals and podcasters deliver cleaner, more intelligible vocal recordings by mitigating the distracting and often irritating sibilant sounds in spoken words.
5. Equalization (EQ) plugins
EQ plugins are the bread and butter of every sound engineer because they function like a Swiss army knife in the world of audio. EQ plugins allow podcasters to adjust the levels of specific frequency bands, effectively correcting issues such as muddiness and tinny or boomy sounds.
This correction ensures that the podcast’s audio is clear and balanced, making it more enjoyable for listeners. Moreover, EQ plugins enable podcasters to emphasize or de-emphasize certain aspects of the audio.
For example, they can boost the clarity of a speaker’s voice, accentuate specific frequencies in music or sound effects, or reduce unwanted background noise. This fine-tuning of audio elements is crucial for maintaining the focus on the primary content of the podcast and enhancing the overall listening experience.
6. Compression plugins
Podcasters often encounter variations in the loudness of voices and other audio elements, which can prove distracting to listeners. In the audio space, this is known as dynamic range.
The dynamic range represents the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of the audio, and compression plugins ensure that the variations are kept as low as possible to maintain consistent volume.
Additionally, compression plugins are effective in preventing audio clipping and distortion. When a podcast’s audio levels exceed the capabilities of recording equipment or playback systems, it can lead to unwanted distortion.
Compression helps by automatically reducing the volume of loud audio peaks, protecting against distortion, and ensuring that the audio remains clear and distortion-free.
Audio plugins are indispensable tools for podcasters, offering a wide range of capabilities to enhance the quality, clarity, and overall professionalism of podcast audio. These plugins provide solutions for a multitude of challenges podcasters face, from controlling dynamic range and reducing sibilance to shaping tonal characteristics and creating an immersive listening experience.
By incorporating these plugins into your workflow, you can take your productions to the next level and stand out in a competitive audio landscape.
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