I need to improve the podcasts

Hey all,

I need to work on the quality of my podcasts – the content is great, I think. This not due to me in any way, it is simply due to my good fortune in attracting great interviewees.

I need to improve my audio quality though and I also need to ‘professionalise’ the podcasts – you know, have a catchy, unique, jingle for opening and closing the show.

On the audio front, I currently record the calls using a phone recorder accessory I bought in Maplins – I connect this to my Sanyo digital Dictaphone and record. Unfortunately there is an annoying background buzzing in all the recordings. The buzzing occurs with or without the dictaphone so it seems to come from the phone recorder accessory.

Any and all help/suggestions on this front would be greatly appreciated!

18 thoughts on “I need to improve the podcasts”

  1. I think Steve Rubel said he uses Wiretap pro on the Mac to record a conversation held in Skype into something like Audacity or Garageband. The sound quality is obviously only as good as the Skype call, but I’ve been listening to Rubels “Across the sound” podcast that he records using this method and overall I’ve been very impressed with the quality.

    I’m recording some things off tape onto my computer at this very moment, I’m using Adobe Audition to record it from the line-in and then using a noise reduction profile taken from the silent part at the start of the tape it can then remove hiss and buzz.

  2. No real help to you, being a Mac User, but the odd time I record voice I use one of the packages that comes with Nero (the CD/DVD burning software). I forget the exact name but it has a background noise adjuster and a few other sliders / dials for playing with and removing any sort of extraneous noise.

  3. Tom,

    Part of the issue is certainly the phone line. The attenuation of high frequencies on a phone line means that you lose allot of quality (all the ssss sounds to be exact) which is 300 and 3000 Hz.

    I record in Audacity (freeware) direct from Skype or G-Talk.


    P.S. I like the fact you don’t have a Jingle šŸ™‚ keep it that way!

  4. @David, Wiretap Pro is looking good – thanks a million for that. I do a 10 seconds of silence at the start to try to get a noise profile but trying to remove it subsequently leaves the voices worse than leaving it in!

    @hostyle, yup, no real help šŸ˜€

    @Robin, i have failed to get Audacity to record more than one side of a Skype conversation – I’m obviously missing something – any tips there?

  5. One of the issues with Tom’s recordings seems to be the input levels are set too high, so if anyone knows how to reduce the input levels on the setup he has, that would be a great tip.

    As it is, the audio is peaking almost all the time, meaning noise reduction techniques don’t yield great results.

    If the input level could be reduced, then noise reduction should yield better results.

    Good place to start anyhoo.

  6. Tom – the problem with audacity is because you need to use something like wiretap to redirect the output from skype. Check out Steve Rubels blog, I’m sure I read him describing how he did it.

  7. @David, excellent thanks. I’ll check Steve’s site – I’m interviewing him next Saturday so it will be good research!

    @Alan, no way. That’s great – thanks a million, Tom

  8. Even though you’re inheriting some noise from the low-quality pick-up of the incoming phone call, your podcast plays well inside a 200-seat auditorium. SoundForge can restore some of the drop-outs that seem to plague recordings done from phones. I’m sure other sound editors have the same capability as well.

  9. Hey Bernie,

    that’s great to know – glad I am helping out with the course work!

    I am starting to record Skype conversations and they seem to be doing better than the landline to landline – I wouldn’t have guessed!

    So only one more podcast should be low quality landline (the Darren Barefoot interview recorded late last week).



  10. Look forward to hearning the new recordings Tom, as the one that Bernie played for us in the auditorium was just about audible (interview with Scoble).

    I second Berie’s suggestion of SoundForge, however I also quite like CoolEdit – which is now known as Audition since Adobe bought Syntrillium. It’s got some fabulous feature and is extremely easy to use.


  11. Niall, thanks for the info – I hope it will help some readers of this thread – I’m Mac based though, so I use Audacity for my sound editing!

  12. Hey Alan,

    thanks for that – I wasn’t sure about it at first but it is starting to grow on me!

    The only problem now is that, when I save it down from the site, I can’t use it in Audacity or play it in iTunes. Am I missing something?

  13. Oh and dont feel like you have to use them if not to your taste.
    I am not emotionally attached šŸ™‚

  14. I’m having a similar problem with a similar setup. I wonder if the phone recorder accessory I got from Radio Shack is the problem…

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