- Get A Microphone
- Get Headphones
- Fire Up Audition
- Enable Your Microphone In Preferences
- Why Start A Multitrack Session
- The Multitrack View
- Record A Mic Check
- Multitrack Recording Options
- Record Your Podcast
- Download Tutorial Sample Files
- Syncing Files & Navigating In The Editor
- A Word On Effects
- Exporting An MP3
Grab a microphone, some headphones, and fire up Adobe Audition – we’re going to podcast!
Get A Microphone
Audition has defaults in place to get you up and recording quickly, but it will most likely be using your computer’s default, tiny, built-in microphone. This is not recommended for podcasting.
Buy, borrow, or steal* an external microphone for podcasting. It will make a world of difference. The Blue Snowball is a great entry-level microphone for around $49. It connects via USB so you don’t need to get an audio interface. There are plenty of USB mics out there you can google for – anything to get you off that built-in computer mic!
* – not really
It’s not ideal to record without headphones. You need them to monitor your tracks, inputs, playback, and recording without sound from speakers bleeding into your recording. It’s also very helpful during playback to closely listen for noise and glitches that you might not catch on small laptop speakers.
Get some quality “cans” – over-the-ear headphones that block out room noise, but are also comfortable, as you may be wearing them for hours at a time.
Fire Up Audition
Audition will load a default workspace for you to get going. First thing to notice are the EDITOR VIEWS in the top-left, WAVEFORM & MULTITRACK.
The WAVEFORM view is where you can edit individual audio files – chop out sections you don’t need, fade in/out, add FX, etc. The MULTITRACK view will let you work on multiple inputs/audio files at once – such as when recording, editing, and mixing a podcast with multiple inputs/audio files.
Also up top is the TOOLBAR – hover your mouse over each tool to show what they are. We’ll get to know these better as we find uses for them.
A brief overview of the other windows (see above image for corresponding number):
- Your project’s files are found in the FILES tab. This is empty until you import files or record new ones.
- By default this is the MEDIA BROWSER tab – but you’ll find more use here when you switch it over to the EFFECTS RACK tab when we get there.
- The HISTORY tab will help you jump back to undo edits you aren’t happy with. You may rarely use this, and can close it using the hamburger menu’s “Close Panel.” I’ll also close the VIDEO tab since podcasting doesn’t involve syncing audio to a video file. Closing these tabs will open up some more real estate for other activities, which is nice.
- The EDITOR tab is where you’ll slice and dice your audio files. You’ll see in a second.
- The LEVELS tab is your best friend in helping you monitor your podcast’s volume, making sure it’s not peaking (red means danger) or too quiet.
- The SELECTION/VIEW tab shows data regarding your audio files and selections you make within a track.
Enable Your Microphone In Preferences
Let’s make sure Audition sees our mic. Open your AUDIO HARDWARE preferences by going up top to ADOBE AUDITION CC > PREFERENCES > AUDIO HARDWARE…:
getting to audio hardware preferences in the menu
This will open the following window:
audio hardware preferences
Go to your DEFAULT INPUT dropdown and select your mic. If you’re having trouble, check this Adobe help page here.
Why Start A Multitrack Session
Audition makes recording a new audio file pretty simple. Use FILE > NEW > AUDIO FILE, choose a couple settings, and bam, you can hit RECORD. This is fine for a podcast with one speaker and no music.
But let’s go the traditional route – there’s a host, there’s a guest, there’s some music, right? This is why we’ll walkthrough a MULTITRACK SESSION.
To do this, click on the MULTITRACK edit view button on top. This will bring up a prompt to choose options:
new multitrack session options
Type in your session name – this could possibly be the name of your podcast and the episode number?
Next let’s set the SAMPLE RATE to 44100. The reasons why can be googled – but in general, 44100kHz is a standard delivery format, and perfectly fine for recording voices (as opposed to say, a chamber orchestra).
Let’s set the BIT DEPTH at 24 if you can. Again, you can google for the reasons, but if you can swing it, go for it. You may find some mics limit recording to 16 bit. Don’t worry too much, though, 16 bit is still “CD quality” and will be fine.
Lastly, I record my podcasts in MONO. You probably will too unless you feature music as a major component of your podcast. A few seconds of a theme song can live in mono, it’s not a big deal, and your file will be half the size in the end.
The reason I don’t use Audition’s template for Podcast is because they set up the project in stereo. My podcasts are just a couple people talking, so I don’t need it to be in stereo.
The Multitrack View
the multitrack view
In Multitrack view we can get set up to RECORD using the TRACKS that Audition has put in your EDITOR tab.
Clicking on a track name, TRACK 1 for instance, you can rename it. I’m going to call Track 1 HOST, since that’ll be for me.
To the right of the track name are track options – MUTE, SOLO, ARM FOR RECORD, and MONITOR INPUT.
- MUTE will do just that: mute the track during recording and playback so you won’t hear it.
- SOLO will make this the only track heard during recording and playback. Soloing can be stacked across multiple tracks, i.e. “mute everything but these solo’d tracks.”
- ARM FOR RECORD will enable that track’s input for recording.
- MONITOR INPUT will let you hear that track’s input so you can hear what your mic is capturing.
Next we’ll want to make sure your mic is selected as the input for our track, and it should be since we already set it as our default. If not, click on the dropdown next to the → and you’ll see different options for your input.
Along the bottom of the EDITOR tab you’ll see PLAYBACK CONTROLS, and most notably, the red RECORD button in the middle.
Record A Mic Check
We’re about ready to rock, let’s give it a test, shall we?
- ARM FOR RECORD Track 1.
- Turn on MONITOR INPUT so we can hear it in our headphones.
- Hit RECORD.
- Do a mic check, say something like, “Microphone check, 1, 2, 3. Testing. Microphone check.”
- Hit STOP.
If all went well you should now see a WAVEFORM of your recording in Track 1:
a successful mic check
Multitrack Recording Options
If you are a solo host podcast, you’re all ready to record your show! For other situations, you’ll have a bit more finagling left to do.
Each podcast is unique in how it is produced. Some have everyone in the room with multiple mics running into an audio interface prior to piping it into the computer. Others have people on opposite sides of the world sharing a Skype call while each guest records their own side of the conversation to be synced up later.
For this tutorial, I will walk through this “not in the same room but using Skype” scenario – which is called a double ender. It is a growing standard in the podcast world and it is how I record my show with my brother who lives 1,000 miles away.
Record Your Podcast
At this point, you know all you need to know to RECORD a double ender podcast with Skype:
- Start your Skype call* and make sure you’ve both done a mic check and are ready to record.
- Both of you hit RECORD.
- Do your show!**
- STOP recording.
- Have your guest send you the audio file (Dropbox?) so you can sync it up in Audition.
* – If at all possible, record your Skype call. Skype does not natively do this, but there are many apps that can do it for you. We use Audio Hijack. The reason for this is twofold:
- You’ll have a backup of your conversation should either of your audio files mess up or get lost in some way.
- You can use this file to easier sync up your conversation during editing.
** – If you mess up, don’t stop recording, just regroup and start the sentence over again. It’s easier to chop out mistakes later than to sync up multiple takes.
Download Tutorial Sample Files
If you’re just going through to learn the ropes of Audition and aren’t actually podcasting right now, we have recorded a sample podcast episode you can use to practice syncing and editing. Surprise, it’s about Podcasting! Links to our 3 files are here:
Download these and import them into Audition using FILE > IMPORT > FILE or the shortcut Command-I.
Syncing Files & Navigating In The Editor
With these files in there, let’s click & drag them to their own tracks. I’ll put JUSTIN on TRACK 1 (HOST), and MIKE and TRACK 2 (GUEST):
files dragged into respective tracks
If you hit PLAY (SPACEBAR) you’ll hear them talking and then start talking over each other within a few seconds as the timing is off. We need to get these tracks in sync! Unfortunately, we didn’t record our Skype phone call, so we’ll have to do a little detective work to find out who’s early and who’s late.
For starters – we’ll want to ZOOM IN to the front of our tracks to see the waveforms better. There is a ZOOM IN button along the bottom of the EDITOR tab, but an easier way is to hit the = (equals) key. Alternately, to ZOOM OUT, hit the – (minus) key next to it.
Once you’re zoomed in, listen to the first 20 seconds or so and you’ll figure out that Justin is early and Mike is late with his responses. This means we’ll have to drag Justin to the right until they get lined up better. Do this with the MOVE tool – click it from the TOOLBAR up top or use the shortcut V:
the MOVE tool
With the MOVE tool, drag Justin to the right and PLAY it back again, repeating as necessary once you feel like Mike answers him at the right time. If you need to go back, click & drag the PLAYHEAD back to the front of the tracks.
With a bit of trial and error, you’ll get there. As you listen later on, you may need to nudge Justin left or right as needed.
Up next, you’ll want to do some chopping. For starters, you’ll want to chop out the front chatter before the show officially starts. You’ll want to do the same at the end. Finally, there is one slip-up towards the end of the show you’ll want to chop out too. How do we do that?
Use the TIME SELECTION tool. Click it in the TOOLBAR up top or use the keyboard shortcut T.
the TIME SELECTION tool
This part’s fun. Use this tool to select a region you want to chop out. Then hit DELETE. It’s that easy.
Find where Justin starts the show (around 15secs where he says “Hello!”). Select the track before this and chop it out. Do the same with Mike – chop out everything until he starts talking (around 22secs in). It should go like this:
click & drag, DELETE
Repeat this for the end of the show. A nice shortcut to jump to the end is to use the END key if your keyboard has one. You can also use the FUNCTION key (bottom left FN key on a Mac) with the RIGHT ARROW key to do the same. Alternately, HOME and/or FN+LEFT ARROW will jump to the front of the project.
I’m ending the show after Justin says “Podcasting with Justin Edwards.”
The Ripple Delete
If you chop out anything in the middle of your show, you’ll need to do a different kind of DELETE – in Audition it’s called a RIPPLE DELETE. This will remove the selection and slide everything after it over so there is no gap.
Let’s find a mess up in the show and ripple delete it. If you haven’t slid your tracks around, you should find it around the 31m,41s mark, right after Justin says “jump through those hoops” he starts mumbling and gives up on the thought and asks YOU THE LISTENER to cut it out. He really does mean you! He gets back on track at 31m57s.
Use the TIME SELECTION tool to select the region between those approximate times. Use the waveforms as your guide, and ZOOM IN if you need to!
select that mess up for a RIPPLE DELETE
Now let’s RIPPLE DELETE! Use EDIT > RIPPLE DELETE > TIME SELECTION IN ALL TRACKS to make this happen.
RIPPLE DELETE from the menu
You’ll want to make sure you use ALL TRACKS otherwise you’ll only delete one track’s area and pull it out of sync.
Adding Music & Adjusting Audio Levels
Now let’s slide our intro song in there to TRACK 3. If you PLAY it you’ll see it’s super loud compared to the voices! Let’s go ahead and turn it down using the track’s tools. You’ll find the VOLUME knob just under the TRACK NAME:
turn down that music!
-11dB is probably pretty good.
Next thing – I think the song ends too early. Justin doesn’t start speaking soon enough after it fades out. Let’s go ahead and MOVE our music to the right until it’s happily half-faded out as Justin starts the show:
the music has been moved to fade as Justin starts!
Now let’s RIPPLE DELETE this new 1.5sec gap we just created up front. Remember how? SELECT that 1.5sec region, then RIPPLE DELETE ALL TRACKS. You’re getting the hang of this!
TWO MORE THINGS:
1 – Let’s add the theme song to the end of the show. FN-RIGHT ARROW to the end and drag the song from the FILES tab onto Track 3 at the end. Place it where Justin wraps it up “Podcasting with Justin Edwards.” around 32m16s (if you chopped out that first 1.5sec).
the song repeated at the end
No need to adjust volume again, since the adjustment we made already changes it for every file that lives on that track.
2 – Speaking of adjusting volume levels, you may have noticed the discrepancy between JUSTIN and MIKE’s tracks – Justin is much louder than Mike. Go ahead and give Mike’s track a boost. 6dB should do.
A Word On Effects
We should spend some time talking about EFFECTS – adjusting EQ, adding a COMPRESSOR and a LIMITER, but we are just about out of time here for an already long tutorial.
BUT THERE’S GOOD NEWS:
Listen to the sample podcast we’ve been working on. Mike gives a great overview of the effects he uses for his shows.
We also have our own tutorial on it here: Audition FX Tutorial
Exporting An MP3
Let’s get your show out of Audition and into MP3 land! To export your session use the menu and go FILE > EXPORT > MULTITRACK MIXDOWN > ENTIRE SESSION
exporting through the menu
This will open the following window:
We’ll want make some changes to their defaults.
- I like to export to my Desktop so the file is easy to find. Use BROWSE to do this.
- Change the FORMAT. Use the dropdown box to choose MP3.
- CHANGE the SAMPLE TYPE. This will open a window:
SAMPLE TYPE options
- Change the SAMPLE RATE from “Same as source” to 441000.
- Change the BIT DEPTH from “Same as source” to 16. Hit OK.
- Lastly, CHANGE the FORMAT SETTINGS. It will open this window:
MP3 FORMAT SETTINGS
- Change the BITRATE to 96Kbps. This is because we just have a one-channel MONO file. A stereo show would double this since it has two channels. Hit OK.
- Hit OK in the export window and Audition will do its thing!
Go find your file on the desktop. Voila! Congratulations, you’re a podcaster!
Special thanks to Michael Edwards of the Sunrise Robot podcast network for his guest spot in our tutorial files! You owe it to yourself to check out his shows at SunriseRobot.net.