• Tom Kelly

20. A/B'ing Your Audio to Produce Better Sounding Podcasts


My father always taught me the worst thing you can do is to constantly compare yourselves to others. It can be limiting, anxiety inducing, and can guide you off the path you should be taking in life. Every person, every voice, and every experience is unique and should be treated as such. However! When we're duding our own audio quality, it's important to keep comparing our audio against that of other podcasts and voices that are KNOWN to be of good quality. Here's the reason why...


I've said it many times in past episodes, our ears are more susceptible to change than constants. When we listen to nothing but our own audio for an extended period of time, we become deaf to less than ideal qualities in our sound. When we first hit play, we may think "oh, that sounds a bit off...". But after 20 seconds, our ears adjust to the sound and the longer we sit with that audio, the more it becomes normal to us. It's not until we take a break and listen to a show with audio we love that we realize we took a left turn somewhere in our mix and now we have to undo a lot of moves to get back on track.


If we take periodic and frequency breaks from our audio to listen to a show with amazing production quality, we will keep our own audio in check, constantly comparing our sound to something great so we know where we should be heading. It's like a beacon of light letting us know which path we should take when we hit a fork in the road.


Using Metric AB to compare my audio vs. CGP Grey's on the Cortex Podcast

There are several tools we can use to quickly switch back and forth between our audio and the audio of others, but the process of A/Bing can be as simple as you want it to be. Hit pause in your DAW, hit play in the browser of NPRs website. Take stock of the differences in quality. Maybe you'll realize your voice could use a little bit more low end. Maybe it needs a little less midrange, and we wouldn't have noticed that if we didn't have a comparison to look to.


This is also extremely helpful to compensate for the coloration of our output devices. In past episodes I've mentioned that EVERYTHING affects how we hear sound. The shape of our ears, the size of the cones in our studio monitors, the quality and accuracy of our headphones, and the environment in which we are listening. When we have something to compare our voice to, we can compensate for the coloration of our output devices, and this is EXTREMELY helpful when we're not 100% comfortable with the way our devices translate sound.



JOIN THE FUN ON PATREON!



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Links:

Metric AB by ADPTR (free 14 day trial)

Fabfilter ProQ3 (free 30 day trial)

Cortex Podcast by Relay FM

The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe



My Signal Chain

Hardware:

Audio Interface: Apogee Ensemble

Microphone: Shure SM7b

Headphones: Audio-Technia ATH-M50x

Earbuds: Klipsch R6i II

Studio Monitors: Yamaha HS7

Mic Stand: Rode PS1A Boom Arm

Software:

IzoTope RX6 Mouth De-Click

IzoTope RX6 Voice De-Noise

FabFilter ProQ3

Waves Vocal Rider

Waves CLA-76

Waves API 2500

oeksound Soothe2

Waves L2 Limiter

Waves WLM Meter

Waves Durrough Meter

-Save 10% off the plugins above with this affiliate link from Waves!-

*most of these links are affiliate links

Midroll Song: Road Trip by Joakim Karud

Closing Song: Luvly by Joakim Karud

http://www.joakimkarud.com

For more info, or to ask any questions, check out my website and reach out to hello@cleancutaudio.com