Within the recording and production of digital audio files, there are many different components at play, each of them offering something a little different in terms of functionality and process.
One such piece of equipment is the Auphonic Leveler, a popular batch processor that is used by both amateurs and professional podcasters alike.
But what exactly is a batch processor, and where does the Auphonic Leveler rank?
What Is A Batch Processor?
Within digital audio production, a batch processor is an intelligent audio file processor which analyzes the recorded audio, and corrects any specific differences between the sound levels of the speakers, differences between music and speech, and between individual linked audio recordings.
Why Is A Batch Processor Important?
Because of this, batch processing has a lot of importance within sound engineering, offering many things during production.
When recording sound, or more specifically, when connecting multiple audio files together, you really want there to be a balance between the levels of volume, clarity, and background noise.
This is especially true if you are wanting your finished product to be the highest professional quality audio possible.
A batch processor does just that, ensuring that the sound of the output files is as closely matched as possible, and ensuring that music and voice files are not overshadowed by one another.
This also goes a long way to ensuring the overall quality of the finished product.
Poor balance with the levels suggests poor production and sound quality, something that could be harmful to things like viewership for podcast audio or releasing music.
If the quality is poor and unprofessional, then people might be less inclined to listen or follow your podcast episodes, which could be detrimental to people starting out in the podcasting industry – which in itself is already saturated and competitive.
The Auphonic Leveler: The Facts
When it comes to the Auphonic Leveler, this is one of the best-loved examples of this type of product on the market, and continually proves popular amongst podcasters and sound engineers alike.
But what exactly makes it so special?
When compared to the quality of the product you are getting, the price for attaining the Leveler is fairly reasonable – especially when you consider the different pricing plans and the features included within.
These vary, depending on whether the user is an individual, or is a commercial one – either purchasing on behalf of a university, school, or business.
The priced package for the individual (for one user) comes in at a fairly reasonable one-time payment of $89, while the commercial package (for a total of five users) comes in at $349.
Whichever package you choose, the Auphonic Leveler is suitable and compatible with both IOS and Windows devices, allowing both PC and Mac users to have the full benefit of this great piece of technology.
The Leveler also has specific audio input and output formats that it can work with – facts that are important to recognize and know before purchasing.
The input formats include WAV, WAV (float), AIFF, FLAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and Opus.
There are also a series of formats designed purely for those using Mac OS X, and these include: MP4/M4A/M4B, AAC, ALAC, CAF, AC3, MP2, 3GP.
The output formats include WAV, WAV (float), AIFF, MP3 (via Lame), FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, and Opus. Similarly, the output formats for those using Mac OS X include AAC (M4A).
How Does The Auphonic Leveler Work?
When it comes to the functionality of the Leveler, there are many features that come into play.
The adaptive leveler examines the content of the audio files, using machine learning techniques – making it capable of balancing sound levels within a number of different audio files.
These processes include:
- Classifying music, background, and speech segments.
- Applying dynamic range compression.
- Correcting differences between speakers.
- Processing music to be comparable in volume to speech.
- Background interference/noise will not be amplified.
The volume levels of the audio files are measured by Global Loudness Normalization, which applies a constant level of gain to each file until it reaches a defined target level.
This ensures that all processed sounds have the same upper loudness limit, and is calculated based on the broadcasting standards of ITU-R BS.1770, as well as Auphonic supports loudness target for television, which is EBU R128, ATSC A/85.
True Peak Limiter
Thanks to 4x oversampling limiters, the true peak limiter is used to limit the final output signal, ensuring that only a selected maximum true peak level is hit, and that this coincides with the preset loudness limitations.
Noise and Hum Reduction
This uses specially designed algorithms for background noise reduction within audio files with slowly varying backgrounds.
This separated the audio file into different frequencies, before assigning each frequency a marker, followed by a noise print being removed from each marked frequency.
High Pass Filter
This cuts disturbing and unnecessary low frequencies that might otherwise cause distortion or interruptions on the finalized audio track.
However, this is also based on the context, and has different levels and criteria depending on whether it is speech, music, or background noise.
Things To Remember
The audio processing features mentioned above all come together to make the Auphonic Leveler suited to one major area: programming where speech and dialogue are the most prominent features.
This could be podcasting, radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, lecturing, conference recording, films, videos, and screencasts.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about the Auphonic Leveler, and its effectiveness within sound production and podcasting.
What’s clear is the sheer versatility of the Leveler, one of the things that go to make it such a popular tool within the industry.
So, if you are a sound producer, or want to try your hand at podcasting, then why not invest in the Auphonic Leveler? Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!