Podcasts are an excellent way to get your message across to a wide audience. By launching your own podcast show, you can be heard on a global level and increase your brand’s popularity and reach.
Starting a podcast can be overwhelming; there is so much to figure out. You need to know what audio gear to use and use a good chunk of your savings to buy them. You also need to develop editing skills and use reliable, easy-to-use software to put together episodes.
Fortunately, you do not need to break the bank on sound editing software. Audacity is an open-source, cross-platform audio recorder and editor that is free to use.
You can use it on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems, and it is widely known for its quality sound, ease of use, and top-of-the-line features.
We will take you through what Audacity is, if it is a good choice for podcasting, and what to do with Audacity for podcasting. Let’s dive in.
What Is Audacity?
Audacity is a free multi-track audio recording and editing platform available on all operating systems. Its interface is available in many languages, so it is used by audio enthusiasts all around the world.
Audacity is easy to use and offers a complete set of features and capabilities for podcasters:
- Record live audio and computer playback
- Convert records and tapes into digital recordings or CDs
- Edit MP2, MP3, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, and Ogg Vorbis sound files
- Edit M4A/M4R (AAC), WMA, AC3, Opus, and other audio formats using optional libraries
- Cut, copy, splice, or mix sounds
- Import and export recordings in different file formats, including multiple files together
- Change a recording’s speed, pitch, or tempo
- Modify plug-in effects in a text editor or write your own using Nyquist LADSPA, LV2, VST, and Audio Unit effect plug-ins
- Preview VST, LADSPA, LV2, and Audio Unit (macOS) effects in real-time
- Visualize and select frequencies using the Spectrogram view mode
- Manipulate tracks and selections using a wide range of keyboard shortcuts
Is Audacity a Good Choice for Podcasts?
Audacity is a popular choice for recording, editing, and mixing multi-track podcasts because it comes loaded with professional-level recording and editing features.
Its interface is not quite as polished as some of its paid rivals. But because it is free to download and a breeze to use, it remains a great option for those who don’t want to spend on software just yet.
- Step 1: Click the box on the left of the microphone icon in the top toolbar to select your audio host. Podcasters with a Windows device should use MME, while macOS users should select Core Audio.
- Step 2: Select your audio interface or microphone by clicking the menu to the right of the microphone icon. Audacity will record your podcast using the device you select from this menu.
- Step 3: If you are recording with two mics and do not have an input mixing device, set the box next to the mic input in the recording channels toolbar to 2 (Stereo) recording channels. This will allow you to record both channels in a single stereo file. Input 1 will be on the left and input 2 on the right. If you are recording with a single mic, select 1 (Mono) Recording Channel.
- Step 4: Click the box to the right of the speaker icon and choose your headphones to playback your files.
- Step 5: Test your input to make sure that you have set up everything correctly. Click the recording meter in the top center of the menu bar. From the Recording Meter Toolbar, select Click to Start Monitoring.
- Step 6: Once you start monitoring the recording level, speak into your microphone. Adjust the Microphone Volume meter to ensure that the recording meter does not go below or exceed -12dB. This should give you enough headroom to avoid clipping your input signal.
- Step 7: After you set up your recording inputs, outputs, and levels, you can begin recording your podcast. If you have an interface or mixer with more than one mic connected, Audacity will automatically create an audio channel for each mic. If you have many people on your podcast, each person must have their own mic and channel. This will enable you to edit each recording individually to create a great-sounding product. When you export your podcast recording, these mono channels will be mixed into stereo to create a single file. Press the red Record button on the Transport toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut “R” to record.
- Step 8: Press the black Stop button or the spacebar when you wish to end the recording.
- Step 9: Press Ctrl+S to save your project once you finish recording. Once saved, you will not lose it even if you accidentally close the software or if it crashes while you’re editing.
How to Edit Podcasts With Audacity
Once you’re done recording your podcast, you can edit the audio and add effects using Audacity’s professional-level features. You can easily add a level of polish that will make your recording more enjoyable to listen to.
For example, if someone was talking too loudly while recording or a mic was too close to their mouth, you can quickly adjust the level of the individual track. You can clip and move segments to rearrange the overall flow.
Other editing options include removing a clipping if your initial settings were off and removing background noise.
If you use high-quality recording equipment and get your settings right, your podcast may not need much editing. Skip around and listen to different segments of your recording to determine what work must be done and how much editing the file needs.
Some editing tasks on Audacity are a bit more complex than others:
Selection Tool Functions
Use the Selection Tool to set the playback start point or select a few portions of the recording for processing. You can cut and paste or delete a segment by highlighting it and using your keyboard “cut” command or pressing the delete key.
Audacity will automatically close the resulting space by moving the new clip boundaries together.
If you wish to leave the timing intact, use the Split Cut or Split Delete functions. You can do this by selecting Edit > Remove Special > Split Cut / Split Delete.
Adding Audio Clips
You can also insert other audio clips, including intro music, outro music, interview clips, sound effects, and more.
To add and move clips, load your podcast audio into Audacity and then click File > Import > Audio or press the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+I. Choose the clip you wish to add.
Click the time shift tool (arrows pointing left and right) in the upper toolbar to move a clip forward or backward on the timeline.
If you are adding intro music, click and drag the track so that it begins when the clip ends. If you want the intro music to fade out over the start of the recording, slide the tool a little to the left.
Repeat these steps to add outro music to the end of your podcast. You can also add sound effects and music to play in the middle of the episode. Each audio file must have its own recording channel to make it easy to edit or move around the timeline.
Use the time shift tool to move the clips where you want them to play during the podcast.
Click the green Play button to play your recording and check if you’ve correctly positioned your audio clips. Click the cursor icon in the toolbar, and then click on any point in the track to skip and listen from where you want to.
Saving Your Podcast
Press Ctrl+S regularly to save your podcast while editing. If Audacity crashes while you are working on your project and you haven’t saved it, you’ll end up losing all your work.
Whether you wish to get started with podcasting, have not yet figured out your software requirements, or just want to keep your recording costs down, Audacity is an excellent platform for recording, editing, and mixing your podcast show.
Like many other podcasters before you, you may find that it will suit your simple podcasting needs for a long time to come.
We hope you enjoyed reading our comprehensive guide on what to do with Audacity for podcasting. If you found it helpful, check out our website and browse our other guides and articles on podcasting.