Sound thinking: Honing your audio editing skills, maybe even with some AI help | Podcasting | DW | 03.06.2024
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Sound thinking: Honing your audio editing skills, maybe even with some AI help

Podcasting success depends on good content but also good audio. But what if you’re just starting out? Let’s look at some tips for building editing skills and explore AI options to take over some tasks.

Tevin Sudi | Tontechniker

Tevin Sudi of AQ Studios trains new podcasters in audio editing

Audio quality is an essential component of success in podcasting. You don’t want listeners to be distracted by poor sound, be it room echo or clumsy edits. You want them to focus on your compelling content. And because there are so many podcasts out there with high-quality audio production, bad sound turns off listeners and will quickly sink a show.

Whether your format is you alone at a mic, interviews with guests or narrative storytelling, you need to think about how you can make good audio impression from the outset. It’s not rocket science, but takes thought and even ear training – that goes for video podcasts as well.

Let’s look at how you can get or improve audio editing skills, and the AI tools currently revolutionizing the field.

The road to audio editing expertise

Invest in quality equipment

We always say content is king, but don’t let audio become an obstacle and sabotage your show. Buy or borrow a good microphone and some headphones. Do research on mic placement and how to create an optimal recording environment (if you’re not already in a studio). If you do this, you’ll already have a good foundation for high-quality recordings.

Learn sound engineering basics

You don’t have to take a formal course, but get familiar with the fundamentals of sound engineering. Learn about concepts such as equalization or EQ (boosting or cutting certain frequency ranges to make voices warmer and clearer and minimize harsh sounds), compression (reducing audio that exceeds a certain threshold) and noise reduction (minimizing unwanted background noises). These skills help you make informed decisions during the editing process. There are lots of options online and tutorials on YouTube

Get to know good software programs

Audio editing software like Adobe Audition and Hindenburg (paid) or Audacity (free) offer features that can really boost your editing capabilities and the sound of your show. There are tons on tutorials on YouTube that walk you through the functionalities of each program.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect. Your first attempts won’t be perfect but you’ll quickly gain confidence as you go. Pay close attention to details like breaths, popping P’s, pauses and smooth edits. Start to develop your ear by learning how to edit in a way in which conversations still sound natural. Tell your host and guests how to repeat a sentence if they’ve stumbled or misspoke. Figure out how long your fades should last or how long you want music under voices. You’ll soon develop a feel and create your own style.

Get creative

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different editing techniques and styles. Do you want music at the beginning or a hard start with just a voice where the music comes in later? Do you want fast edits and a lot of jingles for different sections or a slower, more sober approach? How about starting with a strong quote or using sound effects at the beginning to set a scene or mood? Think about what would appeal to your target audience. Try out new things, play them to friends and get feedback.

Tevin Sudi | Tontechniker

"Learn the basics and be creative" - Tevin Sudi

AI and audio editing

AI tools are now available to help with editing and other aspects of production and distribution. Here are a few of the main players and their strengths. The tools below share a lot of the same features, such as filler-word removal and transcription generation. Things are changing fast in this field and the tools are advancing at light speed. So research these tools or new ones popping up all the time. See which ones do what you need and fit your budget.  


Alitu has become an all-in-one “Podcast Maker” engine. It can automatically clean up and levelling the volume of your audio, write draft episode titles and show notes and more.


Descript is a powerful and popular tool for podcast editing. A feature called “Overdub” allows you to “clone” a voice that can be used to fix audio editors. Descript also provides automatic transcription and you edit audio by editing text fields.


Podcastle offers high-quality recording, editing and transcription services. Its AI features include noise cancellation, voice enhancement and automatic editing. There’s a “text to speech” function that takes text and has an AI avatar read it aloud.


This AI-based post-production tool is designed to improve audio quality. It has automatic leveling, noise reduction and optimizes for speech. It analyzes your audio and applies adjustments to ensure a consistent, professional sound.

iZotope RX

This audio repair tool that uses AI to tackle problematic audio issues. It can remove background noise, clicks, pops, and separate vocals from music.


Cleanvoice is specifically designed to remove filler words, stutters, and long pauses from podcast recordings. It automates the process of manual editing, which saves time.

A role for human editors?

Should you just dump your audio into an AI tool, go for coffee, and then send your show out into the world. Probably not, at least for now. There’s a balance to strike between the AI editor and the flesh-and-blood version.

AI can handle some heavy, tedious lifting, for sure, but don’t forget the human element and the nuance and feeling that only a person can provide. These tools are still developing and leaning too heavy on some features can make your audio sound, well, odd and not quite natural. After using these tools, always give your episode a listen and tweak as needed. Keeping content authentic is crucial.

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