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Podcasts - Transitions: Blending and Layering

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Audio editing skills are as much of an importance as effective processing with EQ and compression. Like volume riding, these advanced editing skills use the most basic of methods to enhance a recording. Fades and cross fades between audio segments are important for consistency and smoothness when a segment of audio begins and ends.

Ensuring every segment of audio has at LEAST a 4ms fade at the beginning and end will allow the audio to begin and end at the zero-crossing point. If audio is sliced and a segment now has to start off the zero-crossing line, you will notice a pop or click in the audio. This is the reaction of the diaphragm of the speaker cone trying to immediately address this start point that is out of its natural position.

Sometimes, words are either lost or not picked up correctly and a re-recording is not possible. In which case, using pieces of the other parts of the dialogue to fill in or replace these lost letters is another method of advanced editing. For example, if the word “track” was said and the letter “t” was missing or weak, simply finding another “t”, if available, and copying that over the poorly recording piece may be the best solution.

Ducking, or in musical terms, sidechain compression, is used to allow two layered tracks to communicate and decide which sound takes precedence over another. A common example of ducking is when a radio host DJ is talking over some backing music, a compressor will react to the voice and duck the music beneath for the duration of the speech.

Frequencies react slightly differently in compressors than their relative counterparts. Multiband compression is an effective method of controlling various bands of frequencies in the voice at different extremes. Saturation will colour and create harmonic distortion causing a vocal to become more defined and bold. Use sparingly as distortion by-products are unavoidable. If heavy saturation is desired, some further subtractive and additive EQing may be warranted.


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