top of page

A non acoustically treated room can sound very messy and be hard to listen to. If you've just noticed room problems though and already made a couple of episodes. Or If you made an interview at another not so ideal location, there are fortunately ways to partly deal with room sound. As a podcast editor I face these problems all the time and most of the time re-recording is not an option. That's why I use this method to reduce room sound in my podcast and you can too. You will probably not get it as good as making the adjustments prior to recording, but it can most definitely make a difference!

Before we begin taking a look at the tools we need to talk a bit about sound relative to time. Every sound has a beginning and an end. In sound terms these are usually described with the words transient and sustain. A sound can have very fast transients, like drums and percussion, or slow transients, like violins or organs. If a sound very shortly dies after the transient it has short sustain. If it continues for a long time it has long sustain. The same examples applies here since drums mostly have short sustain and violins have long sustain. At least if they are used in their most conventional approach!

Something that does indeed alter the transients and the sustain of instruments are rooms or different locations. A drum kit played in a big cathedral or church will have a lot more sustain than if played in a wardrobe. Just take a listen to this Led Zeppelin song if you don't believe me.

But how does all this music lingo apply to podcasts then? Well, spoken word is no different in this regard and if you record in a non treated room your voice will have a longer sustain. So with this information we can start looking for the tools to help us reduce the sustain of our recording.

There are actually a lot of such tools out there and many of them are free (I'll include a short list at the bottom). Some come with the audio software of your choice as well often named something in the fashion of Transient Shaper, Transient Designer or Envelope Shaper. These are usually pretty simple tools with two or three knobs named transient/attack and sustain. Begin with grabbing the sustain knob and reduce it to hear some of that room echo disappear!

Here are a couple of free tools for reducing sustain:

Getting to know the frequency chart in your EQ might not be the easiest task. In the beginning a phrase like "would you take some of that 1k down a notch" probably won't mean much sound wise. Therefore it is a good idea to connect those frequency numbers with a descriptive word. The word Honky can describe 1khz a lot better and one can a lot easier connect that word to an actual sound. Look at the chart below to connect other words to the frequency spectrum!

The green words are positive words that you can add more of if you're looking for it. The red ones are areas to look for if you hear some problematic stuff in your audio.

At the end of a project, in my case a mix, I usually archive it to my home server. I don't just throw over the project to my server though . I know that a lot of artist want different versions of their songs later down the road. These include backing tracks, acapellas, instrumentals and maybe STEMS for a remix. To not have to go back and do this at a different time I include rendering all of these tracks in my archiving process.

Rendering all the tracks mentioned above can easily take a lot of time though. Muting and soloing the specific tracks and wait for the render can easily add up to hours of work. This is where Reapers automated render queue comes in to save the day. In the down left corner of reapers render window there's a button called Queued Renders. When adding a render queue reaper saves your options like solo, render type and format, file names and so on in a temporary project. After you've made all your different renders and added them to your list, reaper then recalls these projects and start working. Freeing up time for you to do other work.

I use this to make three different versions; sing back, acappella and instrumental, as well as track stems for drums, bass, guitar, vocals and keys etc. 20-30 minutes later my tracks are rendered and I zip these tracks together with my project and move them to my server. This saves me a ton of time and I can do this wile doing other stuff like writing this blog post! Great huh?

bottom of page