What is an Audio Engineer?

The success of your podcast depends on the quality of content and audio. An audio engineer can ensure that your audience always listens to high-quality audio.

March 6, 2020

If you have a podcast then an audio engineer can help you to transform your show into a professional one by creating an evocative sound landscape. This is not to be confused with an audio editor, who edits the actual content in the podcast, not the sound. Listeners can tell the difference between a show that was hacked together and one that is seamless. An audio engineer’s job is to make podcast creators sound their best.

The success of your podcast depends on the quality of content and audio. An audio engineer can ensure that your audience always listens to high-quality audio. Listeners don’t enjoy disrupted podcast experiences, it can turn them off from listening to your show and distract them from hearing your messaging.

The role of an audio engineer is to capture audio and then reproduce it with edits. Audio engineers complete three main tasks to polish your podcast episode:

  1. Recording audio
  2. Mixing audio
  3. Mastering audio

Recording Audio

When an audio engineer helps with recording a podcast episode they are responsible for connecting all of the devices, setting up equipment, and testing all sound recording devices such as microphones and mixing devices. It can be beneficial to hire an audio engineer even once and shadow them. That way you can learn as much as possible to incorporate what they do into your future shows.

Here are three things audio engineers consider for optimizing microphone audio during the podcast recording:

  1. Finding the optimal distance for speakers to be from the microphone for best voice quality.
  2. If a podcast has multiple microphones being used for hosts and guests, they will ensure that they are oriented in a way where one microphone doesn’t pick up any sound from another.
  3. While microphone volume is how loud the output of the sound is, microphone gain is the input sound to the microphone. An audio engineer will set the microphone gain during the recording.

Once all devices are set up and tested by the audio engineer then the show can be recorded. The best way to decrease the chance of audio problems is to prevent them from happening in the first place by getting clear recordings.

Mixing Audio 

The next step that an audio engineer can assist with is mixing the audio. Mixing is the process of adjusting and combining individual audio tracks into one show. If each of your podcast hosts recorded individually then you may need to mix the tracks together. Consider free audio editor options for podcasts.

Audio engineers have a strong instinct for pacing and editing. Since sound has as much character as any voice, they will be responsible for creating dynamic sound landscapes.

The mixing could involve checking sound levels of all audio tracks, adding a theme song, and including advertisements within the podcast episode.

Mastering Audio

Mastering the audio is the final step to transform your audio recording into a polished episode. This can be one of the more challenging steps since it requires technical expertise.

Audio engineers do a few things to master a podcast episode audio:

  1. Equalizer (EQ) – gives you the ability to boost or cut frequencies, compensating for excessive volume in particular ranges. This can improve your audio, by fixing harsh tones such as “boomy” and “shrill” sound inconsistencies.
  2. Compression – helps you tame the highs and lows of the audio. It helps to smooth it out and narrows the range between the loudest and softest parts of the audio.
  3. Limiting – closely related to compression is limiting. This sets a ceiling for the overall audio track volume. Running the audio through a limiter will lift the volume of each episode without distorting it.

Ready to get started?

An audio engineer can be an asset to your podcast production team. They’ll produce consistently high-quality audio for your episodes. Consider hiring a freelancer audio engineer to take your podcast audio to the next level and create the best experience for your listeners.

Platform
Price
Pro’s
Con's
Anchor

Free

  • Easy to use
  • Automatically distributes your podcast to major platforms.
  • Embed media player.
  • Great if podcasting is a
    side hobby
  • Very basic editing
  • Since it’s a free tool, you don’t have full control over the monetization of your podcast.
  • Not the right platform for people taking podcasting seriously
Buzzsprout

Free for 2 hours of content per month

$12 for 3 hours per month

$18+ for 6 hours and up

  • Very user-friendly
  • Caters to both long term and beginner podcasters
  • Advanced analytics
  • Easy distribution of your episodes
  • They measure their size requirements to hours not megabytes
  • Bonus: get a free $20 Amazon gift card when you sign up for any paid hosting plan!
  • Advanced features like dynamic ad insertion need some work
Libsyn

$5/month for Monthly Storage 50mb

  • Oldest podcast hosting site.
  • Easy distribution to major platforms and great for scaling once your podcast gets bigger.
  • Hosted over 35,000 podcasts.
  • An iTunes Podcast partner.
  • Allows you to publish your podcast to specific directories.
  • Embed media player.
  • Price is based on storage
  • 50mb storage for $5 won’t be enough if you are publishing weekly so you’ll end up with a higher price point
Podbean

Unlimited audio package: $9/month

Storage space:

Unlimited

  • Great support & customer service features
  • Unlimited audio.
  • Pages are easy to customize
  • Can schedule podcast release dates.
  • Easy to use.
  • Uploads and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions are automatic to Spotify.
  • Embed media player.
  • Simple Analytics
  • Analytics aren’t as advanced as other platforms
  • Upload and changes to podcast titles and/or descriptions take a day to change on iTunes.
  • Not an iTunes podcast partner.
  • The process to send a podcast to iTunes is more tedious. But, you will still be able to get on the platform.
Blubrry

Classic

$5/month

Monthly Storage

50mb

  • Podcast Wordpress plugin and management.
  • If you want to record a new introduction or conclusion, add in a sponsored ad or upload a new version of a podcast, it doesn't count towards your storage usage per month.
  • Blubrry allows a 25% storage overage each month
  • Prices are based on storage.
  • Usability is okay.
SimpleCast

Starting: $15/month

Recommendation: $35/month

Monthly Storage: Unlimited

  • Hosts your audio files no matter what the size!
  • Dynamic insertion for podcast ads or edits.
  • Incredibly detailed analytics including number of episodes completed and listener location tracking.
  • Embed media player.
  • Easy to use.
  • Great distribution! Easy access to all major podcast platforms.
  • Customizable podcast
    website.
  • Prices are slightly higher than other platforms, but well worth it especially if you have a branded company podcast!