5 Minute Mondays

Audio Clipping explained (and how to fix it!)

September 09, 2019
5 Minute Mondays
Audio Clipping explained (and how to fix it!)
Chapters
5 Minute Mondays
Audio Clipping explained (and how to fix it!)
Sep 09, 2019
Buzzsprout
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, you’ll learn what clipping is and how to keep it from destroying your podcast episodes.

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Travis:
0:00
Today on five minute Monday, you'll learn what clipping is and how to keep it from destroying your podcast episodes. Welcome to five minute Monday where we bring you the best tips and strategies for building your podcast in five minutes or less. So if you're new here, consider subscribing. Now this week we are kicking off a four week mini series around rookie editing mistakes. These are common mistakes that you hear in new podcasts, that tract from the listener experience and stunt your podcasts growth, which is not what we want at all, right? But there's good news because each of these rookie editing mistakes has a very easy fix. And today we're going to talk about what happens when your audio recording is too loud leading to distortion. Now when you set up your microphone to record an episode, it's important to set your gain or volume level appropriately.
Travis:
0:54
If it's too quiet, you'll have trouble hearing your audio when you go to edit it and you might not even see the wave forms at all, but you also don't want to be too loud because then you'll experience what's called clipping. Now clipping is when the volume of your microphone input is so loud that the wave forms extend beyond the limits of the track in your recording software. You'll also notice when you're clipping, if you are using an audio recorder or a mixer that has a level meter, you know the green, yellow, red level meter that shows the volume of your voice in terms of decibel range. You'll notice that your clipping when an extends into the red, either towards the far right or the top of that meter. And so you don't want clipping clipping destroys your audio and it's virtually impossible to fix and make it sound good.
Travis:
1:44
But there's two things you can do. There's two things you can do to avoid clipping. The first and the easiest is to adjust the gain on your microphone, mixer or interface. So this is where you are manually controlling how loud your microphone is from the interface that you're using or on the microphone itself. And so what you're aiming for is for your normal voice to stay comfortably in the green slash yellow range. So on the level meter, this will be between negative 12 and negative six decibels or dbs. And so go ahead and speak into your microphone, do some test recordings, looking at the level meter and adjust your volume until you hit that sweet spot between negative 12 and negative six at the loudest parts of your audio recording. Now the second thing you can do is adjust the volume inputs in your recording software.
Travis:
2:35
So if you use garage bands on the left side of the track, you'll see a volume slider where you can adjust the input volume. Audacity also has an input volume slider for your microphone, for your audio inputs. And there's a little icon of a microphone right next to this slider. So if you're going to adjust it in your recording software, then you want to speak into the microphone, look at that level meter that showing your voice as you speak, and adjust your volume accordingly to hit that sweet spot of negative 12 to negative six decibels. And so for both of these techniques, either adjusting the gain on your microphone mixer or interface or doing it in your recording software, you'll want to do a couple test recordings and then when you've dialed in your ideal levels, you want to write them down or remember them or capture them somehow for next time.
Travis:
3:24
So when you go to do your next episode, you already know that your audio is going to be right in that sweet spikes. You know where your gain knob needs to be and you know where your volume slider needs to beat. And a general rule of thumb just to keep in mind, record softer than you think that you need to. All right, you can always add a bit of gain in editing, but you can't get rid of the distortion that comes along with clipping. And so if you notice that your audio gets really loud and really soft record on the softer end of the spectrum, be a little more conservative because you can always boost it a little bit later on if you have to. That's it for today. If you're new here, hit the subscribe button. If you're watching this on youtube or subscribe to the five minute Mondays podcast in your favorite app to squeeze even more podcasts related content into your life, and if there's something that you want us to talk about on a future episode, simply click the link in the show notes to submit your question. Thanks for listening and as always, keep podcasting.
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