While podcasting is accessible to virtually anyone, we don’t all have a professional studio to record in. This may result in audio issues such as background noise or echo. Although it may be a little easier to find a quiet room to record in, preventing an echo can be more challenging.
Improve the Recording Stage Whenever Possible
To achieve great quality audio, it’s important to do as much as possible before recording to ensure great sound. Recording in a noisy, echoey environment and hoping to clean it up after the fact will never sound as good as recording in a natural quiet and echo-free environment!
Using a poor quality microphone or being too far from the microphone will exaggerate echo problems as well.
Echo Reduction Audio Plugins
In the event it’s not possible to record in a perfect environment, one of the most common ways to combat echo (aka “reverb”) is with a “deverb” plugin such as Digital Deverberate by Acon Digital or iZotope Deverberate. These plugins perform some voodoo to magically remove/reduce echo from audio recordings.
Depending on the severity of the echo, these plugins may not help at all. At the very least you’ll likely be trying to achieve a balance between reduced echo but still maintaining perfect audio quality. Using the deverb too heavily can degrade the audio quality, introducing a new set of problems while trying to fix another. It’s like audio whack-a-mole!
How well echo reduction works really depends on the audio. Sometimes it’s is great, sometimes it won’t do anything.
Another Editing Trick to Reduce Podcast Echo
You can achieve even better results by using additional tools in combination with the deverb. Use an EQ to reduce the frequency area where you’re getting a lot of the reverb energy, and even a light noise gate. If your podcast recording involves multiple microphones in a single room, noise gating will become even more helpful, although if you want to do a proper job, mute or delete tracks completely when they’re not being spoken on.
More Complex Podcast Echo Problems
Not only is echo a complex problem, it’s also widely misunderstood.
When we say echo, we mean the natural reverberation of a space that is either large or has a lot of reflective surfaces. It’s unpleasant and unprofessional to hear in podcast recordings, though reverb is commonly used in a controlled way for music recordings.
There are a variety of types of echo that can manifest in podcast recordings, including sync problems and delayed copies of audio caused by feedback loops or non-use of headphones. Those types of echo are generally not fixable by the methods outlined in this article. Depending on the recording, they may be irreparable.
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Learn more about removing echo from your podcast, and other podcast audio issues, by checking out this article.