Ep57: The Audio 101 Show (Part 1)

Episode 57 is is Part 1 of Audio 101. Today we learn the basics and fundamentals of audio that all podcasters in the pre-production and recording stage of podcasting. I will define and simplify several common audio terms and concepts that I wish I knew before I started podcasting.

Episode 58 will be Part 2 of Audio 101will focus on post-production and editing. I will define and simplify editing and post-processing terminology and techniques most commonly used in podcasting once the podcast has been recorded.

Goal of Series: The goal of this Audio 101 series is to simplify the audio engineering part of podcasting that can be very intimidating and overwhelming for most new podcasters. This is the stuff I wish I understood better when I was getting started.s.

The Podcaster’s Toolkit:

If you have favorite resource or tool you love and you want to share on the podcast, please send it to me at mike@mikemurphy.co and I’ll add it to the Kit.

If you are a vendor or product creator and would like me to test out a product or service, please let me know and I would be happy to test and share so long as I think it will benefit my listeners.

In this week’s The Podcaster’s Toolkit: The Cloudlifter CL1-A Mic Activator. What does it do?: Adds 25+ db of really clean gain using Phantom Power to my dynamic microphone so the preamps in my mixer do not have to work as hard.

Audio 101.

Part 1 is Pre-Editing Basics Part 2 is Editing & Final Export Basis

The Basics at the Recording Phase:

Tip: Keep your iPhones and iPads away from your speakers and recording interface as you can introduce what is called RF interference and staticky noises that you might not hear while recording but will make you crazy when you listen back.

Mono vs Stereo:

Mono simply means there is one channel for the sound so what you hear in the left speaker is the same as what you hear in the right speaker. If you are using one device (microphone) to input sound, mono is all you need.

Stereo has more than one channel and the sound in the left can be different than the sound in the right. That’s it. If you are using multiple devices to input sound (Like a rock band), stereo is your best choice.

Unless your podcast has a lot of music and special effects, such as in audio podcast dramas, mono is all you need to export in most cases.

My File Settings: Mono, 44.1 and 32-bit float

Gain, Levels & db:

Gain is simply the input level of the clip. On your interface or mixer, you set the gain of your microphone.

Levels refers to the bouncing LED meters or lights of green, yellow and red when you are recording or playing back audio. You usually want the levels to be mostly green with the louder parts hitting yellow. If you see red, that is called clipping or** peaking**. That is very very bad. Never go into the red.

Decibels or dBs as you will hear most often is the number used to define where the levels are hitting.

All you need to understand is that 0DB is where audio starts to clip so anything in the positive over 0 is unusable audio.

Tip, I like to have the input levels between –18 and –9 db to give me what is called headroom. That is the cushion I have from –9db to 0. My finished audio might be closer to –3 or –1.5, but having headroom gives me room to edit and add effects to even out the sound.

Audition Keyboard Shortcuts: To see levels: Option + i To start recording: Shift + Spacebar


Well the green lines you see looking like mountain ranges are called Waveforms. They are simply the visual representation of audio so you can look at them at see the characteristics (loudness, dynamic range,….)

Resources for Learning (People I learned From)

Mike Russell (Music Radio Creative)The best tutorials on Audition by far. Paul Figgiani from Produce New Media (Paul helped me a lot) Curtis Judd has a lot of videos on YouTube Ray Ortega from The Podcaster Studio has some great episodes with audio engineers who simplify it for podcasters and Ray has a great YouTube channel

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