Auphonic: A fan’s rave!

Auphonic processing is the last thing I do before publishing.

Auphonic is a post production tool for polishing your audio. It is a web based tool but you can purchase a desktop version. It does many things. Some are useful for podcasters some are for musicians. I’ll run through what I use Auphonic for and why.

We are all aware, I assume, of the nature of algorithms. They receive a bad press for the way organisations like Facebook and Google use them to send us advertising. Used for good or ill, they learn through repetition. Auphic’s algorithm works this way. With each and every audio file submitted it does its stuff better over time.

The developers have laid down some guidelines for use. Send the best quality audio file you can through the process. Do not perform any normalisation, sound reduction or any of the other tricks available on some audio editors like say, Audacity. The highest quality means in .wav form. Now this isn’t always possible as you only have a .mp3 file. Don’t lose sleep over it just use the best you have. That also probably means in stereo and again, if not, don’t fret.

So to the process.

Open Auphonic, sign in and click, “New Production”.

This takes you to a new page. At the top is a presets option. If this is your first use don’t worry about this.

If you look down the left hand side of the page there are a number of options. The only ones you need are:

  • Audio or Video Source
  • Output Files
  • Audio Algorithms

My workflow is such that I don’t publish direct from Auphonic so all the other options are unnecessary. And what I’m running through here is the absolute basics you need to polish audio for publication.

  • Audio or Video Source
    • Upload your source audio file. (In the highest quality you can.)
  • Output Files
    • Format: change to .mp3. This is the standard for podcasting. Some hosts won’t take .wav or similar.
    • Bitrate; I publish in 64 kbps (kilobits per second). This is open to discussion. I choose this option because not everyone who listens is connected through wifi or fibre to the house. The larger the file the longer it takes to download. 64 kbps is a compromise between listening quality and downloadability. As most people are listening with earbuds much above 64 kbps is a waste of quality.
    • Filename suffix: Leave this blank.
    • Ending: .mp3 because that’s what we are creating.
    • Mono: check this box. Now before the flood of angry emails and tweets, let me unpack this. Again, people listen with earbuds. Quite often then listen with only one. Stereo would mean they miss half your show. Do you really want this? We are working with the human voice in speech. We are not putting a full concert orchestra into people’s heads. Mono! Sue me!
    • Split Chapters: leave blank.
  • Audio Algorithms
    • Adaptive Leveler, Loudness Normalisation and Filtering: These boxes are automatically checked. Do not touch them.
    • Noise and Hum Reduction: Check this box
    • Loudness Target: I used to set this to -16 LUFFS (A measurement of loudness with 0 as the highest loudness.) This is the standard set by the EU to create some sort of consistency across the medium. It is frustrating, especially while driving, to adjust the volume everytime a new show starts. But Spotify and Alexa require -14 LUFFS, slightly louder. Having run tests, I can’t tell the difference in my earbuds between the two. So now I set this to -14 LUFFS. It is still a good volume for my listeners on podcasts and keeps Spotify and Alexa happy. There is no need to annoy potential promoters of my audio.
    • Reduction Amount I always leave at “Auto”

Then I click start production and I’m asked a second time to make sure I really meant it. Auphonic does its stuff and I’m notified when the .mp3 is ready for download.

I download it and publish. Simples. Actually doing it is a great deal simpler than explaining both what to do and why.

Takeaways

  • Use Auphonic, everytime!
  • Following the settings above will give you consistently good audio.
  • You are helping your listeners to hear you, the same way, every episode.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.