Ultimate Podcast Editing Guide | Part 3: Mixing Tools for Podcasters

Welcome back to the Ultimate Podcast Editing Guide, a comprehensive series designed to help you achieve professional-sounding podcasts. In Part 2, we covered essential clean-up tools for removing unwanted noises and distractions from your podcast recordings. In this installment, we'll dive into podcast mixing tools and techniques that can elevate the quality of your show even further.

Introduction to Podcast Mixing

Podcast mixing involves adjusting and balancing the various audio elements within your podcast to create a cohesive, polished sound. This process can include adjusting the volume levels of individual tracks, applying EQ and compression, adding reverb or other effects, and panning stereo elements to create a more immersive listening experience.

In this article, we'll explore some of the essential podcast mixing tools and techniques you'll need to create a professional-sounding podcast:

  • De-essing
  • EQ
  • The difference between EQ and dynamic EQ
  • Compression
  • Different types of compressors used for dialogue

De-essing: Taming Sibilance in Podcast Dialogue

Sibilance is the harsh, hissing sound that can occur when words with the letter "s" or "sh" are pronounced. This can be distracting for listeners and detract from the overall quality of your podcast. De-essing is the process of reducing or eliminating sibilance from your audio recordings.

A de-esser is a specialized audio plugin that works by detecting and attenuating sibilant sounds within an audio track. This can help to create a smoother, more polished sound without affecting the overall clarity of your dialogue.

To use a de-esser effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Load the de-esser plugin onto the audio track containing the dialogue you want to process.
  2. Set the threshold level. This determines the point at which the de-esser begins to reduce sibilance.
  3. Adjust the frequency range. This allows you to focus the de-esser on the specific frequency range where sibilance occurs, typically between 4kHz and 8kHz.
  4. Set the amount of attenuation or reduction. This controls how much the sibilant sounds are reduced in volume.
  5. Monitor your audio and make any necessary adjustments to achieve a natural-sounding result.

EQ: Shaping the Tone of Your Podcast

Equalization (EQ) is an essential mixing tool that allows you to adjust the tonal balance of your audio by boosting or cutting specific frequency ranges. By applying EQ to your podcast audio, you can enhance clarity, reduce muddiness, and create a more pleasant listening experience.

There are two main types of EQ plugins: parametric and graphic. Parametric EQs provide more precise control over the frequency, gain, and bandwidth of each adjustment, while graphic EQs offer a more visual representation of the frequency spectrum.

When using EQ for podcast editing, consider the following tips:

  1. Use high-pass filters to remove low-frequency rumble and noise from your audio.
  2. Cut frequencies between 200Hz and 500Hz to reduce muddiness and improve clarity.
  3. Boost frequencies between 1kHz and 4kHz to enhance intelligibility and presence.
  4. Use a gentle high-shelf boost to add air and brightness to the dialogue.

Dynamic EQ: A More Flexible Approach to Equalization

Dynamic EQ is a more advanced form of EQ that combines the precision of parametric EQ with the responsiveness of a compressor. Unlike traditional EQ, which applies static adjustments to the frequency spectrum, dynamic EQ responds to the input level of the audio and adjusts its processing accordingly. This can provide a more natural-sounding result, especially when dealing with problematic frequencies that only occur occasionally or at specific moments.

To use dynamic EQ effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Load the dynamic EQ plugin onto the audio track containing the dialogue you want to process.
  2. Identify the frequency range you want to target, such as a problematic resonance or harshness.
  3. Set the threshold level. This determines the point at which the dynamic EQ begins to apply its adjustments.
  4. Adjust the gain and bandwidth of the targeted frequency range, either boosting or cutting as needed.
  5. Set the attack and release times to control how quickly the dynamic EQ responds to changes in the input level.

By using dynamic EQ in conjunction with traditional EQ, you can create a more balanced, natural-sounding mix for your podcast.

Compression: Controlling Dynamics in Podcast Dialogue

Compression is an essential mixing tool that helps to control the dynamic range of your audio recordings, making them more consistent and easier to listen to. By applying compression to your podcast dialogue, you can ensure that the volume levels remain even throughout the episode, making it more comfortable for your audience to listen without constantly adjusting their volume.

There are several types of compressors commonly used for dialogue processing, including:

  • Optical compressors: Known for their smooth, gentle compression and natural-sounding results. They are ideal for taming vocal dynamics without introducing artifacts or distortion.
  • VCA compressors: Offer fast attack and release times, making them well-suited for controlling transient peaks and maintaining a consistent level in dialogue recordings.
  • Tube or valve compressors: Provide a warm, vintage sound, adding character and harmonic richness to your audio.

When using compression on podcast dialogue, consider the following tips:

  1. Set a low ratio (2:1 or 3:1) to achieve gentle, transparent compression.
  2. Use a relatively fast attack time to catch and control transient peaks.
  3. Set a moderate release time to allow the compressor to recover naturally between phrases.
  4. Adjust the threshold level so that the compressor is only engaged during louder passages or moments of high dynamic range.
  5. Use makeup gain to compensate for any reduction in overall volume caused by the compression.

By applying compression to your podcast dialogue, you can create a more professional-sounding mix that is easier for your audience to enjoy.


Podcast mixing is a crucial step in the editing process, allowing you to create a polished, professional sound that engages and retains your audience. By mastering the use of de-essing, EQ, and compression, you can elevate the quality of your podcast and make it stand out from the competition. Stay tuned for the next installment of the Ultimate Podcast Editing Guide, where we'll explore mastering tools and techniques for finalizing your podcast episodes.

Check out the other parts of this series:

Part 1: Ultimate Podcast Editing Guide: Essential Tools and Techniques for Professional Podcast Production - Introduction

Part 2: Clean-Up Tools

Part 4: Mastering the Mix Bus

Part 5: Choosing the Best Podcast Editing Software

Part 6: Mastering for Podcasters

Part 7: How to Improve Audio Quality Before Recording

Check out part 4 of our Podcast Editing Guide where we discuss the mix bus.


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