Saving Time: My Top 5 Plugin Purchases For Podcast Editing In 2023

Now that 2023 is coming to a close, I figured I’d talk about my top 5 plugin purchases of 2023.  Four of these have saved me significant amounts of time editing this year.  The fifth plugin is one of my secret weapons when I have quality recordings.  

My goal for 2023 was to improve my efficiency when editing client podcasts.  Little did I know that I’d be able to shave off 30-40 minutes per episode with a few plugins.

#1 [.h2-links-cms]Supertone Clear[.h2-links-cms]

Some of you may have heard of this plugin under its beta test name Goyo.  They decided to change the name to the less search-friendly Clear for some reason.  For me, Clear was a game changer because I now have a noise and reverb reduction plugin that saves me from having to start every session in the RX stand alone editor.  It also replaced Acon Digital’s Deverberate 3 for reverb reduction.  To my ears, it is more transparent and effective than Wave’s Clarity VX Pro for noise reduction.  At $99, this plugin is more than worth it and saves me 20-30 minutes per episode.  I feel this plugin should be in every podcast editor’s toolkit.  

#2 [.h2-links-cms]Sonible Smart Comp 2[.h2-links-cms]

I have to give a shout out to Bryan Entzminger for bringing Sonible’s Smart Plugins to my attention.  I tried them out after reading a post of his about them.  I’ve found the smart:comp 2 to be an easy-to-use time saver.  It has two speech settings, high and low.  Select the mode, play a little audio through it, and it will set up the compressor for you.  I’ve found the suggested settings to work well and generally use them as-is.  There have been a couple times where I needed to make adjustments to reduce the dynamic range a bit more.  This has replaced FabFilter’s Pro C2 as my go-to compressor, and I’ve found that it tends to thicken up the voice a little.  An added bonus is that it has an input gain riding feature when needed.  

#3 [.h2-links-cms]Sonible smart:eq 3[.h2-links-cms]

This works just like the Smart Comp, except, of course, it’s an EQ.  It’s not going to be a replacement for surgical subtractive EQ; for that, I still rely on FabFilter’s ProQ3.  With the smart:eq, I’ll grab samples from 2-3 different areas and compare the settings.  You can have up to 8 different settings and easily toggle between them and pick the one I think sounds best.  This is the extent of my EQ work on guest tracks for most of my podcast editing clients.

#4 [.h2-links-cms]Sonible smart:gate[.h2-links-cms]

I was intrigued by this plugin when they started teasing it.  Gates have never been useful for me.  They aren’t built for podcast editing, but a gate that can distinguish between voice and noise seemed worth trying out.  It does a pretty good job at what it promises.  I use this on my podcast editing tutorials and plugin demo videos to remove mouse clicks when I’m not talking.  It would have saved me a lot of time when I created the podcast editing course—a lot of time.  What has surprised me was that it does a pretty good job as a breath reducer with typical breaths.  It won’t touch those loud ones, but I’ve used it for breath control quite often.  The smart gate is a bit fiddly to set up but can deliver good results when you dial it in.  I have a video where I demonstrate setting it up.  

#5 [.h2-links-cms]Louder Than Liftoff Silver Bullet mk2[.h2-links-cms]

This may seem like an odd choice.  The only reason I looked at this is because I have the hardware and love it, so having it as a plugin was a no-brainer.  I try everything with podcasts, including this.  This plugin can add some subtle thickness and width with the Mojo amps, but the EQ is what makes this a secret weapon.  It can add some, I don’t know, weight, to the voice.  It’s a very good sounding EQ that I use to shape the voice.  A little bit goes a long way.  This is a luxury plugin and not one I’d necessarily recommend to podcast editors, but it’s found its way into my workflow regularly, so it earns a well-deserved spot in this list.

Honorable mention: [.h2-links-cms]Cedar Audio VoicEx[.h2-links-cms]

This gets an honorable mention because I feel it will play a big role in my podcast audio clean up process moving forward.  I just bought it, so I haven’t had time to put it through some sessions, but based on my trial of it a few months ago, I feel it is the best noise and reverb reduction plugin on the market.  The cost of VoicEx makes it an unrealistic option for most of us.  Supertone Clear is an excellent, more affordable alternative.  

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.