TPS088: Compression for Podcasts with Randy Coppinger

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Ever wonder when, how or why to use compression when post-processing your podcast? If the answer is yes then this is your episode. Randy Coppinger, professional audio engineer, talks with me about using compression for your spoken word podcast and just as importantly, when not to.compressor

We talk about what compression can do for your audio, how it can damage it and all the factors that go into the results you’ll get from a compressor including your microphone.

After that we dive into how you might want to set up a compressor or at least where to start. If you feel lost when you look at a compressor, don’t worry, we all were at some point.

The key element is practice. You just need to start turning the knobs. This episode will help you understand what to listen for when using compression and how to improve your post processing techniques for your podcast.

Some of the other topics regarding compression that Randy and I cover include:

  • compression misconceptions
  • stacking order – where to place a compressor in the audio chain
  • settings common to most compressors
  • peak vs RMS threshold
  • various types of compressor – standard vs multiband
  • Loudness standards
  • how to know you’ve gone too far with your compression
  • the secret to getting great sounding dialog

*Links mentioned on this episode.

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About Ray Ortega

Full-time podcast producer and host of The Podcasters' Studio and Podcasters' Roundtable, I enjoy sharing my ten years of experience making podcasts to help others improve or start their own show.

  • Adam Hobden

    Really useful epsisode this, thank you Ray & Randy

  • Great episode. An additional question that I have is: What are some of the additional considerations for compressing multiple speakers in an interview situation? What if you are on the same channel? What if you have bleed over from mics in same room when residing to different channels? How do you balance perceived loudness for each speaker? What about male/female voice combinations?

    Thanks again for the great podcast. I have an 1.5 hour commute so length is no problem for me with such a great guest.

    • Thanks Lynn! If you are on the same channel then you are going to have to aim for the middle. In other words your compressor settings will have to be for everyone on that channel. That is one reason why multichannel is so powerful. Bleed is just something you deal with and try to reduce as much as possible at the source. Use dynamic mics, get really close, gain down and separate the mics as much as possible as well as face the pickup pattern away from the other speakers. For balancing loudness for each person, you have to process their track independently for the loudness level you want. Thanks again for listening!

  • Another cracking episode!

  • Another really good and useful episode. Nice work!

  • I set and looped an audio clip of a flatline in logic Pro. The flatline audio clip came in at 2db. Due to it being a flatline sound, it remained at 2db consecutively in the loop. I applied compression (RMS). I set the threshold at 0db and the ratio at 2:1 which means the final output should have been 1db. It wasn’t.

    Instead of the audio ending up at 1db where it should have been, it was way off. It didn’t read 1db like it was suppose to. The final output read something like -2db. Why would this output be so off in number if the raw audio came in at 2db, the threshold was set at 0db and a ratio set at 2:1? Why was the output number so off from the 1db it should have been.


    Also, to provide you more information in trying to figure this out, I did not apply any additional gain to the compression. The attack/release were set from high to its lowest and yet still the same result.

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