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Mixing and Sound Design for Podcasters

Lesson 6 of 10

A Quick Voice Editing Toolkit

Jim Briggs

Mixing and Sound Design for Podcasters

Jim Briggs

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Lesson Info

6. A Quick Voice Editing Toolkit


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:02:50
2 The Mix and how to Build It Duration:04:04
3 Working With Studio Voices Duration:16:43
7 Sculpting Sounds: EQ Basics Duration:08:57
9 The Notes Phase Duration:02:58
10 The Mix is a Relative Thing Duration:06:41

Lesson Info

A Quick Voice Editing Toolkit

Let's look at voice editing. This is the goal, as we talked about a little bit, is a seamless edit it sounds natural, sounds normal. Doesn't sound like a constructed object. We're really looking for natural phrasing. What makes it natural? It's really about preserving the speech patterns that someone has, the way they actually speak. It's usually easier to identify when something is wrong than when it's not, of course. It's the interruption that causes you to notice. Strange cadences, if somebody's like, well I think, you're clearly understanding that they've got another thought on their mind to share with you, so cutting it right after that is gonna produce an up cut. Or, you know, they got kind of an up cadence at the end of what they're talking about. It sounds unnatural. You can write into those kinds of cuts if you want. You could be like, he thinks, (whooshes), and continue, let the person continue the thought but it's a lot harder to go the other way around. Strange vowel sounds...

, people get all sorts of creative trying to produce an edit that will work. They'll be cutting on a vowel sound. A vowel sound is like a musical note, is kind of the best way to think about it. If you think about you're average person's ability to reproduce the same pitch, exactly the same way every time, you're odds are pretty low, like minuscule. If I'm saying, shoe, if I'm saying shoe over and over again, there's just gonna be a little degree of difference that cutting on the ooh part of that word is just gonna produce more issues than it's going to solve problems. Unnatural rhythms in the speech, if you're taking out every breath. I can't understand why anyone would do that but I think sometimes you get like, oh they're slow, we gotta build them up to this point. You just gotta be really selective with that kind of stuff. The dropouts of room tone or ambi. I'm always cutting, if we go back to Elle and Lisa's song here, I'm always cutting a little bit of room tone to ride up or ride in and out of something. In this case, it just happens, it's clear, there's nobody else talking over it in this section, oh this is Al's track but same thing holds true for the guest. See if I can hone in on a spot here. It's a box about train set. It's a box about 10 feet. Okay, here's actually a good example. The river, either side of the river. So, she's natur. And now with these. Slow that. Either side of the river, and now with. So, she's got a breath coming up right here, leading into her next thing. I just take a little bit of room tone and splice it on to the end of it. Do a little cross fade so there's no pop or click for advancing from one to the next. If you don't edit much with cross fades, what you're really gonna be looking for is that you don't have a little kind of blip here of the audio. Let's see if I can, cut this off a little bit. River. Of the river. Sounds a little weirder. Side of the river. So, we just try to negotiate that with. Either side of the river. Just get a little bit of that kind of exhale that's happening when she's speaking there. Some of the other things we've already kind of talked about here, noises and things stepping on the material. These kinds of disruptions, like if you have them within the track. I've even got out other voices with Spectral Repair, which is kind of wild, you know, if they're in different enough ranges. Most generally that is not a practice that's gonna work for you because most human voices are in the same mm 'ish ranges. But you know, if you have a male and a female voice there are times where it works. So, editing dissimilar sounds is really gonna be easier. Consider this phrase, this is from Stanley Alten, who wrote one of the great books in this field called, Audio and Media. I'm just gonna call up an actuality track here. Excuse me. Okay. Okay, just dragging from the clip in, this was audio that I imported earlier. I am. Okay. Nothing means more to me than. Okay, not sure if I have this. I am. Let's go back to the slide. We can do this in a way without the audio example. This sentence, sound is both challenging and creative. Because, both has this b, kinda consonant sound, b, it's like a voiced consonant. And ch, this is a different kind of consonant sound. You can get away with this edit if you took out the word both. Sound is challenging and creative. Sound is both challenging and creative. That's one way to think about it is these dissimilar sounds will work in an edit more easily than the similar sounds work. It doesn't mean that you can't edit similar sounds, it just means that you can disguise that edit a little better. Let's listen to this one. I am, as you already know, more than happy to be here. I'd like to get rid of that, as you already know. I am, as you already know, more than happy to be here. As you already know, more than ha. I'm gonna just, in Pro Tools I'm just flipping to Shuffle Mode, which allows me to kind of collapse that edit, otherwise I'm. This is Slip Mode, you see Mode Tools up here. I am, more than happy to be here. It sounds a little weird. The reason for that is, if I were just saying that phrase, I'd say, I'm more than happy to be here. That, am and more are kinda collapsed and fused into one sound, one consonant sound. That edit just doesn't work as well. Now, things like s's, sibilant sounds, you have a little better luck with. I am. Nothing means more to me than my muse, or rather my music. Very pretentious sentence. (audience laughs) but, let's make it sound less pretentious. (audience laughs) So, you can say, nothing means more to me than my music. I don't know. It still sounds a little pretentious. Nothing means more to me than my muse. Okay, so you might think, well muse, music, I'll cut on the m there, right? But, we're gonna have that same problem with the I am more. Great place to cut here is on the zz, music, muse. You would think cutting the whole word is gonna be better. Mm, ah. Or rather, my music. Music. Music. Okay so I just found the zz. And if I'm, you know, in another environment I would be a little more detailed oriented. Even my muse. Muse. Muse. You gotta get really used to this idea of listening to the same thing over and over again and falling in love with it. Alright. Nothing means more to me than my music. (audience laughs) Close. (laughs) My music. Than my music. I think the problem with this one, even so, is that it's, the way I'm saying muse, is laid on pretty thick for one, but it is not the way that I would say music. I would just say music. If I pull this out over here. Since I haven't said that normally. Than my music. More to me than my music. More to me, my mu. More to me either, my mu. Me than for my music. So here we're cutting from end sound than to the m sound of my music, so this might work. Means more to me than my music. You know, and we just adjust the timing. Means more to me than my music. Nothing means more to me than my music. Not bad.

Class Description

To be successful at podcasting, you’ve got to have a solid understanding of the mixing process and sound design. But even experienced producers can feel overwhelmed by the intricacies of mixing and the cornucopia of tools available to them.

Taught by Jim Briggs, lead sound designer and engineer for “Reveal,” this course covers all of the basic elements of a mix from top to bottom. Students will become conversant in the language of mixing, understand the workflow and various stages of the mixing process, and be ready to explore different mix tools so they can practice on their own.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Approach equalization sculpting and compression packaging.
  • Mix artfully and think musically about your finished product.
  • Deal with all of the tools and avoid option anxiety.
  • Know what your anchor is and how to build a mix.
  • Work with studio voices to achieve consistency, continuity, and quality.
  • Work with field voices, ambient sounds, and other tapes.
  • Perform fades and crossfades.
  • Utilize music so it adds depth to your podcast.


Damian Drohan

Great instructor, knowledgeable and very clear in delivery. No jargon, all terminology explained and demonstrated. One minor niggle is that the course is really like a chapter of a larger course and it's a little too thin on content to really "stand on its own". Overall, a good course, well delivered but a little light on content

a Creativelive Student

Great course. Love the explanations accompanying the tutoring. FYI, the time stamp for class number eight is wrong. It's about nine-and-a-half minutes.