We use Audacity to record locally on participants’ machines, since it’s free. (There’s a Zoom backup we record as well, just in case.)
I’ve chosen REAPER for doing the editing because it’s inexpensive but really customizable and powerful. All of its editing and effects are non-destructive, which is important for me because I like to tweak so much.
I’ve been able to put together a handful of macros for moving pieces of audio around that make it possible to edit while keeping my left hand stationary on the keyboard and my right hand on my trackball.
EQ for Podcast — This article has default EQ settings at the bottom that serve as a really really good starting point. I still EQ each of our participants separately, but those are additional cuts and boosts on top of this baseline.
EQ: Check the Gain is a good tip to, after you EQ using cuts (which is a best practice), to adjust the output gain on the plugin so that the audio track has the same perceived loudness as before.
Auto Split / Trim Basics is a good video on the incredible time saver that is REAPER’s “Auto trim / split items (remove silence)” action. Truncating Silence in REAPER takes this a step further and explains some scripts that, once the silence is cut out, moves the remaining clips together (respecting the timing across tracks).
ReaFIR Madness - The Hidden Noise Reduction Tool in Reaper shows how to use the “Subtract” and “Automatically build noise profile” features of REAPER’s built-in EQ to remove background noise from tracks.
EQ and Compression for Podcasters (Who Have Never Used Them Before) is a gentle introduction to compression, with some tips on how to get it to sound right.
Setting the LUFS Level in REAPER is a video that shows how to visualize the LUFS (“loudness”) of the overall mix and how to adjust it using a limiter plugin on the master track.
Getting up to speed on this one: REAPER's Dynamic Split Demystified!, which seems to be a different alternative to “Auto Split / Trim Items.“
Useful cheat sheet / infographic about vocal frequencies to use when setting EQs.
- nofishonfriday’s ReaScripts includes the invaluable “Select next item (in time) across tracks” that I use as the basis for a few custom actions that involve selecting a region and moving the next region closer or farther away from it.
- A Reddit comment from EricTboneJackson that includes a script to ripple-cut audio and then cross-fade the edges together is the basis of a few of my custom editing scripts.
- 6 custom actions for podcast editing has some inspirational ideas for neat editing actions.