The Danger Of Over Editing Your Podcast Audio

Once you’ve finished recording your podcast you should have a raw audio file. This is the file that you’ll edit down. That might mean getting rid of coughs, splutters, sneezes and other unwanted audio.

There’s no doubt about it – editing is a gift, but one thing I hear a lot is what I call “over editing”. 

I describe over editing as, “the process of editing to the point where the original tone of the audio has been altered so much that it’s almost unrecognizable from the raw file”.

As with all things powerful, editing needs to be used wisely and sparingly. So here are things to look out for to make sure you’re not over editing.


To make your podcast sound slick and smooth, you might be tempted to “de breath” your audio. This means cutting out all the breaths and replacing them with just silence. Radio stations might de breath a 30 second spot (or commercial). They’ll do this for timing out purposes such as throwing to the news on the hour. But if you’re not facing these strict formats, there’s really no reason to be de breathing your audio, especially long form audio like a podcast.

The reason I’m wary of de breathing is because it can make the speaker sound incredibly un-natural (after all breathing is a part of life!). Yes it might make things sound a little tighter but to your audience it also can make you sound like a robot, which might get in the way of a listener relating to you.

Tightening Up Natural Pauses

Every speaker or conversation has it’s own unique pace, rhythm and flow. When you start trimming out natural pauses or gaps in a conversation too much you alter this.

Notice how I said ‘too much’? There’s nothing wrong with tightening natural pauses but not to the point where it’s non stop talking the entire time. Pauses can speak volumes, they say a lot of things that aren’t always spoken. Be careful about getting rid of pauses because the tone of your audio will quickly change.

Over Cutting

It’s fine to cut out coughs and splutters and other unwanted audio but what about huge chunks of people speaking? Is that ok?

Of course it is. As a Radio DJ I spend about 1 hour a day cutting down peoples speaking. The main reason I do this is to get an audio piece to a good time, but another reason is because I simply hate waffling (unnecessary talking).  Sometimes people say the same thing but say it in 10 different ways. Your job as a good editor is to find the best way they’ve explained it and cut the 9 other ways out.

One of the keys to editing is to make sure that the cut is still in context of the greater conversation. Remember you are taking out a sentence of audio, how will that impact the audio either side of it? Will it still make sense? It’s kind of like a surgeon removing a tumor. They want to get the bad bit out, but if they accidently take out a vital organ at the same time – then there’s trouble, because the rest of the body is going to have problems functioning.

So next time you’re editing your audio, think about the best way to get it sounding hot without making too many sacrifices.







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