I’d like to give a shout out to Danny from Tennessee who emailed the show about our podcast levels. He noticed that our show was significantly quieter than some of his other favorites. Turns out that he was right, and we’re going to do something about it.

There are a surprising amount of steps involved in creating the final podcast you get on your mobile device, all of which occur after the final audio is produced for the broadcast version of the show. Believe me, I wish we could produce the show like we would for a CD, giving the listener the best possible experience. Unfortunately, in the world of the podcast, file size and download speeds as well as the myriad of playback devices are limiting factors with which we wrestle while trying to preserve audio quality.

To add to that, we attach a bunch metadata to the audio including the carefully designed album art and descriptions that accompany each episode. So, long story short, in an attempt to provide more complete and interesting metadata, On Being has taken a different route through APM’s normal podcast encoding software. By doing manually encoding and adding information to the file, we are able to create a better experience for our online listeners.

What we didn’t realize was that our audio was doing an end around some processing that would boost the levels to match our parent company’s other shows like Marketplace and The Splendid Table.

Sometimes, innovation can have unintended consequences, but thanks to feedback from our listeners, we’ll keep trying to raise the bar in all aspects of our show. Keep listening and, by all means, keep telling us what we can do better!


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Just would like to share an article on audio encoding optimization for podcasting. No need to think what bit rate to choose the batch file will automatically encode your podcast with the best bit rate to preserve the best quality and smallest file size. The approach was tested on MP3, Nero AAC and OGG.

This paper will give you understanding on how one can achieve better compression ratio by bit rate optimization. The key point is that our approach describes a fully automated manner of choosing the bit rate that will preserve the audio quality you define. Read this paper through and find out how to save on size when encoding your podcasts, save on bandwidth when transmitting your audio streams in the network, make more audio tracks fit your memory stick when grabbed from a CD, or store more audio books on your mobile device. This paper will tell you how to save up to 50% on audio file size and up to 50% on the bit rate you encode your audio with still having a descent sound quality.

Read full text of how to encode audio with lowest bit rate at highest quality in this blog post: