Bloggers sometimes have audio files of less than optimal quality. Auphonic cleans them up
Blogging has advanced from a mainly text based activity with a bit of graphics thrown in not that long ago (what, maybe 3-4 years?) into a medium of communication that has gotten to the point that all bloggers need to have at least SOME multimedia incorporated in it.
Podcasting, web video, live internet radio or streaming live video shows…there needs to be at least something to spice sites up to keep a site’s visitors’ attention. Visitors are wanting more and more “flash” on the sites they visit regularly.
One fairly easy and inexpensive way to add multimedia to your site is podcasting…a sort of pre-recorded internet radio show. Basic podcasting is both fairly easy and inexpensive to do. Learning how to record and publish podcasts to your blog takes about a day with free software and a headset/microphone costing less than $15.00.
That’s it. $15.00 and a days time and you can be a podcaster.
Just not a very good one. Or, to be more accurate, the sound quality you deliver to your listeners won’t be very good. If visitors to your site don’t mind bad sound quality they might be happy, but believe me, they do mind bad sound quality…a lot.
People will tolerate poor video quality to an amazing extent but they are really intolerant of poor audio. A study was done to assess people’s tolerance for poor audio vs poor video. Half the study participants watched great video that had a bad soundtrack and the other half watched a video with a poor video track but great audio. It showed that people switched off the poor audio twice as fast as they did the poor video., which is great if you are trying to do video on the cheap.
It sucks for podcasters though. It means that you have to produce good quality audio, and that can be expensive…but it doesn’t have to be.
Auphonic is a new web based automated post production service for cleaning up audio files and making them have the kind of sound quality that will help keep visitors to your site, listening to your podcast(s) instead of clicking off after 10 seconds of being tortured by bad sounding audio. Best of all, Auphonic is right in line with HayleStorm Interactive’s frugal attitude…its free.
From the Auphonic website
We develop new algorithms in the area of music information retrieval and audio signal processing to create an automatic audio post production web service for broadcasters, podcasts, radio shows, audio books, lecture recordings, screencasts and more. Users just upload their recorded audio and will do the rest: neither complicated parameter settings nor audio expert knowledge is necessary.
I uploaded 20 files to Auphonic. They were a mixture of MP3’s, W AV’s, and MP4 (h.264). Audio input on the original files came from a mixture of a studio quality microphone, a good-quality USB headset, a cheapo $15 headset, and file transfers from a digital voice recorder. The original audio quality on the files range from very poor two pretty good (but still not studio or broadcast quality.
- Uploads are via an extremely easy to use file selector that simply opens up your file manager for you to select a file from, and then click upload. If you want to do multiple files at one time there is a batch upload option.
- Auphonic is free. Digital mastering (which is what this is, just like for a music DVD) by a human being is extremely time-consuming if you do it yourself, and pretty expensive if you hire someone to do it.
- Auphonic is extremely simple to use. Everything is point and click on an easily understood GUI (graphical user interface).
- Besides being able to download your finished file back to your computer’s desktop, Auphonic allows you to connect to external services like your Dropbox, Amazon S3, Sound Cloud, and YouTube accounts as well as to FTP and S FTP applications like FileZilla and WinSCP.
- Once files are uploaded the user clicks a “process” button, and Auphonic goes to work. The user interface will ask that you not close the browser until the files finished uploading. At that point if you have one fairly short file, say… 10 minutes or less, you can wait for the processing to finish and then either listen to the results online, or download the file. If you would rather not wait Auphonic will send you an email to the address you used when you register your account to let you know the processing is done and the files are ready to download.
It is just that simple.
Auphonic only has one drawback as far as I can see.
While the GUI is extremely easy to use, some of the selections available require that you either have a pretty good bit of background knowledge in audio mastering, so you know what criteria to input, or you will have to do a whole lot of feeling your way around.
Basic metadata like title, artist, genre, etc., is easy. So are things like output file types chapter marks, and publishing information. For actually making adjustments to the file itself, making choices about the adaptive leveler, filtering, global loudness normalization, and noise and hum reduction (reduction amount must be selected, in LUFS.)
While Auphonic does require users to learn enough about audio post – production to be able to quickly choose the proper settings to apply to a particular file, the learning curve is short and fairly easy, and the results are broadcast quality audio for your podcasts and video productions.
Auphonic is a good quality, time and money saving application. The fact that it is free is not what makes it good…it is just a bonus.