How To Edit A Podcast In Reaper

Written by on March 23, 2020

This is becoming more and more necessary as the country moves in to isolation due to Coronavirus. This Blog Post is written to help you edit a podcast in Reaper DAW having recorded the media elsewhere. I am assuming that you know how to record your audio already, be this on an iPhone or a Portable Recording Device. You can record your audio within Reaper, using a microphone, and I have covered that in a previous Blog Post. This Blog Post is trying to explain how to edit the audio recorded on your phone or recording device, explaining the ways I go about making a podcast using –

  • Reaper
  • A Mobile Phone (for mobile recording)
  • Izotope RX Plugins
  • Auphonic

Reaper is a great, rock-steady DAW (Desktop Audio Workstation). I have it on good authority that it is the DAW of choice for the BBC Introducing team. Very strong, very stable. Plus the trial period is indefinite – but, it does only cost $60, so cough up if you can.

1 – Record the audio on your phone.

All you really need for this is the Voice Memo App that comes with all iPhones – Android, I am unsure what apps to recommend, I have never had an Android but the built in voice recording app should work. I quickly moved from Brick to iPhone and don’t mind them. I will be explaining this tutorial from the point of view of an iPhone user.

When you’re on location, and you do not have either the budget or the resources to handle the latest recording gear then a smartphone is a good choice – again, BBC Field Reporters for the local news use iPhones. I use the Voice Memo app. this is a simple way of capturing a vox pop. Record the media to your phone – don’t worry about errors as these can be edited out in post production.

2- Save the audio to your Laptop/Desktop.

Yes, Reaper does not work on Tablets or Phones. You will need a Laptop or a desktop computer. Save the audio to your computer in an easy to find place. I recommend having a folder for the project you are working on and then a sub-folder for the raw recordings from your phone.

This is the hard part – if you can save the audio to your computer then you are most of the way there.

3 – How to import your recorded audio in to reaper.

Once you have opened up Reaper and set up the Audio Routing (Preferences » Audio » Device » No Input/Built-In Output) – then this is where the fun starts. I recommend Headphones for keeping a close listen to the audio.

Reaper works as a left-to-right time line – press play (the Space Bar on your computer keyboard operates PLAY) and you will see the play bar move from left to right. Anything the play-bar hits will be played out loud, through your Built in Output (or Headphones if you have them plugged in – which is recommended). So, don’t scrunch all of your audio up on the left hand side of the main window or it will all play at once. I advise putting the audio in as few “Tracks” as possible. A “Track” is the horizontal bar that the audio sits in, try and keep it to two or three for a podcast recorded as segments on your phone.

In the case of a spoken word show consisting only of recordings captured on a phone – drag in the files you want to use, one at a time, in the main reaper window. Do this is chronological order – so, the first piece of recorded audio you wanted to play in your podcast would be the first piece of audio your drag in to Reaper. Drop it in the main window and a track will form.

Press play/the space bar.

If you have your audio routing set up correctly (I advise headphones and your built in output) then you will hear the recording.

How To Edit A Podcast In Reaper

The Main Window Of Reaper – Complete With Audio Chunks.

In the above diagram, please notice TRACK 1, TRACK 2 and the nugget titled AUDIO CHUNK. The AUDIO CHUNK is what you would have dragged from your ‘Easy to find place’ when you saved the recordings from your phone. The Tracks (TRACK 1 and TRACK 2) are where I dropped them in the main window of Reaper.

Please note I am trying to keep the Audio Tracks down to a minimum – reducing the impact the software has on my old machine. The red line you can see traversing the main window is the Playhead (running through the word AUDIO CHUNK). When this hits any of the audio files in the main window they will play – it works left-to-right.

You may want to add music to your podcast; like risers and bleeps? Works the same way as adding the audio chunks from your ‘Easy To Find Place.’

Once you have your Audio lined up in a fashion, how you want it then we can move on to the next step.

Don’t forget to save your project.

4 – Fade-In & Fade-Out in Reaper.

When you have a chunk of audio placed in Reaper there may be discrepancies between the beginnings and endings and further beginnings of chunks of audio; sudden hisses in the recorded media, hums and rumbles. So that you do not jolt your listeners, it could be worth adding a fade in to the beginning of the audio or a fade out to the end. I will try and tell you how to create a Fade Out now… you might want to zoom in on your Audio Chunk.

This is difficult to explain because it is tricky to take a screen grab as you need to use your mouse to make the fade out and any fade in. A fade out is where the audio gradually lessens in volume gently over a period of time.

If you hover your mouse in the top right hand corner of the chunk of audio you are wishing to fade out (as in the end of the audio chunk), it will show an icon like an oatcake. Drag this to the left towards the beginning of the audio – but only as far as you want the fade out to be. As in, do not over fade. Move the playhead where you want it be (nearer the fade) and press play on the audio and you should hear the fade out in your headphones. Please be careful about fading out speech. If you have faded out a bit too much – don’t worry – Reaper has non-destructive editing so there is a memory of the audio. Just drag the Fade back to where you want it.

A handy tip is to right click / CMD + click on the resulting fade and selecting your Bend – I always go for a shallow “S”. It is quite good in Reaper.

The same system goes for Fade Ins. You navigate to the beginning of the Audio Chunk you want to fade in and zoom in to the beginning. In the top left of the audio chunk (remember – this now a Fade In. If it was a Fade Out we would be at the end of the audio chunk on the right hand side of it; Reaper works Left-to-Right) and move your mouse to the top left of the audio chunk. See the oatcake icon? Drag the corner of your audio to the right where you want it to stop fading and then listen back. To listen back to the audio, just place your playhead near the fade (it works left to right, so just to the left of the fade).

Don’t forget to save your project.

5 – Editing podcasts in Reaper by trimming audio.

As with the fade ins and fade outs, trimming audio is similar.

I will tell you how to trim the beginning of an audio chunk. After zooming in to the beginning of your audio, place your mouse cursor over the left edge of the audio, half way between the top edge and bottom edge of the audio chunk. The icon should change to double arrow, indicating the opportunity of movement. Then, drag the edge of the audio to where you want it trimmed to.

I will tell you how to trim the end of an audio chunk. After zooming in to the end of your audio chunk, place your mouse cursor over the left edge of the audio, half way between the top edge and bottom edge of the audio chunk. The icon should change to double arrow, indicating the opportunity of movement. Then, drag the edge fo the audio to where you want it trimmed to.

Cheat: move the Playhead over to where you want to cut the audio (by dragging it) and press “S” on your computer keyboard – this Splits the audio, allowing you to delete the unnecessary parts of the audio you recorded on your phone.

Don’t forget to save your project.

6 – Using RX Plugins to edit a podcast in Reaper.

These are a bit pricey – but, I figure I would mention them as they are the best. Off the top of my head I think the RX Plugins by Izotope are around $70 for the batch. These help you edit the audio chunks by removing background rumble and noises, clicks, lip smacks and sibilance.

Install the Izotope Plugins using the Izotope Product Portal, once you have bought them.

In Reaper, scan for plugins by heading to Preferences » Plugins » VST and click on Re-Scan. Then click on the small button labeled “FX” in the track Header – this is to the very left of the main window, to the left of where your Audio Chunks are. Here is a screen-grab…

How To Edit A Podcast In Reaper

FX Buttons – Top One Is Green, Meaning There Are Effects On The Track. It Says “FX”.

Set the podcast VSTs (the Izotope RX plugins) how you want and need them – the default settings do me fine, there are even “Automatic” settings where people the plugins do the thinking. Play your Podcast back to yourself if you want – are you happy with it?

Don’t forget to save your project.

7 – Exporting your podcast from Reaper as an MP3.

MP3 is all the quality needed for Harrogate Community Radio. Within Reaper, head to File » Render and the following window will pop up:

How To Edit A Podcast In Reaper

The Export Window In Reaper – These Are Good Parameters.

The above is a screen-grab for the exporting of an episode of Sound Of Wonder. Obviously, when you do this, the file Output directory will change, as will the file name and where you render the MP3 will be different too. But this is a good guide.

8 – Do you mind if you use Auphonic after editing your podcast in Reaper?

Auphonic can be supplied by the station admin.

It normalises your Exported MP3 to the right volume and irons out any inconsistencies in the loudness of the recorded media. I am unsure how it does it but it does it well.

Open up Auphonic and drag and drop the Exported MP3 from Reaper in to the main window. On the front page of Auphonic you need to set it so that it is -16 LUFS. Please, also tick HIGH PASS FILTER, NOISE & HUM REMOVAL and importantly ADAPTIVE LIMITER.

Click on PREFERENCES in the top bar of Auphonic and navigate to OUTPUT FORMAT –

How To Edit A Podcast In Reaper

The OUTPUT FORMAT Window In Auphonic – A Guideline.

Right, I think that is everything…

So, I will be in contact with you about how to deliver your show to the station. We have our own channel to do that and there is no need about transferring big files – MP3 files will be less than 500MB and our channel can cope with 2GB. Please deliver the show no less than 24 hours in advance of you getting broadcast. I think I will write another blog post about recording a Podcast with a Mic – but, this post is about how to edit a podcast in Reaper. Especially if you have recorded the audio somewhere else, using a different device.

Reader's opinions
  1. Eirene   On   August 27, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Andy, this article is very interesting. Thank you for taking the time to explain step by step each part of the process. You mentioned Auphonic. Is this a recommended piece of software? Many thanks.

    • Andy B   On   August 27, 2020 at 5:18 pm

      Hello – hope you are all well? I have made a short video for people to follow, if you head to this blog post then you should be able to see the prescribed process in a video. If you are a host of HCR, you can claim your copy of Reaper by contacting me at the station’s email.

      Auphonic is a Leveller App. It gets all of the shows to the right volume (-16LUFS). This means that all the shows are a good, consistent volume and people do not have to dip or boost the volume of the station with each show. There is no need for the hosts to get Auphonic for themselves. We thought about getting a license so people can get their own copy of Auphonic on us. But, such a license doesn’t exist. If you send the show to us we can set the volume, using Auphonic, to the correct level. Auphonic is a bit more expensive than I care to ask the hosts to spend – so, we can deal with that. Andy x

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