Adobe Podcast Tools

This seems new? Looks like it’s a “labs” experiment (Project Shasta) growing up into a more full-blown product, a whole new vision for podcasting tools.

I like it. It fits with an overall vision that Adobe supports the creative endeavors of people. I’ve requested access but haven’t gotten it yet, so I haven’t played with the complete product yet.

There are two free tools that anyone can use in the Beta, though:

screenshot of two adobe podcast tools in the navigation: Enhance Speech and Mic Check

Enhance speech allows you to upload an MP3 or WAV and it’ll fix it up for you (1 hour / 1 GB max). The results are pretty badass 🤯:

The other is Mic Check, which has you say a single sentence into your microphone (“How is my microphone setup and placement?”) and lets you know how it sounds. It’s apparently trained on “thousands of hours” of audio tests. Here’s how the results look:

screenshot of the results of the mic check tool, showing good in-range results for distance to microphone, gain, background noise, and echo.

Mic Check is a tremendous idea. It’s best to get the best quality you can up-front rather than have to manipulate it later. This might be creepy, but I think I’d like to see a product like this running all the time, say as a menu bar app. I would get a warning when any of the checks are bad.

Dave has mentioned this to me several times over the years on ShopTalk: there should be a quick way to check if you’re audio is correct. The right source, the right gain, no weird sounds coming through, etc. This is the closest I’ve seen.

It looks like the complete tool will integrate these things, but be much more, like an actual recording studio. Sounds like you invite people and record together ala Riverside or Zencastr, but it’s doing more, like transcribing the audio (including who is talking when which is wild) as soon as it uploads. Also: fancy cleaning up of audio (as seen above, and automatic removals of uhmmms and ahhhhs) which means they get to call it “AI-Powered” and get their AI merit badge.

The editor looks very innovative, allowing you to drag in audio clips to splice in, in between people talking or in the background. Also: editing the text itself to edit the audio (like if you remove a word in the transcript, it plucks it out of the audio). There seems to be a whole category of tools that can do that lately, but it feels more like a feature than an app, so it’s nice to see it part of a larger whole.

screenshots of simon says ai, type studio, and descript homepages.

I welcome a new generation of high-quality audio production and editing tools!

Here’s a related thing I think about. Where is the best place to do audio manipulation? I think there is a big distinction between live audio and audio that is only recorded for later editing. When audio is live (on the radio! a concert! a zoom call!), it makes sense to do whatever you can to make sure it sounds good right away.

We had a ShopTalk Show guest warn us they were using Krisp to fix up audio while on the call. It made me wonder… is that good to be doing right now? Or should we be getting the audio more raw so it can be manipulated later? It kinda felt like Krisp is good for live audio but perhaps not right for recorded audio. You can always apply manipulation later, but if it’s recorded manipulated up-front, you can’t undo that.

I also used to have a dbx 286s, which I was told was awesome for podcasting at the time. It would do stuff like de-ess sound, help with background noise, prevent peaks, and whatnot. But it was audio technical debt. If the sound was live, that would make sense, but it was one more thing messing with the audio that was intended to be edited later. If the dbx settings were off, they couldn’t be fixed in post. So I have since stopped using it, as anything it could do could also be done in editing.



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