Snapping in Audacity, podcast frequency, ending a podcast, and MP3 file sizes – TAP098

Mixer with question mark

Get podcasting answers on how to turn off selection snapping in Audacity, whether podcasting less than weekly hurts, how to end a limited-episode podcast and not be removed from iTunes, and how to reduce MP3 file sizes.

Selection snapping in Audacity

Ugh Daniel can you help me? I'm practing with Audacity and when I record a clip it doesnt allow me to cut and any point I can just from one number marker to another. For example when I try to highlight from between the 2.0 position it wont it automatically goes to the 2.0 marker and when I try to stop the selection half way past the 3.0 marker it wont, it goes to the 3.0 marker and at 3.0 I dont want that cut out. Can you please help me?

Bud

This is either really handy or really annoying! But it's a simple fix.

Audacity-Selection toolbar

Selection Toolbar in Audacity

  1. Make sure you see the Selection Toolbar (pictured above), usually at the bottom of Audacity. If you don't see it, go to the View menu > Toolbars > Selection Toolbar.
  2. Uncheckmark “Snap To” to prevent the 1-second snapping. Checkmark it to have your selections snap to to exact seconds.

Is less than weekly okay?

Back in March, started a podcast focusing on PC gaming in the DOS and pre-Windows XP era. Like most people, I have a very busy schedule and from the start I decided that I would release a new show every two weeks. I've stuck to this and now have 9 episodes on my feed. My question is: Do you think I'm hurting my show by not releasing an episode every single week? It seems that weekly is the “magic number” that most shows seem to follow. I was curious what your thoughts were on shows that release with less frequency.

Thanks!

Joe
Host of the Upper Memory Block Podcast
The DOS and pre-Windows XP gaming podcast

I think that episode length and frequency are tied to each other.

Weekly is the optimal release schedule, but it's not required. But here are a few things to keep in mind with a biweekly or less-often schedule:

  • It takes longer to get more episodes out, so you have fewer episodes in a year.
  • Biweekly can be a harder schedule to maintain because it's not frequent enough to be habit-forming.
  • Your website will go two weeks without updates, but you could counter this with blog posts.
  • iTunes now learns your publishing schedule and updates your listing based on that, so if you change something about your feed or publish a bonus episode, iTunes may take longer to update.

Ending a podcast without being removed

Daniel,

Thanks for your great site and resources! I'll try to keep this question short.

I want to create a podcast to promote a Christian Bible lesson series, but I don't ever want to update it. My client would like episodes from the series to be available for download on iTunes for free to help with permotion, but he won't be making new ones every week. Is this a problem and will they kick us off iTunes or is this a good idea? Thanks so much for your help!

-Sam Hakes

There's a new iTunes podcasting tag for this. The <itunes:complete> tag will tell iTunes to stop checking for updates but also not remove your podcast.

To do this, add “<itunes:complete>yes</itunes:complete>” to the channel level of your podcast feed. Currently, this can't be done with PowerPress or FeedBurner (don't ever expect FeedBurner to support new things).

How to get smaller MP3 file sizes

Hi! I am new to podcasting, and am using Audacity…I noticed my one-hour podcasts are pushing 60mb! I know there's a way to save them at a lower quality (it says its exporting at 128kbps) but I cannot for the life of me figure out where to change these settings. Can you help?

Tina

Yeah, that's big. You can easily cut that in half by making mono MP3s instead of stereo.

But also instead of using Audacity to make the MP3s, I suggest exporting as WAV and then using iTunes to create the MP3. This will create a nicer file.

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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

7 comments on “Snapping in Audacity, podcast frequency, ending a podcast, and MP3 file sizes – TAP098

  1. Robert Williams says:

    ok, that was truly a well done podcast thanks for your work, to get audacity to record in mono rather than stereo do I just select “stereo” from the option menu just above the ‘recording frame (where the wave form is shown)? or do I have to physically unplug one of the right or left inputs going from computer to mixer? thanks again

    1. It’s a software switch. If you’re running Audacity 2.0 or later, you should see the Device Toolbar (View menu > Toolbars > Device Toolbar). From there, you can select your input and output devices. For the input device, you can select the number of channels. You would want 1 for mono.

  2. Robert Williams says:

    oh one more question if possible, how can I publish podcast feed (bluberry) in other podcatchers? I always get “invalid feed”

    1. Run the feed in question through http://feedvalidator.org. That could reveal the errors other programs are not picking up.

  3. Uwe Trenkner says:

    Hi Daniel,
    you recommended, again, to use iTunes to convert WAV to MP3 – and not the lame encoder, which is used also by Audacity.

    I recently ran my own tests, comparing the results from iTunes (mono), lame (mono) and lame (joint-stereo) – all of them at constant bit rate (CBR). And at 64kbps – the quality you and many other size-conscious podcasters use – I could not notice any difference. While I am certainly not a sound engineer and my listening skills are probably not the very best, I used a decent quality headphone and switched forth and back between the different files: To me there was absolutely no difference – the samples could have come from the same file.

    Even if there were quality differences, they must be very subtle. And for me this means: I do not see a benefit in breaking the work flow by firing up iTunes importing the WAV file and converting it there.

    I challenge everyone thinking that lame is producing inferior quality at CBR to make the test. Maybe you used an older version of lame? Maybe you tested it at higher bitrates, where possibly differences are noticeable? At least at 64kbps mono I do not believe that there is a benefit in going for the iTunes conversion.

    Daniel, as you have abandoned The Levelator (the winner of your recent compression test) because of the work flow and extra time, you may want to give lame another try. You might be surprised …and save some extra time!

    1. What is your recording microphone? You may not notice the quality difference if you’re not giving the encoders the highest quality audio. I definitely notice a difference with my Heil PR40 in LAME and Franhauffer.
      Did you ensure the final file sizes were the same or extremely close?

      1. Uwe Trenkner says:

        I use a Shure SM58, so it is clearly not at the same level as a PR40. But it is by no means a bad mike…

        The piece I used for my test was the opening of one of our episodes – I start talking, then the intro music sets in. Neither in the talking nor in the music could I detect a difference – the whole quality suffers from being compressed down to 64kbps… but then there was no noticeable difference between the three samples. As for the file size: Yes, I checked it and they were practically identical.

        Did you do your test on 64 kbps mono (or joint-stereo… that should be 100% identical quality wise)? And even there you did notice a difference in favour of the “Fraunhofer” encoder used by iTunes? OK, then it seems that either my equipment and/or my listening skills do not match up with yours.

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