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19 October 2013 @ 04:48 pm
Using Auphonic  
So, a while back eosrose tweeted about an awesome site she had found called Auphonic. I checked it out right away and have come to really like it. I've recommended it to a lot of people, but some have said hey haven't quite figured it out yet, so I thought I'd write a tutorial on how to use it.

What is Auphonic?
According to their site, they're an "Automatic audio post production web service for broadcasters, podcasts, radio shows, screencasts and more".

Here's their quick video about their features:

And if you don't want to watch, here's my summary. With Auphonic you can:
  • Process your file for noise/hum reduction

  • Normalize the volume to standards

  • Filter out low frequencies

  • Level out the volume between loud and quite bits

  • Export as any number of file types (including mp3 and m4b (podbook))

  • Add cover art

  • Set the meta data

  • Mark off chapters

  • Upload to a number of hosts (including ftp sites and services like Dropbox)

  • Set up presets so you only have to configure basic stuff once

With all those features, you can see why it's a useful tool, right? Are you convinced? Good.

How to use this site.
First step, sign up.

I read all the terms of service back in April when I signed up and remember being pretty impressed with how fair they were.

Adding an External Service (Optional)
You have the ability to have Auphonic automatically upload your podfic to an external site. If you'd rather not or if your hosting site isn't an option, that's ok! You'll also be given the option to download the results directly from Auphonic.

If you'd like to add a service (a place to upload your podfic once it's done), click on the 'services' option in the menu running along the top of the page. For this example I'm going to add my webspace using SFTP.

Enter the details for your webspace (the error message is just there because I didn't enter a valid username/password combo for my site):

Creating a Preset (optional)
If you don't want to enter the same information for each project you work on, you can create a preset!

To create a preset click on 'presets' in the menu along the top, then click 'New Preset' on the resulting page.

In the preset, you're going to set any data that will remain the same from podfic to podfic.

So, for example if you have a standard closing to your podfic, you could upload that file and Auphonic will automatically tack it on to the end of your podfic. I always list the album as "read by paraka" so I've added that in the metadata section. I also tend to work in .wav files so I've set the default output files as mp3 and m4b. I've added My SFTP Site as the external publishing service so any podfics that I process on here will be backed up on my site.

I've also selected all the algorithms. You'll want to play around with your own settings and see what works best with your set up. For this example I'm using a file that I recorded using my old set up, with more background noise, my new set up doesn't necessarily need Noise and Hum Reduction. You're also able to change how the algorithm is applied, but I've always left them to the defaults, personally.

Don't worry about accounting for *every* situation, because you're also able to edit these features on a case by case basis, even if you chose to use the preset.

Creating a New Production
OK, now lets actually start a production. As I alluded above, I'm using a clip from a podfic I recorded a few years ago. Here's the clip before any production is done:

Click on 'productions' from the menu (this is also the default page you'll see after logging in) and click 'New Production'

First thing's first, select that preset you just created and watch as your default info is brought over (again,you can edit or change any of that default if you want/need to).

Then select your file.

I generally skip the Into and Outro section since I make a unique one for each podfic.

You can select a cover image in the Basic Metadata section and fill in any parts not covered by your preset.

I've left the Output Files section alone, letting my preset dictate, except where I've specified the Output Filename.

My clip is too short to have chapters but you can manually enter chapter marks by clicking 'Add Chapter Mark Row' (be sure to follow the time convention shown). Or you can import chapter marks by clicking 'Import chapter marks from file'. Of most use to people here is the fact that you can import Audacity label tracks.
Auphonic also gives you an example file if you'd like to try creating one on your own.

And lastly, there's the Publishing/External Services and Audio Algorithms sections. I'm leaving these to my preset defautls.

Now you can click 'Start Production' and Auphonic will get to work.

It'll take a little while uploading and then converting your files, then when it's done, you'll get a confirmation screen. As you can see, you can download directly from Auphonic (of particular use if you didn't automatically upload it to an external service). You can also listen to the audio clip to make sure it's what you want.

If there are any parts you're not happy with, you can simply click 'edit this production' and change whatever. This includes reuploading the source file, adjusting meta data, filters, etc.

Once again, here's the original clip:

And here's the Auphonic clip:

A few things to note:
1) Once Auphonic has uploaded your audiofile, you can close the window and have Auphonic email you when the file is done (you can edit this under your account settings). This is especially useful with larger files.
2) A single output file can only have a single input file. There is a batch production option to process multiple files at once, but I haven't figured out a way to take 3 input files and have them export as a single file (unless you cheat and use intro/outros I guess?).
3) Auphonic is not a permanent hosting site. The only way to download a file from Auphonic is to log in to your account and download from there. Auphonic will automatically delete your production after a certain number of days (it's reading as 21 for me today, Oct 19, 2013 but it's subject to change). You can see how many days you have by scrolling down the productions page, it's on the left under an 'Important' header.

And I think that's it!. I've been using this site for my personal podfics for over 6 months now, I also used it to create podbooks for pod_together this year. It's really very handy.
dunderklumpen: Dunderklumpen_Berg rot_NONSHARABLEdunderklumpen on October 19th, 2013 08:55 pm (UTC)
I use Auphonic for about a year now and I love it. It cleans up the recordings very nicely and especially for someone like me who isn't as techversatile as others it's perfect. Still it's alway interesting to see what kinds of options others choose for their recordings and you mentioned some things I didn't know before or hadn't tried. So thanks for this guide!
Paraka: NF-Baby w Micparaka on October 19th, 2013 08:59 pm (UTC)
Confession, while I had need the preset options, I had never set one up before this tutorial and now I'm wondering why not. :P

It is a really handy site. Especially for people who are stumped on how to make m4bs.
dunderklumpen: Drei Fragezeichen_Peter/Bob_Toolsdunderklumpen on October 19th, 2013 09:03 pm (UTC)
I'm still struggling with cleaning up the background noises in general. So making m4bs is kind of an luxus problem for me atm. But now that you mentioned it... *gg*
Elaine the Apocalyptic, of Deepest Throcking: the Ladyelaineofshalott on October 19th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC)

Paraka: NF-Baby w Micparaka on October 21st, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
You can! And it's super easy! :D
[will fuck for sex]anatsuno on October 23rd, 2013 08:56 am (UTC)
I know it's not the same, but just in case I thought I'd say it: you can convert and MP3 into an M4A with iTunes, and then rename the file to change its extension to M4B, and it'll work! M4B is just a wrapper for M4A. :))
Elaine the Apocalyptic, of Deepest Throcking: the Ladyelaineofshalott on October 23rd, 2013 12:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm a little leery of iTunes (can I even acquire it without owning an Apple device? for I don't; my mp3 player is a non-Apple brand and just uses a Windows folder system of organization). I seem to hear a lot about people's frustrations with iTunes, and certainly when I tried to set up my mother's iPod I was sometimes confused and frustrated by the program's behavior. I might have to give in and join Apple's evil empire when the time comes for my current mp3 player to be put out to pasture though (hopefully not soon--knock wood).

Good to know about the A -> B, though!
[will fuck for sex]anatsuno on October 23rd, 2013 01:18 pm (UTC)
iTunes is free to download, yes, there's no need to own an apple device (and there's a windows version, certainly). I don't actually recommend the program especially even though I do use it *g*. It's also very possible you might be able to convert mp3s into m4as without it! I don't know.
chasingriver: riverchasingriver on October 19th, 2013 09:23 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is great! Thank you!
Paraka: NF-Baby w Micparaka on October 21st, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
You're welcome. :)
margi_lynn: 42margi_lynn on October 20th, 2013 12:39 am (UTC)
I love Auphonic so very much, especially now that you can record directly to their website on your phone! If you need more help on how to use it, they have a very useful howto and blog. ^u^ I learned a lot from them about how to normalize volume.
Paraka: NF-Baby w Micparaka on October 21st, 2013 01:10 am (UTC)
Cool! I didn't know about the recording directly to them. I also haven't checked out the blog yet, but I follow them on twitter so get some updates that way.
mothlights: circuit_boardmothlights on October 20th, 2013 01:36 am (UTC)
Adding to memories to check out. Thanks.
Paraka: NF-Baby w Micparaka on October 21st, 2013 01:13 am (UTC)
You're welcome. :)
podlizziepodlizzie on October 20th, 2013 02:22 am (UTC)
I had no idea this existed. Thanks! :D
Paraka: NF-Baby w Micparaka on October 21st, 2013 01:15 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's pretty cool! I've been meaning to talk about it here almost since it was shown to me but I kept getting distracted. :P
[will fuck for sex]anatsuno on October 23rd, 2013 08:57 am (UTC)
SO interesting! Thank you for posting, I hadn't heard about that until GD mentioned it on twitter right before you posted <3
the slashy side of me ...: Piled Higher and Deepergreedy_dancer on November 8th, 2013 12:24 pm (UTC)
Oh no, I didn't say thank you for this when you posted it! I marked it for later, and later is now :D So thank you! I think what'll be most useful for me is the "admin" side rather than the sound production side - adding chapters, different covers, and especially the ability to export as two different formats at the same time will save me a lot of time! :D

The poster girl for squee! (...aka Cleo.): cleopatra - happy cleopatrasilly_cleo on November 14th, 2013 10:53 pm (UTC)
This is awesome, thank you so much! Can I ask, would you do this once you had a fully edited file, or as a first step before you started editing out flubs and working on pacing? (I'm guessing there's no right or wrong answer, it's each to their own, but I'm curious.)
Paraka: NF-Baby w Micparaka on November 15th, 2013 01:54 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
I've done it both ways, tbh. My habit is to run it as a last step, but I have a pretty quite setup, so I don't run noise removal. The times I have run it through first tend to be the files that I want noise removal done, so I get that out of the way first. But as you said, it's a personal choice. Maybe try experimenting?