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.