Podcasting is now a whole new industry with its own terms, definitions, and even new emerging occupations. To help you navigate the world of podcasting and easily understand various guides, tutorials, and videos, the Waveroom team has compiled a comprehensive glossary of terms and put them in different categories related to podcasting. From a podcast episode to a double-ender, from EQ to podfade—let's dive deeper into the podcast dictionary.
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General audio terms
Audio file: A digital file containing recorded or edited audio content, such as an MP3 or WAV file.
Bit depth: The number of bits used to represent each audio sample. It determines the resolution and dynamic range of audio recordings.
Bit rate: The amount of data processed per unit of time, often expressed in kilobits per second (Kbps). In podcasting, a higher bitrate usually means better audio quality but also larger file sizes.
Clipping: Technical issue that occurs when the audio recording reaches or exceeds its maximum amplitude, resulting in distortion and a loss of audio quality. When a sound wave surpasses the maximum level that can be accurately represented in the digital audio file, it gets "clipped" at that level. This can create harsh, distorted, and unpleasant sounds that can be distracting to listeners.
Compression: The process of reducing the dynamic range of an audio signal to control volume variations and ensure consistent levels.
Dynamic range: The difference between the quietest and loudest parts of an audio signal. A wider dynamic range indicates a greater contrast between soft and loud sounds.
Echo: The reflection of sound waves off surfaces in the recording environment or room. This reflected sound can create a delayed repetition of the original audio, resulting in an audible echo or reverberation effect. Echo can be distracting and reduce the overall audio quality of a podcast.
Encoding: The process of converting audio data into a specific digital format or codec for storage, streaming, or distribution.
EQ (equalisation): The process of adjusting the balance of frequencies in an audio signal to enhance or reduce specific tonal qualities.
Gain: The adjustment of audio input or output level to control volume. It can refer to both the initial recording level and post-production volume adjustments.
Hard limiting: A form of audio compression that imposes a strict limit on the maximum level of an audio signal, preventing it from exceeding a certain threshold.
Levels: Refers to the relative volume or amplitude of audio signals, often measured in decibels (dB). Properly setting levels ensures balanced audio.
Mono vs. stereo: Mono audio uses a single channel for playback, while stereo audio uses two channels (left and right) to create a sense of spatial separation.
Noise floor: The level of unwanted background noise or interference present in an audio recording. It represents the baseline or minimum level of noise in an audio signal.
Normalisation: Adjusting audio levels to ensure consistent volume throughout a podcast episode or among different episodes.
Peaking: When audio levels spike or hit the maximum allowable level, resulting in distortion or clipping, peaking occurs.
Phantom power: A technique used to provide power to certain types of microphones. It's usually exploited with condenser microphones that require a small amount of voltage to operate.
Polar patterns: Represents the sensitivity of a microphone to sounds arriving from different directions. Common patterns include omnidirectional, cardioid, and figure-8.
Reverb: Short for 'reverberation;' refers to the persistence of sound in a space after the original sound source has stopped. Reverb is characterised by a series of reflections of sound waves that bounce off surfaces in an environment, creating a complex sonic effect. It's often heard as a tail or 'echoey' quality in the audio and can impact the overall sound quality of a podcast.
Room tone: The ambient sound present in a recording environment when no one is speaking or making noise. It's used in post-production to maintain consistent audio quality.
Sample rate: The number of audio samples captured per second, typically measured in Hertz (Hz). Common sample rates include 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz.
Tracks: Individual audio recordings or segments that can be edited, mixed, and arranged to create a complete podcast episode.
Waveform: A visual representation of an audio signal that shows its amplitude over time, often used for editing and analysis.
B-roll: Additional audio content, such as music or sound effects, used to enhance the podcast's storytelling. It can also be used in video podcasting.
Double-ender: A recording where all tracks are recorded locally and merged together during the post-production process.
Editing: The process of refining raw recordings by removing mistakes, adding effects, and enhancing overall audio quality.
Episode: An individual installment of a podcast series, typically featuring a specific topic or theme.
Intro/outro: The beginning and end sections of a podcast, often including a welcome message, episode summary, guest introductions, closing remarks, and acknowledgments.
Jingle: A short, catchy piece of music or audio used to introduce or identify a podcast, segment, or episode.
Local recording: Recording audio locally on an individual's computer or recording device, typically for remote podcasting interviews or co-hosts.
Music/audio bed: Background music or audio used to enhance the mood or atmosphere of a podcast episode.
Podcast cover: An image or artwork used to represent a podcast on podcast directories and apps. It plays a crucial role in attracting potential listeners.
Podcast format: Wrapping of what you’re saying and how your episode is oragnised structurally. Solo show, interview, panel, and co-hosted conversation are the most common podcast formats.
Raw recording: The unedited audio file captured during a podcast recording session.
Remote recording: The process of recording podcast episodes with participants located in different physical locations, often using online conferencing or recording tools, like Zoom or Waveroom.
Script: A written outline or dialogue that podcast hosts or participants follow during recording to maintain structure and clarity.
Video podcast: A podcast with a video element in it, such as a static background image, boomerang, gif, or a video recording of the host and their guests.
Co-host: A secondary presenter who shares hosting duties, contributing to discussions and interviews.
Guest: A person invited to join an episode to share their expertise, experiences, or perspective.
Host: The primary presenter and facilitator of a podcast episode who guides the discussion.
Interviewee: Someone being interviewed by the podcast host or hosts.
Panel: A group of individuals who participate in a podcast episode, often discussing a specific topic or theme.
Audio interface: Hardware device that serves as the bridge between your microphones, instruments, and other audio sources, and your computer or recording equipment. With the audio interface, you can capture high-quality audio from external sources and convert it into digital format for recording, editing, and processing on your computer.
Compressor: An audio processing tool used to manipulate the dynamic range of audio signals. Compressors are employed to control and even out these dynamic variations, making audio more consistent in volume.
Editing software: Tools used to refine the audio quality of a podcast, remove unnecessary parts, add music or sound effects, and correct any errors made during recording.
Equipment setup: The process of connecting and arranging all the necessary hardware for recording a podcast, including microphones, headphones, audio interfaces, and computers.
Headphones: Used by podcasters to monitor audio quality while recording and editing.
High-pass filter: An audio filter that allows high frequencies to pass through while attenuating or cutting lower frequencies. It's used to reduce low-frequency rumble and noise.
Limiter: An audio processing tool used to prevent audio signals from exceeding a certain maximum level, often referred to as the "ceiling" or 'threshold.' Limiters are primarily used to control and restrict audio peaks to avoid clipping and distortion while ensuring that the overall volume remains consistent and within a desired range.
Microphone: A device used to capture audio. Podcasters often invest in high-quality microphones for better sound quality.
- Condenser microphone: Often referred to simply as a condenser mic,' condenser microphones are highly sensitive and can capture a wide range of frequencies and subtle details in audio recordings. Condenser microphones generally have a lower self-noise level, which means they produce less background noise in recordings.
- Dynamic microphone: A type of microphones that can handle high sound pressure levels without distorting, which is beneficial when recording loud sources like musical instruments or when podcast hosts speak loudly. Many dynamic microphones are designed with specific polar patterns, such as cardioid, supercardioid, or hypercardioid, which are useful for isolating sound sources and minimising background noise. Cardioid microphones are often used in podcasting because they capture sound mainly from the front while rejecting sound from the sides and rear. Dynamic microphones are less sensitive to room reflections and background noise, making them suitable for recording in less-than-ideal acoustic environments.
- USB microphone: A type of microphone that can connect directly to a computer via a USB port, effectively bypassing the need for an audio interface. It's popular for its plug-and-play convenience.
- XLR microphone: A professional-quality microphone that uses an XLR cable to connect to an audio interface. Unlike USB mics, XLR mics can typically deliver higher-quality audio.
Mixer: An audio device used to control sound levels and adjust audio inputs, ideal for multiple microphone setups.
Low-pass filter: An audio filter that allows low frequencies to pass through while attenuating or cutting higher frequencies. It's used to reduce high-frequency noise.
Pop filter: A screen placed in front of a microphone to reduce plosive sounds like 'P' and 'B' sounds.
Reflection filter: A device used in recording studios to reduce the amount of acoustic reflections picking up by the microphone, thereby improving the sound quality.
Shock mount: A suspension device that isolates the microphone from vibrations and handling noise.
Soundproofing: Techniques and materials used to reduce or eliminate unwanted background noise in recording spaces.
Waveroom: An online podcast recording studio that allows you to create solo shows and co-hosted podcasts with up to 4 guests. The tool records a podcast locally at a 48 kHz sample rate, 120 minutes long, and in 1080p quality.
Directory: A location or folder where podcast episodes and associated files are stored on a hosting server.
Hosting site: A platform or service that stores and distributes podcast episodes, making them accessible to listeners. A server where your podcast files are stored. A host creates the RSS feed for your podcast and distributes it to various podcast directories.
Podcatcher: Also known as a podcast app, it's software used for subscribing to, downloading, and listening to podcasts.
Podfade: When a podcast begins to publish episodes less frequently and/or eventually stops production, often without explanation.
Progressive uploading: The practice of uploading podcast episodes in advance and scheduling them for release at specific times or dates.
RSS feed: A file that contains all the necessary information about a podcast, along with the list of all episodes. It's used by podcast directories to distribute and update the podcast content.
Streaming: A method of delivering and consuming audio content in real time over the Internet, without the need to download the entire file before listening.
Syndication: The process of distributing a podcast across various platforms, allowing listeners to subscribe and listen via their preferred service.
Podcast promotion & monetisation
Analytics: Data collected about a podcast's performance, such as download numbers, listener demographics, and engagement metrics.
Audio transcription: The process of converting audio content, like podcasts, into written text, which can increase accessibility and improve podcast SEO.
- Episode keywords: Specific words or phrases associated with a podcast episode used to assist search engines in identifying and categorising the episode’s content.
- High-density keywords: Important keywords that are most relevant to your content. Using high-density keywords helps your content become more discoverable to your target audience.
Call to action (CTA): A request for the listener to perform some specific action, such as subscribing, sharing, donating, or purchasing a product or service.
Creative Commons: A licensing system that allows content creators to share their work with specific usage permissions and restrictions.
Crowdfunding: A method of raising funds for a project or business through contributions from a large number of people, typically via online platforms.
Guest booking: The process of finding, contacting, and scheduling guests to appear on a podcast.
Metadata: Information about the podcast and its episodes, including the title, description, author, and cover art. Metadata helps listeners find and understand what your podcast is about.
- ID3 tags: Metadata embedded in audio files that provide information like episode title, author, and description.
Monetisation: Strategies for generating income from a podcast, including ads, sponsorships, and listener support.
- Affiliate marketing: A marketing strategy whereby a podcast recommends products or services to its audience and earns a commission for any sales generated through their referral links.
- Sponsorships: A form of monetisation where businesses pay to have their products or services mentioned and promoted on a podcast.
Promotion: Efforts to market and raise awareness of a podcast, often through social media, email, and collaborations.
Show notes: A written summary of a podcast episode. They often include key points, links to resources mentioned, guest details, and timestamps for different topics discussed.
Subscription: Receiving automatic updates of new podcast episodes. A function that allows listeners to receive automatic updates or notifications when new episodes of a podcast are released.
Take your time and familiarise yourself with these podcasting terms to be better equipped to create, produce, and share your own podcast or enjoy the wide variety of podcasts available today. Whether you're a podcaster or a dedicated listener, understanding these terms will enhance your podcasting experience.