Monday, November 10, 2014

Listening to Podcasts.

By the time Howard Stern left the regular radio at the end of 2005 I was already listening to my iPod for both music and the newly emerged medium of Podcasting. My car radio was with me for the two hours every day that I drove to work and it now acted as a playback device entirely. I didn't bother with CDs since my 30GB iPod had a large chunk of my favorite music and I also would use it to sync new Podcast episodes from my computers iTunes almost daily before driving.

Three years later my iPod was replaced with an iPhone 3G but the syncing ritual was the same. Within a couple of years Podcast Apps started to come out for the iPhone.  Some good, some not. I tried several over the years.

  • The Podcasts App from Apple had a rough start but is better today. (And is now included by default in iOS 8.) It syncs across your devices with iCloud and is free so that's an easy way to get started.
  • Instacast is one that I liked for years (until my current favorite came out) and aside from a few glitches a few years back has always worked well.
  • My current Podcast listening App is Overcast. It's free, but spend the money on the in App purchase it offers to get the best out of it. 
What made Overcast my current favorite is the things that it can do with audio. I listen to several different shows of varying audio quality and episode length. Some of the less professional podcasters use poor microphones, bad mic technique or don't know how to correctly use a compressor to even out volumes. Overcast's Voice Boost feature fixes many of those. Some of my favorite shows have lot's of dead air when the host or guest are thinking about what to say next or the Skype connection they are using to speak remotely causes a delay. (That's one of the reasons I would use the 1.5 times (sometimes 2x) playback speed.) Overcast has a playback feature that can, in real time, cut out dead air. That feature has saved me a full days worth of dead air time!