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Podcasting and Audio Storytelling

Basics for podcasts and other forms of audio storytelling production.

Software & Tutorials

Your choice of editing program should be determined by the story of your project and the amount of editing you need to do to tell that story. We generally recommend that people start with one of three software packages: Audacity, GarageBand, or Adobe Audition. (We talk about a few other programs below.)

Here are some rough guidelines to choosing the platform that would work best for your project:

Audacity (Mac and PC)

  • Only working with a single track of audio (no multi-person interviews)
  • Don't have to move a lot of pieces of audio around (from one point in the audio to another point)
  • Won't be mixing in music, sound effects, or other sources of audio. 
  • Generally, we do not recommend using Audacity for editing except as a way to work on individual tracks before moving on to a more advanced editing software because it is a destructive editor (meaning that you are working on the actual audio file when you make changes, which may make it difficult to go back and "undo" decisions you've made). 

GarageBand (Mac only)

  • Non-destructive editor, which means you're working on placeholders of the audio files, rather than the actual audio files themselves. 
  • Working with multiple tracks of audio (for instance, multiple participants in an interview) as well as music, sound effects, and other audio elements
  • Should not be used for very fine-grained edits (like removing "um," "uh," and other particles) as it can be hard to do very precise cross-fades
  • Unfortunately, there is no PC equivalent that has the ease-of-use of GarageBand. 
  • The interface is default designed for recording music, so you'll need to make some adjustments to settings to make it easier to edit non-musical audio. 

Adobe Audition (Mac and PC)

  • Contains a destructive editor and a multitrack non-destructive editor. Make sure to use the multitrack editor if you're editing something with multiple tracks. 
  • Precise fade-in/fade-out and cross-fade control, which is necessary for doing very fine-grained edits. 

Please note that Reaper is a very similar program to Adobe Audition that has the same functionality and does not require a Creative Cloud subscription. If you would like to learn more about Reaper, Brendan Patrick Baker has a detailed introduction and overview on his YouTube channel.

Generally, we recommend that users who have access to a Mac start with GarageBand if they're doing more than editing a single track of audio.

Here are three tutorials created in March of 2020 by Justin Schell. They cover the basics of editing in Audacity, GarageBand, and Adobe Audition. 

For detailed instructions on exporting audio on multiple pieces of software, please visit this guide.

There are additional tutorials for Audacity on the Design Lab's Canvas course. For more in-depth tutorials on these and other audio editing programs, please see the tutorials below that are from LinkedIn Learning, which all members of the University of Michigan community have access to. 

Learning Audacity

GarageBand Essential Training

Adobe Audition Essential Training [Please note this training is for Audition CC 2019, which means some things may not look or work exactly the same as the most recent version of the software.]

Other software programs that are used to make podcasts and other forms of audio storytelling include Hindenberg, Reaper, Logic Pro, and ProTools. All of these are available in the Winberg Audio Production Room.

If you want to talk through your project and figure out what might be the best editing software for you, please send a note to and we'd be happy to discuss it with you.