When I started to use my iPad more and more I knew at some point I would want to go iPad only. With a lot of tinkering and tweaking my writing workflows and exploring apps to handle some of the things I did on a Mac, I was close. The only thing stopping me from ditching the Mac entirely was editing audio for my podcasts. Then Ferrite came into the picture.
Ferrite is an app that allows you to edit audio, especially podcasts, on iOS. This was the last piece of the puzzle, and I was elated to dive deep into this once I found out about it a year ago. Over the past 12 months I have been playing around with my setup on the app and watching the updates come regularly to make this an even better experience. Canis, the lead developer at Wooji Juice, developed this app, and I wish I could give him a giant hug for all he’s done.
After a year of using this app off and on, I think it is finally time to show you how to edit your podcasts 100% on iOS.
Recording requires both the iPhone and the iPad (more on why later). The iPhone is for connecting with anyone you have on the show so that you can communicate with them either with Skype, FaceTime, or even just a good ol’ fashioned phone call. After that you’re set with the iPhone. If this is a long call I suggest connecting the phone to a power source to avoid any issues.
The iPad is where the magic happens. For me, I use Google Docs to handle all of the pre-show notes and to keep the topics on hand for the episode I am recording. From there I have Google Docs and Ferrite side-by-side within my iPad.
The reason that you can’t both record your voice and have a call on an iPad simultaneously is basically because iOS limits this. The sandboxing of iOS has always been a sticking point for many who want to use the iPad. This might not be ideal, but I understand where Apple is coming from on this. It can be a privacy issue if they did allow this to be a thing and Apple, the company that touts its users’ privacy, would never allow this to happen. While it can be a privacy issue, I think there can be something done to meet users in the middle allowing them to record both a microphone and use Skype at the same time whilst still caring for their personal privacy.
If you want more of a detailed reason for this Canis explains it in a podcast episode of Vector with Rene Richie (this is a link to get you right to the explanation, but this entire episode is great).
From there, It is up to the guest/co-host to record their end as with this setup it isn’t possible to both record audio and use an app like Skype or FaceTime at the same time.
With hardware I use the Audio Technica ATR 2100 with an Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adaptor and a lighting power supply to power the microphone and charge the iPad. The power supply goes into the dongle and provides both a charge and phantom power to a microphone connected, if need be. There are other great mics that you can use to achieve this, but they need to be USB or be connected to an audio interface that allows USB output. For me, the ATR2100 has been in my arsenal for years and I personally like how it makes me sound and the ease of its plug and play setup.
After the setup, and perhaps some testing if it is your first go, you’re ready to record your podcast and after that comes the fun: editing!
Once you record and get your files through some fashion (I use Dropbox for convenience sake) it is time to begin editing. But before I make a single cut in the podcast, I always clean up the audio.
One service I adore for my workflow is Auphonic. It is basically magic where it uses their own software to automatically level the audio to broadcast standards and removes any persistent noise. I rarely have to clean up the audio after it goes through Auphonic.
If I do find some other things need to be done to the audio I will use Wooji Juice’s Hokusai Audio Editor. This is a wonderful app that pretty much allows you to do anything you want to clean up audio. There’s compressors, limiters, EQ, and noise reduction plugins that any podcaster can play with to clean their audio up without much incident.
Hokusai does take some time to get used to and having background knowledge on audio is also a big plus. But, if you don’t know much about audio terminology and have time, I would play with it using an old episode and see what you can do with it.
Once the recordings are clean and ready to go, I import the clean audio files and put them in a project on Ferrite and begin cutting.
One thing I love about Ferrite is the ability to map the keyboard shortcuts to what you want.
I can either use a list of common shortcuts from other DAWs, like Logic Pro or Garage Band, or go ahead and use whatever I want to use. It is a genius addition and something I wish to see in other pro apps down the line.
Cutting a podcast is fairly straightforward if you have ever done it on a Mac using something like Garage Band or Logic Pro. You can slice, remove, move, and automate things like volume, pan, etc. without much friction.
One benefit Ferrite has over any Mac app is that you can take the project into your hands, literally. This is one of the many reasons I love working in iOS, you can use your fingers and work with you hands to create something instead of relying on a trackpad or a mouse. It is like dancing on an ice rink when you move and cut the tracks with your fingers. It is something that is almost intimate with your work when using the glass as your canvas.
If you want to learn more about how to use Ferrite there are some great tools from Wooji Juice (the company that develops the app) with their video tutorials.
There is also a really nice course by podcaster Joel Sharpton called iPad Podcasting. He also has a supplementary course on iOS audio plugins. I haven’t personally taken these courses but I know Joel personally and he’s not only a great person, but his work is always terrific. If you have any questions for him feel free to connect with him on Twitter @therogueslife.
Once it is edited as you like, you’re almost ready to share it with the world! All you have to do now is export it!
There isn’t a set “standard” for podcasting files but I have found that the best is a mono MP3 at a bit rate of 64-128 kB/s. It isn’t studio quality but it does allow for a small file with minimum compression in the audio quality.
Once exported I save it into my iCloud Drive to safekeeping while I work on show notes and other things a podcast episode entails.
Ferrite is a wonderful and powerful app to use, and it has been a game changer for many podcasters I know who prefer the iPad over a Mac. They have finally create the last piece to the puzzle to go iPad only.
So if you are a fan of iOS and want to start podcasting with your iPad and iPhone here is a guide to do so.
Ferrite is a free app to download but in order to get the full unlocked version it is a $19.99 in-app purchase. That may be a sticker shock to some but in comparison to other editing software this is a drop in the bucket. Logic Pro X for instance is $199, and Adobe Audition is $30 a month to use. To pay $20 and never have to pay for it again is unheard of for production software.
So get podcasting on your iOS devices, and let me know if I missed anything. You can leave a comment below or get a hold of me on Twitter @iamJeffPerry.