I switch software titles rarely. I used Acoustica Mixcraft 5for years until they added so many features that it got cluttered. I've used Sony Creative Music Studio. Then I got Adobe Audition 3.0 Windows (again more tools that I don't use). A client of mine asked me about Hindenburg Journalist. This company makes software for MEDIA people (The Hindenburg thing goes with their tag “It's all about the story”). It might possibly be the easiest software I've ever used.

If you do a lot of interviews, there is no other choice. It's just that cool. You can highlight an “um” and then play just the um, or hear what it will sound like without it before you delete it. This could've saved me hours this week. Then you can highlight a question and answer and drag it to a “Clipboard” section. You can rename that and it automatically displays how long the clip is. As I am getting involved with doing some editing for radio stations who need to be able to hit certain spots in the hour this is huge. When I see I need a four minute question, I can grab question 7. I can easily monitor each question or segment, and then drag each piece in the order I want into the podcast.

I can create groups of sounds (jingles, background music), and save those as a project so they are there when I'm ready to podcast.

When I import files into the software it automatically adjust the volume level for me. This is again a HUGE time saver. There is also a built in compressor, graphic EQ (3 band, but useful), and a voice profile that analyzes your voice and sets the EQ for you. Just plain cool.

Fading in and out is a piece of cake. You simply drag and drop the corner of the file. When you plug in a recording device (i.e. a USB Microphone) it detects it and lets you know.

Back when podcasting first started people contemplated creating a “enhanced”podcasts that used m4a files. Well you HAD to have a Mac to create one. Had this software been around, we might all be listening to m4a files as you can now create an enhanced podcast on a PC. This is the first software that I know of that lets you export to an m4a file and create chapters. It will also ftp your finished file (along with the ID3 tags) to your server. Again, another time saver.

I didn't really see where I could overwrite some of the settings if I wanted to, but it seems to do every fine so why mess? The settings are based on RADIO standards and you can change the standards from US to UK, etc. In a nutshell your final outcome is going to peak around -9. Again, easy, acceptable, I'll take it.

Last but not least, its cross platform. You can also use a special version for the iphone and then import it in (again the thought being journalist on the go).

Stumbling Blocks

I write this after spending maybe two hours with it. Here is where I am stumbling, but will be in contact with the company tomorrow.

The manual shows some pretty creative ways to do fading. I couldn't get it to work. I could do basic fading, but nothing too crazy. They have some tutorials on their website, but none about fading. For the record, it's a detailed manual. I think we lose something as some of the instructions are for Mac, when I'm on a PC.

Their instructions on adding VST plugins is horrid. They simply says the software uses VST plugins in the steinberger folder. Really? That's all I get? When I visited their facebook page, they again answered the question without answering the question. Their FAQ was a little on the short side. A forum would be nice. I have no idea who long the company has been around. For the record, I barely know what a VST plugin is, but I found a great compressor that I love to use, and other software titles I've used just let you point to where your plugins are.

Update: Please note I've already been contacted by support to help me with this issue. Problem solved.

First Conclusion

If I was teaching my Mom how to podcast, and I wanted her to sound great – this would be the software I would recommend. It runs $95 (there is a pro version for $375). The basic version is a good deal. A bit more expensive than say a Sony Music Studio 8.0, but they have made this software for journalists and its nice not having software designed for musicians that podcasters can use. Their site is http://hindenburgsystems.com

Here is a tutorial that shows the clipboard