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In order to keep our costs down and the quality high, we record the Ask Different Podcast as a double ender where each party does a local recording and they're sent to me after the show to edit. I also use ECAMM Call Recorder to record the entire call, and I sync the separate audio tracks by hand to that recording.

Because the process of lining up the clips is tedious and error-prone, I'm wondering if there's a more automated solution. Since the recordings aren't exactly the same in terms of quality, whatever process that performs the action would have to make a 'best guess' as to the alignment of the tracks.

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It is tedious and error-prone? It shouldn't be. Just record the entire session as one file on every end, then synchronize these files at one single point, that should be sufficient to have everything in sync (provided everyone uses properly clocked digital recorders). You can cut away pauses etc. afterwards. –  leftaroundabout Aug 27 '11 at 20:45
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3 Answers 3

Maybe do like in films, use the audio equivalent of a clapper board. In other words, have a noise (preferably very short and sharp) recorded on both recordings; then you can align according to this noise.

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In order to line up the stuff, I'd have to have the noise on every track. I've heard of people doing a countdown where everyone (supposedly) claps at the same time, but there seems to be a large potential for error. If someone claps a half a second too late they mess up the whole recording. –  Kyle Cronin Aug 28 '11 at 6:53
    
I didn't mean people clapping, but rather the sound of a clapboard. Another possibility - record at both ends the time signal from the radio (normally five beeps before the hour, or something similar). –  No'am Newman Aug 28 '11 at 9:35
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You have both ends of the call in a single file and each end separate in it's own file. You could put each audio file on a track and find the beats in each. Then just align the tracks on the beats.

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not a bad idea, looking into it... –  Kyle Cronin Aug 28 '11 at 20:17
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I would recommend either (like No'am said) a clap, or a recording of some noise, maybe an OS X system noise. Then in your editor, line up the claps/noises/sounds.

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