Live to Drive?

This is the process of recording, usually in the field, directly into a storage device and then sending the unedited audio out into the world.

If you really want to show a sloppy approach to podcasting, disrespect your listeners and sound like you don’t know what you’re doing, go live to drive!

This is a bit harsh. There are some people who can this and it is the most natural thing in the world. It’s when I find a “live to drive” thrown into a show’s feed, for no apparent reason that it jars. I heard one last month where a podcaster felt like they needed to go “back to their roots”. It was appalling. Echo on the track, variable volume as the mic and the mouth were at different distances from each other and the wonderful background noise of a car engine. The next episode the podcaster said something like: Well that was atrocious but I really enjoyed getting back to my podcasting roots.

As I say a disrespect for the listeners.

If you’re reporting from an event away from your usual recording space, let people know and they’ll usually be forgiving of lower quality sound. Tell them you’re subjecting them to it for your benefit and not so much.

All that being said, please, please, please do some editing. This might not be possible if you’re on the road but it should be. There’s a post coming up on what you need to go “mobile” and still maintain quality but sometimes you just have to make do with what you have. Do the best you can is always the right advice.

Sometimes the audio is from a live interview on things like Hangouts. Again, tell your listeners. Some of the magic of Auphonic will clean the audio after you’ve done an edit. Body noises, coughs and sneezes mostly can be quite charring to listeners. I discovered this while editing the other day. I knew the sneeze was coming, I knew where it was and it still slapped my ear drums hard. Edit, every time, unless you’re such a natural you wouldn’t be reading this anyway. For the rest of us: edit!

Doing the best you can mean a respect for your listeners above all else.


  • Think about why you’d do a live to drive.
  • Respect the ear drums of your listeners.
  • Edit, always edit!