Podcast Recording: Square Waveform

Good Afternoon,

How do you get the waveform looking so ‘square’ (can someone also enlighten me on the technical term for this)?

When MR (or anyone else for that matter) records it looks like the top part of this image. Then they play with the EQ, Compression, Normalize etc, it looks flatter and more consistent yes, but it doesn’t look ‘square’. But when it is the final version, it looks like the bottom wav form:

What do you do to get it looking square like this?

And how come it doesn’t sound distorted or bad, as compared to the original recording, it visually looks so different.


“Clipped” or “Limited” this treatment reduces dynamic range.
A hard limiter chops off any signal above the threshold you set for eg -6db.

In mastering if done incorrectly, you can end up with reduced dynamic range with chopped off audio. The use of normalization for voice brings up the lows and reduces the highs.

Some examples of disco music that were maximized during the loudness wars ended up looking like a block of chocolate.

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I would suggest that for a Podcast that square a waveform would be quite undesirable. There would be absolutely no dynamic range and for a Podcast listener using earbuds or headphones that would become quite unpleasant after a short while of listening.

Many radio stations compress the heck out of their output which would result in an almost square waveform but there are technical reasons for this. The loudness wars so many music songs mastered to end up with the square waveform you show above but for a Podcast you’d ideally want some dynamic range in to make it sound like a natural listen for the end consumer of your output.

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Everything you need to know…

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