Podcasting is huge right now. Don’t believe us? Start up iTunes and have a browse in the Podcasting section. There are gems everywhere – from comedy to technology-themed shows, news, opinion and, well, just about anything you can think of. While GarageBand owners already have a brilliant tool for audio production, Übercaster’s dedicated features might just convert a few bloggers.
Deceptively powerful, Übercaster’s hardware-inspired looks hide four layers of functionality: preparation, recording, editing and publishing. You switch between these four modes (labelled Prepare, Record, Cut and Release) as you work through your programme. The Prepare screen enables you to add pre-recorded audio – sound effects, music, background noise and so on. Most importantly, you can add audio inputs, whether from applications like Skype or the direct feed from your microphone.
Once you’ve set up these sources, balanced levels and recorded your podcast, the tool’s true strengths emerge in the multitrack Cut window. Here you can layer up audio, adding fades and effects to individual tracks for a professional finish. The final stage, Release, enables you to configure format and compression options, embed metadata into your file for wider distribution, choose an FTP server and upload the results direct. You can even upload accompanying cover art.
Our reservations are few. The Prepare area, where you add components of the project before you begin, isn’t an obvious interface metaphor – still it proves handy to have a place where you can quickly access and tweak multitrack elements when you’re hard at work. We would have liked more direct Apple compatibility too. Integrated publishing to iTunes would have been jam on the crumpet.
Ubercaster isn’t quite as ‘Über’ as it claims. ‘Super’ might be a better qualifier, with its undoubtedly comprehensive tools for mixing and publishing podcasts. An initially baffling interface knocks some polish off this otherwise slick and powerful product.