How to Quickly Reduce Gaps Between Sentences using Truncate Silence in Audacity

Slow talkers, guests who compose their answer before speaking, and what I call “Skype Lag” can leave long pauses between the conversation in a podcast.

What's a long pause?

Well, I consider a long pause a gap between sentences that lasts longer than necessary – usually a second or more.

1-second gap between sentences (Truncate Silence)


Truncate Silence in Audacity

Use Audacity's Effect > Truncate Silence​ to compress any gaps longer than a set length.

For example: Compressing any gap longer than 0.4 seconds by 60 percent.

Applying this effect is a quick way to tackle the entire project without reducing gaps too much:

Audacity's Truncate Silence

Applying the Truncate Silence effect to the entire project in this manner is pretty safe.

It tackles any gap greater than 0.4 seconds to 60 percent of its original length.

  • A 1.0 second gap turns into 0.6 seconds
  • A 0.5 second gap turns into 0.3 seconds
  • But a 0.3 second gap is less than the 0.4 seconds Duration you set, so it safely remains at 0.3 seconds

You can apply this effect quickly to a small portion of your podcast or to the entire project at one time.


When Silence Serves a Purpose:

It would be unreasonable to cut all pauses from an interview or podcast conversation. In comedy, timing is everything.

Silence can serve a purpose:

  • For dramatic effect
  • When someone is contemplating the answer to a very important question
  • During a meditation demonstration (listen to the [33:33] mark of this podcast)

However, when the above situations aren't met then I cut them down to something more realistic – and more comfortable for the listener.



More Audacity Tips:

Want to watch a video of how I use Truncate Silence?

The Audacity Workshop is full of useful tips and tricks like this with video demonstrations and downloadable examples you can use for practice.

Learn Audacity with the Audacity Workshop by Steve Stewart


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