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Technical analysis of top podcasts

February 4, 2018

What bitrate are some of the most popular podcasts in the world using? And what LUFS value do they run at? We were curious: so, we decided to take a look at the top 100. For more analysis, get our free daily news briefing.

To start, some graphs easily show that the majority of these podcasts are 128kbps and stereo; though there are a fair amount of other bitrates being used - as low as 56kbps, as high as 320kbps. (You can hover over, or touch, the graphs for more information). Many podcasters recommend 96k mono (the equivalent audio quality of 192k stereo) for podcasts that are mostly speech.

In terms of LUFS, the unit of loudness (aka "how loud does this sound"), there’s a wide range. The loudest is -8, while the quietest runs at -28. However, as can be seen above, -16 to -20 is the most popular spot for podcasters. Google recommends -16 LUFS; Amazon -14; and as we reported in January, the BBC is authoring its podcasts at -18 LUFS.

> We’ve also looked at podcast app user-agents.

The full list

99% Invisible
293- Managed Retreat
Roman Mars
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-16.3 LUFS
Adam Ruins Everything
Ep 44: Professor Daniel Jolley on Why Conspiracy Theories Are Harmful
MaximumFun.org
64kbps 44.100kHz mono
-16.4 LUFS
American History Tellers
The Cold War - Interview with Audra Wolfe and Patrick Wyman | 8
Wondery
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-16.1 LUFS
Are You Real | Finding Your Purpose | Discover Your Talents | Christianity | Christian | Believer | Faith | Christ Follower
Government 01: True Kingdom Statesmen
Jon B. Fuller
128kbps 44.100kHz mono
-17.8 LUFS
Babes and Babies
EP1: Carly’s Countdown to Baby Bass
The Bachelor's Jade Roper, Carly Waddell, and Elizabeth Sandoz
80kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-23.6 LUFS
Breaking The Underdog Curse for Chiropractors
Be Back In Control With Your ONE Thing - Jay Papasan
Dr. Don MacDonald
128kbps 48.000kHz stereo
-18.6 LUFS
Brown Chicken Brown Cow Podcast
BCBC - Nugget - s2e005 - Polyamory Month - Ivy
Monkey
128kbps 48.000kHz stereo
-21.3 LUFS
Can He Do That?
Special episode: The Nunes memo and what it means
The Washington Post
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-19.5 LUFS
Conspiracy Theories
Area 51
Parcast Network
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-10.9 LUFS
Criminal
This Is Love
Criminal & Radiotopia
192kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-18.1 LUFS
Cults
Early Access: “Princess Diana” - Conspiracy Theories a new Parcast Podcast!
Parcast Network
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-10.7 LUFS
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: Addendum
EP2 Rome Through Duncan's Eyes
Dan Carlin
96kbps 44.100kHz mono
-24.9 LUFS
Dear Sugars
Updates Part 1: Change Is a Work in Progress
The New York Times and WBUR
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-19.4 LUFS
Dream Big Podcast | Family-Friendly Show Inspiring Kids To Take Action & Live Their Dreams
DB 070: Kristen Ulmer On Why You Should Embrace Fear Rather Than Avoid It!
Eva and Olga Karpman: Mom and Daughter Team, Big Dreamers, Family First
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-15.8 LUFS
Duolingo Spanish Podcast
El secuestro
Duolingo
192kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-19.2 LUFS
Eat This, Not That!
Foods for a Faster Metabolism
ETNT, LLC and Cadence 13
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-17.5 LUFS
Freakonomics Radio
An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl (Rebroadcast)
Stephen J. Dubner and WNYC Studios
96kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-16.4 LUFS
Good Life Project
Fasting: My 7 Days Without Food.
Jonathan Fields / Wondery
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-16.5 LUFS
Happier with Gretchen Rubin
Ep. 154: Wear “Clothes” Every Day
Gretchen Rubin / The Onward Project / Panoply
96kbps 44.100kHz mono
-17.1 LUFS
In the Dark
A Winter Update from In the Dark
APM Reports
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-18.5 LUFS
Kickass News
David Cay Johnston Tried to Warn You About Trump
Mathis Entertainment, Inc.
96kbps 44.100kHz mono
-23.4 LUFS
Lore
Episode 78: Exposure
Aaron Mahnke
256kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-19.7 LUFS
Louder With Crowder
#277 CROWDER IS BACK! TRUMP DID WHAT?! Ben Shapiro and Gavin McInnes Guest
Steven Crowder
192kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-20.8 LUFS
Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman
#17 Why Customer Love is All You Need — with Y Combinator's Sam Altman
WaitWhat
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-17.2 LUFS
Modern Love
Modern Love 100: Your Stories
WBUR and The New York Times
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-18.5 LUFS
More Than Money
Faith and Values- Based Investing with ICCR- Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility
Dawn Carpenter & Guests Talk Business Revisited
256kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-20.1 LUFS
MSNBC Rachel Maddow
Maddow on Trump/Nunes memo: "Is that it?!?!?"
MSNBC
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-20.9 LUFS
On Being with Krista Tippett
Sarah Bassin and Abdullah Antepli — Holy Envy
On Being Studios
256kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-18.3 LUFS
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
Brian Grazer: The Secret to a Bigger Life
Oprah
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-21.2 LUFS
Pardon My Take
10X Pro Bowler Joe Thomas + 5X Pro Bowler Luke Kuechly
Barstool Sports
124kbps 32.000kHz stereo
-14.1 LUFS
Patty Has a Gun: The Life and Crimes of Patricia Hearst
Inside the SLA
CNN
64kbps 44.100kHz mono
-18.7 LUFS
Podnews
A look behind the scenes at The NYT's Daily
Amazingly Brilliant Pty Ltd
96kbps 44.100kHz mono
-16.5 LUFS
Radiolab
Ghosts of Football Past
WNYC Studios
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-14.5 LUFS
Radiolab Presents: More Perfect
One Nation, Under Money
WNYC Studios
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-16.5 LUFS
Rebel Traders™ Podcast - Stock Market Trading Strategies, Insights & Analysis with Sean Donahoe & Phil Newton
[BONUS] Happening Now Report 33 - Volatility, SOTU and AI Killing Banks
Trade Canyon, Inc. - Smarter Traders Live Here™
256kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-16.4 LUFS
Revisionist History
The Basement Tapes
Malcolm Gladwell / Panoply
160kbps 44.100kHz mono
-16.9 LUFS
Serial
S02 Episode 11: Present for Duty
This American Life
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-17.8 LUFS
Serial Killers
“Area 51” - Conspiracy Theories a new Parcast Podcast!
Parcast Network
256kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-10.4 LUFS
Slow Burn: A Podcast About Watergate
Going South
Slate
96kbps 44.100kHz mono
-13.4 LUFS
Snap Judgment
Snap #905 - Ear Hustle Special: Left Behind
Snap Judgment and WNYC Studios
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-15.5 LUFS
Someone Knows Something
S4 Greavette - Preview
CBC Radio
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-17.8 LUFS
Something You Should Know
How to Ooze Self-Confidence & The Magic of Doing What You’re Good At
Mike Carruthers | Wondery
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-17.0 LUFS
StarTalk Radio
Playing with Science Time Capsule Season 1 & 2
Neil deGrasse Tyson
128kbps 48.000kHz mono
-14.9 LUFS
Stay Tuned with Preet
Free Speech in the Age of Trump (with Floyd Abrams)
CAFE, WNYC Studios, & Pineapple Street Media
96kbps 44.100kHz mono
-16.1 LUFS
Still Processing
We're Still Here For Janet
The New York Times
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-19.5 LUFS
TED Talks Daily
The gift and power of emotional courage | Susan David
TED
80kbps 44.100kHz mono
-17.1 LUFS
The Adventure Zone
The Adventure Zone: Amnesty - Episode 4
The McElroys
128kbps 48.000kHz stereo
-15.6 LUFS
The Anthropocene Reviewed
Episode 1: Canada Geese and Diet Dr Pepper
The Anthropocene Reviewed
192kbps 48.000kHz stereo
-16.2 LUFS
The Ben Shapiro Show
Ep. 467 - It’s Memo Day
The Daily Wire
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-24.0 LUFS
The Daily
Friday, Feb. 2, 2018
The New York Times
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-18.2 LUFS
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah: Ears Edition
Coming Soon - The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Ears Edition
Comedy Central
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-22.4 LUFS
The Dave Ramsey Show
#9407: Is it Worth Leaving My Family to Pay Down Debt? (Hour 3)
Ramsey Solutions
56kbps 44.100kHz mono
-13.0 LUFS
The GaryVee Audio Experience
A Mashup: 5 Thoughts On Why Alexa and IoT Is The Future
Gary Vaynerchuk, #askgaryvee
192kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-13.5 LUFS
The Moth
Culture and Legacy: Mmachi Dimoriaku & Sharif El-Mekki
The Moth
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-19.5 LUFS
The No Limits Selling Podcast
Episode 012 Mike Shelah CEO at Mike Shelah Consulting
Umar Hameed
192kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-25.7 LUFS
The Passive Income Report
How To Use Social Media Influencers To Get Instant Sales For Your Products
The Passive Income Report
96kbps 22.050kHz mono
-8.4 LUFS
The Pat McAfee Show
PMS 127 - Broken Ass Chair
Barstool Sports
192kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-14.0 LUFS
The Pornhub Podcast with Asa Akira
Ep 3 Stormy Daniels
The Pornhub Podcast with Asa Akira
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-28.1 LUFS
The Science of Happiness
Trailer
PRI and the Greater Good Science Center
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-21.1 LUFS
The Six-Figure Empire Podcast
Episode 005: Akbar Sheikh - From Homeless, To 7 Figures
Malachi Munroe
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-22.4 LUFS
The Tai Lopez Show
Why You Are Not an Introvert or Extrovert: Use Your Willpower To Be Both
Tai Lopez: Investor, Author, Entrepreneur
96kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-16.3 LUFS
The Tim Ferriss Show
The 4-Hour Workweek Revisited
Tim Ferriss: Bestselling Author, Human Guinea Pig
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-19.5 LUFS
The Tony Robbins Podcast
Upholder, Questioner, Obliger or Rebel? | Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin talks about The 4 Tendencies
Tony Robbins
192kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-19.0 LUFS
The Trevor Chapman Show
** Entreproneurship - Mentor Fuel #15 - Jonathan Amaret - thoughtmechanics.org **
Trevor Chapman
64kbps 44.100kHz mono
-17.6 LUFS
The Walk
1.07 - Capture
Panoply / Naomi Alderman / Six To Start
320kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-16.7 LUFS
The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe
Episode 89: Armed For Love
Mike Rowe
192kbps 44.100kHz mono
-18.1 LUFS
The Woj Pod
NBA Trade Deadline with ESPN’s Bobby Marks
Cadence13
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-17.5 LUFS
This is Love
This Is Love
Criminal
192kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-18.1 LUFS
Tumanbay
Introducing - The Walk
BBC / Panoply
192kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-18.7 LUFS
Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories
E80: Mary S. Sherman pt. 2
Parcast Network
256kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-11.5 LUFS
Up and Vanished
New Podcast : Atlanta Monster
Tenderfoot TV
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-15.8 LUFS
Waking Up with Sam Harris
#115 — Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss, and Matt Dillahunty (1)
Sam Harris
128kbps 44.100kHz mono
-20.1 LUFS
Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen
Joel Kinnaman & Chrissy Teigen - 02/01/18
Bravo TV
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-21.0 LUFS
Welcome to Night Vale
121 - A Story of Love and Horror, Part 1: "Barks"
Night Vale Presents
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-14.9 LUFS
Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel
Ep. 10: I Can’t Give You a Child
Audible
128kbps 44.100kHz stereo
-17.0 LUFS

Compiled using the US Apple Podcasts Top 100 podcast list via API on Sunday 4 February 2018, and parsing the iTunes podcast page to retrieve the top listed episode’s audio URL (normally the latest). The audio was downloaded and analysed using ffmpeg’s loudnorm plugin, with dual_mono enabled. Video podcasts or those that were not successfully analysed were discarded. They are sorted in alphabetical order by podcast name. We also added our own podcast in the list for analysis: it is not one of the top 100. Our user-agent for this work was PodnewsBot/1.0.

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