Overcast’s Smart Speed vs. Real Time

I listen to quite a few podcasts. I currently subscribe to 49 different shows in Overcast. By no means do I listen to every episode-I treat podcasts like I treat RSS. I want to be alerted when there is something new. I then decide if I am going to spend any time on it.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is ideal for Smart Speed

On a recent episode of Upgrade, Jason Snell and Myke Hurley were discussing how much time Smart Speed, a feature in the Overcast app, had saved them. For those unfamiliar with Smart Speed, it removes silences from an episode without distortion or distraction. The app also tells you how much time it has saved you (mine clocks in at 20 hours).

I wanted to see how much time it saved so I set up a little test in Rogue Amoeba’s new Audio Hijack 3.

Using the new Block Layout in Audio Hijack 3

It was extremely simple to set this up in the new Audio Hijack. I used Instacast for Mac alongside the application AirServer to AirPlay Overcast on my iPhone 5S to my Mac and into Audio Hijack. I then adjusted Instacast to the left channel and Overcast to the right channel.

It is immediately evident how efficient it is. Hardcore History usually runs between 1.20x and 1.40x. Dan Carlin’s style includes a lot of breaks and pauses which Overcast discards. Overall, I achieved 1.158x saving 12 minutes 48 seconds. That’s incredible.

Some of the more produced podcasts like 99% Invisible or Radiolab are so tight that there is little dead space to be removed, usually clocking in between 1.00–1.06x. I have actually turned Smart Speed off in those shows because I assume the timing is important to the story telling.

This comparison recording has sold Overcast to three people. Time is money and my time is well worth $4.99.


On a side note, Audio Hijack 3 is awesome. The interface pulses between blocks, showing the user that audio is moving from one to the next. It even displays channels in the connectors. A small thing, but such a great representation of information.