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Listening to Podcasts at More than 1X Playback

Bose headphonesI’m a Podcast freak. I listen to a ton of them. Anytime I’m alone in the car (commutes, driving to race events for Closet NASCAR Fan, etc., I’ve always got a podcast playing — and usually at more than normal 1x playback.

Podcasts are also great when doing housework, mowing the grass, etc. Then, I’m always playing them back at around double speed. It means I get all the information in half the time. The speakers are understandable, and it only takes a few seconds for your brain to adjust to the faster talking.

It also helps in that my iOS podcast of choice, Overcast does a great job of making the audio not distort at faster than normal speeds.

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point as the number of subscribed podcasts increased, and my time in the car and doing chores didn’t, I realized that playing back podcasts at a higher rate than 1x was a viable solution. A two-hour podcast miraculously becomes a single hour — instant lifehack!

Need for Speed

While Overcast and some other podcast players have the ability to play at more than 2x, that’s usually my limit. At faster than that, I feel like I miss things and/or need to concentrate too much to get all the speakers’ info in — driving and mowing the grass are two places where you shouldn’t be using too much concentration away from the task at hand.

When it Works

But listening at 2x is a great way to get content in and cutting in half the amount of time it takes to take it in. It works really well commuting in the car — an enclosed environment. It falls a little short sometimes on the highway if the audio quality is questionable and the high speeds of the road increase the road noise.

The other place it works well is via headphones. Anything I’m doing with earbuds in, 2X is a no brainer — mowing the grass, vacuuming, etc. works great.

When it Doesn’t Work

But if the recorded audio quality is bad, playing at more than 1X is a no go. I’ve found any podcast where each speaker on the podcast doesn’t have their own microphone, it’s harder to listen at fast speed. Also, anytime people call in, the phone audio quality also hinders listening at speeds approaching 2x.

As mentioned before, bad audio and road noise are a bad combo as well. I’ve also found that playing via a speaker, like an Amazon echo or a little bluetooth speaker in the shower, I have to dial the audio speed back to just above 1x. Environmental noise makes it harder to take it all in.

The obvious other place it doesn’t work is with podcast about music. I listen to a pair of podcasts about Van Halen. One plays a lot of clips of VH music, and you just can’t do that at more than single speed.


If you haven’t already taken the plunge, check out podcasts — there’s a ton of them out there, no matter your interest, and almost all of them are free. If you’ve already subscribed to some podcasts, but don’t have any more time, consider slowly bumping up that playback speed to fit more podcasts into the same time.

Inspiration Source: BuzzFeed News – Meet the People Who Listen to Podcasts at Super-Fast Speeds


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