Smart Speed shortens silences without any distortion. Instead of having to do a straight-up 1.5x or 2x playback across the board, Smart Speed speeds up shows more intelligently.
From the Overcast website, Smart Speed is described as a way to “pick up extra speed without distortion.” Smart Speed “dynamically shortens silences in talk shows. Conversations still sound so natural that you’ll forget it’s on — until you see how much extra time you’ve saved.”
And here’s how Marco Arment recently described Smart Speed:
I see Smart Speed as getting one more notch on the speed meter for free. Whatever your preferred speed setting is for other reasons (pace, sound quality, intelligibility), Smart Speed tends to get you roughly the actual speed of the next highest one.
Evan Pederson ran a side-by-side test, comparing a podcast running in Overcast’s Smart Speed to the same one running in real time, and he found the time savings to average between 1.2x and 1.4x for shows that often have frequent pauses. Other shows, such as Roman Mars’s 99% Invisible, which are tightly edited, didn’t benefit as much from the Smart Speed because there were less gaps and breaks to cut out.
For those who want to save some time listening to certain podcasts yet who don’t want the distortion that comes with 1.5x or even 2x speeds, Smart Speed is a happy medium. All of your shows will be shorter, but you likely won’t be able to tell any difference in listening quality. This feature is especially helpful for FM radio based shows where there is often silence from callers and other random pauses.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Smart Speed has saved the Sweet Setup team more than a cumulative 100 extra hours of listening time, beyond just standard speed adjustments alone.
Voice Boost is a feature that aims to normalize the volume and make shows easier to listen to when in noisy situations (like your car). It uses a technique of dynamic compression equalization, which compensates quiet and overly loud audio to a more enjoyable, consistent volume. For shows with less-than-ideal editing, Voice Boost can be a ear-saver.
Easily the best podcast app available on iOS or anywhere else for that matter. The 2 features listed above are currently exclusive to Overcast. The developer Marco Arment, also has a Apple Watch app ready to go as well. Hopefully, he’ll do a Mac app to complete the lineup along side the iPad version which will delight me.