If you’re producing a podcast of your own, you’re likely a writer, journalist, or subject matter expert with great ideas and stories but working on a small budget.
Poor audio quality can detract from the message you’re trying to deliver, so it’s important to get attractive, great-sounding audio.
With a few simple steps, you can greatly improve the sound quality of your podcast, without buying any new equipment or software. Here are 10 podcast audio production tips to help you get the best sound possible.
1. Find a quiet room with lots of space around you
Whenever you start recording with a microphone while reading a script or capturing an interview, think about things in your environment that can make noise.
Is there a fan on your computer? Can you hear mouse clicks as you scroll through the script? What about page turns? Refrigerators? Cell phones? Cats dogs? Birds?
Wear headphones to monitor your recording. Turn them on to hear what the microphone is hearing before you start your delivery or interview. Try to minimize the extra noise as much as possible. A cleaner recording will be easier to handle later in the process.
It is also important to think about the acoustics of the space in which it is located. Hard, flat surfaces reflect sound like a mirror reflects light.
Leave room around you and your microphone to minimize early reflections. Installed on a carpet, near some bookshelves and away from walls.
Also avoid reverberating spaces. Some offices, classrooms, conference rooms, and meeting spaces can be especially reverberant.
Reverb is difficult to remove after the fact (the Dialogue De-reverb module in RX Advanced makes it that much easier), but it’s easy to add later if you need it for any particular effect.
2. Experiment with indirect microphone placement.
Explosives, the gust of air coming out of the mouth when we make “P” and “B” sounds, are like giant gusts of wind at a microphone.
To help mitigate this, avoid speaking directly in front of the microphone and use a windshield or pop filter when possible. Set your microphone slightly to the side so that those bursts of air do not directly enter the diaphragm.
However, don’t set it to too extreme an angle, or you’ll be speaking at a null in the directional microphone pickup pattern.
You should notice a much more natural sound to your voice. Experiment with your microphone placement and capture test recordings to find what sounds best for your voice. Check out the best external microphone for android phone.
3. Stand up and deliver
Many voice over talents and artists stop by recording to help provide better air support and strong, secure reading. This can also help mitigate early reflections caused by a desktop.
If you need something to save your script, a music stand works well. Consider placing a piece of foam or a sample of carpet on the lectern behind your script, to avoid early reflections.
4. Be conservative with your levels.
Most interfaces and audio recorders require you to set an input level for your microphone. Since the advent of high-quality digital recording, there really is no reason to set input levels too “hot.” You can always do the loudest things later.
To establish a good and modest input level, speak in a normal to high speaking voice, and make sure this level is around -20 dB, or about halfway on most meters.
Then try a laugh or an emphatic phrase to make sure the level never goes above 0 dBFS or goes “red.” If you are concerned that you might, just put it down and be conservative.
5. Record a high resolution audio file
Compression artifacts combine over time, so make your initial recording with a high quality WAV or AIFF file. However, it is not really necessary to record a file with a resolution greater than 24-bit, 48 kHz.
With high-quality source material, even if your recording goes through a data compression codec (such as MP3 or AAC) for distribution, you will start with the best possible source material.
6. Take a recording test
Before recording an entire podcast, first do a recording test. Or listen to a previous recording and compare it to other podcasts you enjoy.
Hear your test in the environment you expect your listeners to be in, such as a bus, subway, or car, and on multiple listening devices, from headphones to hi-fi headphones.
Take some notes on what could be improved. Does your reading stop at the end of the sentences? Is there a lot of background or mouth noise you want to eliminate?
7. Work from an outline and take the time to get an excellent delivery.
No matter how nice your microphone is, there is no substitute for safe reading and great content. There are only a few professionals with the innate ability to do it live.
Editing a script is much easier than editing audio, and it gives you the advantage of having all your great ideas in a text format that could be used for something else, such as a transcript (additional credit for timestamps), blog post, or even a book by the way.
Obviously, you cannot guide interview segments or co-host interaction. But having a solid outline with your presentations, questions, transitions and closings ready can help make a podcast go smoothly and show your guests that you have done your homework and that you are prepared and professional.
It may also be helpful to give your listeners a summary of what you are going to talk about in advance, and a summary of the conclusions at the end.
This can set the context for your episode and sum it up nicely, a great idea for presentations and presentation meetings too!
8. Record remote guests and co-hosts separately
When working with guests and co-hosts who cannot be in your studio, you can turn to VoIP services, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, or over the phone.
Audio quality isn’t always the best, but it’s easy to record great audio at both locations and then combine them later. Just ask your remote guest to record a high quality WAV / AIFF file of just your voice that you can send later.
Or check out Spire Studio, iZotope’s portable audio recorder, which has two combo XLR / TS connectors built with Grace Designs preamps for impeccable clarity and presence.
9. Edit Your Podcast
When scheduling your podcast for recording and deployment, be sure to allow time for careful editing and quality control of your entire piece. Listener time is valuable, so make your message clear, concise, and professional. Limit dead air, remove duplicate themes and occasionally fix “um”, “ah” and false starts.
However, editing can be over the top, so challenge yourself to get the best reading possible in a segment. You don’t want to edit the audio until death, but brevity is always appreciated by listeners! For more vlogging tips and guides, visit https://techmong.com/.