“What is that humming sound? And that barking? Do we even have a dog?” The sounds that can sneak into your podcast audio quality can surprise you.
What feels like a perfectly quiet room is full of ambient sound we don’t even notice because we have grown so accustomed to hearing it in our day-to-day, but there are a few simple ways to avoid these external sounds and make for a less challenging editing session when it comes time for your post-production sound editing.
Here are a few quick ways to improve your podcast audio quality from your at-home studio:
Move Away From the Noise You Can’t Control
Sparky, the dog next door, may usually be a good boy, but you can bet as soon as you press record he’ll see the mailman for the first time in a year and be so excited to greet him with a constant flow of “yips” and “barks,” that are now going to be a part of your recording. The easiest way to avoid these uncontrollable sounds from life is to simply move away from them. Find an area in your home away from windows and outward-facing walls if possible. Many beginning podcasters build a small pillow and blanket fort in their closet to avoid external sounds as best as they can. It may feel silly, but the results speak for themselves.
Turn Off the Noise You Can Control
While our pets and children may not have an “off button,” things like fans, air vents, refrigerators, and of course cell phones do. There are plenty of sound-impairing nuances that we do have control over, and just like how we can move away from possible external sounds that we can’t control, we can also move away from some we can.
Try and stay away from air registers during your recording and keep the ceiling or oscillating fan turned off for now. Other things to watch out for are refrigerators or electronics that can turn on their heating/cooling cycles at any time. There’s little worse than a fridge’s constant hum in the back of your otherwise beautiful podcast audio quality. It is also important to point out how simple it is to flip your phone onto airplane mode for the duration of your recording. Unexpected text messages/phone calls/snapchats can vibrate their way into your recording and throw you off your momentum.
Use a Microphone Stand
This tip is important for those of us who are known to fidget around when we’re trying to sit still. Using a microphone stand will keep your mic from picking up bumps and knocks on the table the mic would be sitting on otherwise. Slight vibrations or ticks from bumping a mics wire can ruin an otherwise great take when it comes around to editing.
Use a Pop Filter
Along those same lines, using a pop filter can help reduce spikes in your audio caused by vocal plosives in our everyday speech. All those forward-moving sounds like P’s, B’s, and T’s can cause unwanted sound variations as well as filter out pops caused by sudden sounds like laughter. Remember to find the appropriate position for your filter based on your sound collecting needs.
Experiment with Indirect Microphone Placement
Something to keep in mind before you begin recording your first episode is that even inexpensive equipment can be used to great effect. Not everyone needs a top-of-the-line microphone for their podcast.
For some, a simple but effective mic placed in the appropriate spot in the right setting can be ideal. This is why it’s important to play around and experiment with your chosen mic before recording. Write out a script and read it into your mic in varied configurations to see just how sensitive your mic is to different sounds and where the best place for your mic would be during a recording session. Good mic technique alone could send your audio from basic to clean and professional.
These tips may not seem like much, but when combined they can really make a difference in your podcast audio quality. A little preparation can go a long way in helping you to make a better impression on your listeners and sound more professional.
For more recording tips, read our post titled 9 Podcast Recording Tips Every Great Host Follows.