Updated: Jan 12, 2022
It can be a tricky thing, getting good quality out of your audio, especially if you don’t have an expensive microphone, sound studio, or live in a busy area. Although, it is absolutely possible to accomplish, with the right mindset, preparation and planning. There are a few simple things you can do to create better sound quality without having to break the bank.
There’s a noticeable difference in having a “mid-tier” microphone, and having a “high end” microphone. It is extremely distracting using your phone microphone, or built in computer microphone. You don’t need anything too fancy, or expensive, but if you want a better sounding podcast, you should have a cheap external mic, or at least a pair of headphones with a microphone attached.
You can only do so much in post production, if you record with a low quality audio, you will get a low quality result. You can make it pretty far if you are using a condenser, or dynamic microphone recorded into a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
Capture Room Tone
This one is quite simple, but incredibly powerful. You’ll find me talking about this a lot when giving better audio tips. When you are in the recording session, directly after you hit record, you should leave a few seconds of silence. This is to ensure that in post production, you can more easily remove the unwanted hisses and background noises that are involved in most rooms.
In most DAW’s you will find a noise reduction effect that requires you to capture a certain noise print before applying the effect. That’s where the silence comes into play.If you have a guest on you should inform them of this process on their end as well, that way it’s not awkward and you can capture their room tone as well.
That brings me into post production in general. There are certainly a lot of ways to enhance your audio in post, a lot of which I go over in my “How to Start a Podcast” Course. But I will go over a three easy tips here to make your podcast sound better right away.
EQ those voices, this will ensure that the frequencies you want to get through are shining, and cut the ones that are distracting.
Compress as well to cut down on those ear blasting laughs, and bring the quiet parts up, making the entire audio a little more level, and listenable.
Noise Reduction which I have gone over, but is just as important as the other steps when trying to improve the audio as best you can.
Those are just a few simple things you can do to start your post production process. Even if you have a bad microphone or environment, this should be able to clear as much of that up as possible.
Dampening Your Voice
When the microphone picks up audio, it’s not just picking up your voice, it’s picking up everything that’s in the room with it. That includes every time your voice bounces off the walls of the room you're in. It’s good practice to try and cut down on that as much as you possibly can. There are a few great ways to accomplish this, but again, here’s 3 simple tips to dampen your voice.
Record in the closet. In the closet there are a bunch of coats, or clothes. When you are speaking that closely to clothes, they absorb almost all of the audio coming from your voice.
Use a blanket. This is an easy one you can do in any room you are recording in. Just throw a blanket over your head and microphone, and it will at as an acoustic dampener.
Furniture. In general, the smaller the room the better. Another thing to keep in mind, is recording in a room full of furniture. If you are in an empty room, the audio will bounce more, and the furniture will absorb that much more.
Control Your Environment
Dampening your voice is the first step in controlling your entire recording environment. When you start recording make sure that you listen to all the background noises that are happening in the room. This may be things that you hear all the time and you don’t really notice, like the A.C. or the refrigerator.
Microphones are very sensitive and will pick up any noise that’s in the room as small as they are. So when you start your recording, make sure to turn off any fans, tell anyone living with you to be respectful, and any other noises that could be specific to you.
If you made it this far, consider reaching out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about great and creative ways to improve your podcast, or if you would like some help with your entire podcasting process, including launching your show, consultations, editing, or just a more personal conversation!