Updated: Jan 12, 2022
One of the most overlooked problems in podcasting today, is not having the proper technique when it comes to recording. Of course most people don’t go through any sort of training before creating a podcast, like broadcasting on radio. These simple techniques for recording will guaranteed make your podcast sound more professional. Whether it’s standing so far away from the mic, it sounds like you’re in a different room, or sitting so close you can hear everything the host ate that day, there’s a few guidelines that will make you, and your listeners lives a little bit nicer.
Keep a Consistent Distance
I constantly hear podcasters, who start to get on a roll about a subject, or have another co-host in the room with them, and they start to turn away from the mic and turn back, that inconsistency creates a very jarring sound to the listener. There are a few things you can do to combat this.
As a good place to start, you should be around 4 to 6 inches away from your microphone. A great way to figure this out, is to ball your fist up and touch it to your mouth, then put the other end of your fist to the microphone. That’s a great place to start, keep in mind that everyone’s voice and microphones are different, so it’s not exactly concrete. Each mic picks up voices differently and has its own sweet spot. Once you have the correct distance that you like, put your pop filter there so you won’t forget where your mouth needs to be throughout the recording.
Monitor Your Input Volume
Before you start recording, you should test out your voice and how the level of input on your computer, or whatever you’re recording into. You can see the decibel level of your voice, as a general rule you want to stay around -12db to -6db. Most generally, when I am recording I find myself laughing a little louder than I realized, when that happens, you want to be able to keep it under that max threshold. It is always possible to raise the volume, but it’s much harder to fix audio when it is clipping.
Pick Your Space
Before recording your podcast it’s a great idea to pick what room, or space that you’re going to record in. In order to get the best quality audio, it’s important to pick a spot that is free from outside noises, like busy streets, or loud fans. Try and pick a room with the least amount of reflective, hard surfaces as you can. The audio will bounce off of those surfaces and reflect right back into the microphone, which will lead to that ugly echo sound. The smaller the room the better, when thinking about a space remember that the less room, the less space the audio has to bounce. Which means cleaner recordings. If possible a good option for someone without a professional studio, or sound panelling, is your closet. The clothes act as a great dampener for the bouncing audio.
Avoid Banging Tables
While this might not be directly related to the mic, it can be a very distracting noise the mic picks up. Sometimes while making a point, people tend to pound their fist slightly on the table. Even with a free-standing ground stand, you will still be able to hear the banging on the table. After all the processes that go into post production, you might be able to hear the banging even more. So while recording just remember to keep those hands at your side.
Direction of the Mic
Some mics are front addressed, and some mics are side addressed. What that means is, sometimes you talk into the top of the microphone, and sometimes you talk into the side of it. This is different with every microphone and it can be a bit confusing when looking at it. Most condenser mics are side addressed, and most dynamics are front addressed, but this can absolutely depend on the microphone that you have and is worth looking into. If you end up placing the mic the wrong way, you will find there is issues in the quality of your recording and you might not realize why. That’s a simple fix that will save you a lot of hair pulling.
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!