3 Quick Strategies to Make Your Podcast Sound Better
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Want to know what gear you need to get the best sound for your podcast? Have no fear, there are some definitive answers. Only problem, you might not be asking the right question.
Here are three immediate things you can do to raise the recording quality of your podcast:
1. Cover those walls
Whether you invest in sound dampening panels that cover every inch of wall in your studio (You really don't need to do this) or hang up the quilt your grandmother made for you when you were six, the important thing is to get something on those walls that's not going to reverberate sound.
A quick exercise: The next time you are in your recording studio plug one of your ears and start talking. Imagine that your unplugged ear is a microphone. This experience represents the noise that your microphone is picking up. After this, hang up a quilt or towel or clothes or whatever else you have in the vicinity and redo the exercise. Pay attention to how much more focused the sound entering your ear is. When building your studio that is the control and sound dampening you are going for.
2. Date your mic
Sounds strange, but your mouth and mic are in a relationship, and as with all relationships they need space. But not too much space. It's a fine balance to keep both parties feeling and sounding harmonious. For podcasting, a general rule of thumb is to keep four finger widths of distance between your mouth and mic. Here's the thing though, sound engineering is as much science as it is art. You need to be able to adapt.
Exercise: Throw some headphones on and listen to your mic as it's recording. Perform a sound check of yourself (Or, if you have a very kind friend, them) and listen to how the sound distorts as you move closer and further away. Specifically, pay attention to room tone and the sound of your own voice. Then listen to the recording to hear what you noticed in the moment and what you didn't. This will give you a better understanding of your voice, your space, and your mic.
3. Love your space
Imagine doing a podcast in the New York nightclub Crave. Now imagine doing a podcast on an alien moon base. And now in La Sagrada Familia. Each of these locations evokes a very specific feeling. They draw out a unique style of conversation. You're not going to be praying in Crave and you're not going to be partying in La Sagrada Familia (Probably). You should look at your studio the same way.
Your studio is the first step in making a podcast. It will make or break your show. A space that isn't conducive to the story you're trying to tell will hinder your process over and over again. So take the time to make the space a space. Something unique and totally your own. I promise your listeners will hear the difference.
Exercise: Take time today to put five personal items or touches up in your studio. 3 of the items should be noticeable to anyone who enters the studio for their first time while 2 of the items should be more subtle, personal touches that maybe only you will ever know are there. Your studio is your sacred place. Think of it as your second room, just cleaner. These items will serve as reminders as you record and create.
Gear isn't only a microphone. They're essential, but bad room tone or improper recording techniques or uncomfortable vocal performances will destroy anything the most expensive mic could possibly record. Though, if you feel like you're ready to start investing in microphones, check out some of my equipment reviews here.