Office space

The content manager’s guide to setting up a podcast production studio in the office

by | Feb 1, 2024

So, you want to create an in-office recording studio and launch the first branded podcast for your company? If you’re nodding enthusiastically, you’re in the right place. If not, maybe you missed the memo about the power of podcasting as a sales tool.

Branded podcasts are all about quality, and one of your top goals should be achieving audio that’s clear as a bell. According to a study conducted by Discover Pods, around one-third of listeners disengage if podcast quality is low. Hollow-sounding audio and echo will not only cheapen your content but also your brand.

But that won’t happen to you because I’ve got you covered.

Setting up a podcast production studio in the office is a hefty project. I will share the tips that have helped our team produce high-quality podcasts for our clients for over ten years. And if setting up a studio seems daunting after reading this article, I will also share other options you can consider to get your podcast up and running.

This guide will cover:

  • The pros and cons of setting up an in-office podcast studio.
  • The cost of setting up an in-office podcast studio.
  • How to control exterior noise.
  • How to control interior noise.
  • The ideal hardware setup for high-quality recording.
  • Software recommendations for podcast recording and editing.
  • What to do if you don’t want to set up your own in-office studio.

Note: this is not a how-to-shoot-video guide. Why?

Mainly because video is a whole thing of its own that adds layers of complexity to podcast production. Lighting, cameras, lenses, and angles. It’s a lot to think about, and you will already have enough to organize about just thinking about audio. What we’re focusing on here is how to achieve a great-sounding podcast experience.

Let’s get started.

The pros and cons of setting up an in-office podcast studio.

You probably think setting up an in-office studio is a great idea. And it might be. But the last thing you want to do is make a massive investment of time and money to realize it wasn’t the best decision for your company.

There are many things you and your team should analyze before you decide to embark on this project. After working in audio for 10+ years, here are the pros and cons I’ve observed.

Pros of setting up an in-office podcast studio:

  • It provides easy access for content creators, reducing the need to travel to external studios.
  • Convenience can lead to more spontaneous and frequent podcast recordings.
  • It can lead to long-term cost savings compared to renting external studios for every recording session, especially if recording multiple shows.
  • You can make immediate adjustments to the recording setup based on feedback or changing requirements.
  • Establishing a dedicated in-office studio can contribute to consistent audio quality and branding for the podcast.

Cons of setting up an in-office podcast studio:

  • Limited office space may restrict the size and scale of the studio setup, potentially impacting the quality of recordings.
  • Being in an office environment may lead to distractions and interruptions during recording sessions, affecting overall quality and productivity.
  • Achieving effective sound isolation in an office setting may be challenging, especially in open-plan offices with ambient noise.
  • The initial investment needed to set up a studio is significant, and only worth it if you know podcasts will be part of your long-term omnichannel marketing strategy.
  • Regular maintenance of equipment and the studio space is essential and may require additional time and resources.
  • Unless you have a dedicated team recording episodes daily, you’ll have a studio with many idle hours.
Recording a podcast in an office studio

The costs of setting up your own office studio.

If you plan on recording podcasts for years to come, setting up your own in-office studio can lead to cost savings in the long run. On the other hand, if you are unsure if podcasting will be part of your long-term marketing strategy, you might want to evaluate the costs more carefully.

Keep in mind that many articles and videos online teach you how to record your podcasts with minimal upfront costs, or even for free. While this is absolutely doable, much of that content is intended for personal podcast creation. Audiences are more lenient with the quality presented by individuals and entrepreneurs and expect higher quality from companies.

Make sure you are clear on the quality you need to achieve to maintain your brand’s reputation before deciding what resources you need to invest in podcast production.

Here is a general overview of the costs:

Podcast equipment: Free to over $2,000.
Self-Production/Editing: Free to $799 + your time.
Podcast hosting: $5 to $99+ per month.
Technical solutions: $200 to $1000+ per month.

Technical solutions include hiring freelancers or software to help with editing, show notes, transcripts, or promotional materials for each episode. Your company might already have access to these resources in-house, or you might have to hire external help for these tasks.

When looking for technical solutions, you need to be aware of the shortcomings of working with individual experts and software. Each solution will have a narrow focus and won’t contribute to the overall success of your show. For example, a sound engineer will make your show sound great, but they won’t help with show development, marketing, or business objectives. If you want to get the best service across all functions, you should consider hiring a full-service solution instead.

If you want to learn more about podcast production costs, you can read our in-depth article about how much it should cost to produce a podcast.

How to control exterior noise.

Controlling exterior noise is the first variable you should target. There are a couple of ways of doing this.

The ideal situation is building a full-on soundproofed studio, but I know most companies don’t have the resources or space to do this. If that’s your case, you should aim to set up your podcast studio room away from common sources of noise, such as:

  • Meeting rooms and noisy corridors.
  • Windows next to traffic-heavy roads.
  • Heating and cooling units or creaky pipes.

“What if I can’t find the perfect podcasting space?”

If the perfect zen space isn’t available, you should plan your recording schedule when you can guarantee relative peace and quiet around you. Pick a time when you know the office isn’t buzzing with activity.

Soundproofed studio

How to control interior noise.

Okay, you’ve chosen your perfect podcast studio room and banned any coinciding meetings in the room next door.

Now it’s time for some interior noise housekeeping.

Interior noise control is about preventing your podcast from becoming its own noise polluter. For example, echo from your voice bouncing off hard surfaces and mic bleed from sitting too close to podcast guests.

This means considering sound treatment options that can be retrofitted to your selected space without the disruption of full-blown soundproofing. But if you plan to record a lot and can afford soundproofing, go for it!

“What are my options for improving podcast audio quality?”

Podcast sound treatment is about getting the best audio possible by making the best of the environment and equipment you’re working with. Besides actual sound treatment, you can tick a few other audio-quality boxes.

  • Simple or DIY sound treatment: You’ll be surprised how well carefully placed rugs or carpets, bookshelves (preferably with books!), or even curtains can help improve podcast audio quality. Just avoid having lots of flat, hard surfaces.
  • Pro sound treatment: If you prefer a professional touch in your podcast studio setup, try Audiomute or GIK Acoustics. Both offer great options of sound-absorbing materials that double as interior-design features for creating the right visual vibe in your podcast room setup.
  • Wearing reputable headphones: Wearing the right headphones means your mic won’t pick up guest audio emitted from computer or laptop speakers.
  • Ensuring a strong internet connection: This is especially important for remote interviews using call conferencing tools like Zoom. This counts on both sides, so consider mentioning the need for a strong connection to guests in advance.

Setting up your gear and connections.

The fact that podcasting doesn’t rely on over-scripted narratives or high-budget productions is exactly why it can create organic intimacy between you and your audience.

However, it’s worth investing in a professional, reliable setup if you’re serious about using a podcast to achieve business goals.

Besides your computer, here is the hardware you’ll need:

  • Some great microphones for you and your guest(s).
  • Pop filters to cut out ‘P’ and ‘B’ plosive sounds, plus issues at both the high and low ends, making for easier-to-edit records.
  • A reliable digital recorder (with an SD card and the right set of cables)
  • Last but by no means least, a stable internet connection! Particularly if you’re recording live or doing remote recordings.

While this article is focused on audio, video is becoming an important part of many podcast productions. It’s not required, but if you plan on having video be part of your show, keep the following in mind:

  • Don’t compromise with webcam quality. It’s worth investing however much you’re comfortable in a quality webcam or even a standalone camera capable of delivering quality viewing.
  • Set up good lighting. Eliminate shadows and create the right presentational ambiance for your show.

My personal preference is hard-wired, tethered to the internet, and uninterruptible (no Wi-Fi). I take no chances!

If you want to nerd out on podcast equipment recommendations, read my complete guide to podcasting equipment.

A man editing a podcast

Using the right digital tools.

Once you have the proper hardware setup, you should look into the digital tools and software that can help you capture the highest-quality recordings.

If you are recording remotely and interviewing guests, do yourself a favor and ditch Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. Instead, consider using Riverside.fm or Squadcast. Both solutions allow you to get clean recordings of remote guests without sacrificing quality.

Additionally, it seems like every month, there is a new AI tool that can help you with everything from cleaning up audio to creating promotional content. If you’re in it for the long run, explore new tools each month. You never know when you will find an AI tool that will cut production time and increase quality.

Going beyond the initial setup.

That, friends, is a general overview of the resources you need to set up an in-office podcast studio. As I mentioned, recording a high-quality podcast for your business requires a big investment of time and money.

The reality is that setting up the studio is only half of the story. Once you start producing your podcast, you’ll need the right processes and systems. You’ll need to establish who does the planning, scripting, copywriting, guest scheduling, and project management.

Most people don’t understand how much work it takes to consistently produce a podcast. In fact, it is one of the most common pitfalls of podcast planning.

Now that you have a better idea of the effort required to build and maintain your in-office podcast studio, let’s evaluate a couple of other options.

What if you don’t want an in-office podcast studio?

Maybe, after reading this guide, you’ve realized it doesn’t make sense to build your own studio just yet. Perhaps you want to give podcasting a try before you commit to it for the long term. Or maybe you don’t want an idle studio that you only use a couple of hours per week.

Whatever your reasons are, there are other options out there. The most common ones are hiring an individual producer or freelancer, or hiring a full-production team.

Hiring a freelancer.

This is a great option if you and your team have a lot of bandwidth to manage the project and edit the show. Individual podcast producers tend to specialize in specific tasks, like audio editing, but they can struggle to handle multiple tasks at scale.

In fact, you might want to consider hiring multiple freelancers. You can hire a consultant to help you with the strategy, an audio editor to take care of each episode, a graphic designer to take care of promotional material, and a copywriter to help with show notes, transcripts, titles, etc.

You can even hire a virtual assistant or a project manager to keep track of the project!

The benefits of working with individuals are you get more flexibility, and the costs tend to be lower than having a full-production team in-house. The disadvantage is that this arrangement requires a lot of attention and project management skills.

Hiring a full-production team or studio.

This is the best solution for businesses that want a high-quality podcast without investing all their precious time into managing the project. True full-service solutions can help you with everything from concept to branding to production and promotion. Some of them even help you outsource your interviews!

Of course, these types of services aren’t cheap. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000+ per episode depending on the type of podcast you are producing (interview-based, narrative or story-driven, or a mixture of the two).

However, when you hire a specialized agency, you will have access to a team of experts with the experience required to launch and run a successful podcast.

If you are curious about what full-production in podcasting looks like, I recommend reading my article covering what full-service podcast production means to me after 10+ years working in this industry. It will give you a clear idea of what it’s like to work with agencies like ours.

Closing advice.

Your ideal podcast space should be set up exactly the way you need it right from the start to avoid complications down the road.

The good news is that you can positively impact podcast audio quality without expert knowledge or spending a fortune. Even with a modest budget, you’ll be amazed by the impact of implementing a few practical tips in this article. You can also follow me on LinkedIn, where I post podcasting tips every week.

And if setting up your own studio sounds like too much, you can always consider other options, like hiring us to do the heavy lifting.

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