So, you want to create an in-office podcast recording studio? If you’re nodding enthusiastically, you’re in the right place. If not, then maybe you missed the memo about the power of podcasting as a sales tool.
One of your top goals with podcast production is achieving audio that’s clear as a bell. Hollow-sounding audio and echo will cheapen your content. The listener’s ear is ruthless! So be ruthless about quality.
First, don’t go in all-mics-blazing. You only get one shot at a knockout first impression. No matter how on-point your content, your investment and podcast launch will flop if you assault your audience’s ears with bad audio production values.
But that’s not going to happen because I’ve got you covered. Working with clients, I always aim for a first-time clean recording up front. That way there’s less work to do later on removing background noise during editing.
Follow my lead with this advice and you’ll deliver a listening experience that helps grow your audience.
Curating Your Podcasting Space for Great Audio
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.
What we’re focusing on here is how to achieve a great-sounding podcast experience.
We’ll cover these core fundamentals for recording clean podcast audio.
- Location: How to Control Exterior Noise
- Environment: How to Control Interior Noise
- Hardware: Your Gear, Setup, and Connections
Let’s get started.
1. Location: How to Control Exterior Noise
Controlling exterior noise is the first podcast audio quality variable you should target. There are a couple of ways of doing this.
Most people reading this probably aren’t in a position to build a full-on soundproofed studio in their office space. Instead, simply aim to set up your podcast studio room away from common sources of noise like:
- 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 podcasting space?”
If the perfect zen space just isn’t available, at least do your darndest to plan recording time when you can guarantee relative peace and quiet around you. Pick a time when you know the office isn’t buzzing with activity.
2. Environment: 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 actual podcast itself from becoming its own noise polluter. For example, echo from your voice bouncing off of hard surfaces and mic bleed from sitting a little too close to podcast guests.
That means considering sound treatment options that can be retrofitted in already-established spaces, without the disruption of full-blown soundproofing.
“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, there are a few other audio-quality boxes you can tick.
- Simple or DIY sound treatment. You’ll be surprised how well carefully placed rugs or carpet, book shelves (preferably with books!), or even curtains can help to improve podcast audio quality.
- Pro sound treatment. If you prefer a professional touch in your podcast studio setup, try Audiomute or GIK Acoustics. Both offer some great options of sound-absorbing materials that double as interior-design features for creating the right visual vibe in your podcast room setup.
- Wear a reputable pair of headphones. That way your mic won’t pick up guest audio emitted from computer or laptop speakers.
- Try to ensure a strong internet connection. This is especially important for remote interviews using a call conferencing tool like Zoom. This counts on both sides so consider mentioning to guests in advance the need for a strong connection.
3. Hardware: Your Gear, Setup, and Connections
Finally we come to gear and hardware.
The fact that podcasting doesn’t rely on overscripted narratives or production quality that requires large budgets 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)
- Your 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 these things in mind also:
- Don’t compromise with webcam quality. It’s worth investing however much you’re comfortable in a quality webcam or even standalone camera capable of delivering quality viewing.
- Set up good lighting. Eliminate shadows and create the right presentational ambience for your show.
My personal preference is hard-wired, tethered to the internet, and uninterruptible (no wifi). I take no chances!
That, friends, is the most basic shopping list of essential gear for your podcast room setup.
If you want the under-the-hood detail, read my complete guide to podcasting equipment, or view this selection of recommended podcasting rigs for varying setups, recording environments, and budgets.
Wrapping Up: Closing Advice
Your ideal podcast space should be set up exactly the way you need it right from the start to avoid complications further down the road.
The good news is that you can positively impact podcast audio quality without expert knowledge or having to spend a fortune.
Even with a modest budget, (in some cases without spending a dime) you’ll be amazed by the impact of simply implementing a few of the practical tips in this article.
To benchmark the progress of your audio-quality improvement, consider test recordings as you make iterative tweaks to your podcast room setup and environment.
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