The chief thing about good quality podcast recording is the environment that you’re recording in, not the microphone or fancy equipment. Make sure that your background environment is as noise-free and ‘clean’ as it can be. This will save you time in the editing process. With that in mind, we want to share with you some of our recording top tips.
4 Tips to Recording in the Best Sounding Environment
- Record in the quietest part of your house
Make sure that the space you plan to record in is in the quietest part of your home, it is not cavernous or noisy and there are minimal opportunities for sound waves to bounce around the room. Ideally, use a smaller room or enclosed space. Each room you record in has a different sound ambience. We don’t usually notice with our naked ear, but when sound is picked up by a powerful microphone all sorts of anomalies can be amplified. For example, you would understand that a recording from inside your bathroom would sound tinny and echoey. This is due to the large amount of hard surfaces that the sound waves can bounce off.
2. Bring in soft furnishings
The more muffled and padded a space is, the better chance you have of creating a good tone for your audio recordings. This is why acoustic sound panels are used in professional and many makeshift studios to absorb sound. When you’re recording in your home or office, be aware of the environment around you. Soft furnishings or padding that you can bring into the room can help absorb some of that hard sound.
In practice, what this might look like is a room with lots of blankets, pillows, cushions and a carpet or rug on the floor near where you’re recording. Instead of recording in the middle of a large, wooden-floored room, record in the corner of a smaller room that you can partially enclose. Surround the recording area, especially behind the microphone, with something to muffle the sound. This could be acoustic panels, sound shield, or even blankets or duvets. If not recording a video podcast explore areas of your home that might look less attractive but offer a richer sound experience – such as inside your wardrobe.
3. Test the silence
Test areas of your environment by recording the ‘silence’ in that space. Press record and physically leave the area for a minute or two so that your breathing and the movement of your clothing isn’t picked up on the track. Once you have completed one test recording, move your set-up to a different location and repeat. Listen back with quality closed back headphones. Compare the room tone for clarity. There will be a discernible variation.
4. Listen back
When you listen back to the test samples from various parts of your house, turn the volume up as high as is comfortable. You can hear absolutely everything in the background – the rubbish truck in the next street, the noisy neighbours up the road inside their home, an airplane or train in the distance, traffic. Once you’re aware of what’s going on in your environment, position your microphone as far away from a window, door or any walls adjacent to troublesome spots as possible. Often, the centre of your house is a better place to record than near an external wall, or a wall that adjoins an area where you cannot control the environment’s noise. Inside a cupboard may work well, or, if possible, surround yourself with acoustic panels like I do. Don’t forget soft furnishings as an option!
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