There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there, which makes it incredibly challenging to stand out. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to do so is to ensure that your podcast’s sound quality is as good as possible. You would be shocked to hear how many podcasters don’t focus on this. In this article, I’ll break down some of the common mistakes I hear when editing podcasts and how you can avoid them without spending a cent.
1. Record in the right space
Background noise and reverb are two of the most significant contributors to poor audio quality. These issues can also be quite tricky to fix, depending on how severe they are. So, experiment with doing some test recordings in different spots in your house to see if you can find somewhere that’s quiet, with a small amount of reverb. Hard floors and walls reflect sound, so you ideally need a room with carpets and curtains. I’ve even known podcasters who put their entire recording setup in their closet. Your microphone placement in relation to your desk can also help – experiment with recording while standing up to minimize the reflections bouncing off your desk.
2. Work on your mic technique
Different microphones require different approaches to mic technique, but you can keep some rules of thumb in mind.
- Keep your mouth about the distance of your hand away from the microphone
- Maintain a constant distance while you record (don’t look away from the mic or shift around)
- Stand up – this opens up your diaphragm and results in a more energetic tone
- Use a pop filter
- Experiment! Do a bunch of test recordings at different angles and see what sounds best
3. Be strict with your guests
People are often so excited to have a guest on their podcast that they are afraid to do anything to “scare them off.” However, the reality is that you need to take charge of the quality of the recording and ensure that it’s up to standard. This includes doing a test before the episode starts to make sure everything sounds good. It also means that if your guest’s internet drops or they move away from the microphone, you need to ask them to stop and retake a line. I’ve had to edit out entire paragraphs from podcasts in the past because the guest was inaudible, and the host was too nervous to ask them to redo something. Remember, this is your show, and it’s on you if something doesn’t sound right.
4. Record locally (and get your guests to do the same)
Due to the pandemic, many podcasters have switched from in-person recordings to using platforms like Zoom. While this is incredibly convenient, these platforms don’t tend to record in the highest possible quality. I’m sure you’ve had recordings where the audio cuts in and out because the internet speed dropped. A simple solution to this would be to use Zoom’s Local Recording Feature or my personal favorite – using Audacity to record a separate local file (you would need any guests to do the same). You can then combine these into one podcast with your editing software and then have far more control over the final end product.
5. Do some post-processing
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your recording has some background noise and issues with levels. When you edit your podcast, there are several simple-to-use effects that you can apply to polish your content. I would recommend running some light Noise Reduction, followed by EQ and then some Compression. You may need to delve onto YouTube to figure all of this out, but there are presets that you can use to speed the process along.
If you want to get some feedback on your podcast’s sound quality – check out our free podcast audio quality report! Our team of audio nerds will listen through two of your most recent episodes to see if we can spot any issues with the quality of your audio – which you would be able to fix by the time you release your very next episode.