What’s the difference between a chart topping, award winning podcast and an amateur, lower-ranking one?
The audio quality! A podcast is a strictly auditory experience after all. There is simply no room for error when it comes to the audio quality of a podcast. This doesn’t mean you need to use the most expensive equipment money can buy. It simply means you need to understand and implement the proper mic technique when recording.
What is proper technique? Simply put, it’s the way a speaker interacts with the microphone. Many variables can affect the way your audio ultimately sounds, so it’s important to keep the following things in mind when recording an episode of your podcast:
- Find the perfect proximity.
If you’re too close to the mic, you will sound louder or “fuller”. If you’re too far away, you will sound more distant and “echoey”. Generally, four finger widths (or 6-8 inches from the mic) is a good place to start. This can vary depending on your equipment, but you’re ultimately looking for your voice to sound clear and present.
- Speak directly into the mic.
Treat recording a podcast like having a normal conversation. Face your microphone head on, and try to keep it around head height. This will ensure consistent and clear audio.
- Keep a consistent voice level.
This is crucial for a balanced recording. Your mic won’t respond the same way to a whisper as it does to a shout, so be sure to lean slightly forward if you’re lowering your voice and lean back if you’re raising it. If you’re not speaking, back away from the mic to avoid it picking up your breathing.
- Keep the microphone on a flat or steady surface.
All microphones make some noise when being handled, so it’s best to keep it stable and still for the duration of the recording. Don’t hold it!
- Avoid mouth noises!
Unless you’re recording an ASMR podcast, your listeners do not want to hear excessive mouth noises. Try drinking lots of water while recording, and avoid eating sugary or starchy foods before (they can thicken the saliva which leads to heavier mouth noises!).
- Use a pop filter.
Plosives (otherwise known as those popping noises we sometimes make when pronouncing B’s and P’s) can be loud and distracting. The best way to combat this issue is by using a pop filter. These help diffuse the air from the plosive before it hits the mic, ensuring you have smooth, clean audio.
Remember, the key to great audio quality is in the technique, not the equipment. Poor technique can make even the best microphones sound low-quality. If you keep these tips in mind while recording your next episode, you’ll be a podcasting pro (with top tier audio quality) in no time!