Tips to Sound Great on Podcasts

The Better The Audio Quality, The More Effective Your Presentation Will Be

 

The kinesthetic and visual learners in your audience will have a much harder time paying attention and absorbing information if the audio is sub-par.  Folks with good hearing typically under-estimate how much of their audience has hearing issues. 

Podcast audio that's muddy, has echo, has background noise you're tempted to ignore, or picks up electronic static it is **unlistenable**. Literally. Please respect your audience with clear recordings.

 

Tips To Get The Best Audio Quality From Your Recordings

1) The Speaker(s) and guest(s) should use an external microphone connected to the computer. A USB microphone is preferred, but a plugged-in headset (or earbuds) will work too.  Decent microphones are designed to better focus on your voice and have some technology to block out external noise. Microphones built into the computer pickup all the background noise, making your audio muddy and your voice hard to distinguish. 

2) Ideally, have everyone record their own vocals on their own computer, then put those individual local recordings "together" in an audio App like GarageBand or Audacity. This will ensure the BEST quality of all participants, without any of the drops, artifacts, and other anomalies that happen when you record to a cloud service. Recording locally also means you have a high quality copy of what you spoke, and if necessary, you can use that as your replay or published recording if the cloud recording is sub-optimal (which, honestly, it usually is).

3) If one party is unable to record themselves, have them call into your conversation on a cloud service or VOIP line. If at all possible, avoid having them call you on an actual phone, as their voice will be muddy and distorted as it comes through the mono speaker and into your room. From your computer, you can then record their side of the conversation separately, for the best quality.

4) Everyone should be wearing headphones or earbuds during the call. You'll hear yourself more clearly while you talk, plus what the voices of the others will not "bleed" into your own recording. 

5) Record in an acoustically-sound location with minimum to zero background noise. If your microphone faces a wall, put something soft behind the microphone to absorb your vocals, so they don't "bounce" back to the microphone. It's not hard to sound great, but it does take deliberate action and attention.

6) Have your guests read the (free!) http://podcastguestguide.com to help them best prepare.

Recording Multiple-Party Conversations

Many podcasters use SKYPE to hold their conversations. I often use Zoom, myself. The advantage to Zoom is that it has Local Recording available to all Zoom users. If you use Skype or Cloud-Phone service, you'll need a third-party software. Cloud-Phone services, like Line2.com, provide you a real telephone number for folks to call. It's a great way to keep business calls separate on your personal smartphone. 

If You're Using Zoom, And Are Recording All Participants

Use the built-in "Local Recording" [https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362473-Local-Recording]

If You're Using Skype, And Are Recording All Participants

Call Recorder for Skype [http://ecamm.com]

If You're Using Phone Services, Go-To-Webinar Or Any Other Service That Records To A "Cloud"

Even if you are ALSO recording to their cloud, record all participants locally
Audio Hijack [https://rogueamoeba.com/audiohijack/]

If You're Recording JUST Yourself

Quicktime Player for Mac (free!) [https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201066]
Audacity for Windows/Mac (free!) [http://www.audacityteam.org]

Why Record Locally If I'm Recording To A "Cloud"?

Cloud recordings are captured as your voice is transmitted over a network and saved to a remote computer server. Lots of things can go wrong, and you have zero control over the quality of your recording. You may seem sound fine in the live event, but all sorts of network and transmission issues can cause your recording to sound muddy or tinny. And if there is a glitch during the live event because of network issues, it won't usually affect your local recording. 

Brush Up On Your Mic Technique

There is a "right" way and a "wrong" way to use a Mic. You want the best recording, so review this quick video on Mic Technique: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZe2ugX4h9A

Do A "Dry Run" Before The Big Day

Record a few minutes with the setup you plan to use for the actual episode, and have at least one other person else listen to the sample audio and provide honest, critical feedback. It's easy enough to make the any tweaks to your setup so your "real" recording is the best it can be.

Remember To Smile

You may not be on camera, but your mood and personality will be reflected in the tone of your voice. Visualize yourself speaking to an audience member as though they're right in front of you. Make sure you're comfortable, relax your shoulders, smile periodically, many of the things you do in conversation with "real" people will help you connect with the unseen audience.

 

Updated 2017-Aug-6