Keys to a Successful Podcast Recording - Sound Quality
Crackers and Grape Juice has it 250,000 downloads this week! Something that started off as a hobby has grown more than Jason, Taylor, Johanna and I could have ever imagined. If you've been with us since the pilot episode, you know that there have been some hiccups along the way. Remember none of us have a background in audio engineering. Three of us studied theology while Johanna studied the dictionary.
There has been much to learn over the past 150+ episodes on Crackers & Grape Juice alone. Podcasting has become a passion of mine. It has changed the way we communicate with one another. Everyone and anyone is able to podcast right from their phone or computer, share it on social media, and thus the world. We truly are living the greatest communication shift in the last 500 years (Brady Shear of Pro Church Daily coined this phrase).
We made a bunch of mistakes and also learned some tricks along the way. Here are my top tips and tricks for you if you are already podcasting or considering starting a podcast.
Audio Quality Matters
Audio quality was not something on our radar when we started Crackers and Grape Juice. Jason and I recorded the pilot episode in separate locations, not using USB microphones, and without checking the quality of the internet connection we were streaming on. To top it off I was sitting at a table with a stainless-steel top which apparently is not the best when it comes to absorbing sound.
While most of us cannot afford to build an NPR sound studio in our basements, there are a few things we can do to ensure the sound quality is the best we can make it.
First, invest in a microphone.
This might come as a shocker but the microphone you use matters. The first microphone I purchased was the Nessie from Blue Microphones. The Nessie is a plug and play USB microphone, meaning there is not further setup required. It is a good little microphone BUT it stopped working a year into using it, so it was time to upgrade.
In comes the Yeti.
The Yeti from Blue Microphones is the gold-standard when it comes to USB microphones. There are other mics you can use but the Yeti is by far the easiest and most versatile to use. The price is reasonable for the quality of microphone you are getting. It has multiple setup options which means you can record solo or with another person and have the optimal sound set up.
As for guests who do not own a USB microphone, something is better than nothing. When recording over Skype or Zoom, require your guest to use headphones with an in-line microphone. The headphones that come with the iPhone are perfect for this scenario.
When it's time to upgrade, consider a USB mixer, Zoom Recorder, and XLR microphone. There are too many options to cover in this post. We'll save that for another day.
Silence Your Phone
Next, for the love of all that is holy, turn off your or at the very least, silence your cell phone. This is an easy sound quality issue to control. I find it distracting when listening to a podcast and I hear buzzing or dings in the background as the host or guest are receiving messages.
Limit The Echo
Finally, situate yourself in a space that is suitable for recording. While you might be comfortable recording at your kitchen table, the tile floor does not provide the best acoustic setting for recording. Consider recording in a room with carpeting. Better yet, if you have a walk-in closet that is an ideal space to record in your home. The clothing (and carpet) absorb sound, preventing it from bouncing around and echoing on your recording. If you're recording solo you can even build a tabletop recording studio using foam and a storage container.
Are you a podcaster? What tips and tricks would you recommend for someone trying increase the sound quality of their show?
Let's talk about it. Are you considering launching a podcast but aren't quite sure where to start? Do you have a show but want to take it to the next level? Are you part of an organization that already creates content on a regular basis but isn't quite sure where and how to share it?