If you’re having trouble getting you podcasts to sound professional and clear we’d love to help you with some easy do-it-yourself tips and tricks.
As you’ve probably already discovered, one of the most convenient ways to record a podcast is over Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or a good old-fashioned phone call. It’s a great way to capture awesome content and get people from all over the world into your ‘studio’ but it can also be tricky to ensure you record high quality audio.
We ran some experiments to show you what a difference some tweaks to your set up can make.
Our first call took place via Skype. We kept the set up simple, using only our in-built microphone and speakers on our MacBooks.
In this recording we wanted to give an example of some common mistakes people make.
We were both sitting in large rooms with tiled floors. Dave was in our office with the door closed while Fyona was sitting in an open plan lounge/dining room, which is great if you want the sound to bounce around, plus the windows were open which allowed all the outside noise to filter in.
Finding the right space to record your podcast can be deceiving – the space Fyona was in would have been great for a face to face conversation, it felt quiet and peaceful but microphones and software such as Skype are designed to search for audio – so when you’re not speaking they will ‘look’ for any sound they can and tune into that, picking up all sorts of things your natural hearing would automatically filter out.
We recorded the conversation through Dave’s MacBook. At the time of writing this article you can record Skype calls through Skype for Business but not through standard Skype so we used a third-party software, ‘Call Recorder for Skype’, to record the conversation.
You can trial ‘Call Recorder for Skype’ for free, however, it only works if you’re using a Mac and not PC. They also have another software which records Facetime. At the time of writing this article you can purchase ‘Call Recorder for Skype’ for $AUD39.95.
If you want to record a Skype call on your PC you can use a third-party software called ‘Pamela For Skype’.
You can listen to our conversation here:
Hear all that fuzzy noise? That’s the mic looking for sound to record.
You can reduce this by changing your settings in Skype:
But all the audio enhancing in the world can’t compensate for a great original recording.
For our second call, we used Zoom. Like Skype, Zoom is a free video conference platform. One key difference is that Zoom allows video and audio recording in the program.
This time we changed our set up slightly. We still called each other through our MacBooks but this time Dave used a USB microphone and headphones and Fyona used her Apple headphones with the inbuilt mic in the cord.
One thing we especially like about Zoom, is that you can save the files onto an external hard drive and you can save separate files for each person in the conversation which comes in very handy when you’re editing your audio. Zoom also can record the call on both Mac and PC.
Our biggest change was the set up. Fyona moved from the large room to the laundry which was much smaller and had towels spread around the room and hanging above her. Not the most glamorous looking set up but it made a HUGE difference to the audio.
Click here to listen to the raw, unedited recording for yourself:
To sum up our experiment, our top tips to get the best audio recording are:
- Set yourself up in a small room with curtains drawn, windows closed and as much noise as possible eliminated. The more material in the room the better, so you ideally want a small room with carpet and curtains. If you have a walk-in wardrobe you can use you’ve hit the jackpot.
- Use headphones with an in-built mic or any other microphone and headphone combination to capture a clear sound.
- If you’re using Skype change your settings so the mic doesn’t search for sound.
- If you want to record the conversation we recommend Zoom over Skype – the file format is hard to beat.
- In regards to equipment, we use the following:
Laptop (MacBook Air)
Behringer C-1 Microphone
Steinberg UR12 USB Interface to (This converts XLR to USB)
Desk Mic Stand
We hope these tips help you get the most out of your audio recording. If you have any questions or would like more information please get in touch.
Once you’ve recorded your audio we’d love to edit it for you. Check out our Podcast Editing Subscriptions and sign up to start your subscription today.