Beginners guide to recording a Podcast

recording_pictureMany people just starting out are asking how to record a better podcast or a voice recording in general. Many of the things mentioned here are pretty obvious but people still repeat these mistakes.
Here are a list of most common mistakes, made when recording:

1. Recording in a completely empty room!

If the room is ‘too empty’ and the sound is not absorbed by anything it’s just bouncing around and creating echoes and reverb. To avoid that use a room that has plenty of objects, furniture and heavy curtains to keep the sound reflecting from windows.

2. Keep the noise outside the room!

Car noises, birds, airplanes, wind – we probably want to keep these out of the room. Make sure your windows are closed so your microphone doesn’t pick up these noises along other devices, like air conditioning or ventilation!

3. Don’t play around with your pen, papers or computer keyboard!

A lot of beginners don’t even notice they have been nervously clicking a pen or shuffling a stack of papers and producing unwanted noise for the most part of the recording! Avoid making sounds you don’t want to be recorded!

4. Try not to change your position all the time!

Try to keep a steady position and not move back and forth towards the microphone.  It’s always better to have a great recording from the start and only then edit / mix / master it.

Here are some tips you can use before and during recording:

Find the right position.

Start by doing test recordings, find the right position and distance from the microphone that sounds good to you.

Get the levels right! Also for your ‘VoIP guest’!

Don’t let the recording clip (or ‘go into the red’). It might distort the audio. Also it’s important to check the levels of the guest, if you are interviewing and recording someone over Skype or similar VoIP software – set the volume similar to your voice level, do test recordings, don’t let the red lights shine!

If you are not familiar with any recording software I would recommend Audacity, it’s a free, easy to use cross platform software for recording and editing audio.

Exporting your audio:

If you are sending the audio further for editing / processing / mastering then it’s recommended to export the audio as WAV or AIFF format, these are lossless formats (unlike Mp3, which is compressed)  to preserve the best quality. After that you can convert the files to a smaller format (like Mp3) for uploading to internet, if that’s required.

If you want to export or convert a file to Mp3 in Audacity, you need to download the ‘lame’ encoder.

Hope this was helpful for all the new ‘podcasters’ and if you have any questions you can contact me through the contact page!

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