Podcast Gear to Improve your Audio Quality
Podcast Gear to Improve your Audio Quality
There you are, listening to the lastest episode of your podcast, the conversation is flowing, all of the pieces are in the right place, but it’s just not hitting you in the way your favorite podcast does. Well, it’s possible that this is not a matter of content, but a matter of sound quality. What separates high-quality audio from low-quality audio usually comes down to a few simple tools that you should have in your kit before you even start recording. From audio interfaces, to microphones, and recording methods, let’s take a look at gear you can use to level up your podcast sound quality.
Why Podcast Audio Quality Matters
First up, let’s talk about why this is important in the first place. Improving the audio quality of your podcast can have a breadth of positive effects on the experience of your listeners as well as your ability to make money from your show. If your show meets industry standards of audio that established shows have, you are more likely to gain the trust of your listeners from the beginning. It will be easier to understand your message and, whether consciously or subconsciously, your listeners will want to keep listening. Also, high-quality audio will make advertisers more likely to want to advertise with you because your show meets a high bar of professionalism that they can rely on to promote their brand.
Having a quality microphone is a great place to start when looking to take your podcast sound quality to the next level. It’s possible that the reason you aren’t getting the results you are after is because you are recording into a mic (such as Apple earbuds) which is not optimized for podcast vocals. There’s a few key things to keep in mind when finding the perfect podcast mic for your budget.
- Microphone Type - There are three main types of microphone you will encounter. They typically come in dynamic microphones, ribbon mic, and condenser microphones. For the podcaster working from a studio, a condenser microphone will be the best option for optimized functionality and capturing your vocals at the highest quality.
- Pop Filter or Windscreen - getting a pop filter or a windscreen for your microphone will help to reduce the effect of plosives (hard sounds which create a “popping effect”) as well as lessen background noise. This piece of equipment goes a long way in helping you capture clean audio.
- Microphone stand, shock mount, or boom arm - Having this piece of equipment in your recording studio will help isolate the microphone from any external pressure that could have an impact on your audio recording. A mic stand will also allow you to record hands free and keep your mic in an ideal position.
- Output type - Depending on what your recording setup is, it is important to make sure you have the correct output for your audio input setup. The most common would be an xlr microphone, but there are many usb microphones which work just as well and can be plugged directly into your Mac/PC.
A few podcast microphones we recommend are the Blue Yeti, Shure MV7, and Audio-Technica 2020USB
Headphones/ Podcast Recording Best Practice
An audio interface is an essential piece of podcast equipment (if you’re using an XLR mic) which will allow you to connect an XLR microphone into your computer and record directing into Garageband, Adobe Audition, Audacity or whatever Digital Audio Workstation you are using. You can connect the interface to a pair of headphones or external speakers for high quality monitoring of your audio. This will also allow you to run you audio signal through high quality preamps giving you studio level quality in a home recording setup.
A few of the audio interfaces we recommend are the Focusrite Scarlett, Focusrite Vocaster, and Rodecaster
DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
Having a working understanding of recording software is one of the most important ways that you can get a clean finished product for your podcast. Whether you are recording your audio files into a handheld digital recorder (like a Zoom H4) or directly into your editing software, a DAW will help you put the finishing touches on your show and make it sound professional. In addition to making content edits, the DAW will be the place where you can add plugins such as EQ and compression effects as well as post-production flourishes like music and sound effects.
A few of the DAWs we recommend are Podcastle (free with your Acast subscription), Adobe Audition, Pro Tools, and Audacity.
Making sure you are recording your audio in an acoustically desirable place will keep your podcast audio sounding crisp and high-quality from the start. By lightly soundproofing your studio using affordable acoustic treatment, you can greatly increase the source audio quality and minimize unwanted room reverb and the amount of post-production work needed. There are many tutorials which get into the specifics of how to properly acoustically treat a room on Youtube.
Achieving studio-quality audio in a home studio setup is a key element to creating a successful podcast. All you need are a few key pieces of equipment in your podcast setup to achieve the best podcast audio possible.