These days podcasts are everywhere. They are recorded by big and small creators, by politicians and travelers, by your friends and your friend’s neighbors. Some of them are recorded at home and gain a fanbase composed of, at first, family members and occasional house guests. Others are professional, gather a big international audience, and just scream “money.” Do you sometimes wonder what makes that big of a difference between those two types?
If you’ve ever heard one of the professional studio podcasts, you have probably acknowledged the outstanding audio quality that they have. Unfortunately, if you don’t own a villa with a private recording studio, the chances are your podcast won’t sound that professional. Don’ worry, though: even if you’re recording at home, and instead of a professional DJ, there is a cat next to you, you still can make your podcast seem more professional in a few simple steps.
Plan It Well
One of the most prominent features of professional podcasts – its unique smoothness – is not that technical or advanced. The reason for that is not only the technology behind the production, but also a good plan, strategy, and script. Before you start recording, you must think through how to structure the podcast you’re planning to create. Think about the topic and the arguments, and whether you want to invite some guests.
Write down what you’re planning to say word by word, for example, in bullet points. This way, you will eliminate any awkward “umms.” Get interested, if not fascinated, about the topic, to be sparkling with enthusiasm and charisma. You should show deep understanding and flair in the subject in order to convince your audience.
Importantly, remember to plan your speech well. Don’t jump right away into the middle of the action! First, you should create a sound beginning to generally introduce the topic and catch your listener’s attention. In the end, remember to make a summary or a recap of the topics covered to finish the podcast smoothly.
Before you start to record, you should always get the levels of any person who will be speaking. Ask the speaker to speak the loudest they can realistically, and raise the level with the gain knobs until the speaker’s voice keeps the meters in the middle and doesn’t cross to the red area. If it crosses the red area, there might occur distortions, so be prepared to eliminate such possibility beforehand.
When asked to give their loudest voice, speakers typically unconsciously limit themselves a bit. That’s why you should always assume the loud levels you are given are around 80 percent of what the speaker can actually give you. Please note that while recording a podcast, people are not only speaking but also laughing, singing, or yelling randomly – you need to catch it all and make sure the quality of the whole audio is outstanding, so take some time with the levels.
Use the Right Equipment
This one might be a no-brainer, but if you want to perform right, you need to equip yourself right – that means obtaining good recording software, mic, headphones, etc. You will find multiple reviews on the internet, as well as forums, blog posts, and recommendations for high-quality equipment, so let us stick to just a few tips to consider while choosing your items.
First of all: not always “the best” microphone that musicians use will be the best for you. In fact, such high-end microphones offer more fidelity than you need, which will be very inconvenient in the long run. Second: if you are recording an inexperienced speaker, choose a USB microphone with some protective DSP. That way, you will ensure your audio quality is impeccable.
Analyze the Audio File
Importantly, you should trust your own ears. Listen to what you are recording, and take notice of any distortions or effects of particular vocals. Try to analyze it from the third-person perspective while editing, or ask a friend to help you with the task and listen to their criticism.
Note how the mic reacts to speakers’ moving and whether the audio distorts at some points – for instance, while somebody laughs or raises a voice. Then, you can adjust your settings. Please focus on the background noises and eliminate them in post-production to provide your audience with the smoothest and most pleasant experience.
To make your podcast sound professional, you surely need to spend some time improving your technique. Typically, it’s not about the equipment in the magician’s hands but his creativity and smart use of the items they own.
Hearing is a very sharp sense, so creating a show based on that requires you to use your powers (and technology) wisely. If you’re reaching for the stars in the podcast world, you have to spend some time ensuring better content, better strategy, and better sound quality than the rest of your home-based competitors.
Lastly, remember that no success has ever happened overnight: keep working hard, try new things from time to time, experiment to find the right path, and simply have fun with it! Money and fame will all come afterward. Good luck.
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