Podcast External Microphone best to buy the equipment you need to record Rich quality audio

The equipment you need to record good quality audio Podcasts is reasonably priced, so there’s no excuse for poor podcast audio quality. All you need to do is to take care of a few operational aspects.

Useful tips

You might be tempted to use the built-in microphone of your laptop computer, however, although it might be of good quality it will readily pick up the hard drive and computer fan noise, also it limits you as to where you can position the microphone and still operate your computer easily when recording other people. Buy a quality microphone that you can plug into the computer and put in the ideal place for recording. If the room where you’re recording has enough space you would be well advised to use a microphone stand (preferably a boom-type so that you don’t accidentally kick the stand), this avoids handling noise on the microphone and cable.

Podcast Mic and Windshield

A separate windshield is a useful accessory. Place it a few inches in front of the microphone (built-in windshields rarely remove the worst blasts of air on the microphone because there’s not enough space for the turbulent air to settle down). If you do have such artifacts then using some automated extreme bass cut at those points in your digital audio workstation (DAW) can reduce them, but it’s best to avoid the problem in the first place.

Podcast room to record a podcast audio

Ideally, you need a quiet room to record your podcast audio unless you’re happy to keep re-recording sections that originally had extraneous noises, and then spend time editing the good sections over the bad ones. Also, avoid places that have a lively acoustic (more reverberation can be added later but it can’t be removed if it’s there on the recording) i.e use a carpeted room with plenty of soft furnishings or hang-up duvets to soak up the liveliness of the room. If this isn’t possible then get close to the microphone and speak at a quiet to a moderate level (this helps to reduce the amount of reverberation but anyone who’s really animated and likes to project their voice won’t like this arrangement) also make sure you’ve used a windshield.

Headphones and Podcast

If you’re recording yourself you’ll need to use headphones to monitor your recording and make sure you turn down any speakers connected to your computer. Use a directional microphone and have its insensitive side facing the computer to reject hard-drive and cooling fan noises. Monitoring with speakers is only possible if you’re recording someone else located in another acoustically isolated room. Failure to do this will result in the coloration of your recording or at worst feedback. You’ll also have to arrange a talkback system so that the person(s) can listen to your comments. Make sure that they use closed-back headphones to avoid feedback too.

How Voice over Artists Read Their script

Voice over recording If you or a voice-over artist are reading from a script then a good idea would be to buy a music stand to put it on, this avoids script paper rustling, especially as you turn over the pages. Avoid printing consecutive pages on both sides of the same piece of paper. If it is a long script then it’s probably best to do no more than two pages at a time and have short breaks, also provide some water for the person who’s speaking. If your script is lengthy then take care to make sure the performance levels don’t dip, especially if you do any re-takes of a few lines from an early section because you’ll hear the difference in tone and speed of delivery when you edit them in afterward.

Beginners choice Lapel microphone AKA {lavalier microphone}

If you’re using a personal clip-on (lavalier) microphone for your podcast audio, make sure you use it with a windshield attached and clip it somewhere close to the center of your chest so that if you turn your head while speaking it doesn’t go noticeably ‘on the mic’ and ‘off mic’ depending on where your head is at the time. Make sure the cable isn’t too taught as it will be prone to picking up unwanted noise from the cable itself. Set your recording level so that it goes into the red area only occasionally and avoid it being too quiet too. You must avoid distortion when recording digitally since the distortion is permanent. It is better to be recorded too quietly and then boost the level later, the slight increase in hiss will be much less objectionable than digital distortion. The reverse is true if you are recording in analog since the onset of distortion is much more gradual and boosted hiss will be more objectionable. See the image below.

Amplifiers & Peak Levels

If you are using a compressor and/or limiter in your pre-amplifier avoid excessive reduction of the dynamic range since as with reverberation you can’t undo it. Use low compression ratios e.g. no more than 5:1 on the compressor and set the limiter at a high threshold i.e. -20dB below full scale on a digital system or -4dB on a VU meter (4 on the PPM scale) to prevent the loudest parts of your recording from distorting. See Fig 3. Also, select a soft knee at the threshold if it’s available, this makes changes in volume at the threshold less noticeable, and use moderate attack and release times.

Microphone Choice For Podcast Audio

When recording the spoken word for a podcast there are no noise (hiss) or fidelity (frequency response) issues to worry about since you’re putting the microphone close to the person who’s speaking and the frequency response of the human voice is limited, so the only aspect to consider is probably getting a cardioid microphone (Videomic) to avoid unwanted noise e.g. the computer. However, if you have a quiet room and you’re recording a group of people then an Omni microphone (lapel microphone) placed equidistant to each person would be better. It’s all down to your own setup and requirements. let’s not forget about the USB microphones that are now available will remove the need for a separate preamplifier, these make a good simple choice for podcast audio. our lab just finished a great development of a USB Type-c adapter which is going to be mind-blowing to the industry.  

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