Audio Recording Techniques for Your Podcast

At a recent seminar conducted by John McJunkin of Avalon Podcasting, I learned these tips for making The Fletcher Prince Podcast sound great. Please contact me if I can help you with your podcasting needs.

There are three problem areas for sound:

  • Distractions, such as mouth noises.
  • Masking–hiss buzz, music, sound effects, and acoustical blurring from the room.
  • Distortion–that you add electronically, e.g., the by-products of sound editing.

Recognize up front that there are elements of sound production that you can control, and ones you cannot.

You can control:

  • How you prepare and speak.
  • The equipment you use, such as quality microphones.
  • The sound editing equipment you use, such as compression.
  • The digital encoding rate and other features you employ.

But you can’t control how the listener accesses the podcast, for example:

  • the quality of their computer and the speed of their download.
  • the quality of their MP3 player.
  • the quality of their earbuds or head phones.

It seems obvious, but it’s good to remember what you can control for in sound production.

Recorded ambiance–or noise from within the room–cannot be removed in editing. It can be adjusted, with noise reduction, but that can cause its own challenges. The goal is to record in a small, innermost room with absorbent elements, such as draperies or furniture. The standard is to use auralex foam. Barring that you can use heavy rug and draperies. Cover up anything hard that will reflect the sound.

One idea is to record the environment before you podcast. That way you can identify the sounds you may otherwise miss (and correct). For example, passing cars, computer fan (record in another room), a/c, cellphones/pagers (do not
put on vibrate), jingling jewelry, change in your pockets, squeaky chairs, and paper shuffling.

It’s hard to do a podcast without a script or outline, but the papers do create noise. To minimize this, put your papers and notes on a music stand covered with a carpet remnant and arrange so you don’t have to shuffle them.

Avoid wearing headphones if you can. Have someone else wear them to check for sound while you are recording.

Prepare your mouth for podcasting! A dry mouth may cause you to make unattractive mouth sounds. Drink and swish with warm water, not cold (which will constrict your vocal chords) and not hot water. Don’t drink milk,
which will cause mucus, and don’t drink soda or fruit juices, or anything with sugar. Don’t eat before you
podcast. Use lip balm, to keep you from smacking your lips.


About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.

Posted on March 25, 2009, in Podcasting Tips. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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