I'm really excited to introduce you to today's guest blogger – he happens to be my husband, Aaron! Podcasts are becoming more and more popular these days, but not all podcasts are created equal. Aaron is a professional audio and visual technician, and hates listening to bad podcasts as much as designers hate Comic Sans. Lucky for you, he has a few easy fixes!
More and more people are starting to do podcasts and vlogs because it's very easy to get started – you just need a smartphone, tablet or laptop. This is great, but it could also be hurting your brand.
Cameras are continually upgraded, but when is the last time you heard Apple or Samsung mention upgrades to the microphone in your devices? Or, when was the last time you thought about the quality of microphone in the device you are using to record your podcast or vlog? Most likely you thought that it's just the way it is – background noise, hollow sounding or like you’re talking in a bathroom. I promise there is a better way.
The reason your audio probably sucks is because the microphone in these devices is usually in some obscure location. Try to find it on your laptop! What about the iPad? For smartphones, it is on the bottom of the phone, maybe even covered by your hand as you read right now.
In other words, it is NOT in the ideal location for capturing how you truly sound, plus it is also capturing room noise and echoes. The microphones on these devices were created to capture everything, so that when you talk on your smartphone (generally, next to your face) it will be able to relay that information to the other side, regardless of audio quality. They sacrificed quality for quantity, and you want the reverse for your podcast and vlogs.
Here are my suggestions for setting yourself apart in the podcasting world.
- If all else fail or you cannot do anything else listed below, find the quietest place you can to record your podcast. House > Co-working space.
- Do NOT place your recording device on a metal or hard surface. These surfaces reflect sound which causes echoing or a hollow sound. Try putting a blanket or towel beneath your microphone to absorb some of the sound.
- Buy an inexpensive external microphone. You want to find one that hooks up to your computer using USB. You can find these on Amazon or at Guitar Center for $50 or under. (This is one that Jess uses! – affiliate link)
- Regardless of what type of microphone you use, make sure you keep an eye on your sound/audio meter. This would be the little bar (or bars) that are bouncing up and down as you speak. The key here is to get as “hot” as you can coming into your computer, but not too “hot” or “peaking.” This would be when the meter is hitting in the red parts or maxing out. You want to make sure you are right below this area. This will give you ample volume, and it will make sure you have placed properly your microphone (if using an external microphone).
- Speak naturally and normally and adjust settings from there. If you are yelling at your computer, or are whispering and not getting enough volume, check and adjust the program you are using. If necessary, check and adjust your system settings.
Sounding like the fast-food drive-thru guy is only going to get you so far. By striving for audio excellence it lets your audience know that you and your brand are not satisfied by mediocre. That might sound extreme, but you never know unless you try it. Your podcast is an extension of your brand, and a place that you can stand out from the rest!