How exciting, you have thought about your podcast idea, you know your “why” and now it’s all about your “how”. How do I record my ‘perfect’ podcast?
For many of us the technical side of running a podcast can become particularly daunting and frightening. I was one of those; confident and relished being creative with my podcast content, then hit this wall of hesitation when it came to how I am going to record my podcast episodes. I was definitely no technical genius. Unfortunately the truth is that your audience will judge your podcast by its clarity and sound quality. No matter how thought provoking the topic may be or how attentively they are listening, it is your voice in their ear and they are hanging on to every word you say. Any distraction, whether a sudden change in voice volume, annoying background noise or poor quality sound projection will only distract them from not only grasping your message but also enjoying your podcast.
Understand your vision for your podcast; don’t get intimidated by what you don’t know, you will learn as you go.
Visit a reputable audio store and ask for assistance in regards to choosing podcast equipment that will give you the best audio quality as well as it being user friendly. Your equipment should be easy to understand, the goal is to navigate your equipment with confidence and ease.
Here is a list of equipment I personally use for my podcast recordings, also known as my podcast gear.
Microphones: I know, a microphone is a microphone, not so! I have now gained a better appreciation of the need to have a quality microphone. I personally love using my Rode microphones, they have excellent audio quality and for me being a non-technical wiz they are easy to use. But no matter how good the microphone is there is also the need to understand the basics. For example, they do not turn themselves on. Do remember to check your on and off switch, make sure that when you are recording your microphone is turned on. I have made a mistake once of recording my entire interview and forgot to turn my microphones on. How embarrassing for my guest and me. I have also learnt it is easier to use microphone stands, as I am an avid hand mover when I talk. Stands will stop you and your guest from chasing the microphone around the room and add more consistent voice levels.
Pop Filter: Pop filters simply help keep out the clicking noises your mouth makes when speaking close to the microphone. These pop filters fit easily over your microphones.
Headphones: A good pair of headphones is so important, especially when you’re interviewing guests. You need to be able to listen to both your voice and your guest’s voice clearly.
Portable recorders: I love using my Zoom handy portable digital recorder. Portable Recorders are simply that, designed so that you have the flexibility to travel and interview your guests in various locations. My portable recorder is probably more expensive than normal but has proved to be the pinnacle of my podcast equipment. When purchasing your recorder, make sure you understand how to use your device and fully utilize its’ features. Reading the instructions really helps, as well as not to be afraid to ask for help, tips and demonstration when in the store. Make sure you understand how to use your recorder and practice before you interview your guest. Before an interview test your equipment on a friend or family member first, so you can iron out all your mistakes and see how you can rectify them before you do your interviews.
This is how I set up my podcast equipment when in studio.
Lay all your equipment out in order on your workbench. Make sure you have everything you need and you haven’t missed anything or overlooked any part of your equipment that may still be at home. Make sure you always pack a spare set of batteries for your recorder as a back up.
Set up your microphone stands; place your microphones in your stand hands. Now that your microphones are safe and secure, plug them into your recorder. Your recorder should have two microphone input sockets; one microphone is for you and the other for your guest.
Headphones. I had to purchase an external device that plugs into my recorder, so that I can plug both my headphones into the one connection.
Switch on your recorder and make sure your audio levels are correct and both microphones are switched on. Make sure that your audio clarity for both your voice and your guest comes through clearly and level. There is nothing unforgiving than listening to a podcast recording and your voice comes across sounding much higher than your guest’s voice. So make sure you do an audio check before you start.
There you go, simple …. Enjoy !