Podcasts are incredibly popular, so much so that according to one report, almost half of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month, but not all podcasts are created equal. All of us who regularly enjoy listening to podcasts have likely run across one with less-than-ideal sound quality.
Poor audio quality and unsatisfactory soundproofing can make a podcast sound like it’s recorded underwater. Now, there are personalities and influencers who have large followings who may be able to get away with poor audio quality from time to time because they have won the loyalty of their fan base. However, for the listeners who are loyal to you and for those who have yet to find you, focusing on your podcast’s sound quality can help in the post-production process and help you retain them.
Soundproofing the room you choose as your podcasting studio is essential for the quality control of your show. There are various ways to approach soundproofing, ranging from more budget-friendly methods to professional setups. While there is the potential to hit up a professional studio to record your podcast, this isn’t always a viable or cost-effective option — especially for more amateur podcasters.
Overall, it’s far more economical to have your own suitable setup at home for podcast recording. Here are some ways to tackle the issue of soundproofing your podcast recording studio in order to ensure you produce a product that sounds professional and polished to listeners.
“Go big or go home” seems to be the mantra in many aspects of business and creativity. However, when considering where you’d like to record your podcast, smaller is usually a better place to start. Sound is easier to control in a smaller space and will limit sound bleeding over from other sources.
If your area is too spacious to contain the sound, acoustic partitions can help make the space smaller. I have it on good authority that some well-known podcasters started their shows in closets, so you can never go “too small” regarding soundproof spaces.
Even if you have the best and most expensive top-of-the-line equipment, it will still prove no match for a cavernous room with sound ricocheting off every solid surface. Soundwaves bounce around a room, so softening that bounce is the key to soundproofing. Blankets, heavy curtains or even rugs hung around your podcast space can help buffer the bounce of soundwaves. Even floors can be reflective of soundwaves, so having carpets or rugs in your recording space can help deaden that bounce.
Some companies sell acoustic quilts and soundproofing insulation if you want to take your soundproofing in a more professional direction.
Sealing Your Recording Space
Once you have your podcast recording space buffered with soft materials that absorb sound, you want to ensure sounds from the outside are sealed off. Noises that can creep in from outside the door, air vents or other openings in the room can significantly interfere with your podcast. If you notice this being the case, try using some of the same materials you used for sound absorption, like blankets and acoustic insulation, to plug any holes that sound could leak through.
Think Sneaky Sounds
Despite having the walls soundproofed and the door cracks plugged in your podcast recording space, other sounds can still sneak in and ruin the audio recording quality. Trust me — no one wants to hear something like a flushing toilet in the middle of a podcast episode!
The little sounds that every house makes, like groaning beams and rattling pipes, can easily go unnoticed by the average person. Although, once you start zeroing in on soundproofing your studio, you will begin to notice every small bump, hiss and creak.
Consider plumbing and pipe sounds, HVAC noise or even noise from your computer that could interfere with the sound quality of your show. Once you identify these more sneaky sounds, find ways to eliminate or, at least, minimize them as much as possible.
Think Solid Equipment
Solid soundproofing can work wonders, but quality equipment also plays a role in improving the audio quality of your podcast. Investing in a good microphone with a pop filter can help take your podcast sound from amateur to professional sounding in a matter of minutes.
Quality post-production equipment also plays a role in soundproofing. With good post-production editing software, such as Adobe Audition or ProTools, you can eliminate any pops, clicks or ambient sounds that may make it past your soundproofing efforts.
Starting a podcast can be an exciting venture. When you have something to say, a podcast can get your message in front of hundreds, thousands or even millions of listeners. With proper soundproofing efforts and attention paid to quality output, your podcast can be poised to retain more listeners and get your message heard.
And if you’re on a bit of a budget, don’t forget to look at some simple ways you can soundproof your home.