6 Tips for Better Podcast Recordings

As fun as it is to buy new gear, there’s plenty of ways to improve the quality of your podcast recordings that don’t need you to spend any money at all. And I guarantee if you try implementing even one of these tips for improving the sound of your podcast recordings, your listeners will be much happier after listening to your next podcast episode.

#1: Turn Off the Heater

If you live in a cold climate like I do and you have a room heater, you might not notice how loud it actually is. Especially if you’ve got it set to turn on or off at certain temperatures. A fan in the background on a podcast is annoying. A fan that turns on and off randomly on a podcast is really annoying.

One way to get around it is to crank the heat way up 30 minutes before you’re supposed to be recording and then turn it off before you hit record so that the heater doesn’t kick in halfway through your recording. Hopefully it’s not so cold where you record that you can make it through the episode without getting so cold your teeth start chattering.

🎁 Bonus: This tip can be replicated in a warm climate by swapping “heater” for “air conditioner”.

#2: Drink More Water

Drink a large glass of water just before you start recording. Not only will this help keep you hydrated and prevent your throat from drying out from all that knowledge you’re dropping on your podcast, it will also stop you from recording a podcast that goes way too long. Chances are you’ll have to pee by the time your episode would get boring.

#3: Use Headphones or Earbuds

Please use headphones while recording. AWH: Always wearing headphones. Friends don’t let friends record podcasts without headphones on.

Whatever your mantra needs to be: wear headphones.

Ideally they’d be over the ear, studio looking headphones like I recommend on my podcasting gear guide – but almost anything is better than using your laptop speakers for recording a conversation.

🎁 Bonus: Using headphones also allows you to hear what’s going on in your room that your microphone is picking up you might not otherwise realize. Like how loud your heater is.

#4: Turn Off Backups and Syncing

Turn off Dropbox, Box, Backblaze – basically any syncing services you might have running on your computer. Eject any external hard drives that aren’t being used for recording – that will prevent Time Machine on macOS from trying to start a backup during your recording. If you’re recording in person and you don’t need the internet on your computer, you can turn off the wifi/internet connection.

Even if you’ve got lots of Internet bandwidth you want every ounce of bandwidth and processing power focused on maintaining the recording as well as the conversation you might be having on Skype or another service.

🎁 Bonus: Make sure you remember to turn your backup / syncing back on after you’re done recording otherwise you’ll get really mad at me someday when your computer dies and your backups never got turned back on.

#5: Remember That You Can Edit Your Podcast

Unless you’re doing a live stream or recording a live show, you get to edit your podcast before you send it out to the world. So take the time to get it right.

You can always go back and cut out parts of your conversation that don’t make sense or where you lost your train of thought. It’s far better to say “Wait – can we do that over again?” if you fumble on your words or your guest does.

🎁 Bonus: What my clients often do during their recordings is just pause when they’ve realized something isn’t working, count to five in their head, and say out loud: “Chris – cut that last part out.”, count to five again and then try it again.

#6: Turn Off All the Other Things

Here’s a few extra things to remember courtesy of my friend Matt McGee who, like most of us, has learned the hard way on some of these issues:

  • Your cell phone notifications.
  • Your smart devices listening for you to say “Ok Google” or something close to it.
  • Your landline phone – if you still have one of those.
  • Your windows. Well don’t turn these off. But make sure they’re closed so that when your neighbour decides to start mowing their lawn 5 minutes into the most important podcast you’ve ever done. Theoretically speaking.
  • The dog, cat, fish? Whatever kind of pet you have – guaranteed they’ll make some sort of noise as soon as you hit record.
  • The family wireless printer in your office that someone will suddenly need to use at the exact moment your podcast guest shares something they’ve never shared anywhere else.
  • YouTube influencers influencing your kids with their influential videos. Or Netflix.

Bonus Idea – Hire a Podcast Editor!

Speaking of my clients – did you know you can hire me to do the editing for you? Wouldn’t you love to be able to just say something like this while you’re recording:

What a Podcast Editor Can Do

I cut out audio that you don’t want on the podcast. I also clean up the sound of your audio, add intro/outro music, help with recording sponsor spots, scheduling your podcast to be published – and just about anything else related to your podcast. Contact me now if you’re interested in finding out more about hiring a podcast editor for your podcast.

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