If you’ve recorded a single podcast episode, you’re probably aware that your recordings don’t sound pro. Maybe you’ve hired an audio engineer and they’re still not up to snuff. The following tips, are quick ways to understand how you can improve your audio without having a masters degree in acoustics – and it’s all through simple microphone techniques.
The most common occurrence – people are too far away from their microphones. To give your voice more body, keep your mouth less than a foot away from the microphone. This is called proximity effect. The closer to the microphone, the more low-frequency information is recorded, making you sound “bigger and boomier.” Beware, too close and you’ll sound muffled. 3-12 inches away is a great starting point.
Too much Punch in their P-words. These p-words are called plosives and you send too much air pressure into the microphone. Now that you’re a little closer to the microphone, try moving your mouth so that you’re slightly off-axis from the microphone center. The other option is to purchase a Pop-filter; a screen designed to reduce the air pressure hitting the microphone diaphragm.
Track is too dirty or too quiet. This comes from improper gain staging, or giving the microphone enough power to do its job. For most microphone setups, you have the option to turn the gain knob (microphone power), or the volume up. The volume will do nothing for the recorded signal. It’s a way of monitoring what you’ve recorded. The gain knob is power of the microphone. Too much gain and you’ll end up with distortion. Too little gain, and your voice will be competing with all of the quiet dirt on the track.
Audible for reference tracks. Listen to an audible book, and then listen to your recording. Pay close attention to how far away you sound compared to the e-book recording.