September 30, 2021 3 min read
We’ve all seen footage of recording studios in TV and movies. They usually look like the closest thing to a spaceship besides, well, a spaceship. It’s true that before recording with computers became the standard, you needed some NASA-level expertise to make recordings. These days, even if you’re not a sound engineer, things are a lot easier. You can even make pretty good recordings using just your phone, in your home recording studio.
For a professional-quality podcast, “Voice Memos” won’t quite cut it. But, all you really need to make professional-quality voice recordings is a good microphone. In the past, we've covered a wide variety of topics like improving podcasting sound quality and recording a podcast on an iPhone. Now we want to offer tips for recording a podcast at home, including how to pick a good room and how to set it up as a podcast studio for audio recording.
How to Identify a Good Room For Recording
When choosing a room for your home podcast studio, you want to look for a space that doesn’t create too much reverberation or echo. When recording podcasts, you want the vocals to sound “dry,” or don’t have too much echo or background sound. Recording in a space that has too much natural reverberation can lead to recordings that sound like they were made inside an oil drum.
A good rule of thumb to follow when creating a home recording studio is the harder the surface, the greater the reflectiveness. Tile floors and glass windows will reflect a lot of sounds, and create more reverberations. Carpeted rooms with curtains will absorb more sound and create less reverb.
A good way to test if a room could be a fine DIY podcast studio is to clap loudly and listen to the response. If the clap rings out loudly and has a longer decay (how long the reverberation of a sound lasts) that room might be challenging to record in. If the clap stops short and you don’t hear it ring out continuously through the space, you might be in a good spot and can start thinking about potential home studio setup ideas.
If you don’t get too claustrophobic, a closet can often be turned into a great small podcast studio. It can capture clean and reverb-free recordings, as all the fabric and small quarters create a space with limited room for sound waves to run away from you.
How to Treat Your Room for Sound
Even if you don’t have an acoustically perfect space to record your podcast, there is still a lot you can do to reduce reverb and echo in your space and create cleaner recordings. Sound absorbing foam is a great way to quickly and easily improve the acoustics of your DIY podcast studio. But not all foam will give you good results. Before you go taping your old mattress topper to the wall, consider investing in proper acoustic foam.
Fabric goes a long way when it comes to recording sound. Carpets, curtains, duvets, and blankets hung on walls will help to clean up the messiness of sound bouncing around your room. Many recording studios utilize moving blankets to absorb sound. These are an excellent, budget-friendly way to treat your podcast studio and make it sound more “dry.”
Be Conscious of Background and Ambient Noise
One more thing to be aware of when considering where to set up a recording studio is ambient and environmental noise. Things like refrigerators, and air conditioners can produce low-grade noise that you might not even notice while you’re recording but will give you trouble when it comes time to edit.
If you live in an urban area, be wary of recording close to windows, and consider investing in heavy curtains for your home podcast studio to block unwanted outside sound. The last thing you want is a loud dog barking or a siren passing by while your guest is delivering an emotional monologue.
We’re lucky to live in a time when it’s easier than ever before to record pro-quality audio at home. Just keep these tips and tricks in mind and you’ll be off to a great start in capturing audio for your podcast.
Check out our entire podcast Youtube video series for more tips on how to record a podcast at home.