Off The Record
Let me start with this statement: you’re not Bob Dylan. It’s unlikely you thought you were but if you’re looking into podcasting (or are already recording shows for online listening), you could be acting like someone who thinks they are.
Even as a kid of the eighties with more of an eye to Electronica and New Romantics, I’m aware of the market in what were unauthorised recordings of Bob Dylan’s work, sold (in the early days) very much under the counter. Some of the quality is highly suspect and far from studio quality but that’s fine because, hey, he’s Bob Dylan and the content vastly outshines any audio glitches.
If you’re producing your own podcast, how would you rate the audio quality of your recording? I ask because (again), you’re not Bob Dylan. Neither am I. Is the value of the message really that strong that it counteracts the fact that you’ve recorded it into your iPhone, recorded in a really echoey room or used a dodgy internet connection for your Zoom call?
I’m going to call it as “probably not”. And I include my own content in that. I’m not Joe Rogan. I’m not the world’s biggest podcaster.
If you work with us at Verbu to start (or improve) your podcast, we’ll cover all of this; advising on kit and location, alongside helping you polish the content and guiding you on publicising the episodes.
But here are some small suggestions in improving audio quality:
- Record in a room with soft furnishings and with the curtains closed. This will minimise reverberation and sound less like you’re recording in a cave
- An external microphone is highly recommended. You don’t have to go mad and spend a fortune – you can find some perfectly good models at a very reasonable price on the likes of Amazon
- Avoid loud noises in the background. The human ear can pick out an individual voice at a noisy drinks party. But a recording device can’t do that – and your exclusive interview may get drowned out by the surrounding noise. Have the confidence to suggest moving somewhere quieter (the next door room for example or outside in the garden)
Oh, and if you are recording a piece outside, be mindful of even a mild breeze. Even with a foam microphone shield, your audio may be ruined by the air rushing by as you try to record. In this case, unlike Bob Dylan, the answer isn’t blowin’ in the wind.